FAQ: How do you do the guidelines for your writing?

August 25, 2017 | 7 Comments

How I do my guidelines for my writing is something that I get asked all the time.

The answer: I use a special grid sheet that I create and then draw the lines with a coloured pencil.

I can see the grid lines through the Stillman and Birn Alpha paper but if using thicker paper I simple eyeball it by having the grid page hanging out as shown in this photo. So with thicker paper I am more or less drawing the lines freehand but with the grid sheet as a guide for the spacing.

Over the years my grids have changed. Used to have two sizes and then one time I was working in my moleskine book and conforming to a three column grid. That was fun. I create them using a CAD programme and make the lines thick so easier to see through the pages of my sketchbook. Someone on Instagram had a great suggestion of using Excel or a similiar spreadsheet programme

My current grid is 7mm, but I have also used 6mm and 8mm depending on what feels the best for my handwriting. It’s interesting that my handwriting size has changed over the years – I used to use an EF nib and thererfore wrote smaller and neater!

As for handwriting… here is a simple article from last year

NOVEMBER 2018 UPDATE: I now use a Fountain Pen for the lines. A TWSBI ECO F nib with J Herbin Diablo Menthe ink (water soluble).



  • Jeanette Runions says:

    Thank Goodness for smart short cuts! Life just get simpler by the moment!

  • Danielle Withrow says:

    To make lines I use dry wall tape which has rows of hole on the two inch tape . I lay that down on the sheet of paper and draw faint pencil lines which can be erased later. This gives a straight dash pattern on the paper. Because of the spacing of the rows of holes you can vary the space between the lines you draw.

  • Jeanette gillings says:

    Thanks Liz. great idea!

  • Liz, are you also a lefty? I ask because your handwriting slants backward a bit, which is usually a giveaway of southpaw status.

    • Liz Steel says:

      Yes Melissa I’m a leftie. FUnny that you notice a slant… I try to write 90 degrees – true vertical and always think of it as being upright not slanting at all….but if it slants any direction it would be a bit backwards. 😀

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