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Re: calligraphy


From: Maggie White (mwhiteaz_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Tue Nov 14 2000 - 20:25:27 PST

"L. P. Skeen" wrote:
> > How do y'all teach calligraphy? I just got my supplies in, including pens and quills....

In addition to the other advice you've gotten so far, I recommend
starting them off with the Italic alphabet, since it's similar to the
cursive they're familiar with. We go through several steps: learning
how to hold the pen--they need to learn to hold the nib flat on the page
to get the proper thick and thin strokes; the correct angle to hold it
at; gauging the height of the letters for the size nib they're using;
the four basic strokes; the idiosyncracies of the individual letters
(which are flattish on the top, or bottom; the letter _o_ consists of
two strokes, not one; which stroke is completed first; the second stroke
for letters like _h_, _n_, or _r_ is started farther down on the stem
than they would expect).

Instead of having them practice the entire alphabet, I have them
practice just the lower-case letters of their names first, to get them
motivated; they practice each letter until they can consistently do it
correctly. Lower-case letters are used much more than the capitals.
From there, they learn to space the letters when writing their names,
and then spacing the lines. Their first little graded assignment is to
write their first and last names neatly on a blank sheet of paper.

Next, they may continue to use Italics, or choose another style--Old
English is a popular one until they see how much work it is to do it
right; I don't allow the "gangsta" stylizations they see all the time in
magazines. Their project is to copy a poem, song lyrics, or prose on
blank paper. They can also get into making illuminated pages.

Last but not least, I always save calligraphy for the last assignment of
the semester (after which they change classes). Instead of
concentrating on Christmas break or summer, the calligraphy keeps them
quiet and focused.

Have fun with this!