Project 01: Preamble

Note: the “best 4-6 pages” of this project can be found at the bottom of this post!

intro to calligraphy –

I started off just getting used to holding the pen at the 28 – 30 degree angle and the two pictures below are my first attempts at the letters:   a  c  e  g  o  +  b  d  p  q

As you can see, I struggled with proportions (for ascenders and descenders), consistency, and lining up the points where the lines meet for letters such as b (which, because they weren’t connecting correctly, left gaps).


I kept practicing and, below, you can see some improvement with the consistency and connectedness of the characters (less gaps).



I continued to practice the letters that I still didn’t feel comfortable with (such as: a & b) but also moved on to the other letters. Here are some of the practice pages:


Then, I started working with italics.

Here are two beginning pages:

I struggled with the…grace of these characters and italics are rather difficult for me (even now practicing several weeks later). For the roman/upright characters, it was a bit easier to be consistent after some practice but with italics, it’s hard to be consistent while still trying to capture movement and the “oval,” elliptical quality.


I also worked on the sentences, in upright first then italics:



Back to more practice…

I still was very unhappy with “a.” They just all looked different to me! On this page I was really trying to make all the shapes similar, but I still need more practice.



Here’s a spread comparing the two (upright on left, italics on right):


I changed up the italics the more I practiced, but after some critique, I think it was agreed upon that I was taking it into a more staccato look that wasn’t the essence of italic. I was really struggling now with the italic letters!

I kept practicing and tried to make it look softer, yet still keeping in the mind to “lift the pen quicker” as you would when writing script and writing fast.



I kid you not, I have become obsessed with perfecting the letter a…

Here, I was trying to really capture that oval, script quality, as seen gestured/sketched out in the photo above to the right. I focused mainly on the letters:  a  g  d


The following samples are of where I am now with my calligraphy:

– upright lowercase –



– italic lowercase –



– upright capitals –


Above is my second time writing upright capitals – will definitely have to practice more!


And below are the “best 4-6 pages of Project 01”:

– click to enlarge –


Jessica Li. Preamble. 2016.


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