Followed up by practicing the material in the post about parting, sectioning, holding and cutting and got mixed results. The good news was that the whole process got to be more fluid the more it was done. The other part of the good news is that the general shape of the cut hair was more uniform and seemed to conform to what would be expected. It looked better.
The bad news was that cross checking did not give a nice smooth line when horizontal sections were taken through the cut vertical sections. There was a gradual increase in the length of the hair especially at the top of the sections. This was not a huge screw up, but it was not the precision hoped for.
Several attempts were made to discover the cause of this. The first was to be sure I had pulled the section correctly with the top of the section being even with the part at the top of the section and that the sides were cleanly sectioned. This had no significant benefit so I must have been doing this already.
The second was to be sure the guide was clearly seen. I changed the way I looked for the guide. The method of just looking through the section to see the guide was still good but did not always work. The other method was looking through the section as the hair in the section was being combed from the holding fingers to the end. This also worked some times. The change was to move the holding fingers near to where I thought the guide should be and to then use the spine of the comb to push the uncut part of the hair away from the cut area. If you had started cutting in the front of the head, then the uncut hair would be in the back of the head and the hair in the section would be pushed to the back. The cut line of the guide could frequently be found this way when the other methods were not completely clear. It may have been that I also made the mistake of using the guide at the top of the section for the whole section without clearly seeing it all along the line to be cut.
Looking at cutting on the top to see what was different from cutting on the side.
Again the cut sections looked fairly decent but they were still not precise. To try to solve this I went to the top of the head and made side to side sections across the head. These were cut flat and parallel to the ceiling. The hair was cut overhand with the hair being held between the first two fingers with the pads of the fingers near the scalp and the hair being cut near the back of the fingers on top.
It was clear that the guide was more visible than it had been on the sides. It was also clear on cross checking that there was no increase in length as I progressed from section to section.
Went back to cutting vertical section on the side in the palm to palm method and finally noticed that the shears were tilting toward me and away from the model's head at the top of the section. The result was that the handle of the shears was closer to me and the point of the shears was closer to the head of the model. The effect was that a slight bit of unintended graduation was being cut into the hair.
This added one more thing to check when preparing to cut. Once the hair was secured, the section was checked on all sides, the guide was found and the shears had been placed on the second finger, the last thing to check was that the shears were straight up and down from the ceiling to the floor.
Doing all the checks there was some improvement. I am certain this has not seen its final refinement.
I am guessing that at the top of the head it was easier to see that the shears were flat with the cutting line.
In the sloppiness category I was not putting the shears in a safe position between cuts and while combing the next section. Had to force myself to be sure to rotate the shears around the ring finger to get the point out of the way and then to swing them back up for cutting. There is a previous post on how to do this. Post is dated 1/24/10.
Continue to check as in previous not but add:
a. Look for guide all along the cutting line. See additional method above for finding the guide.
b. Check that shears are vertical which should be parallel to the cutting line.
c. Put shears in safe position before starting to comb.