Now the serious work of using and applying the correct movement begins. Before attempting to make any part of drill 1, review lesson 1, lesson 2, and lesson 3, and give the closest possible attention to position, muscular relaxation, and penholding. Don’t practice before you know how. With the left hand, move the paper to the left three times at equal intervals, in the progress of the pen across it.
Letting the distance between the two ruled lines, three-eighths of an inch apart, represent one space in height, any part of this drill should be two spaces high. Look at these drills until you have a good mental picture of the height, proportions, and general appearance.
In connection with the straight line part of the drill, study closely diagrams 26 and 27 from lesson 3. There is no value in this straight line exercise unless practiced with a forward and backward motion, from and toward the center of the body, with the paper held in the correct position.
If you cannot make the several parts of drill 1 high enough at first with pure muscular movement, practice without touching the pen to the paper until you have developed more muscular freedom.
In the second line of drill 1, the traced oval should first contain six, and later, as a lighter movement is developed, ten revolutions. In this drill it will be well to make first the straight line on the correct slant, and then the oval enclosing it. This order may be changed frequently and the ovals made first. This is an important drill as it has a very specific bearing upon slant.
Study the accompanying illustration, number 28. Notice the direction in which the upper part of the penholder points, the distance between the elbow and the side, the self-supporting position of the body in the chair, and the distance of the eyes from the paper. Do not forget that the force that moves the hand and carries the pen along without bending the fingers is above the elbow. It is not located in the fingers, hand, wrist, or forearm.
The fingers hold the pen easily and firmly without pinching; the third and fourth fingers are bent backward and form the movable rest under the hand; neither the wrist nor side of the hand touches the paper and the arm should rest all the time on the largest portion in front of and near the elbow.
If the paper you are using has lines eight inches long, divide the page in the center from left to right with a dot; then divide the halves in the center with other dots. Beginning at the left for the straight line drill, make one hundred downward strokes to the first quarter mark, and continue in the same manner for each quarter. Thus, four hundred downward strokes and, of course, an equal number of upward strokes should be made in the four sections extending across a line. See drill 1.
Counting to Regulate Motion
In developing light, uniform motion in class penmanship practice, counting is important. It makes the work more interesting, tones down the movement of the naturally nervous pupil, acts as a constant spur to the habitually slow boy or girl, and keeps the indolent student busy. In the oblique straight line and the oval exercises given in drill 1, the downward strokes only should be counted. The other parts of the drills, being what are termed connective lines, are not counted.
Speed is so important in the development of good writing that it should receive close attention in all practice work until correct speed has become a habit. Too much speed is just as bad as too little. Correct speed forces a light, firm line; too little speed results in shaky tremulous lines; while excessive speed means irregular letter formation. If you develop a light, firm, elastic motion, and the proper degree of speed in straight line and oval making, you will find the work of the following lessons comparatively easy.
The most convenient count for continuous straight line or oval exercises as given in drill 2 is 1,2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 — 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 20 — 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 30 — 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 40 — 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 50, continuing until two hundred has been reached. Until correct speed habits have been developed, the second hand of a watch should be used as a guide.
A few minutes in the right way are worth more than hours of practice in the wrong way.