Learning Copperplate calligraphy can be a little awkward. The script is beautiful, but actually producing those beautiful letters is difficult. The oblique pen is nothing like a regular pen. It can take time to get a good feel for the grip of the pen. Another difference between pointed pen and a typical pen is that pressure placement is crucial to producing thick and thin strokes.
In my short experience with the pointed pen, I seem pretty comfortable with the pen itself. My problem tends to be putting the pen to paper. Due to the slant of the letter, the paper needs to be angled, even when using an oblique pen. The problem I have is producing the letters at that angle. I can see it when I have an exemplar in front of me. But once it is turned at an angle, it no longer looks familiar.
I was really intrigued when I saw Logos Calligraphy + Design start to develop practice pads with traceable letters. I went ahead and pre-ordered the Lowercase/Uppercase Bundle Set.
By following the traceable letters, I became more aware of where to place my nib, and when to apply pressure. I did not have to worry about how to write the letter, and became focused on the physical aspects of the placement of pen and paper. I noticed if my paper was not angled enough to trace the letter. I also became more aware of the actual shape of the letter when tracing, especially from the angle that I was looking at the letter. Being guided by the practice letters let me feel how it should feel when a letter is written. I practiced on a blank sheet and felt much more comfortable producing the letter.
The practice pads have one letter on each page, and there are extra pages for practice. The paper is perforated at the top for easy removal. Perfect for those like me who prefer not to write on the pad itself. The paper quality is great: thick and super smooth. I have used Pilot drafting ink, and Higgins Eternal. Both work well, but there is some minor feathering with Higgins Eternal.
I am definitely going to buy more practice pads from Logos Calligraphy! Not only is this a great learning tool, but it is also very soothing to trace letters. These sheets may be a good starting point to calm down when starting a practice session. In Chinese calligraphy, calligraphers grind ink to prepare to write. Not only does this produce the ink, but it also calms down the body and settles the heart. I have not been able to find an equivalent for Western calligraphy. I think these traceable letters are a great way to calm down and prepare for the practice session ahead.