Welcome to Part 5 of my Basic Brush Calligraphy Strokes series!
So far, we have reviewed the:
Before you get started, be sure to familiarize yourself with these previous posts:
- Brush pens recommended for beginners
- Holding your brush pen properly
- Facing your brush pen in the right direction
If you are on Instagram, share your work by posting it with the hashtag, #pieces_basicstrokes.
Now, let’s talk about the oval!
What is the Oval?
The oval is exactly as the name states, an oval. It is an enclosed, circular stroke that forms many of the letters of the alphabet.
How to create the oval
To create the oval, start with a thin upstroke just below the waistline. Draw a line counterclockwise that curves to the left. Touch the waistline and then begin to curve downward. Transition gradually into a thick downstroke and then transition and back again to a thin upstroke. Once you touch the baseline, curve to the right and continue drawing a thin upstroke to complete the stroke.
You may be shaky at first, or unfamiliar with how the stroke should feel as you create it. But as always, practice makes progress. I share practice drills at the end of this post for you to work on.
When to use the oval
The oval is used in the letters: a, d, g, o, and q.
Notice how the entrance stroke sits just outside of the thick part of the oval. Also, see how the stroke that touches the right side of the oval sits just outside of the thick part of the oval (with the exception of the comma dot in the letter o). Try not overlap these strokes.
Do these practice drills to improve your ovals.
Don’t worry about being perfect or creating strokes that are completely free of any shakiness. Shakiness is expected in the beginning! When you are still learning the brush pen and when you go slow (which you SHOULD), then shakiness is normal.
The key with the oval is to pay close attention to the transitions. There are two of them. Plus, the stroke goes in a counterclockwise direction, which is typically the opposite direction of how most strokes are created.
Try these practice drills. Focus on the position of your hand, your grip, your technique, and the forming of the stroke.
- Oval: Fill a page with ovals. Focus on the transitions and increasing your consistency . After each row of ovals, review them and think about how you can improve for the next set.
- Entrance stroke + oval: Practice connecting the entrance stroke with the oval. This combination forms the letter o! Note: Do not finish the entrance stroke at the waistline. Instead, stop about halfway from the baseline to the waistline. This provides a more elegant connection between the entrance stroke and oval.
- Entrance stroke + oval + underturn stroke: Practice connecting the entrance stroke to the oval and comma dot. We will review the comma dot in the future, but essentially it is a smaller version of the underturn stroke. Be sure to place it inside of the oval.
- Connecting ovals: Connect ovals to each other without any breaks in between. Note: Just like in practice #2 above, do not finish the comma dot at the waistline. Instead, stop right below the waistline to allow for a more elegant connection between the comma dot and the next oval.Go slow at first, but try to find a rhythm as you write. This rhythm will help you immensely as you begin to write more. Note: lift your pen completely off the page before starting the next stroke. The idea is to draw the strokes so they appear to be connected, but in actuality, you are creating each stroke individually.
If you mess up, keep going. Focus on the next stroke. Remember that you will only improve when you keep on practicing and experimenting and learning.
Video: The oval
Watch the video below to see a demonstration of the oval and practice drills you can start today!
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It’s your turn! Tell me in a comment below:
Have you tried the oval? How would you describe your experiences so far?
What is the hardest part about the oval for you?
Are you sharing your work on Instagram? Be sure to share by tagging #pieces_basicstrokes!
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Supplies used in this post and video:
- Koi color brush pens from Paper and Ink Arts
- Rhodia dot pad from Amazon
- Rhodia reverse book from Amazon
- Arkon cellphone tripod from Amazon