What Is Copperplate Calligraphy?


Copperplate calligraphy is prooobably what most people think of when they hear the word “calligraphy”.


Copperplate takes some maaajor patience, skill and attention to detail.

I even tried it once and even with my knowledge of the basic strokes (which did come in handy!) I quickly realized just how technical copperplate is.

Which means to learn, you need a really good teacher….

Enter Younghae Chung of Logos Calligraphy and Design!

Younghae was first introduced to copperplate calligraphy at a workshop and was captivated by the art form and all of the possibilities it could bring.

Like many, copperplate calligraphy started out as a creative outlet for Younghae, but with time and loads of practice, she began offering wedding calligraphy services and now focuses on teaching copperplate calligraphy!

In this video below Younghae breaks down everything you need to know about copperplate calligraphy. By the end of the video you’ll know all about the tools, rules AND, of course, finally know what copperplate calligraphy really is.


The links below may be affiliate links where appropriate. This means that your purchase through these links may result in a few cents in payment to me, to support creating further resources like this one! That being said, I will never suggest supplies that I do not personally use and fully recommend.


So what is copperplate calligraphy?

Copperplate calligraphy is a traditional script derived from a form of handwriting called the english round hand.

It has a few variations but all of the variations have one thing in common: rules.

Copperplate is veeery rule-based and structured.

So in short, copperplate must:

  • Maintain the same baseline
  • Have consistent slants
  • Have shaded downstrokes
  • Have hairline upstrokes

You’ll also have to learn a few ket terms:

  • X-Height
  • Baseline
  • Waistline
  • 1st and 2nd ascender line
  • 1st and 2nd descender line
  • Slant

The slant is one of the most important elements in copperplate. Typically, the slant is set at a 55 degrees, but anywhere between 45-60 degree is a good starting goal.

The slant is also where most people get stuck. Especiaaally if they naturally have a very upright handwriting!

For that reasons, it’s so so so important to remember that muscle memory can take 3-6 months of regular practice to develop…so if you give it a go, you NEED to stick to it before you see results (trust me)!

Another super important aspect?

After every stroke you have to lift your pen.

Ever. Single. Stroke.

In copperplate calligraphy there are 7 basic strokes:

  • Entrance/Exit stroke
  • Overturn stroke
  • Undertern stroke
  • Compound curve stroke
  • Oval stroke
  • Ascending stem loop
  • Descending stem loop


So you finally know what copperplate calligraphy is and you know all the fancy terms, all the strokes…time to practice!

Tools you’ll need:


Once everything is set, you can start!

Thing to remember:

  • Your nib should be parallel to the slant line
  • Start at 45 degrees, and then adjust
  • Hand guard to protect paper from hand oils

If you run out of ink, that’s fine! You can just go back and fill it in.


Once you’re getting into your practice, you need to look out for these things:

  • Consistent slant
  • Even spacing
  • Oval shapes
  • Letters at right heights

Once you’ve got those down, you can start to add flourishes and modernizations through spacing, angles and letterform.



Younghae is a lefty calligrapher. In her video she shares her choice of pen (and you might be surprised what she uses) and explains how (and why) she works with her paper at a certain angle.


Thanks so so much for taking the time out of your busy life to chat with us Younghae! If you’re interested in more of Younghae’s calligraphy, be sure to give her a follow at @logos_calligraphy on Instagram and awesome resources on her website!


    1. Here’s the link to Show Me Your Drills, the free calligraphy course: showmeyourdrills.com

      Here’s the link to Younghae’s website, full of lots of copperplate resources: logoscalligraphy.com/resources

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