March 4, 2024

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Mastering Calligraphy: How to Write in Cursive

Mastering Calligraphy: How to Write in Cursive

Mastering Calligraphy: How to Write in Cursive

Mastering Calligraphy: How to Write in Cursive

In this lesson on “Mastering Calligraphy,” we are going to learn how to write like the great Jane Austen. The flowing, cursive typeface can still be seen today, on wedding invitations and fancy restaurant menus. Although it seems extremely difficult to draw, it is actually made up of two basic strokes. Better yet, with Cursive Calligraphy, you hardly need to lift your pen from the paper! So, let’s dive head-first into Cursive Calligraphy.

What You Will Need

  • Pencil
  • eraser
  • Black ink (preferably Speedball or Higgins waterproof ink)
  • practice sheet
  • Pen holder (the black part of the pen shown in the photo)
  • Nib (the silver part of the feather shown in the photo)

1. Start with the Basic Strokes

Before we get into Cursive Calligraphy, let’s practice a bit.

Step 1

Print 4-5 of the practice sheets on a nice cardstock or Bristol paper.

Step 2

Practice the basic stroke up, one or two lines, to warm up. This stroke is a bit new but very simple. You start just above the bottom line. Then you curve it down and to the right until it touches the bottom line. Then towards the top line.

Step 3

Practice the basic curve in one or two lines, to warm up. This one hasn’t changed, but you might pronounce the curve a bit more than before.

Very good! We are now ready to start. In this lesson on penmanship mastery, we’ll learn a very familiar alphabet, called Cursive Pen.

2. Lowercase Alphabet of Cursive Calligraphy

Let’s take a look at the alphabet in Cursive Calligraphy. As you can see, it looks almost identical to the cursive handwriting you learned in elementary school. The blue arrows in the illustration show the directions of the pen strokes, and the numbers below indicate the number of strokes that make up each letter. Most letters are made up of a single stroke, as italics primarily try to be efficient. We will start with the lowercase alphabet, and we will break it down into two sections: letters with an upward stroke, and letters with a curved stroke. Let’s start with the letters with an upward stroke! How To Write Cursive Letters?

Step 1

Print out a copy of the alphabet you see above to keep handy for reference.

3. Lowercase Letters with Stroke Up

Step 1

The letters b, f, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, p, r, s, t, u, v, w, x, y, and z begin with the stroke up. Some have strokes that cover the full height of the line, and others only go as far as the dotted line. Some, like the “f”, even go beyond the bottom line. To start, I’ll show you the direction of each stroke, and how many strokes make up each letter. When you write the letters yourself, you can first sketch them using a pencil. Then you can just follow the lines with your pen.

Step 2

Let’s start with the “u”, since it is the simplest. Place the tip of your pen on the bottom line. Stroke up to the dotted line. Then make a downward stroke that curves to the bottom line, then up again. Then draw another stroke down, ending with a small curve. voila! You have a “u” in Cursive Calligraphy. It kind of felt like drawing waves in the sea, didn’t it?

Step 3

Repeat the letter “u” three times, so you can assimilate its writing. Many letters, such as I, j, m, n, r, v, w, y, are very similar to “u.” Once you know how to make “h,” it’s easy to see how other letters are made.

Step 4

Let’s try a more complicated letter: h. The “h” begins the same as the “u”, but its stroke reaches the top line of the line. Then you arch it to the left and make a stroke down to the bottom line. You cross over your previous line, near the bottom of the letter. Now, curve it to the dotted line and stroke down, back to the bottom line, ending with a small curve.

step 5

Repeat the letter “h” three times so you can get used to drawing it. Many letters, such as b, f, k, l, are very similar to “h”.

step 6

Slowly work your way through the rest of the lowercase curved-stroke letters, using the guide of the strokes as a reference.

4.  Lowercase Letters with a Curved Stroke

Step 1

The letters a, c, d, e, g, o, q, all begin with the curved stroke. To start, I’ll show you the direction of each stroke, and how many strokes make up each letter. You can always sketch the letters with a pencil first, to feel more comfortable. Then you can simply follow the pencil lines with your pen.

Step 2

Let’s start with the “o” since it’s the easiest. Place the tip of your pen just below the dotted line. Draw an arc down and round it to the right, returning to the starting point. Then make a small loop to the right. voila! You have an “o” in Cursive Calligraphy. It wasn’t that hard, was it?

Step 3

Repeat the letter “o” three times so you can get used to the stroke. Once you have the “o,” it’s easy to see how the other down-curved letters are formed.

Step 4

Let’s try a more difficult letter: g. For “g”, start the same as for “o”, but go over the starting point. Then, make a stroke down, and go past the bottom line. Curve it to the left and make a diagonal stroke up, slightly past the bottom line. It should intersect the downward stroke of your “g” just above the bottom line.

step 5

Repeat the letter “g” three times, until you understand how to do it.

step 6

Slowly work your way through the rest of the lowercase curved stroke letters, using the stroke guide as a reference.

5. Write the Alphabet in Lower Case

Step 1

Now that you’ve written each letter several times, it’s time to put it all together and write the lowercase alphabet.

6. Cursive Calligraphy Uppercase Alphabet

The uppercase alphabet always carries different rules and is usually much more elaborate. The curved strokes are much larger, and the upward strokes have more loops and slants. However, the uppercase letters are just as simple to type as the lowercase ones. You can always sketch the letters in pencil first if you feel more comfortable. Then you can just follow the pencil lines with your pen. When it comes to capital letters, I prefer to draw them in pencil beforehand.

Step 1

Since most letters begin with a curved stroke, I did not divide the alphabet into groups. Instead, we’ll just walk through it, using the guide used earlier to see how many strokes each letter is made up of and which way they go.

So, let’s start with an easy letter. We’ll start with the letter “l”. Position the tip of your pen on the top line. Arch down and to the right, going up to the top line, getting something similar to a misshapen “o.” Then draw a line down to the bottom line. Your line will lean to the right. When you reach the bottom line, curve it up and finish the loop. Finally, slide your line to the right, in a smooth curve. voila! You have drawn a capital “l” in Cursive Calligraphy. Remember, it’s all about loops and inclines. The bigger the better.

Step 2

Repeat the letter “l” three times so you can learn it. As I said before, when it comes to capital letters, the more twists the better, so don’t be afraid to make big loops and dramatic lines. Once you have the “l”, it’s easy to see how other capital letters like c, e, g, o, and q are made.

Step 3

Let’s try a more difficult letter: r. Start with the tip of your pen on the top line of the line. Stroke down to the bottom line, gently arching it to the left, ending in a nice loop. Then, lift the pen off the paper and place it on the dotted line. Curve upwards and continue to the left, parallel to the top line. Then, curve it towards the dotted line again. This results in a crooked “o”, in the upper half of the writing space. Now make another curved stroke to the right and down, reaching the bottom line of the line, again ending it in a nice loop. A bit superfluous, but not very difficult, right?

Step 4

Repeat the letter “r” about three times so you can assimilate it. The letter “r” is very similar to the letters b, d, f, i, j, p, t. So, when you have it, you can do the rest!

step 5

Slowly work your way through the rest of the capital letters, using the stroke guide as a reference.

7. Uppercase Cursive Calligraphy

Step 1

Now that you’ve written each letter several times, it’s time to put it all together and write the alphabet.

7. Combine Everything

Step 1

Let’s write something a little more fun! Most people use Cursive Calligraphy for invitations, so we’ll write some celebratory phrases.

You have mastered Cursive Calligraphy!

This Calligraphy style is the most used for wedding invitations and announcements of celebrations. It might remind you of Jane Austen when you see it. I hope you’ve noticed that it’s actually a simple font to write on, which nonetheless looks very elegant. The more you practice, the easier it will be for you to draw the letters, and the faster you will be at writing. In future tutorials, we’ll learn a bit more complicated calligraphy, which looks even more elegant.