Strokes[edit | edit source]
Chinese characters are made up of strokes, in the same way that English words are made up of letters. These strokes are easily learned but not easily mastered; Chinese Calligraphy is an art in Chinese culture. The image below shows all strokes that all Chinese characters are made up of, and how they look in two different writing media: the strokes on the left are written with an ink brush, and the strokes on the right are written with an ordinary ball-point pen.
The following diagram shows you how to write these strokes. It's quite straight-forward: just start at the red dot, and trace the strokes as shown with your pen. Repeat this until you can write these strokes at ease, with the exact shape as shown.
File:Write chinese strokes.gif
Character formations[edit | edit source]
The Chinese characters should be written at the correct scale; doing otherwise results in characters that are not only imprecise but incorrect. Chinese characters are just like English letters in this respect: the vertical line in the English letter "d", for example, would never be three times the height of the circle.
Chinese characters can be thought of as contained in invisible blocks, and further divided in several ways in proportion to these blocks. Look at the following diagram for details.
These formations can be in any proportion, depending on the complexity and amount of strokes in different places in the characters. Be aware of this feature, for scale is one of the keys to writing nice Chinese characters. The following diagram illustrates some of the examples.
These formations can also be included in one another to form other characters. The following diagram illustrates this feature with the same set of characters.