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TOPIC: Learn Chinese Calligraphy (1)

Hold Brush: Lifting and pressing the brush vertically 11 years, 6 months ago #306

  • wrofteste
4.1 - Lifting and pressing the brush vertically

The Chinese term “chi bi 起筆 ” (start) literally means to begin writing a stroke. The term “so bi 收筆 ” (close) means to end writing a stroke. In writing characters each stroke involves “start” and “close." In Chinese calligraphy parlance, we call them hiding the brush tip ( 藏鋒 ) and wrapping the brush tip ( 裹鋒 ). The idea of hiding and wrapping the brush tip during writing each Chinese calligraphy stroke is different from pen writing and Western calligraphy and thus demands more time and concentration for execution of brush writing.

The complete cycle for each stroke may contain start ( 起 ), connecting ( 承 ), turning ( 轉 ), and closing (合 ). If the strokes of a Chinese character are regarded as the building blocks of each character, “start” and “close” are indispensable for the structure, connection, and firmness of each character. For example, in writing a horizontal stroke of Kai Shu, one has to start with wrapping or hiding the brush tip at the left, continue writing with some varied forces and pressures, and then ending at the right by wrapping again the brush tip.

Another point to remember is to lift ( 提 ) and press ( 按 ) the brush with different forces. As we are writing each character or even a single stroke, we do not use the same force all the time. We first lift the brush up, then press it down to start. Writing involves several alternate processes of lifting up and pressing down. When we use more force to press down, the strokes appear to be thicker. When we use less force to lift up, the strokes become skinny. In this way the strokes give each character varieties of changes, nuances, rhythms, and philosophical and esthetical meanings.

4.2 - Understanding basic strokes and sequence of strokes in Chinese characters

In order to simplify texts, only Kai and Li Styles will be demonstrated here in this "Tutorial.”

Each Chinese character is consisted of strokes ( 筆劃 ). Each Chinese character also has component sidepiece called Head Section or Section Header ( 部首 ). For more information, please refer to other Chinese language textbooks or visit “Online Chinese Lessons” in the "Links” section. Chinese characters are arranged by Section Headers and then the number of strokes of each character in the Chinese dictionaries.

Last Edit: 11 years, 6 months ago by dingbusan.
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The Eight basic strokes in Kai Shu(Regular Script) 11 years, 6 months ago #307

  • Foemoriepig
Typically, the stroke sequence ( 筆劃順序 ) of a character starts from left to right and top to bottom. The sequence is important to write a character as well as to create its beautiful shape and structure. Without understanding the sequence of strokes, when we are emulating (practicing) we are just copycatting a shape of a picture rather than a character. When we build a 10 stories high building, we cannot start from the 10th, or 5th floor. We must start from the foundation. Likewise, we cannot write a Chinese character without knowing the proper sequence of strokes. We cannot start from the bottom stroke and then finish with the upper stroke.

The Eight basic strokes and their names in Kai Shu are:

1. 點 2.橫 3.豎 4.鉤 5.提 6.撇 7.短撇 8.捺


The Eight Basic Strokes
In the Famous Chinese Characters Forever or Eternity

永 means forever or eternity. This character contains most of the basic strokes we need to know in calligraphy; it does not contain all of the different Chinese calligraphy strokes in Kai Shu. It has been widely used by many calligraphers to practice the eight basic strokes.


Last Edit: 11 years, 6 months ago by dingbusan.
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Oh-Yang Sheun's Eight Tips of Kai Shu Strokes 11 years, 6 months ago #324

  • dingbusan
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點 Dot "Dian"
resembling the shapes of rocks falling from the top of mountain.

豎彎鉤 Vertical & Cursive Hook
"Su Wan Go"
Like waxing moon in the vast sky.

橫 Horizontal "Hon"
As cirrus stretching to the horizon for thousands of miles.

豎 Vertical "Su"
like age-old rattan.

斜鉤 Slant Hook
"Saie Go"
A branch of sturdy pine hanging over precipice.

橫折鉤 Bent Hook
"Hon Ze Go"
resembling thousands of crossbows drawn in full.

撇 Aside or Left Falling
Cutting ivory or rhinoceros horn by a sharp sword.

捺 Right Falling "Na"
Write with three turns of waves.
During the execution of Na the flow of brush tip will change direction in a very slight manner three times to make Na look like a wave.



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Chinese Calligraphy: Stroke sequence of Characters 11 years, 6 months ago #325

  • dingbusan
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The sequence of strokes in each character is important in Chinese calligraphy. The stroke sequence creates a solid structure for each Kai character.

Eight basic rules are listed in the video.


Last Edit: 11 years, 6 months ago by dingbusan.
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Learn Chinese Calligraphy: Improvements & Review of Basics 11 years, 6 months ago #332

  • Zobopfloaby
5 - Improvements & Review of Basics

Congratulations! You have just learned how to start Chinese calligraphy on your own. The next step is to find someone who knows the Chinese language to give you some comments. Keep on good work if you are receiving compliments. Don’t be disappointed if they are not giving positive comments or they are not artistic enough to give you good opinions. Be humble and learn to take comments of any kinds.

“Repetitions make perfect. Practice makes perfect.”

Remember the “Model Books (Character Models)” adapted from the ancient masterpieces are always the best lifetime teachers (even for experienced calligraphers.) Repeat and repeat as we are heading for more progress and perfection. Chinese calligraphy is a very thoughtful, detailed, and inspiring art. The strokes should never be done lightly without enough understanding and planning. There are no such things as "The Simple Art of Chinese Calligraphy" or "Complete Guide to Chinese Calligraphy," otherwise it will not be a high art of China. The basics in this Tutorial or the contents of this website are by no means a complete manual of learning Chinese calligraphy.

The fastest way to be good at Chinese calligraphy is to expect no fast results. It usually takes an average Chinese kid a few months or even years to make smooth strokes. Observation, understanding, mental focus, planning, and steady hand execution and coordination are always indispensable, just to name a few.

Mental concentration plays a vital role in practicing and making progress in Chinese calligraphy. During practice, beginners as well as experienced practitioners will need to pay attention to the following points in order to make the strokes as smooth as possible.

  • No talking
  • No TV and music
  • No fan, ceiling fan, and windy situations
  • Organized and clean setting on the desk
  • Paper should be smooth and flat, not wrinkled, folded, or placed above an uneven surface
  • Break between exercises such as running, basketball... and brush writing
  • No frequent moves around the chair
  • The surface of the desk does not glare
  • No absentmindedness

The above points are commonly known in Asian countries where Chinese brush calligraphy is part of the education from grade school to high school. These points are often neglected in countries outside Asia. Japanese even treat brush calligraphy as ceremonies or rituals as they pay more respect to the calligraphy art they learned from China during the Tang Dynasty.
Last Edit: 11 years, 6 months ago by dingbusan.
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