Hand Lettering

How to Write with French Ruled Paper

Oh, French ruled paper. How I love you. Once again, France pulls through in making everyone else look bad, and this time, it’s notebook paper. Not only do I love writing with these rulings because it helps uniform my handwriting, but it challenges me to branch out with my cursive. At first glance, this notebook is extremely intimidating. If you don’t know what you’re doing, much like me when I first started out, it seems like a mess of tiny spaced lines. However, once you get a feel for the structure of the rulings, it may become your best friend. Simply put, French lined paper assists with uniformity. It helps the height of ascenders, descenders, and bodies of your cursive letters stay consistent. You may even find, like I did, that you have a completely different style of cursive with regular lined paper than with French lined paper. Anyways, enough blabbing, let’s get into the instructions!

Bodies of your letters: The bodies of your letters are meant to stay in between the bottom line and the first line. What do I mean by body? I mean the general shape of your letter, like the circle of your “b”, or of your “g”. This also refers to letters like “a”, “c”, and “e”, who have no ascenders or descenders.

Ascenders: Ascenders reach all the way up to the third line of your paper. These include letters such as “b”, “k”, and “l”, however, not the letters “d” or “t”. We’ll get into those later. Ascenders follow the same body rule as above, and only the “ascending” part can cross the first line up to the third line.

D and T: “d” and “t” are special letters. Though they are ascenders, they don’t have an ascending loop, only a line. Therefore, their ascenders only go up to line two.

Descenders: Descenders stretch down to the second line. Nothing fancy here.

Wait…What the “f”: F is the poster child for French lettering. Not only does it have an ascender, but also a descender. This leads to “f” reaching all the way up to line three, and  reaches down to line two, crossing a total of five lines!

So, there ya have it! If you’re thinking, “where are the uppercase letters??”, don’t worry. I choose not to use upper case letters in my French ruled writing, as I think it keeps a more uniformed look (and in all honesty, it’s easier!), but if you have any questions about it, feel free to reach out and I’ll help you to the best of my ability!

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