Shapes of R L K G


As my outlines are getting sloppy with free practice without supervision, I am currently reviewing the basics.

I’m using the Gregg anniversary manual which describes shapes in much more detail than my DJS manual.

The Anni manual explains that R, L, K, G should be distinctly curved at one end and almost straight toward the other end.

Yet this principle seems no longer to be applied once those letters are attached to another letter.

For example compare:

K, G, R, L

where the curves are quite marked, and :

Nal, Melwhere the L looks almost perfectly symmetrical in reference to a vertical axis that would run through the middle of it.

Can I safely infer that the described “best practice” of curving the beginning of R/L and the ending of K/G is only true when those letters stand alone?



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5 comments Add yours
  1. The "l" shape stays the same if it's connected: there's always a down-left motion at the beginning of the stroke. The thing is that, in the examples above, you're looking at it from the bottom of the “n” or “m” — from that point of view, it looks like the beginning and end of the “l” are the same — but in reality, the l starts before that when it connects to the circle vowel at the top (at least that's how I see it). It's a subtle thing, but if you keep the general principle in mind, it helps in improving penmanship.

    You should also read this post:

  2. Thank you Carlos for this invaluable ressource, I wish I had found it earlier when I was beginning!

    Thank you also for your explanation about where the L "really" starts, I actually see it that way too, but even so, in the case of "mel" above, even if you include the final part of the loop that blends with the start of the L, that curve still seems much more shallow than the one depicted in the standalone Ls.

    Here is what I get when I superimpose the two images:

    Before passing for a fanatic stickler, let me explain: I’m still toying with the idea of developing a shorthand font for my personal use, and in doing so I have to make a list of the various shapes that each letter can assume.

    In the case of the letters L and R, I wanted to make sure that I can actually use the exact same shape for standalone L/R and for loop+L. Even if the general principle that you describe remains the same, I’m still wondering if there isn’t an ever-so-slightly different shape occurring after a loop.

  3. Of course, the outlines will be slightly modified when they're connected to other strokes. That's why it's so challenging to create a font because you will have to build in how the characters are supposed to look like when they're joined: it's not just a matter of concatenating characters. Even in the case of the "l" in "mel", making the "l" perfectly symmetrical would look odd and slightly "Pitmanish"; remember that in Gregg, characters are derived from ovals, rather than circles like in Pitman.

  4. Thanks Carlos for confirming this issue. It’s no longer a major hurdle by the way, with the help of a friend I have found a way to include "alternate" characters to the basic ones depending on their surroundings. Very time-consuming to create but definitely not impossible.

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