Lowercase Calligraphy Letters – Final Letters

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 20,012
    Calligraphy expert Joanne Wasserman shows how to write the last few lowercase calligraphy letters.

    Joanne Wasserman: Hello, I am Joanne Wasserman and my art studio is Wasserman Design, and I am teaching the Chancery Cursive script of the Italian Renaissance and we are at the last six letters in the Miniscule small letter alphabets. So, the last six letter begin with a letter V which is a fun letter to make. It is of only two strokes and you hold your pen at a 45 degree angle, you lift as if you are flying. You just fly at an angle down to the bottom and where you started at a 45 degree angle and you curve, you end at a 45 degree angle and without a hook you just stop.

    Then you start to put a second stroke a little farther away and you come down to meet that stroke where you ended. So that is the letter V and here we will take off flying again, down and this time we will go, make a straight line at 45 degree angle straight down to meet that first stroke. Then we will go back up and we will curve it as we go down and then we will make a fourth stroke and this is the W. Now we will fly again, down, as little more elaborate on that first movement, coming down and there is the letter Y. I put a little foot on it because that what gradually went down to a hooked ending that was so different from the rest of the letters thickness that it is better to add a foot to it, give it more body to balance out the letter.

    So, I will write those again in the same way I just taught you and then I will show a variation on them. I am showing you these letters as groups because I want you to see there is only a few basic letter strokes from which all the combination of strokes form the 26 letters of this script. There it came down shorter, I will put a little flag into it. Okay, I will show you a variation on these three letters, since they are all having the pointy end as I have made twice. I will show you one with a little rounded. We call it a soft landing whereas this is a hard landing.

    So we start off flying at an angle down to that pencil line and then we are hitting it instead of coming down to that sharp raw point I curved it. With a little curve, it makes a little rounder point to the letter form and the same with the W, see with that hook and then I am coming to meet it like that, and then I am coming down and I am coming. So these have a little more gentle, little more soft edge to them and some calligraphers find that more attractive for a particular piece that they are writing. Okay and then for the why a little bit different, see for this Y we came right down to the point and then we added our second stroke and so we had an internal point and that looks just looks like the letter we, but now with the tail. So here with the curve coming up with this hook, when I put this second stroke on, you will notice that there is now a triangle of white space on to here.

    So, it changes really the shape of the letter, and whichever you prefer and we have three more letters to write. Now the letter X looks like it could become either a W or a we, but I started at a 45 degree angle with a curve and I ended at a 45 degree angle. I did not come up like this, either way I did with the W I stayed, so that there is the big white space here. Then I am going to come to the right side and make the crossbar and stop when I get to the pencil line and I am going to add just a little foot this way and a little foot at the top. So that is the letter X.

    Now the letter Z is different still, I am moving my paper so that it is in front of me. Okay, letter Z, 45 degree angle, lift -- come down, lift, 45 degree angle. Now, there is two things I want to say, I went at an 45 degree angle across the space right underneath the pencil line and then I came down but I lifted my pen from this first stroke before I made this second stroke. That is important that gives all of these letters a formal, more decorous quality then if I just kept writing one, two, three like the way I did if I would be writing a letter to somebody.

    This carefulness in forming the letters gives a lovely structural quality to the letter forms that doesnt occur when you are just writing quickly and not lifting your pen from each of the strokes. There is another way to make the Z if you go straight and then instead of having this thin but not razor thin line, if I did put a razor thin line, I will do that and then add the bottom strokes. Then because that is so thin, sometimes it works within the letters, but sometimes just to add a little weight to the letter Z, I put a little crossbar, add some balancing weight to this thin line which doesnt look like it could carry the top line or support the angle of the bottom line.

    Another thing is the first stroke of the letter Z is shorter than the last stroke of the letter Z or the last line. Okay most special letter is the letter S and we come down starting, we come -- start below the pencil line and just like the letter C that we made. Okay, but here we start and go. So, there is two curves within this space, as the C only has a curve down here and its second curve is way up there. But within this space with one movement. We are giving two curves and then we are going to tilt our pen, so instead of being 45 degrees it is a little less and add this little foot the same we did to our P and our J and are G and probably our F.

    So all these other letters have the same kind of foot and we are putting it on the S and then at the top, we are putting it at the top. But this letter S has to slant because all the other letters are slanting about five or ten degrees depending on your natural writing preference. So the idea of writing this letter, so that it looks like it is going to the right at a slight tilt is to -- in your mind as you start it moving try to make the first curve a little smaller than the second curve.

    Now, that might be too exaggerated, but the second curve being the bigger one, will help carry the letter forward one more time. Okay, these are all the W, the V and the Y, the X, the Z and the S are the last six letters. So, we could start writing words, now after we have got all the 26.