In this video, learn how to write capital letters with a different pen edge angle and make their different shapes.
- Ready to dive into the majuscules? For most of these letters, we're writing with a 30 degree pen edge angle. I'll point out any exceptions. Also, just a reminder that these letters slope forward slightly. Keep the majuscules chart from the exercise files right in front of you as I show you how to make the capitals. We'll start with the straight sided letters. I, L, T, H, E and F. Look at those proportions on your chart as I demonstrate how to do these.
Remember 30 degree pen edge angle. Slightly sloping forward. L is just the same as the I except it has a cross bar at the bottom. And we want to keep that cross bar nice and short. The T has a very long top stroke.
And try to do that all in one smooth motion, I hesitated a little there. T. The H, 30 degree pen edge angle, slightly forward slope. And the H is somewhat wide letter. Very important that those strokes be parallel to one another.
The crossbar of the H is just above the midpoint. You don't have a guideline to show you what the midpoint is but you have to envision that you want a little less space above the crossbar and a little more space below the crossbar. The E, notice that I'm also moving my paper as I write so that I'm writing in an area comfortable to me.
The E has three crossbars. Fairly short. The middle one slightly shorter. And the F, starts out just the same as all these other letters. The F has a slightly, the top crossbar is the same, but the bottom or the second crossbar is slightly longer because it doesn't have a bottom crossbar. So it needs a little more gravity up here.
So those are your straight sided letters. Notice that they are all parallel to one another. That they are all sloping slightly forward. That the stroke width, that's the width of these strokes, is consistent. Cross all of these because they're done at a 30 degree pen edge angle.
And you see the mark of that angle across all of these strokes. Now we're going to move ahead to the diagonal letters. The next row on your chart. It's actually the next two rows. The A, because it has to slope forward an extra amount on the first stroke, be very generous when you do that first stroke and let it really swing out.
And then second stroke pretty much will fall into place if you do that. And the crossbar here, unlike the H, you want this crossbar to be a little lower. Otherwise this top triangle would be too constrained. Remember the V and W from the minuscules, we straightened up that first stroke slightly because again, they have to slope forward. So a little straighter than you think.
And of course we have to calculate with our second stroke that we want to end up right back over here. That's the V. And the W is just like two slightly narrower V's. And again you're going to overlap those second strokes right over the bottom of the first.
Now, I've been doing this a long time. So I did a good job there. If you don't get it right away, practice, practice, practice. You have to match those strokes at the bottom. The M is a little bit different. It's not like the W, where the W has strokes that are parallel. These two strokes are parallel to one another. These two strokes are parallel to one another. The M, actually has a straighter first leg, a deeper V in the middle like that.
It's a little more like that. It's quite different from the W. If you take your chart, and have a look at it, and you turn it upside down, you can see that the M and the W are not equivalent to one another. So just want to keep that in mind. So with that, let's try the M. A deeper V in the middle.
Well, that's a little waivery, let's try another M. That's better. Okay. Here you can see that this V in the center of the M is wider than these two narrower V's.
With the W, each of these three triangles is equivalent. That's the difference between the two of them. Alright, we have one more letter in that row and that is the N. We do have to steepen up the pen edge angle for the two stems of the N because the middle stroke is going to be very wide and we need to balance the weights. So here, I'll just place my nib down so you can see.
It's pretty steep. For that first stroke. And now again I need to plan to end up right here with that next stroke. And I want to make sure that the two strokes of the N are parallel to one another just like the two strokes of the H. We're going to move in to the K which also starts with a straight sided stroke.
And the K is a double-decker letter also because it's going to have a space up here and a space down here. So we want to plan for that stroke to hit just above the mid point. Here we're going to flatten our nib a little bit more to give us a little weight in that stroke. All right. The X. The X, the first stroke of the X is pretty diagonal. You will have to just let it be.
Feel free, let it swing out, if you go too far, you can always try it again and pull back. So that's the first stroke of the X. Second stroke we're going to flatten slightly and we're going to attempt to cross above the mid point. Same thing with the K here. I don't know if you can see that. This is above the mid-point of the height of this space. So that this space is actually slightly smaller and this space is slightly larger.
Slightly smaller, slightly larger. The goal is to make them appear to be equal. And in order to do that your eye needs to see more space in the bottoms. Alright, next the Z. All one stroke just like the minuscules. And we're going to flatten more in the middle. This Z is going to be a bit wider than the minuscules because it is a capital letter.
And it needs to be bigger. So there you have your Z. And the Y. The Y is also part of the diagonal family. I like to think of it as a martini glass with a short stem because it's V is wider. It has a larger V on the top of its stem.
So that whole stroke happens as one stroke. And then we come back in with this. And that Y doesn't appear to be sloping forward very much so I'm going to try that again. I went a little overboard with the martini glass. There we go. I like that one much better. Okay, that's the Y. The next row of letters starts with the J. I'm going to do the J up here with these other letters.
It is very different in one tiny respect. It drops below the baseline by two nib widths. So the J starts here, down, down, down, down, down, and it curves out like this. And then you're going to add on that tail. That little tail. So we're going to move on to the U O Q C and the G, which is on the bottom line, but it really belongs up there with there rounded letters.
Here we go. Nice and round on the U. Remember these are capitals, so they're a little more voluptuous. Curve back in to the U. So now we're going to move into the round letters. The O of course, the classic round letter. The Q which is an O with a tail.
And the C which is an incomplete O. And the G which is an incomplete O with a little extra piece to it. So, let's start with the O. Now you can see that that O is not a full, full circle but it is fairly rounded.
The Q, same thing. But now we put a little tail out here. Keep it short. The C has a flattened top. And comes out nice and full here at the bottom.
And the G. Which is really an extension of the C. So it starts out exactly the same way as the C, but here it has a little beard if you will, and a little crossbar, okay? So those are the rounded letters and let's take a look at them now just before we move on to the next and last row of letters which have straight sides and curves.
And let's examine how they look alike. We've got a consistent weight overall. We've got a consistent slope overall. You can see these letters sloping forward. We've got a general feeling of majesty and space and gravity. So we're going to move on now to the last row of letters. Take a look at your chart and you'll see that the D, B, R, P and to some extent the S are relatives.
Think of the D as a sail full of wind. Let it be full and generous. We're going to start out with the same stroke. The stem that we started out with the I. So think of the D as flat, curve, flat. Okay, so flat first. And then it swings way out and then we pull in the flat.
So that's a nice generous D. The B is like two D's. So again you're going to start out with the stem. Bear in mind that the B is also a double-decker letter. So you're going to want that top bowl to be slightly smaller and the bottom bowl to be slightly larger.
Okay, so that's two D's. Larger bowl here, smaller bowl here. Make sure that you've got some weight at this point. The R, because it has a tail, we're going to try to get that bowl a little bigger than then B at the top. Not too much bigger. Flat, curve, flat. And we're going to come all the way into the stem. And then we're going to come out with the tail.
Now the P is similar to the F in the sense that it doesn't have a base. So we allow the bowl to be a little bit larger. And that comes out here. So you can see that the top bowl here slightly smaller, a little bit larger here, and a little bit larger here. Let's talk about the S. The S is very similar to the small S, but it's middle stroke is definitely curvier.
And again, notice that the top part of the S has less space and the bottom has more space. You can also start by doing the curved stroke of the S first and then adding this stroke on after and this stroke on after. Whatever's more comfortable for you. I often start with this first stroke. But I know a lot of people start with this stroke first.
So, that's the complete set of capitals. Now you're ready to stop and practice them. Remember to look at your chart each time you make a letter. Your goal is to match the chart exactly. You can practice the capitals in alphabetical order, or in necklaces, or in pan-grams like these student practice sheets. Just be sure to give these majestic letters plenty of space.
- Preparing your practice sheets
- Using the broad-edged pen
- Writing minuscules, or small letters
- Writing majuscules, or capital letters
- Writing numbers and punctuation
- Writing with smaller nib sizes
- Designing projects
- Using different materials and tools