A8: How to Choose Form Books (Copy Books or Calligraphy Models)


書體可以自由選擇,決定字帖條件如次:    1.書法基礎考量因素    2.適性、適趣    3.調性  

Which Style Is Appropriate for Beginners?     

We may choose calligraphy styles freely. The determining factors are suitable for interest, suitable for personality, and refining oneís personality. However, we should choose a style that can build up our foundation for future studies above those criteria.

Please also refer to P8: Choosing a Form Book in the "Principles" section.




What Are the Three Requirements of Choosing A Form Book?
What a student likes may not be suitable. Itís up to the student to choose what he likes for interesting learning. However, itís the instructor who further chooses a Form Book from what the student likes to best fit the studentís personality.




What are the relationships between oneís personality and choosing a style?
If oneís personality is conservative, honest, and steady, his nature will resemble Li and Zuan styles.

If one is good at design by pondering, wisdom, and smartness, he may like Kai, Hsin, and Tsao styles.

If the instructor can teach different styles to the students according to their personalities and characters, he will benefit the students more.


Choose Original or Earlier Rubbings, Not Amended Version

Compare the following rubbings of an old famous inscription. The characters on the upper row without any amending show the original appearance and spirit. The same characters on the bottom row are amended to cater the buyers or beginners. However, if we look closely, the original appearance and essence are twisted. If we choose amended rubbing for our practice, we will be going astray without self-awareness.

("Amending" or repeating a Chinese calligraphy stroke is considered a taboo and dishonest. Once a Chinese calligraphy stroke is done, it cannot be amended, enhanced, or fixed. This is very different from painting, Western calligraphy, or other forms of arts. Chinese place a strict rule on brush writing as it should come directly from one's mind and real skill. If an officer in China is found with amending a brush stroke in writing, he will be ridiculed and disrespected! An amended brush stroke can be easily told by experts because it shows evidences of inconsistent ink densities. Overall, amending severely twists the original spirits of Chinese calligraphic writing and should be avoided by all students at all levels!)


Amended strokes can be detected both on "ink on paper" copies or rubbing versions since they show evidences of inconsistency and camouflage.

Please also refer to A6: How to Distinguish Authentic and Fake Chinese Calligraphy works.


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