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Spencerian, Copperplate & Roundhand Letters:

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Edward Johnson’s Foundational Hand:

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Pen angle is 30-40 degrees. Ensure you keep the pen at the flat angle. Letter height is 4 nib widths, keeping adequate space between lines so ascending / descending strokes do not combine.

This hand is based on the letter “o”. Practice using related strokes, e.g., O, Q, D, G, P, then E, F, L, T, etc.


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Use a square cut, medium nib, hold pen at angle of 35-40 degrees to horizontal. Body of letter is three nib widths, ascending / descending strokes up to six nib widths. Club serif are made in two strokes: First, is hooked downward stroke (length of serif), second, the main vertical stroke.

Use good line spacing – six nib widths. Ascenders / descenders do not touch or overlap.


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Letters are four to 4.5 pen widths high with a flat pen angle. Short ascending and descending components, letters are round with a distinct wedge-shaped serif. Line spacing can be minimal, but must be well considered.

Four or more nib width spacing can allow en-larged single letter to begin a sentence. This is an excellent letter style for decorations as seen in manuscript forms.

Main stroke requires practice to achieve correct balance of open/closed counter.

Modern Uncial:

Written flat, with pen angle of 15 degrees to horizontal, though up to 30 degrees may be used.

Letter height is 4.5 to 5 nib widths. Short ascending / descending strokes, ending may taper to left.