Introduction: Autumn Kanji
For this Instructable, I will be instructing others on how to write the Japanese Kanji for Autumn. In Romanji, or the English alphabet, "Autumn" in Japanese is "Aki", pronounced "ahh-key". For each Kanji, there is a set stroke order. This instructable will cover those.
All you will need is paper and a writing utensil! I chose to use colored pencils to illustrated each different stroke and used a black pen to create a guidebox as well as to draw lines indicating which way strokes should sweep. Traditionally, caligraphy is done using a brush, but of course in school when writing, using a pencil or a pen is just fine! If you want to try to get a brush effect, markers are good for that without the hassle of using paint or the traditionally-used black ink.
Step 1: Guideline Box
You will want to start by creating a guideline box. This will help you with stroke placement and will help you make sure each character is in the correct spot and will help to keep the kanji sized properly.
Draw a box. It doesn't have to be a perfect square, but you don't want it to be too rectangular either. Afterwards, separate the box into fourths using dashed lines.
Step 2: Strokes 1 and 2
Stroke 1, in the peachy-red, goes in the upper-left handed corner. Do not let anything cross the middle dashed line until I mention it. The stroke sweeps downwards from the right-handed side to the left-handed side at a very slight angle.
Stroke 2, in light green, is a simple line. I gave it slight curvature. This stroke goes from the left-handed side to the right handed side. Again, do not let it cross the middle line.
Step 3: Stroke 3
Stroke 3, in gold, is the easiest in my opinion! Simply draw a straight line from stroke one that goes through stroke two and ends shortly before the bottom of the guidebox. It's okay if the line is a little shorter or longer than mine. This stroke goes from top to bottom.
Step 4: Strokes 4 and 5
It is easier to create strokes 4 and 5 if seen from a slight distance to approximate size first. Take into account that stroke 4 is longer than stroke 5.
Step 5: Stroke 4-Close Up
Stroke four, in turquoise, sweeps downwards from stroke two (in green) and ends about two thirds of the way down stroke three (in gold).
Step 6: Stroke 5-Close Up
Stroke 5, in yellow, sweeps from the upper left corner of stroke two (in green) and ends about two thirds of the way down stroke 4. This can be an approximation, but either way, you want stroke 5 to be shorter than stroke 4, as mentioned above.
With this, you are done with the left-handed side! Now lets move to the right handed side.
Step 7: Stroke 6
Stroke 6, in orange, is on the right handed side of the line! It begins in the upper left corner and sweeps right downwards. Notice how close to the middle guideline it is.
Step 8: Stroke 7
Stroke 7, in green, is longer than stroke 6. Start it slightly above stroke six. It then sweeps downwards from right to left.
Step 9: Stroke 8
Stroke 8, in deep red, starts in the middle of the right handed side of your guide box and gradually sweeps downwards to the left. It is all one stroke. Try to make it end approximately where stroke three ends!
Step 10: Stroke 9-Done!
Stroke 9, in deep blue, starts at the middle guideline and sweeps from the left to the right corner. It is important to make that small little line jump at the end where it makes an angle then curves much much more strongly.
At this point, you are done! Survey your work, and if you wish, make any adjustments to your liking. Kanji is often seen as a way of expressing oneself when done traditionally, so perfection when used as an artform isn't completely necessary. When used in day-to-day writing, you would just want to make sure it is roughly legible!
Now, if you would like, go back and try again! Or try using a different writing utensil! I find writing/drawing kanji to be a way of relieving stress because I get so caught up in stroke order.