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Make your own Guideline

Hi there! Welcome back to the World of Calligraphy and Design! In this blog, we are going to discuss on “How to use a Calligraphy guideline ruler?”


There are many guideline rulers available on the market that is specifically designed to create guidelines for Copperplate calligraphy.

The one that we use regularly use is an ISOMARS Spencerian and Engrosser (or even copperplate ruler. You can buy these rulers at


As seen in the image above, the ruler has angled corners, one end at 52 degrees and the other end at 55 degrees to create the slant lines. The ruler can be used to create guidelines for engrosser/ copperplate calligraphy as well as Spencerian script.

The ruler also has holes at definite distances from each other to define the x-height measurement ranging from 3 mm to 7 mm.

How to use a Guideline ruler?

In order to use the calligraphy ruler, we require the following tools:

  • - Isomars calligraphy ruler

  • - A regular long scale

  • - A sharpened pencil

Step 1: Place a regular long scale on the paper along the length of the paper. In order to avoid the scale from moving, you may use a washi tape to secure the scale in position on the paper.

Step 2:Place the Isomars calligraphy ruler on the paper above the secured scale adjacent to it.

Step 3: Choose the desired x-height (3mm to 7mm) and use a sharpened pencil inside the holes of the calligraphy ruler to draw parallel horizontal lines by running the ruler from the left extreme to the right extreme of the paper.

The ratio of the x-height: ascender: descender can be created as 1:1:1 or 2:1:2. Using this ruler, one can create the mid-point of the descender and ascender space as well.

The guideline hence created using the ruler creates the x-height between the baseline and header line, as well as the ascender space between the ascender lines and the descender space between the descender lines.

Step 4: Use the angled edge of the ruler to draw the slant lines across the horizontal guidelines

Step 5: Define and specify the x-height, ascender and descender space at the edge of the lines to ease the writing process.

The guidelines are now ready for you to begin your pointed pen calligraphy.

Isn’t it just easier to watch a video for better understanding than reading and visualizing the same in your head??!

We have created a video on writing the word “Calligraphy” in copperplate calligraphy by creating the guidelines using the Isomars calligraphy ruler as per the steps mentioned in this blog. The link to the video is as follows:


MRD’s tip of the week: For coloured papers, use a white pencil that is usually used for lining and marking glassware. The pencil markings can be easily removed using an eraser.

That’s it from us! See you next time through another blog post.

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