Since my last few posts have been more art-focused, I thought we could switch things up with a calligraphy post. And what better calligraphy-centric thing to focus on than writing slant? If you’re new to calligraphy, this element of learning is probably tripping you up a bit; and you shouldn’t feel bad because that’s completely normal! With the help of these five tips, you’ll be able to steer your slant in a consistent and beautiful direction (both literally and figuratively).
1. Practice Using Slant Lines
There is no better way to improve your slant than by practicing with the aid of slant lines. Every stroke you make affects your muscle memory and helps you to better understand what looks right (which will come in handy on projects where you don’t have slant lines to help you).
If you’re not confident about writing on projects without slant lines, you can draw them in quickly with the help of a rolling ruler! Just choose your angle, pull your ruler down the piece, and draw faint slant lines as you go.
2. Try Using an Oblique Pen
When the dip pen was first developed centuries ago, it only came in one shape: straight. Eventually, though, some right-handed calligraphers realized that it is a bit tough to achieve a proper right-leaning writing slant when using a straight pen. The issue is this: many right-handed people have a tendency to put more pressure on one tine of the nib or the other, rather than applying even pressure to both tines. This can be fixed with diligent practice, but another, potentially easier solution is using an oblique pen.
To learn about how an oblique pen may benefit you, give the video below a quick view! In it, you’ll learn about the difference between a straight and oblique pen; and why lefties may just have an advantage over right-handed calligraphy learners.
3. Rotate Your Paper
When you’re creating calligraphy, don’t be afraid to experiment with rotating your paper to figure out which angle best suits you! I sometimes even turn my paper completely horizontal!
The video below explains a little more about paper angle and how you can use it to your advantage to create the perfect right-leaning slant.
4. Draw Slant Lines Based Off a Letter
If you’re making a casual calligraphy project and you just want to make sure all the letters follow the same slant, your best friend will be a rolling ruler. Start by drawing the first letter of your calligraphy, then align the rolling ruler with the slant of the letter. Draw a faint pencil line along the edge of the ruler.
Next, roll the ruler to the right a little bit at a time, making faint pencil guidelines about 0.5″ (~13 mm) as you go.
Use the pencil marks to guide your calligraphy!
Since this is a casual piece, I have opted to write using Kaitlin Style calligraphy; but you could draw horizontal guidelines and make Janet Style, Flourish Formal, or Beth calligraphy as well.
5. Use a Template and a Light Box
This method will only be effective if you are using light-colored envelopes that a light box can shine through. To DIY slant lines, start with an envelope template that already has horizontal guidelines on it. (In the photo below, I am using the envelope guidelines provided in Amazing Envelopes for a Latté.) Use your rolling ruler to draw guidelines every 0.25″ (~6.5 mm) or so at the slant you wish your letters to follow; I like a ~60 degree angle.
Once your slant lines are drawn and your ink is dry, cut the template to fit the envelope/s you are planning on using. My envelopes are A7, so I have cut my template to accommodate that size.
Slide the template into your envelope and put the envelope on your light box. See how visible the guidelines on the template are?
Create calligraphy on the envelope, paying heed to the slant lines.
The use of this method will render gorgeous, consistently slanted script every time! I especially love the result of using the slant template/light box trick with Janet Style calligraphy.
If you’ve been having trouble with your writing slant, I hope this blog post helps you! The most important thing to remember is to be forgiving with yourself. I often find myself creating calligraphy that doesn’t have a rigidly consistent slant, and I guarantee you I’m the only one who notices. Remember that you are your own worst critic, and you’re seeing mistakes that others won’t notice!
I appreciate you reading, and if you have any questions or additional tips regarding a consistent, right-leaning slant, don’t hesitate to comment! Have a great weekend!