Holding a pen
The way we hold our pens are important for two reasons; endurance, and accuracy. In this post I don’t what to explain how to hold a pen with a long write up, but rather with a short description with photos, and with a short explanation. There two methods of holding a pen. We will be looking at the medieval method, and the modern method. I can hear you rolling your eyes at me! And you are most likely saying, “Dude it is the twenty first century, we don’t care how the medieval scribe held his pen.” The medieval method is still relevant today, as there are modern pens that are designed to be held in this way. It also help us to understand how we get to the modern way of holding a pen.
Medieval scribes held there pens vertically, with the inside of the tips of the middle and index fingers, and holding it steady with the tip of the thumb. The remaining two fingers are curled up out of the way.
The reason for holding a pen in this way, is that the medieval scribes, and illustrators worked on a flat surface, and their ink had a high viscosity. Holding the pen in this way allows you to see the letter being formed, as you write.
The modern method brings the pen to all most horizontal position. With the tips of the thumb and index fingers holding the pen, and with the pen resting on the middle finger. The two remaining fingers are curled up out of the way.
The change in the pen angle is due to the change in the angle of the writing surface. As scribes and illustrators started to, use the inclined work table they had to bring the pen to a horizontal position.
This video shows the modern way of holding a pen, and the medieval way. By using two modern pens. The first pen is designed to be held in the modern way, and the second in the medieval way.