With this lesson, you will begin your study of letter forms. We begin with the capitals because they are larger letter forms that are typically easier to execute while you develop your arm muscles for writing.
This lesson and the next are not lessons you will breeze through in a week or even a month. Each family of related letters will require diligent study and practice before you have a well formed picture of the letter in your mind. Go at your own pace and continue to practice the movement drills from previous lessons.
It will seem like the biggest thing holding you back right now is your ability to control the pen with your arm, but your lack of knowledge and understanding of the letter forms is a problem too. You just won’t see it until you gain more control with your arm.
- The above video is actually the first video in a playlist of videos covering all of the capital letter forms. Each video in the playlist covers either a single letter form, or a family of related letter forms that can be practiced together. You can view the entire playlist on YouTube here.
- When making each of these videos, I used an “exemplar” of a traditional business script alphabet. An exemplar contains the ideal form of each letter for a given script. Click here to download an exemplar of business script published by the Zaner-Bloser Company. Every classic book on business penmanship has an exemplar. See which books I recommend on the Study Resources page.
- In some of the videos, you’ll see me start by drawing the letter with a pencil. I do this to better understand the form of the letter I am studying. Drawing the letter and then comparing it to your exemplar is the best way to truly see the form of the letter and commit the form to memory.
- In every video, you’ll see me working on drills related to the letter form. These drills help train the muscles in the arm to execute the movements required by the letter form.
Start by studying the capital letter O, which is the simplest of the capital forms. You can see the video for the letter O here. Before picking up your pen, grab a pencil and carefully draw the letter O form on your paper. You must use an exemplar for this. You can download the Zaner-Bloser exemplar here or use the exemplar of your choice. Feel free to erase as much as you need until the form matches your exemplar.
Grab a dry pen, a pen with the ball point retracted, or a mechanical pencil with the lead retracted and trace over the form you’ve drawn. Feel every part of the letter at both a fast and slow speed. You can then try to make the letter a few times. From there you can compare your attempts with the exemplar and identify where you are missing the mark. Refer to the drills in the video for ideas on how to develop the movement needed to produce the letter form.
That’s one letter down and 25 to go! It’s not as bad as you think. You can practice letters that feature similar forms and movements together in the same session. Below are families of letters you can practice together in order of difficulty (easiest to hardest):
- O, C, A, E, D
- P, B, R
- T, F, S, G
- L, Q, Z
- I, J
- N, M
- H, K, W, X
- U, V, Y