matrix formation

lower case b - Chancery

lowercase b Some letters in the lower case alphabet have a stroke which ascends above the main body of the letter to a guideline positioned two more more pen widths above. This part of the letter is called the ascender. The lower case 'b' has an ascender. So do 'd', 'h' and 'k'. The lowercase 'b' is a combination of two strokes as shown, below, starting with the stroke that forms the ascender and left side.

first stroke second stroke End the first stroke at the thin part of the bottom loop.

Chancery specifications Chancery script slant

4 or 4½ pen widths high on the loop of the 'b'. Try for a 45° pen angle. Work from a letter slant of 10° from vertical.

Chancery letter spacing

Space adjacent letters with opposing curves closely. Space adjacent letters with parallel ascending lines the furthest apart. Don't measure! Do it all from sight and a few horizontal guidelines.

Consider spacing the left side of a lower case 'b' so there would be a wide letter space on the left if the adjacent letter on that side has a straight line. If the left adjacent letter had a curve next to the 'b', the letter spacing would be less. Notice the following example with two opposing curves to the right of the 'b' spaced closely. The 'b' between the two neighboring letters appears visually centered.

Chancery 'b' letter spacing

The appearance of centeredness between a letter and those adjacent to it is one good test of proper letter spacing. Look for well spaced letters with your eye. Don't measure! Calligraphy is an art form which visually adjusts negative spaces surrounding and within letter forms.


Fill a page of lined notebook paper with the lower case letter 'b', using letter height of six or seven pen widths. Keep the loop of the 'b' at 4 or 4½ pen widths high

Copyright 2001, Charles McGavren