Calligraphy Tip: Practicing Letter Connections

Once you have mastered calligraphy letterforms, you definitely want to start writing words.  Some letter connections can be easy to figure out while some letter connections can feel very tricky.  Then there is also the matter of connecting double letters.  In today’s blog post I want to talk about some ways to practice letter connections and give you some example.  First, I want to define words two words that I will be using often:

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Entrance stroke:  The stroke at the beginning of a letter

Exit stroke: The stroke at the end of a letter

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The entrance and exit strokes are the foundation of how we connect letters.  Keeping these strokes consistent allow you to make sure your words have even spacing. Sometimes it may be necessary to condense an exit or entrance stroke to make sure the rest of the word has even spacing. Take a look at the word him above.

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Let’s first talk about practicing letter connections by writing simple 3-5 words.  Usually as part of my practice, after my warmup, I go through the entire alphabet and write random words.  I focus on writing a word with each capital letter and making sure each lower-case letter is included once.  Take a look at one of my practice sheets to the left. This helps me make sure that I am always practicing all of the letters of the alphabet.

am.jpg

Now let’s talk about letter connections. Some letters like a, e, i, t, m, n, h are pretty easy to connect to other letters.  They end with an exit stroke which is the entrance stroke to another letter.  Take a look at the word “am” to the left and the word team below.

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If the next letter has an oval stroke (such as a c, e, g), you will need to shorten the exit stroke to connect to the oval. See the word ha below and how the exit stroke of the h does not go to the top of the x height.

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Connecting double letters can sometimes seem tricky. I have included some populate double letter combinations to the left to give you some examples of how I connect double letters.

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In traditional copperplate, the exit stroke of letters like o, w, v, can be tough to connect other letters with. If its too short the letter get too close together and if its too long, the word does not look proportionate. Take a look at some o letter connections to the left and the word why below. See how its important to make sure the exit stroke is wide enough to fit the next letter but not too wide.

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Another fun way to practice letter connections is to do something called an alphabet necklace.  With an alphabet necklace, you pick a letter and then you write every letter of the alphabet connecting to that letter.  For example, if you pick the letter n, you would start by writing n and then connect to the letter a, then write another n and connect to the letter b, and so on.  This allows you to practice letter connections and think about how to connect different letters together.  This is a great way to practice and experiment with letter connections.  Its also a wonderful warmup exercise. 

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I want to end up with the thought that you should have fun connecting letters and see the different variations you can come up with. I hope you found this post informative and I can’t wait to see what you think. Leave a comment below with some letter connections that you find tricky and I will do a blog post again about more letter connections!