How to Line Paper for Calligraphy Work

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Before you begin drafting a calligraphy script, you must line your paper. These lines, which are commonly referred to as rule, will help you create accurately proportioned calligraphic letters. Lines of rule will help you establish your baseline, the line along which the base of each letter runs, and will help you determine how large to make each letter's attributes.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Calligraphy pen
  • Draw a horizontal line across the width of the sheet of paper on which you will practice your calligraphy. Use a straight-edge ruler and a pencil with a sharp tip to create a straight, fine line. Make the line at least 3 inches from the paper's top.

  • Hold the nib of your calligraphy pen at a 90 degree angle from the line you just drew and draw a short mark, moving the nib of your pen from left to right.

  • Line up the edge of your pen nib with the upper left corner of the mark you just made and create a second mark, this time pulling your pen tip from right to left.

  • Draw two more marks on top of the ones you've already made, following the instructions in steps 2 and 3 to make the marks.

  • Draft another horizontal line along the top of the four pen marks with your pencil and ruler; it should run parallel to the first line you made. The space between these first two lines equals your letters' x-height (the height of a lowercase letter's main body).

  • Measure three pen widths up from the top line, using the method described in steps 2 and 3.

  • Draw a third horizontal line along the top of the third pen width. The space between this line and the one below it equals the height of your letters' ascenders (parts of the letter that extend above the main body).

  • Measure three more pen widths down from the bottom pencil line and draw a fourth horizontal line with your ruler and pencil. The space between this line and the one above it will be the height of your letters' descenders (parts of the letter that extend below its main body).

  • Draw guidelines down the rest of your page, using this first set of guides to help you determine how far apart to draw each horizontal line.

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