Learning Roman Capitals – Now I Know My (Roman) ABCs

calligraphy, thoughts, traditional-calligraphy

After about 30 hours of practising each letter group, I’m beginning to practice the alphabet combined. Strangely, this is the moment when I feel that I’ve forgotten everything. It’s very much like the moment before a final essay test. Your classes are ending, and now they’re simply asking, ‘Show me what you know.’ And you feel like you know the big picture, but your explanations turn out to be simple, feeble, and inadequate.

It’s all right. Just a reminder: the learning never stops. In fact, when you feel like you’ve mastered something, I bet it would still take you a moment to warm up to the hand. To Know, after all, is to know that you know nothing.

As always, it’s normal to rush at the beginning of a new routine. On the other hand, now is the time when I suggest that we take off the timer – or at least, think about it as mere notice rather than deadline. After a few alphabet rounds, you will spot the letters that could use some improvements. It’s probably the O group, which was the first, and therefore the furthest from this point that we have learnt. Use your warm-up time to calibrate those letters. Next, take time to pause before every letter and recall (or observe the exemplar) the details of what makes a letter. These little pauses will actually help you improve faster, rather than if you just breeze right through. Even if your letters turn out less than ideal now, you’ll remember how to do it better the next time. Lastly, compare your alphabet to the exemplar before each practice session. Take note of the flaws AND congratulate yourself on all the beautiful letters that you made.

More than ever, take your time. Enjoy focusing on making each stroke beautiful. Relax – the fun part is just beginning.

S.

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