How to Write in Gothic Script

Updated November 21, 2016

Writing Gothic script is an ancient craft of calligraphy that is over eight hundred years old in practice and can be mastered through good preparation and practice, having the right tools and the ability to follow the basic principles.

Practice writing Gothic letters using a tracing exercise. Place a copy of the Gothic Alphabet under a sheet of layout paper. Take the writing implement, dip in ink, if necessary, and start tracing the letters of the alphabet.

Practice using the nib, holding the implement at a 40 degree angle from the horizontal, making a series of vertical, horizontal, curves and a continuous pattern of v-strokes on the paper. Notice the vertical and horizontal lines should be straight and of the same thickness whereas the downward to upward diagonal lines to construct the v-strokes, alternate from thick to thin.

Measure the width of the pen nib or brush. This is important to be able to write Gothic letters to the correct proportion and to rule out grid-lines.

Rule out five measured lines, in pencil, onto the high-quality paper to create a proportional grid. Rule out two horizontal lines for the midsection to house lower-cased letters, exactly five nib widths apart. For example, if the nib is 4mm wide, the midsection height will measure 20mm. Rule two more lines, above the top line of the midsection, each a nib width apart, to allow room for capitals and tall letters, and below the midsection line, rule the fifth line, measuring two nib widths to allow for letter tails.

Take the copy of Gothic alphabet, select a capital letter and start to write the chosen text. Observe the principles of the Gothic style while you work. For instance, Gothic text is geometric in shape, angular, identical strokes and parallel lines dominate the style, and do not lean, with letter widths being equal in stripes of black and white, while curves are rare and capital letters are decorative and detailed.

Erase pencil grid when written text is complete.


Relax and try to maintain good posture. Write with correct control of the writing implement and hold with a loose grip while applying ink with a light smooth touch. Move the whole hand and not just the fingers. Practice each letter in repetition to improve skill and increase confidence.

Things You'll Need

  • Layout pad
  • High quality drawing paper
  • Dip pens or cartridge pens or brushes
  • Water-based ink
  • Pencils HB & 2H
  • Eraser
  • Pencil sharpener or craft knife
  • Ruler
  • Drawing board
  • Copy of Gothic alphabet
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