Beginning Copperplate

I grabbed an excellent book off of iBooks called Script in the Copperplate Style by Dr. Vitolo and decided to sit down and give it a fair shake this afternoon. Until now I was more or less just fiddling around with different styles while using an italic nib, but lately I’ve been feeling the need to pursue it with a bit more seriousness. Pick a style as really delve into it. So I went with copperplate as I’ve been experimenting with flexible nibbed dip pens for my flourishing, and copperplate uses the same kind of nib (with the extra fun of an oblique pen). 

Well, I cannot say that my first day was easy. First of all, I had read a fair bit of the beginning of the book a few days ago and forgot an important piece of information: you turn the paper to the angle that your vertical lines will follow. See if you can tell at what point I felt something wasn’t right and went back to look that up. Yes, I can be a real smart fellow sometimes. Next, another issue I was having was my index finger cramped up like the dickens. I had been holding the pen the best way I could figure out, which was this. 

After finishing the page I decided that I had to be doing something wrong and sure enough, after googling and doing a bit of investigation, I found a better grip. This one reminds me a bit of the right hand’s posture in the tai chi move, single whip, and trying it out on some scrap paper later, it felt much better and much more sustainable. 

My first day with copperplate was challenging and full of mistakes, but I have to say that it was incredibly fun. I can tell this is going to appeal to my unhealthily compulsive nature. 

If you’re a copperplate calligrapher, any pointers would be appreciated!


4 thoughts on “Beginning Copperplate

  1. I too am learning Copperplate and Spencerian script. As I began (a still a beginner), I scoured YouTube for insight. There is an excellent group of pen men called Calligraphy Masters. They span a wide range of talents.

    Within that group is Paul Antonio. He is a talented scribe with a breadth of styles, plus an accurate and effective instructor and scholar. He is AMAZING . . . you are meant to find him! Here’s a beginning Copperplate link to start:


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