Tip 3: How to Hold a Pointed Pen

Thank you for sticking with me and we’ll talk about the third tip of 5 tips you must know about pointed pen calligraphy before you start writing.  We’ll be talking about how to old a pointed pen.

In the previous two tips, we talked about how to figure out the angle of the script, and how you need to point your nib toward this script angle in order to write properly. So it’s important to talk about hand positioning and how to hold a pointed pen

Pen holder types

There are two types of pen holders: straight pen holder and oblique pen holder. I use the straight pen holder because I studied Copperplate, which was derived from the English roundhand. It came about in the 17th and 18th century and a straight quills was used o write this script. The oblique pen holder is made for Spencerian script, which came about in the 19th century, so this one is meant for Spencerian and engrosser script. Other than the flange angle, there are slight differences in a few properties between the straight and oblique holder, which will not be discussed.

Which pen holder?

If you’re doing modern script, it really doesn’t matter which one you choose, just as long as you feel comfortable.  If you can figure out the angle of the straight holder then you can figure out the angle for the oblique pen holder. Of course the oblique holder takes a more practice to get used to, but our focus is on aligning the nib to the script angle. So we’re going to use a straight pen holder today.

How to hold the pointed pen

So let’s talk about holding the pen. You must remember one thing, your hand should NOT hurt while you’re writing. It may be sore because you haven’t written for a long time, but your hand should NOT be strained or at a weird position and start hurting. If it does that means something is not right, and you’ll have to stop writing, and figure out why, so you can fix it.

First, let’s start with holding a pen or pencil as if you’re about to write like normal. Now remove your pen/pencil with your non writing hand, and the replace it with your pointed pen in your hand the way you’re holding your pencil. Take a look at your nib and your nib angle, and compare it to your slant line.

Remember in the first tip, we talked about the angle of the script, and in the second tip, we talked about the angle of the pointed pen nib. If I’m holding my pointed pen as if I’m holding my pencil, (take a look at my video), my nib is facing the opposite direction. However, I want to point my nib to the 55 degree angle. It means I will need to change something in order to fix this. Now a lot of people would want to try to crook their hand in order to adjust the angle, which is at a very unnatural angle. So I don’t recommend changing your hand angle to compensate.

Hand position

First remove your pen and bring your hand back to your natural angle and place your palm down flat on the table. Tilt your hand up to around 45 degree angle. Bring your fingers in, and use your non writing hand to put the pen into your writing hand. What you see is that you’re now holding your pen with the back of your hand facing upward. Your index finger is on top. When we’re holding our pen this way, we’re not fully at the angle yet, but we’re getting close. We just need to adjust a few more things to bring the nib angle to the script angle. For some of you, it may be a total change in the way you hold your pen. Because normally, we write with our palms facing upward, but we’re now turning our hand over, so our palm is down.

No death grip!

Another thing I want to talk about is to make sure you don’t hold onto your pen with a death grip, You should just be holding your pen enough that it’s secure. So once again, your hand should not hurt while holding the pen.

In the next two tips we’re going to talk about how to sit at the desk, and how to adjust the paper in order for us to point our nib angle to the script angle.

I hope you find this tip helpful. If you have any questions, please comment below or send me an email. And if you think someone else may find this helpful, please share with them my sign up link, so they can also receive my tips too! Thank you and until next time.

Previous tips:

Tip 1: Properties of Pointed Pen Letters

Tip 2: Properties of the Pointed Pen Nib

Next Tip:

Tip 4: Sitting Position