Chinese Calligraphy Technique and Learning – How to Prepare when Writing Chinese Calligraphy?


How to Prepare the Calligraphy Studio?

Aside from simply ensuring that your tools and accessories are laid out in an organized manner, the placement of the Studio itself is important for a truly traditional Calligraphy experience. Light, of course, is vitally important. Many calligraphers prefer to write with natural light. Placing your desk by a window will allow you to observe the world around you and ensure that, while you remain focused on writing, you are conscious of, and part of your surroundings. While good access to natural light is the ideal, this will not be possible for everyone. It’s always a good idea to find a good articulated desk lamp to ensure that you have direct light on your workstation. Selecting the light bulb is also important. It’s best to avoid fluorescent light, as this can tire your eyes out quite quickly. If your light creates glare on your paper, it needs to be further away or of a different wattage. If the light is to dim, this will also strain your eyes. If the light is too bright, or too close to your work, it can be very distracting.

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Chinese Calligraphy Technique and Learning – The Aesthetic Concept of Balance


What is the Aesthetic Concept of Balance in Chinese Calligraphy?

When it comes to writing Chinese Characters, especially with an artistic aim in mind, it is important to have a sense not only of each individual stroke and radical, but also of how these elements relate to each other coherently and beautifully. A well-written character will have balance both within the space it is written, between individual strokes, and between the radicals. What is meant by this?

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Chinese Calligraphy Technique and Learning: The Composition and Building of Chinese Characters


An Introduction to the Radicals in Chinese Characters

Once you’ve got a general idea of the Basic Strokes and their Order, you can easily begin to expand your knowledge of the final level of structure within each Chinese Character: Radicals. A Radical is somewhat similar in function to a Western letter. One of the primary differences is that whereas Western words are written horizontally and may be of very different lengths, all Chinese characters are meant to be of a standard size, no matter how many ‘letters’ they contain. Secondly, Radicals may relate either to the sound of a character or to its meaning. Each Character represents a single syllable. In fact, Chinese has so few available syllables that representing meaning in other ways than simple consonants and vowels is necessary to differentiate essentially identical spoken words. In speech, this differentiation is achieved by tone. In writing, differentiation is achieved using Radicals.

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Chinese Calligraphy Technique and Learning – The Aesthetic Concept of Wholeness


What is the Aesthetic Concept of Wholeness in Chinese Calligraphy?

As an aesthetic value, wholeness is perhaps one of the most difficult to attain in calligraphy. When we speak of wholeness, we are usually referring to the way in which individual characters achieve unity through the placement of elements within the character. If a character is whole, its individual lines and dots relate in an almost effortlessly unified manner. Although there may be many radicals in an individual character, achieving wholeness requires that each part coheres visually and that no part seems strained or unrelated to the whole.

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Chinese Calligraphy Technique and Learning – Advanced Brush Techniques


Concealed Tip Technique Brush Movement in Chinese Brush Painting

One will quickly notice when viewing works, especially those executed in Zhuan Shu, Li Shu and Kai Shu, that the ends of many strokes do not expose the fine tip of the Brush used. This strategy for creating strong, forceful and contained strokes is usually due to use of a Concealed Tip. Concealed Tip is a technical term used to describe a very specific way of moving the brush on the page so as to strengthen certain strokes and ensure good Bone Structure within each Stroke. Concealed Tips are often used for the primary strokes of a character, and may be combined with Exposed Tips to create movement and contrast.

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