Author Topic: Guidelines for dummies  (Read 2896 times)

Offline Gabby10109

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Guidelines for dummies
« on: May 01, 2016, 03:19:47 AM »
Greetings everyone!

SO..I'm super new to calligraphy, I recently got a 62 set of vintage nibs from DoubleDipPens on the amazing Etsy! Now I'm trying to understand all the different guidelines that I see online that people have made. I don't really understand the guidelines and the angles/slants that people keep talking about. Some help on this would be amazing!

Offline cvcrossing

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Re: Guidelines for dummies
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2016, 08:18:55 AM »
Hi. I'm also new to calligraphy. Here's what I picked up from

This is the guide that will show us how long the ascenders and descenders will be (e.g. l, p), and the height of the letters (x-height) without ascenders or descenders (e.g. a, o, m).

Since calligraphy doesnít usually have extra spaces between writing lines, the bottom of the descender line will be the top of the next ascender line.

Tip:  One of the most common mistakes Iíve seen by beginners is starting to letter in the ascender or descender space instead of the x-height space.  To help avoid this mistake, lightly pencil an ďxĒ at the edge of the x-height space as a visual reminder!

The angle/slant depends on which font you are using. It's 55 degrees for copperplate and 52 degrees for spencerian.

Hope this helps.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2016, 08:22:35 AM by cvcrossing »

Offline jeanwilson

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Re: Guidelines for dummies
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2016, 11:13:29 AM »
It is also helpful to understand that the 3-5-3 proportion is not the only proportion.
And with many styles of writing, the height of the capital letters is not the same as the ascender line.

Offline AndyT

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Re: Guidelines for dummies
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2016, 07:27:24 PM »
Hello Gabby.  :)

As Jean suggests, guide lines come in many forms from a simple base line to something more like a music stave.  What style are you intending to write?

One rule which holds good for every script is that the slant (or for that matter the lack of it) should be consistent - that's much more important than the precise angle chosen.  The eye is very good at picking up on variations, even if the viewer doesn't really know what they are looking at.  For instance, this is a fragment of Luxeuil miniscule, which is notoriously difficult to decipher:

but you can still tell at a glance that it's the work of good scribe.  The consistent vertical stress plays a major role in conveying that impression.