The Scratchy Nib

Which copperplate guideline sheets to use: the 3 best options

Learn CalligraphyJuhi ChitraComment

When learning copperplate, you find the need for different types of guidelines as you progress through the different stages of learning and as you discover your preferences. There's a LOT of options available online, each a little different. Here's 3 free printable PDFs for each stage of your progress, including my own guidelines:


1. For absolute beginners 

Joseph Vitolo

Nice basic instruction on how to use guidelines and clearly marked header and baselines to avoid confusion. Perfect for your first time. I only wish the lines were lighter so they wouldn't interfere with my letterforms.

2. For when you're a bit familiar

but still learning the letterforms: Modified version of Anintran's PDF 

These were originally very dark, so I took them, smushed them vertically to shorten the line-height and made the lines lighter. This is what I personally used for the longest time while learning the script.

Anintran has a nice collection of even more guidelines.


3. For regular practice

My own “No-fuss Copperplate Guideline Sheets”

Even though there are so many different options available online, I couldn't find anything quite perfect enough for my regular practice. So I created my own version which is more of a grid than guidelines.

Use these once you know your ascender and descender heights well and just want a no-fuss paper that just helps you maintain horizontal and diagonal angles. It's got a small x-height, and very light lines so you can see your writing.

Available in my Shop for free. Just add to cart and checkout, you will not be asked for any payment details.

What paper to print them on?

I print them on Canson layout paper (click for link). If you use regular printer paper, make sure you're using sumi ink and not India ink, because the latter is quite a pain on thin papers.

Where to buy the tools?

If you're not sure where to find a pointed pen in India or which ink to start practicing with, read my next post, How to assemble a copperplate starter kit.

Post a comment if you have any questions.