Books by Hong Zhang

Thousand Character Essay

calligraphy by Hong Zhang

1000charactercoverUse this book:

• As an extended model for advanced Li Style calligraphy

• As a Chinese-English vocabulary guide when studying Chinese calligraphy and language

• To create original Chinese phrases and sentences.


(Below: typical page spreads with four four-character couplets and English translation)

Sample page 2-3

Sample page 2-3




Sample page 28-29

Sample page 28-29

Qian Zi Wen, the Thousand Character Classic, was written between 507 and 521 C.E. by Zhou Xing-Si in the Lain Dynasty. For hundreds of years it has been used to teach reading to Chinese children.

Qian Zi Wen is composed of 1000 characters; there is not a single character repeated.  The text is broken into 250 lines of four characters each. Every two lines form one unit, in most cases, every four lines form a stanza with a regulated rhyming scheme.  This system of characters, organized into a coherent and rhythmic form, males learning and reading Chinese easier and more interesting.

In writing this book, I have two objectives in mind: First I want to give my students a supplemental tool for further advancement of their Li Shu calligraphic skill. Second, I wish to provide my students and indeed all who desire to improve their Chinese language skills, an opportunity to learn more about Chinese philosophy and culture.  From the calligraphy stand point, this book focuses on practice models that strengthen stroke power and correct brush technique.

Although it uses in total only one thousand characters, Qian Zi Wen covers a broad range of topics. It praises the beauty of nature—eloquently describing various elements of the sky, ocean and earth. Furthermore, it touches on many important Chinese virtues and philosophies: filial piety to parents, loyalty to country and ruler, care and love of relatives, respect to teachers, faithfulness to friends and many more.

I take great pride in writing this calligraphy model and hope that you will find it beneficial in improving your calligraphy as well as your reading and understanding of Chinese.

134pp. hardbound. $65. Plus shipping/handling.

To order your copy or for more information, contact Hong Zhang.


Regular Script Lectures and Models

Instruction and calligraphy by Hong Zhang




This book is designed for those who have practiced Li Script (refer to my book – Li Shu Qian Zi Wen) or have experienced Chinese calligraphy in some degree.  It provides detailed instruction for writing in the Regular Script. It is also an excellent option for those who desire to study further in their own time and at their own pace.  As a self-paced guide, they can continue to learn, enjoy and explore traditional Chinese calligraphy and all that it leads to.

The book contains five sections:

• Chinese calligraphy Regular Script history and development.

• Detailed description of brush movement techniques and calligraphic terms

• Eight basic techniques of writing Regular Script strokes

• Chinese character structures and composition techniques

• Calligraphic projects like couplets, poems, special event models.

It is my hope that this book can serve as a great tool and guide to students learning the Regular Script, whether standing alone or augmenting a class they are taking.

126pp. spiralbound. $75. Plus shipping/handling.

Contents at a Glance


1 Introduction to Chinese Calligraphy Regular Script

2 Use-of-Brush Techniques

3 Dot Strokes

4 Horizontal Strokes

5 Vertical Strokes

6 Hook Strokes

7 Down Left Strokes

8 Down Right Strokes

9 Upright Strokes

10 Connected Strokes

11 Character Structures

12 Character Compositions

13 Calligraphy Projects – Couplets

14 Calligraphy Projects – Poems

15 Calligraphy Projects – Special Events


Some example pages from the book:

Dot (点diăn)

Dot has a name of ―侧 cè in the ―Eight Canons of Character Yong. It is the smallest form among the eight different character strokes. There are various forms of Dots. In calligraphy viewpoint, all other strokes are just the extension of dots to some de-gree. Although a dot is small, it plays a very im-portant role in Chinese calligraphy. Similar to a per-son’s eyes, dots add the finishing touch to a charac-ter. It is essential to learn and grasp the characteris-tics of dots. Dots need to be written solid and full of energy, poised and springy, full of the sense of rhythm. Sometimes a dot is written instantaneously with a slight movement of brush. Dot has various forms and it forms the shape in accordance of the character structure and stroke arrangement. Some common dot formation includes two-dot pair, left side three-dot part, and bottom four-dot part. We will look into details of writing a Vertical Dot, Rightward Dot, Leftward Dot, Right Upward Dot, Left Down-ward Dot and other common Dot formations.

Figure 3-5 below (xià)

character Below

Other Dots Formations

As I mentioned earlier, dot has various shapes and changes its form based on different character forms and stroke arrangements. Following are more mod-els relating to some common dot formations. Figure 3-16 shows the flow of Horizontal two-dot pair, Fig-ure 3-17 shows the flow of Vertical two-dot pair and Figure 3-19 shows the flow of Left side three-dot symbol.

Figure 3-20 river (jiāng)

character River

Figure 3-26 baby lamb (gāo)

character Lamb


Figure 11- 39 Completed model of top and bottom character structure

Model 11-39


Control Main Strokes

(主笔应用 zhǔ bĭ yìng yòng)

In every Chinese character, there are one or two strokes that are essential. These strokes are called main strokes. If these strokes art not written proper-ly or elegantly, the whole character will be affected. Therefore it is very important to identify what the main strokes are and how you can write them well. The following models focus on the character com-position rules when the main stroke is a Vertical, Horizontal, Down Left or Hook.

Main Vertical Stroke

If there is a long Vertical stroke that is on the right side or in the center of a character, write the stroke using a Suspending Needle Vertical. The Suspend-ing Needle Vertical stroke is the main stroke in a character. See the following models.

Figure 12- 53 “middle” (zhòng)

character Middle

Main Hook Stroke

If there is a long Hook stroke, either Crooked Hook or Vertical Hook, on the right side or in the middle of a character, it is possibly the main stroke of a char-acter and should be written heavy and strong. See the following models.

Figure 12- 62 “I” (wŏ)

character I

Figure 12-62, on the right side, the long Crooked Hook stroke is the main stroke. It starts higher than the first short Down Left stroke and extends to the lower right with a strong and heavy hook. The Hori-zontal stroke is quite long with a right upward angle. The Vertical Hook on the left side is straight and not too long. The Upright stroke has quite a steep an-gle. The Down Left stroke crossing the Crooked Hook has the same angle as the Upright. The Downward Dot in the top right corner is higher than the short Down Left.


Figure 15- 2 Christmas and New Year wishes (four-character couplet)

New Year

“and” (bìng)                                         “respectful” (gōng)

“congratulate” (hè)                             “wish” (zhù)

“new” (xīn)                                           “holy” (shèng)

“happiness” (xĭ)                                   “birthday” (dàn)


Figure 15- 7 Study encouragement four-character couplet

review past

“review” (wēn)                                     “seek” (qiú)

“past” (gù)                                            “truth” (zhēn)

“know” (zhī)                                         “apply oneself to” (wù)

“new” (xīn)                                           “real” (shí)


To order your copy or for more information, contact Hong Zhang.