More foundational hand


The foundational hand that Edward Johnston created is important to understand regular script, the kind of script that we find in books. Practicing it is the best way to become acquainted with letter-shapes. 

Edward Johnston, Ann Camp and more recently the typographer and calligrapher Frank Blokland have developed simple and rational methods for the construction of letters. This is my take on some of the basic ideas about methods that these people developed.

The broad pen is held at 30°. The construction of letters (apart from k, s, v, w, x, y and z) is made up of two kinds of strokes. The parallelogram and the crescent. These strokes correspond to a straight and round movements. This is the parallelogram:


The crescent is written like this. 


Sometimes only a section of the crescent is used. These strokes look like a curved wedge.


The strokes are also combined. A section of the crescent, the parallelogram and another section of the crescent:


Using the basic strokes and the construction grid, it is possible to write almost all the letters in this script.


This is the first set of letters.


The letters k, s, v, w, x, y and z are written holding the pen at 45°. Why? Because this set of letters has diagonal strokes. If you write a diagonal stroke holding the pen at 30° the strokes will look thicker than the vertical stroke. Holding the pen at 45° when writing diagonal strokes solves this problem.


These are the letters with diagonal strokes:


The letters were written with a 3.8 mm Pilot Parallel Pen, Diamine ink and Rhodia paper.

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