Gothic calligraphy

Gothic calligraphy, also known as Blackletter or Old English, is a style of calligraphy that was popularized in medieval Europe. It is characterized by its bold, ornate letters and distinctive serifs. If you’re interested in learning how to create Gothic calligraphy, here are some key things to keep in mind.


In Gothic calligraphy, spacing is crucial. The letters should be evenly spaced and have a consistent distance between them. To achieve this, you should use guidelines. You can create guidelines by drawing lines using a ruler and a pencil or downloading the Calligraphy Guidelines Generator app. The guidelines should be spaced the same distance apart as the height of your letters.

Types of lines:

In Gothic scripts, there are three main types of lines: the stemline, the waistline, and the baseline. The stemline is the vertical line that runs through the middle of each letter. The waistline is the line that marks the height of the lowercase letters. The baseline is the line that all the letters sit on.

The thickness of these lines is also important in Gothic calligraphy. The stemline should be thick and bold, while the waistline and baseline should be thinner. This creates a pleasing contrast between the different parts of the letter.

Height of letters:

In Gothic calligraphy, the height of the letters is important. The lowercase letters should be approximately two-thirds the height of the uppercase letters. This creates a sense of balance and harmony between the different parts of the letter.

The height of the letters also determines the spacing between them. The distance between the letters should be the same as the height of the letters. This creates a sense of uniformity and consistency in the text.


Gothic calligraphy is known for its distinctive serifs. These are the small lines or flourishes that extend from the ends of the letters. In Gothic calligraphy, the serifs are usually sharp and angular, adding to the bold, dramatic effect of the text.

When creating serifs, it’s important to make sure they are the same thickness as the stemline of the letter. This creates a sense of balance and unity in the text.


In Gothic calligraphy, flourishes are often used to add decorative elements to the text. These can include loops, swirls, and other ornate designs. Flourishes should be used sparingly and should not overpower the text. They should also be consistent in size and style, adding to the overall harmony of the text.

Gothic calligraphy is a bold and dramatic style of calligraphy that requires attention to detail and precision. By following the principles outlined above, you can create beautiful and harmonious Gothic calligraphy. Remember to use guidelines to ensure even spacing, create bold stemlines and thinner waistlines and baselines, keep the letters in proportion and create sharp and angular serifs. With practice and patience, you can master this beautiful and ancient art form.