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Learning how to write in calligraphy is in many ways similar to learning how to draw. In drawing, you first have to master shapes. With calligraphy, the idea is to first master the basic strokes. Combinations of these nine pen strokes make most of the letters in the lowercase alphabet.

Learning how to write in calligraphy is in many ways similar to learning how to draw. In drawing, you first have to master shapes. With calligraphy, the idea is to first master the basic strokes. Combinations of these nine pen strokes make most of the letters in the lowercase alphabet.

An example of true Spencerian writing with a pointed nib. “Penmanship” page by Platt Rogers Spencer (1857) from Spencerian System of Practical Penmanship (1859). Courtesy of Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University.

An example of true Spencerian writing with a pointed nib. “Penmanship” page by Platt Rogers Spencer (1857) from Spencerian System of Practical Penmanship (1859). Courtesy of Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University.

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