To view part 1 and part 2, please visit learn calligraphy section, regarding the small seal script (小篆).
The key brush operating technique applied in writing of the small seal script, is so called "hidden spear" (藏鋒). The spear is a reference to the tip of the brush, and "to hide the spear" means to conceal the brush tip inside the brush stroke (in the centre of the line) during writing. By doing so, it is possible to maintain equal thickness of the line, even while writing curved strokes.
Small seal script brush stroke structure and its appearance is more supple than the one of the great seal script (大篆). There are many curves, and most characters have a symmetrical construction. Maintaining the uniform thickness of lines is one of the things to pay attention to during studies.
To view the first part of the small seal script (小篆) tutorial, please see this article.
Continuing the thought from the part 1, the next important thing to bear in mind is that small seal script was a standardised form of great seal script (大篆). Consequently, the forms of small seal script characters are oblong and symmetrical.
Valid feature of this script is also the uniform thickness of the brush strokes, which may vary between characters in the same text, but should not within the same character. It is so, because some character may have many strokes, and some only few. For instance, in the video (below), and the picture (above) you can see the radical 士 (scholar, bachelor, also warrior), but it also is a stand alone character. This character has only three strokes. If you compare it with a complex character, such as 鳳 (phoenix), the thickness of strokes of both in the same calligraphy text written in small seal script will differ. Natural way of balancing those difference is increasing the thickness of the brush strokes in characters that have fewer strokes. In case of small seal script, however, it is not as obvious as in other scripts of Chinese calligraphy.
In part 3 of small seal script tutorial I will be explaining the techiniqe of writing curved lines, and how to position the brush tip during writing.
Small seal script (小篆) is a member of large script family, known as seal script (篆書). The latter splits into great seal script (大篆), and small seal script. Seal script family of scripts is the most ancient one in the history of Chinese calligraphy scripts. Small seal script is the youngest of them all.
Nevertheless, the writing rules of the small seal script are among the most strict ones in Chinese calligraphy. Small seal script requires great precision in operating of the brush tip, very steady hand (especially when written with the suspended art technique).
The part one of the series on small seal script's rules of writing, focuses on a few basic rules. First, all and any strokes in the small seal script ought to be written slowly. Secondly, the brush needs to stay at a 90 degrees angle to the paper surface at all times. Lastly, the horizontal strokes should not slant, like they do in standard script (楷書), to give only one example. Watch the below video for more details.
Writing in small seal script is a true form of meditation. Only when the mind is calm, the brush will be steady. Through its diligent studies, one can truly appreciate the ancient art of Chinese calligraphy.
Ponte Ryuurui (品天龍涙)