Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Archive for May 25th, 2014

“Have the idea in your mind before you take up the brush…”

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Copy of text by Ouyang Xun

Have the idea in your mind before you take up the brush. Design the composition only after you have thoroughly considered it. Be very careful with the general shape and spacing, and do not let the character tilt sideways…Let all four sides be evenly proportioned and all parts coordinated. Short and long strokes must be calculated in relation to one another, and a compromise effected between the coarse and the fine. Mind and eye together should determine density or looseness of texture, and also inclination—whether upright or aslant. The animation and spirit of a character depend largely upon its proportioning. It is fatal to place a light head on a heavy base, or to shorten one side too much in relation to the other. The stance of a character should be like that of a well-built man. Achieve these qualities, and the atmosphere of your writing will be delightful. Only follow these instructions, and there will be no reason for failure.

Ouyang Xun, quoted by Chiang Yee in Chinese Calligraphy

Written by nevalalee

May 25, 2014 at 9:00 am

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