Copperplate Calligraphy: 9 Steps to Remember for A Compound Curve

Since we did the overturn and underturn, let’s put these two together, and make the compound curve!  Please make sure you study these two lessons to get a full understanding of the two strokes!

Copperplate Practice: 9 Steps to Remember for A Compound Curve


As studied before, we talked about the top half of the overturn is the same shape of the top half of the reverse oval; while the bottom half of the underturn takes on bottom half of the oval.


Here’re the 9 steps to get the perfect compound curve


Point number 1 – straight line up along the 55 degree slant line

This straight line is going to go up to the mid-point of the x-height


Point number 2 – getting ready to move into the reverse oval

Slow down to prepare the pen to go into the reverse oval.


Point number 3 – Meet the top apex at the x-height

Meet the top apex at the x-height, and changing direction to a down stroke.


Point number 4 – start to increase pressure

While coming down the stroke, start increasing pressure.


Point number 5 – mid way point

This is a very special point, as this is the thickest part of the shade.

Also, this is the point where we have to start getting ready to go into the underturn, and start decreasing pressure.


Point number 6 – no pressure by this point

By this point, all the pressure should be released, while following the shape of the underturn/oval.


Point number 7 – meet the bottom apex.

We’re aiming for the baseline to meet the bottom apex.


Point number 8 – meet the right most apex

This is middle of the x-height, and is the right apex of the underturn/oval.

Should also start going straight up along the 55 degree slant line.


Point number 9 – end at the x-height

We end this stroke at the x-height.


Bonus Tip 1

For myself, since I have trouble with the underturn, it is natural to have trouble for me to do the second half of the compound curve.

It is extremely important to slow down, and get your mind ready to change direction into the underturn!


Bonus Tip 2

Remember to breathe! Breathe in as you go up, breathe out as you come down, and breathe in again as you go up!


I really hope these points help you!


Every Wednesday night, I go on IG Live to practice and do demo/answer questions!  It starts at 9:30pm EST, and all the Live sessions will be made available on IGTV for 24 hours!


If you’re ready to take your Copperplate Calligraphy further, I offer a special Copperplate Calligraphy Experience! Contact me for more information!!


If you’re interest to grab my guidesheets and practice alongside me

You can get them below! 

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