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Cursive Letters: Analysis and Construction

With regards to cursive letters, nothing is of greater importance in learning to write than that the student should acquire a thorough knowledge of the analysis and construction of all the letters of the alphabet.

cursive letters

Many persons fail to acquire a good handwriting, because they have never taken the trouble to inform themselves in this respect, and merely imitate the general characteristics of a letter without the slightest knowledge of its regular construction. Some individuals even boast of their ignorance, and pride themselves on the legibility or individuality of their style of writing. Educated people, however, consider a knowledge of the formation of letters essential to those who wish to acquire a graceful or genteel handwriting. After this has been accomplished, individuality will develop itself, and by constant practice you will gradually work out a peculiar style of your own; but without a knowledge of the fundamental laws of penmanship you can no more learn to write properly, than you could draw a fine picture unless you had first mastered certain rules relating to the art of drawing.

HOW SMALL CURSIVE LETTERS ARE FORMED.

The three PRINCIPLES given below are those employed in the formation of all letters. They should be thoroughly understood before attempting to construct either small letters or capitals, as one, two, or all three of these principles are used in every case.

I. The first principle of small letters is a convex curve, commencing at base line, and ascending to head line at an angle of thirty-two degrees (32 deg).

II. The second principle is a concave curve, commencing at base line, and ascending to head line at an angle of thirty two degrees (32 deg).

III. The third principle is a straight line, commencing at head line and descending to base at an angle of fifty-three degrees (53 deg).

Begin on base line, and ascend with convex curve to head line; retrace one-half space, and finish the movement with convex curve to base line; turn to the right and ascend with concave curve to head line, forming a pointed oval; descend with a straight line on main slant to base; turn to right, and finish with concave curve. -- PRINCIPLES 2 and 3.

Begin on base line, and ascend with convex curve to top line; turn to the left, and descend with straight line to base, crossing upward movement at head line; turn to the right on base line, and ascend with concave curve to head line; finish with a horizontal concave curve to the right, one-half space in length. -- PRINCIPLES 2 and 3.

Begin on base line, and ascend with concave curve, leaving space enough between its highest point and the head line for the passage of another curve; unite angularly, and descend with straight line on main slant one-fourth space; make a short turn to the right, and ascend with concave curve; turn to the left over the upward curve, touching the head line; descend to base with straight line on main slant, and finish as in a.--PRINCIPLES 2 and 3.

Form the pointed oval as in a; continue the second principle one space above the head line; retrace to head line, and continue with straight line to base; turn to the right, and finish as in a; shade at top above the head line.--PRINCIPLES 1, 2 and 3.

Begin on base line with concave curve, and ascend to head line; make a turn to the left and descend with a straight line on main slant to base; turn to the right, and finish as in a.--PRINCIPLES 2 and 3.

Begin as in h with the upward and downward movement, crossing at head line; continue the straight line two spaces below the base; turn to the right, and ascend with concave curve, touching straight line at base; unite angularly, and finish with the concave curve to the right.--PRINCIPLES 2 and 3.

First, second and third movement same as in a; uniting angularly with a straight line on main slant, and finishing as in j.--PRINCIPLES 1, 2 and 3.

Begin on base line, and ascend with concave curve three spaces; turn to the left, and descend with straight line to base, crossing curve at head line; unite angularly, and ascend with convex curve to head line; turn to the right, and descend with a straight line on main slant to base; finish as in a.--PRINCIPLES 1, 2 and 3.

Begin at base line; ascend with concave curve to head line; unite angularly, and descend with straight line on main slant to base; finish same as in a; dot one space above third principle, on same slant.--PRINCIPLES 2 and 3.

Begin as in i; continue straight line on main slant two spaces below the base line, and finish as in g.--PRINCIPLES 1, 2 and 3.

Form loop as in h; ascend with convex curve one and one-fourth spaces above base line; turn short, and move toward the left with a concave curve; form loop on first principle at the head line, and finish as in i.--PRINCIPLES 1, 2 and 3.

Commence with convex curve; ascend two spaces; form loop as in h; turn short to the right, and finish as in i.--PRINCIPLES 2 and 3.

Begin with convex curve on base line; ascend to head line; turn, and descend with straight line on main slant to base; unite angularly; ascend to head line, repeating the above, and finish as in i. Width of m, two spaces.--PRINCIPLES 1, 2 and 3.

Commence and finish same as m. Width, one space.--PRINCIPLES 1, 2 and 3.

Begin on base line, and ascend with concave curve to head line; unite angularly, and descend with convex curve to base; turn short, and ascend with concave curve, forming an oval; finish with horizontal concave curve. Width of o, one-half space.--PRINCIPLES 1 and 2.

Begin on base line, and ascend with concave curve two spaces; unite angularly, and descend with straight line on main slant two spaces below base line; retrace to base line; complete us in n; shade below the base.--PRINCIPLES 1, 2 and 3.

Form pointed oval as in a; unite angularly, and descend with straight line on main slant two spaces below base line; turn short to the right, and ascend with convex curve to head line.--PRINCIPLES 1, 2 and 3.

Begin on base line, and ascend with concave curve one and one-fourth spaces; descend with a vertical curve to head line; turn short, and descend with a vertical curve to head line; turn short, and descend with straight line to base; turn short to the right, and finish same as i. Width, one-half space.--PRINCIPLES 2 and 3.

First movement as in r; descend with concave curve on main slant to base line; turn to the left, terminating with a dot on first curve, one-third space from base; retrace to base line, and finish with concave curve. Width, one-half space.--PRINCIPLE 2.

Begin on base line, and ascend with concave curve two spaces; descend with straight line to base; turn to the right, and end as in i. Shade above head line; cross with a straight line horizontally one-half space from top.--PRINCIPLES 2 and 3.

Commence with concave curve, ascending to head line; unite angularly with straight line on main slant, and descend to base; turn, repeat the same thing, and finish as in i. Width, one space.--PRINCIPLES 2 and 3.

Begin at base line, and ascend with convex curve to head line; turn to the right, and descend with straight line on main slant to base; turn to the right, and ascend with concave curve to head line one-half space from top of second movement, and finish with a horizontal curve to the right. Width of letter, one-half space.--PRINCIPLES 1, 2 and 3.

The first two movements are the same as in n; turn to the right, and ascend with concave curve to head line; unite angularly, with a straight line on main slant, and finish with the last movement of v. Width, one and one-half spaces.--PRINCIPLES 1, 2 and 3.

First two movements same as in n; the third movement begins at the head line, and, descending, traces the second movement one-third of its length; continue to the base line; turn to the right, and finish with the concave curve.--PRINCIPLES 1, 2 and 3.

Begin on base line, and ascend with convex curve to head line; turn, and descend with a straight line on main slant to base; turn to the right, and ascend with concave curve to head line; unite angularly with a straight line on main slant, and finish as in j.--PRINCIPLES 1, 2 and 3.

Three first movements as in r; unite angularly with a convex curve; ascend slightly, then turn to the right, and descend with a concave curve two spaces below base line; turn to the left, and finish as in j.--PRINCIPLES 1, 2 and 3.

CONSTRUCTION OF CAPITALS.

We first present the three principles of the capitals, which a student should practice before writing the letters. They are formed by the convex and concave curve, which are the first and second principles of writing.

Capital Stem. -- Formed with principles 1 and 2. Height, three spaces; finished with an oval one-half its height.

The Oval. -- Formed with principles 1 and 2. Height, three spaces. Width, one-half its height.

The Inverted Oval.--Formed with principles 1 and 2. Begin one and one-half spaces from base line, ascend to top line, making an oval two-thirds its height. With this principle the letters Q, U, V, W, X, Y and Z are made.

Begin with capital stem; from its top descend with a straight line on main slant to base line; begin a slight curve to the left on the straight line, one and one-fourth spaces from base line, and descend one-half space; cross straight line, and ascend with a concave curve to head line. Commence shade on the stem, one-fourth space above head line, and finish on base line. PRINCIPLES 1, 2 and 3.

Begin two and one-half spaces from base line, and descend with capital stem on main slant; make an oval turn to the left, and ascend to top line; make an oval turn to the right, and descend to one and one-half spaces from base line; cross the capital stem, and form a loop pointing upward; then descend with a right curve to base line; turn, and ascend one space. PRINCIPLES 1 and 2.

Begin on base line and ascend to top line with concave curve; turn to left, and descend to base line, forming loop as in l; finish with oval one-half the full height. PRINCIPLES 1, 2 and 3.

egin two and one-fourth spaces from base line, and descend with compound curve to base line; form a horizontal loop, and touch the base at the right of crossing; ascend with convex curve to head line, crossing compound curve two spaces from base line; finish with oval extending downward two and one-half spaces from head line. PRINCIPLES 1 and 2.

Begin near the top line; after forming a small oval, descend one space from top line; form a small loop pointing downward, and finish with an oval two spaces touching the base. PRINCIPLES 1 and 2.

Begin F with convex curve (same as small letter n) one-half space from top line; ascend to top line; turn to the right, and descend with a straight line one-third of a space; form a horizontal compound curve to the right, one space; form loop pointing upward at top line, and descend with capital stem same as in the capital letter A; cross capital stem one and one-half spaces from base line. The capital T is formed in the same manner as F, without the crossing on the stem. PRINCIPLES 1 and 2.

Begin as in small letter l; after forming loop, make an oval turn, which should be three-fourths of a space from base line; ascend to a point one and one-half spaces from base line; unite angularly, and finish with lower part of capital stem. Position of loop should be such that a straight line, drawn from its top to the centre of oval of the stem on base line, would be on main slant. PRINCIPLES 1 and 2.

Begin on base line, and ascend with concave curve three spaces; unite angularly, and complete with capital stem; begin second part at top line, one space to the right of stem; descend to base line with a slight convex curve; finish as in A. PRINCIPLES 1 and 2.

Begin I one space from base line, and ascend one-half space with convex curve; carry it well toward the right, and form a broad loop pointing downward one space from base line; ascend with convex curve to top line on main slant; make a short turn, and finish with capital stem, passing downward through the centre of loop. PRINCIPLES 1 and 2. Capital J.--Begin as in I; after passing through the loop, descend with a straight line on main slant two spaces below the base line; make a left turn, and ascend with a convex curve, crossing downward movement at base line and ending one space above. PRINCIPLES 1, 2 and 3.

Form the first part as in H; begin second section at a point on top line one space to the right of stem, and descend with a compound curve one space from top line; form a loop across capital stem, pointing upward; descend with a straight line on main slant to base line, turning to the right; finish with concave curve. PRINCIPLES 1, 2 and 3.

Ascend from base line with the concave curve to top line; turn short to the left, and descend with capital stem to base line, crossing the concave curve: one and one half spaces from base line; form horizontal loop touching base line to the right of crossing; finish with concave curve. PRINCIPLES 1 and 2.

Begin as in A with capitalstem; begin second downward movement at top line connecting with top of capital stem; descend to base in a straight line, touching one space from the point on base line touched by oval of capital stem; from base line ascend with concave curve to top line to a point one space to the right of capital stem; unite angularly, and descend with concave curve to base line; finish with an oval one and one half spaces from base line. PRINCIPLES 1, 2 and 3.

Begin with the capital stem; unite at top with a downward straight line as in A; finish with a short turn, and concave curve, one and one half spaces from base line. PRINCIPLES 1, 2 and 3.

Same as oval or second principle of capital letters. Width: one half its height. Last downward movement should be parallel to the first, and finish at one half space above base line. PRINCIPLES 1 and 2.

Begin with capital stem, and finish in the same manner as B, as far as the crossing loop. PRINCIPLES 1 and 2.

Begin with inverted oval, or third principle of capital letters; the oval should be two spaces from top line; form a horizontal loop on base line, touching the base at the right of crossing; finish with concave curve. PRINCIPLES 1 and 2.

Form R with capital stem the same as B, as far as crossing loop; descend to base with a straight line, touching one space from that point touched by the turn in stem; make a turn to the right, and finish with concave curve. PRINCIPLES 1, 2 and 3.

Begin at base line with the concave curve, and ascend to top line; make a turn as in L, and descend with convex curve: one and one half spaces from top line; cross upward curve, and finish with lower part of capital stem. PRINCIPLES 1 and 2.

[The letter T will be found in diagram with letter F.]

Begin with inverted oval (the third capital principle); oval should be two spaces from top line; make a turn on base line, and ascend with concave curve two and one half spaces; unite angularly, and descend with straight line to base; make a turn to the right, and finish with the concave curve. Width of U in centre one space. PRINCIPLES 1, 2 and 3.

Form V with inverted oval: same as U to base line; make a turn to the right, ascend with a concave curve two spaces, and finish with a short horizontal concave curve to the right. PRINCIPLES 1 and 2.

Commence with inverted oval, and continue to base line; unite angularly, and ascend with concave curve nearly three spaces; unite angularly, and descend with straight line to base, one space from first section; unite angularly, and ascend with convex curve one and one half spaces. PRINCIPLES 1, 2 and 3.

Commence with inverted oval, and continue to base line same as in W; begin second section at the top line, and with the convex curve descend, touching first section at the centre, or one and one half spaces above base line; make a broad turn to the right on base line, and finish with oval, which should be one and one half spaces in height. PRINCIPLES 1 and 2.

Commence, as in U, with the inverted oval; make a turn at base line, and ascend with the concave curve to top line; turn to the left as in l, and descend with a straight line two spaces below the base line; turn to the left, and with the convex curve ascend, crossing downward movement at base line; and finish same as in J. PRINCIPLES 1, 2 and 3.

Commence with inverted oval, and continue to base line, same as first section of X; form a loop pointing downward, and after crossing the downward movement, descend with concave curve two spaces below base line; and finish as in Y. PRINCIPLES 1 and 2.