Reversed strokes

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If you can make the letter u, the letter a will be no trouble. You close the top with a movement that first goes from left to right, and then from right to left.

The looped arrow stands for a pen movement that first goes in one direction, and then goes back the same way. That’s how you make the top of the letter a and the bottom of the letter b.

Understanding this is important. Let’s look at the way it’s done, step by step.

The exit stroke from the letter u is also the entry stroke to the letter a.

The stroke to the right makes the top of the letter a, and then comes to an end.

The movement reverses itself. The stroke goes back to the left.

The rest is simple: stem, diagonal, a second stem, and an exit stroke.

That was the right way: first to the right, then to the left. Now I’ll show you how NOT to do it. (The wrong way is first to the left, then to the right.) Here’s what can happen.

Wrong: the entry stroke into the letter a goes into the first stem and then the diagonal.

Wrong: the top stroke goes from right to left, and stops.

Wrong: the movement reverses and goes back to the right. (The exit stroke is the same as usual.)

Teaching others to avoid this mistake demands sharp eyes. Try to catch it the moment it hits the paper. Spotting it later can be difficult. If you want to look for it in an existing text, the best place is the letter d.

The flat top of the letter a is made with a movement from left to right to left again. The bowls of the letters d g and q are made that way, too.

The letters b and p have bowls of the same kind, except they’re upside down. They have flat bottoms. The movement they’re made with is exactly the opposite of the other: from right to left to right again.