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I recently acquired some brush pens meant for calligraphy, one of size 'standard', and one of size 'beginner'. While I cannot find the site where they were labeled as such, the lineup is here with XFL2U being the 'standard' and XFL2F being the 'beginner'.

Because of its availability where I live, I've been practicing on 5x5mm graph paper, writing 10x10mm kanji with a pen. I've seen proper kanji practice paper with 8x8mm boxes.

I can make both brush pens work in 10x10mm, but it gets very finicky with more busy kanji, like 慶 or 鬱. Moreover, I feel like I'm utilizing very little of the range of line width, and I have too little to work with to properly take advantage of the brush, to have the motion of the strokes reflected in the character rather than merely meticulously drawing a figure.

I get that this is an art that takes practice, but the 'standard' brush in particular feels too big for an 8x8mm square (which I assume is for pen/pencil), because so little of its range is used. I assume a 'standard' brush dictates a certain 'standard' line width range, which in turn dictates a certain size of kanji determined by their 'maximum busyness'. A minimum practical size follows the brush.

So, if a Japanese person shows up for a caligraphy course, is given a standard brush and a box to draw within, how big is the box?

  • 鬱 is not really manageable on a 8 mm x 8 mm square, unless you're writing in an abbreviated semi-cursive style with a brush thickness equivalent to a pencil or ballpoint pen. Hint: you shouldn't be writing 鬱 with more than 7-10 strokes in this situation, even though its stroke count is more than 25. – droooze Jan 24 at 12:56
  • Yeah I'm not writing any form of cursive, just plain standard. – aktivb Jan 24 at 13:25
  • I doubt that there is actually a standard to this... It is more likely whatever paper they can get their hands on? The box size would probably differ slightly from one printing company to another. – nayfaan Mar 21 at 13:20

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