Stroke twisting


This post is about the technique of angle rotation, but shown in a different situation that can greatly change the way you write any letter form.

The idea behind a twisted (multi-angle) stroke is that your pen does not stay at the same angle during the entire stroke. Instead, this angle changes during the stroke (generally between 15º – 20º above or below the “root” angle, which is usually around 40º degrees). The result is a more original letter form with nuanced curves. You would not be able to achieve this effect otherwise due to the slight pen manipulations required to create the intrinsic curves within the strokes.

Basically, the technique is straightforward and may appear easy when looking at a diagram. But in actuality, it can be quite difficult to master, if you haven’t trained your fingers to twist the pen ever so slightly mid-stroke.


If you’re new to twisting or rotating the pen mid-stroke, It is suggested that you break the approach down into three steps. The start, the counter-clockwise twist, then the clockwise twist

If you are already at ease writing blackletter calligraphy using a chiseled brush, you might find this technique easier to learn with a brush (rather than a hard pen nib), due to the bristles being more forgiving . But if you are more comfortable with the pen, then use that.

Note: It’s best to focus on learning one new thing at a time.

Begin drawing straight lines and while you’re in the mid-stroke, begin twisting the writing instrument counter-clockwise 15º – 20º. The point here is to start working those finger muscles in a way that you haven’t before.

Note: You might find it helpful if you use vertical lines as guides.

 Twist Both Ways

Once you begin to get the hang of it, start turning the pen clockwise during the second half of the stroke.

Note: Do your best to visualize the stroke before you actually draw it out.

When the stroke begins, it should gradually get narrow (turning counter-clockwise). About halfway through the stroke, the line should be at its narrowest. From here, the line should get thicker (turning clockwise).

Quads (Diamonds)

Stroke twists are very common in advanced Textualis (Textura) Quadrata, making it a good place to start.

Begin by drawing a top diamond (quad serif). Next, draw a vertical line using the stroke twist technique you have learned, then end with a bottom diamond (quad serif).

You’ll want to pay close attention to how the strokes interact with their surrounding diamonds (quad serifs). Look for the curved connections on the left and right sides of the quad as it meets the stem. Perfecting these is difficult, but the clean consistency it can bring to your letterforms is worth the mastering.

Note; if your strokes are spotty here and there, just touch them up with the thin tip of your writing instrument. I

Now that you’ve gotten acquainted with stroke twists, you can star putting them into practice by reworking each letter in the alphabet to add a new edge to the letterforms.

Note: Be patient while doing this. You’ll only get better with time.




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