Lessons in Ornamental Penmanship (Part 2)

Madarasz, line 2, 'Destroy'

On the second line of the Madarasz Page Writing, I refer you to the word 'Destroy'. When I practiced the exemplar that I posted to 'files' I made 5 lifts in writing the 1 single word. I got the best result by making the lifts marked with a small 'x'. Madarasz lifted after the capital D. He shifted the paper. Then he penned the e,s, lifted, slid the paper. He penned the 't' to the top of its 'i' section, lifted, perhaps shifted, then started at the top of the 't' and came down (no shade yet) and penned to the drop down of the small 'r'. He lifted here, shifted the paper, and did the 'i' portion of the r and through the 'o' with its shade. He lifted, shifted and finished with the y. The top of the 't' (and also d, p) were ususally done after the entire page was written. The top of these letters was '7ed'as shown.


Ins, Nibs and Madarasz

The best nib used in the early 1900s was the Gillot Principality #1. It was also renamed the Zanerian Fine Writer and the F W Tamblyn #8(I think). It was a sharp nib which was also flexible to spread nearly 1/4 inch (but would ruin quickly at that distance). The faintness of line as achieved by the old boys was from lightness of hand on the paper and watered ink. The Korean inks (Madarasz found them) were supreme in that the ink was light but the shades were brilliantly dark and still are today (100 years later) if you ever see a real LM page.

The little finger support as used in 'The Secret of the Skill of Madarasz' was a may to keep the hand from being heavy on the paper. His little finger would raise his writing hand off of the paper to lift the pen to the point of almost not touching the paper. Also the sharp pointed Principality #1 would have less chance of sticking into the paper with this little finger lift off effect.

Ink Viscosity and Madarasz

I do not know of a formula. Just have to add as much as it takes to make the lines lighter. Water will only make certain inks lighter, like Higgins Eternal that are water soluble. WC Brownfield told me Madarasz used a circular ink grinding bowl. When Maddy wanted a thicker ink he would leave the cover off. I have no idea as to stick inks to use. I have tried art stores and never found a great ink stick. I think the day of thick and thins and faint lines is pretty much over. Mr Brownfield also told me that Maddy would use thin inks when he did not want others to reproduce, re print his stuff. And that when his Principality #1s wore out he would use them for his fancy heavy shaded script work.

Lupfer, Madarasz and others and how they wrote

Unless you see visually how these penmen wrote it is difficult even to imagine. That is why I think the days of thicks and thins, hairlines, grace and beauty are somewhat left in the past. And it takes years to get the feel of the feather touch.

The All Important Circle Exercises

Every class had this exercise to get the arm 'warmed up' before we actually practiced on letter form. The ovals were made in either direction and you will notice one direction is easier than the other. Do these fast with control.

I have started practicing roller skating again, after 40 years of not doing it. The other night I did 3,000 ovals like these skating in a single spot. That is the type of practice that makes for good results.


Madarasz 'it, and'

Posted to files is 'it, and' as I think Madarasz wrote the two words. I detect one lift and shift, after 'it,'. Notice and look at the lead-in to the small 'a' and you will see that there is a space just before the oval of the 'a'. He did the lead-in after the two words were written. I have shown same in my exemplar. He 'seven-ed' the small 'd'. Notice the continued smooth base line corner curves.


Madarasz: stopped to think

Note the file I am posting with the same 'he stopped to think' title. At the top of the small 'n' there is a definite sharp corner. Other letters will show the corner top in many cases. This corner is made or created if the pen actually stops. When I wrote my exemplar I found that I, too, stopped, before coming down. Just for a momentary mini second to gather my visual as to just where I was going next.

I enjoy reading the comments about 'lifts' but recall that I began these instructions with the explanation Mr Brownfield gave to me about regular penmanship and Pro Pen or Professional Penmanship. I have letters by other penman who lifted just as often on plain old 'Pro' business writing. Note some of Nick's postings and you will see lifts everywhere.


Louis Madarasz/Edward C Mills: A comparison of how each penman formed their lowercase letter 'c'

The two penmen made the small 'c' entirely differently. Edward C Mills was the 'top' probusiness penman (Pro-Biz as Mr Brownfield described it. Note my exemplar as to how Maddy made his small 'c', over and a tip down, then lift and 'i' it out. Mr Mills did the leadin, lifted and full 'c' it out.


Madarasz and his Ornamental Penmanship, as well as others

The comments made about Louis Madarasz's Ornamental Penmanship (OP) are interesting to read. When Mr. Brownfield first showed me how Madarasz wrote I was shocked, and more than a bit surprised. I even thought to myself 'he cheated'. Then Mr. Brownfield told me the difference between Pro Pen and Ordinary Pen--manship.

Over his few years of writing, Madarasz did not make much money. He was always looking for something to do. I think he believed himself to be above all others in OP but yet he still had to teach ordinary penmanship to make a living. His ads were, are a bit egotistical (but true) of his own personal ability. Madarasz did not ever do much OP for commercial uses such as the engrossers who learned fast that OP was not a money maker. In his later years, he was selling partnerships in a squab ranch. He searched for gold in Nevada. Two weeks before he died he ordered a dozen Excelsior oblique penholders (I saw the actual order). I was told that he was hired to teach at the same school I taught at. But one the appointed day he did not show up. His cable gram said it 'is to cold up there' (as I was told but did not experience).

So why did Madarasz learn to write his way and show that he was the very best ever. Why did Bach compose? So that we can talk about it 100 years later?

The Bloser post by Joe and Evan's assistance

See the wonderful exaggerated small 's' in the three lines by Mr. Bloser. The line lifts high, then slowly down to meld into the base line without connecting to the lead-in. A half circle is filled to create the eye illusion that the bottom does connect. See the pointed 'f' a mistake; also the 'o' in yours, ouch: he might have thrown this away but someone grabbed it from the waste basket. The initial 'P' is wonderful. All in one stroke, no lifts, but maybe he filled the dark accent after.


Madarasz 'locality' before and after

The top shows the lifts; the bottom shows how it looks after. Without knowing, the result looks penned in one stroke and it was done in seconds, not minutes.