Confessions of a Pencil Lady: the Perils of Pencil Modelling

Written By Caroline Weaver - February 19 2017

Comments

Louis Bauer
March 14 2017

Love these pencils for my plant-labeling, but have trouble getting them;
Lyra Special Pencils 12 Pack Garden Pen #1695 German Made Brand

This is a German well-established brand [LYRA – lira] garden pencil.
It is usually the pencil that Sunday carpentry and the outdoor use were assumed as well as note-taking.It can write clearly even if wet with water!
The axle diameter, 8mm, the core are 3.5mm.
[LYRA]
For 1,806 years more than 200 years ago, started production of the pencil in Nuremberg of Germany in the times of Napoleon. R egistered trademark of “Lyra” which is a company name of LYRA company in 1868. Originality and the quick product development to be known as a strength of LYRA company are certain by the cause by the following slogans by the

Michael
February 22 2017

Like many things in life this idea of correct and incorrect grips started as just the most convenient way of doing things for the majority of people. Teachers pass it on to their pupils, masters to their apprentices and eventually a convenience becomes a rule. The pen grip was discovered as the most convenient by scribes working with quills standing at sloping desks. It doesn’t work with a stylus on wax tablets or with Chinese brush writing. Also people were forced to write right handed.
Cursive too started out as a convenience. The word comes from the same root as current. It means writing that flows. Letters got joined up so as to avoid the pauses between letters and was just a way of writing faster. Here in the UK cursive just refers to any style of writing where some or all of the letters are joined up. In the US it has become synonymous with a particular style of joined up lettering with rigid rules about which letters to join and how. Again the rules started as way of trying to avoid letters shapes that were so unconventional as to be unrecognisable.
Scottish calligrapher and teacher, Tom Gourdie, devised a style that he called the simple modern hand. It mixes cursive and print styles by joining letters where it’s natural and convenient but not forcing ligatures. Try to find it. It works well in with all implements and looks good with a pointed tool like a pencil or a square nibbed pen. And unlike Spencerian cursive it’s readable by any one who can read printed letters.

Cathy K
February 21 2017

As a child, I struggled with holding my pencil the way my teachers taught me to hold it (tripod grip – hold with thumb and index finger only). After about third grade, when the teachers stopped caring how we held our pencil, I just held it the way it felt most natural to me (quadropod grip – thumb, index finger, and middle finger).

It wasn’t until my daughter started school and was struggling to hold her pencil correctly that I realized the fallacy of there being only one correct way. I actually had an argument with her “old-school” teacher about it because she was stressing out my daughter over her “incorrect” finger placement. Because Google was around, I had the ability to research correct finger placement, and it turns out that many people with short index fingers have a more difficult time holding the pencil using the “correct” tripod method. (To find out if you have a short finger, hold your hand out…if the length of your index finger is shorter than your ring finger, then you have a short index finger.) To compensate for the shorter index finger issue, my (and my daughter’s) natural tendency is to hold the pencil with my thumb, index, AND middle finger (the quadropod method), allowing the pencil to rest on my ring finger. And according to the following website, the quadropod method is now an acceptable way to hold a pencil. So I say just do whatever comes natural and feels most comfortable. I don’t think holding the pencil in a quadropod manner will necessarily tire your hands more than holding it in a tripod manner. It’s probably just general fatigue from holding your hand in a certain position for a long period of time. https://www.hwtears.com/hwtconnections/2011/oct/gripfeature, the quadropod method is now acceptable

Deacon Patrick
February 20 2017

This woman’s grip looks like yours in the first photo. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRHxqfNSQ54

Unsurprisingly, many grips are shown as correct in various places. I learned cursive in the 70’s as it was vanishing, and there wasn’t much care placed on the details, never anything beyond “don’t club your pencil.” I have been playing with the grip in the above video and may shift to something like it. Thanks for asking the question!

Deacon Patrick
February 19 2017

Och! I forgot to include: try gripping the pencil higher (away from the tip) and using broader, smoother strokes. Lead size helps here, with a sweet spot from me at 0.7 mm to 1.2 mm. That’s why I love the Masterpiece sharpener for woodcase (the long tip keeps it sharp longer before it goes too broad for a rotation to give a good edge), and why I have shifted to the upper echelon of Caran d’Ache and Yard O Led for my daily writing — no sharpening needed, I break when I choose to. I’ve found that writing bigger is hard to do with narrower leads, requiring a choke hold nearer the tip, and my hand cramps up fast.

I do wonder, how many people are rediscovering the gift of long sessions of cursive writing? Will this help bring back a more “mid-range” quality pencil with these characteristics (as opposed to engineering type pencils of which there are a plethora).

Deacon Patrick
February 19 2017

Hello Caroline,

First, thank you for the amazing service and putting up with me and my endless queries. Thank you, thank you!

Here are a few things I’ve found make a big difference with long writing sessions (I oft write all day). *write in cursive (and learn it if you didn’t) Cursive greatly improves flow of thought over printing or typing (ponder that at a societal scale for a moment!); *pencil weight, length, and shape matters greatly. I find a near full length woodcase or a hefty metal upper end Caran D’Ache ideal, hex is great for turning a set amount to keep an edge, round drives me nuts— suss out what works for you; *try a standing or kneeling desk, humans were not designed to sit in office chairs; *we are made to move every 20-90 minutes or so — discomfort is a cue to move(it can also be a cue that you are doing something wrong); *a sloped writing desk is essential — ergodesk.com’s are brilliant; paper matters (try beefier loose leaf single sheet to get a baseline for “fuss free”); lighting needn’t be bright, but is should be brightest where you are writing and shadow/flicker free — I’ve written by candlelight in power outages — amazing experience!; *and finally, yes, pencil grip matters — if the grip in the photo is your “pretend grip” it looks right to me — consider it a lenten journey (starting in February) to be disciplined and get a (good) grip! Grin.

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