If you’re new to calligraphy, you may have noticed some diagonal lines on practice sheets. Those are called “slant lines”, and today we’re going to talk about what they are, why they’re useful, and when to use them.
What are Slant Lines?
Slant lines are diagonal guidelines that are usually angled between 52 and 55 degrees. They exist to help ensure that all the significant vertical strokes in your calligraphy are parallel to one another. This will give your writing a consistent, neat look. For example, observe the “hello” below. The significant vertical strokes (those written in red) are parallel to the diagonal pencil lines.
Do Slant Lines Help With Letter Spacing?
Unfortunately, slant lines aren’t much of a help when it comes to letter spacing. That’s because all letters have different widths. An “m”, for example, is significantly wider than an “i”. As a result, it’s difficult to use slant lines to ensure consistent space between letters as you write. That’s just something you’ll have to eyeball (and the Calligraphy Spacing Cross Drills Worksheet can help you with that)!
When to Use Slant Lines
You should always use slant lines in your calligraphy practice because they help you to naturally write with a consistent slant. It’s kind of like training wheels on a bicycle … you get used to writing with the lines, then you take on real life projects where you don’t use them.
You can also use slant lines for envelope templates like the one pictured below. To make a template, you’ll first create horizontal guidelines (as described in the How to Make Calligraphy Guidelines post). Then, make your slant lines — I’ll show you how in just a bit! Cut the template such that it fits in the envelope, and slip it inside your envelope. Put the envelope on a light box, and all of the lines should shine through it!
How to Make Slant Lines
Slant lines aren’t difficult to make, but for some reason, they are difficult to explain how to make using text! So, I created a video to show you how I make a light box envelope template with slant lines like the one shown in the photo above. It’s easiest to make these lines if you have a parallel glider on hand.
Using Slant Lines for Projects
As you learned above, you can easily make an envelope template with slant lines and use it in conjunction with a light box. But what if you have a project where you can’t use a light box, like colored envelopes? If you really want the slant lines, then you’ll need to manually create them. The process will be just like I showed you in the video above, but instead of a pen, you’ll want to (lightly) use a pencil to draw the slant lines.
Once you’re certain that your ink has dried, you can erase your lines. The result will be a piece with consistent, clean-looking calligraphy.
While it’s nice to use slant lines on projects that don’t involve a light box, I’d only do so if the project is either: A) small or B) very important to you. Otherwise, the lines just take too long to draw! I promise that the more you practice writing calligraphy with slant lines, the easier it will be to write without them. So: try to incorporate them into your practice, and you’ll notice that eventually, you won’t need them!
I hope that you enjoyed this slant line explanation! I get a lot of questions about them, so it was high time to write a post detailing the what and why. If you have any further questions (or slant line tips of your own), please feel free to contribute to the comments. It’s always great to hear from you!
Thanks very much for reading TPK, and have a wonderful rest of the week!