Last change: $Id: dragon-digitizing-rules.html,v 1.2 2004/01/21 08:08:09 haraldalbrecht Exp $
...and you always thought that there is only one sequence of drawing the strokes of a particular Chinese character? But then, something not in complete order and harmony? Holy Kŏngfūzĭ! Well, please read on.
When contributing digitized Chinese characters to the dragon-char
project, we kindly ask you to follow a few simple rules for certain
Chinese characters (in particular radicals). These rules help
to maintain a consistent quality (or lack thereof) of the character
database and avoid that the learners are not becoming confused due to
orders for the same radical. We tried to ensure some
with regard to proper stroke ordering – but since the people behind
this project are more or less laymen, please be patient with us and
softly tell us where we are barking up the wrong tree. We also tried to
make our decisions and the different stroke orders explicit whereever
we could find appropriate material. More or less, the very convenient
新华写字字典 [FEI01] has been our main source for deciding which
we want to adhere to.
For the interested nitpickers, we have also set up an overview about basic and derived strokes,
together with their names as we will use them throughout the digitizing
Radical Table By PīnYīn
Radical Table By KX Numbering
The 冫 radical (
bīng – ice, cold; rad. no. 15
should be differentiated from the shuĭ radical (
water): the ice
radical is made up of only two strokes – a diǎn and a tí. In contrast,
the water radical consists of three strokes: two diăn and the
When digitizing, write the diăn stroke first. Then write the tí and
make sure that you write it in upward direction, as shown in the figure
The 辶 radical (
chuò – walking; rad. no. 162
nowadays written with three strokes. You might sometimes also see the
old variant with four strokes, which has two dots one below the other.
When digitizing the chuò, first write the diăn stroke. Next comes a
kind-of héng zhé: draw the vertical part straight and do not a
southwest-pointing hook at its end. Finish with a sweeping héng stroke.
The next figure illustrates this.
The 阝 radical (
fù – mound; rad. no. 170
阜) can be
either written as two [PCR81, FEI01, LI00, ZHOU96] or three [ASS99,
FEI01] strokes. In principle, the first stroke – which looks like a
3 – is a combination
of a héng piě and a round hook (wān gōu). The fù radical is then
finished by a simple shù (but do not try to think about this
description for too long, there is more
to life than this). The three stroke variant is now (or just
currently?) considered to be outdated, at least by [FEI01].
In its form, the
fù and the
radical (no. 193,
邑) are the same [MCN99]. When this form appears far right
in a character, it is always
For the dragon-char database we decided to stick with the
traditional three-stroke variant. First, digitize the héng piě
(horizontal stroke followed by a left falling stroke). Second comes the
wān gōu. Finalize with the shù as the third stroke of the radical. Or
just look at the illustration below.
The 火 radical (
huŏ – fire; rad. no. 86) can either appear as
four dots (
灬) in the bottom of a character or in its
form. If this latter form appears in the far left position of a
character, it is written in a narrow variant. Unfortunately, Unicode
3.0 has no stand-alone character slot allocated to this form, but only
has slots for the full-size and the four-dots variants, so we can't
display it 100% properly within this running text.
The 门 radical (
mén – door; rad. no. 169
门) can be
written using two different stroke sequences: either with the diǎn
stroke coming first, or with the left shù stroke first. We will here
follow the first way [FEI01].
When digitizing, write the diăn stroke first, then the left shù
(vertical) stroke, and finally the right héng zhé gōu (turning) stroke
shown in the figure below.
The 氵 radical (
shuĭ – water; rad. no. 85
水) occurs in
this particular form we are now talking about only as the left part of
a character. It is important to note that the
drawing direction of the last, third stroke is different from what you
might expect first. Instead of a downward direction, this stroke is
upwards as it is a tí (rising stroke).
First and second, write the diăn strokes as shown below. Third,
digitize the tí. Please make sure that you are digitizing the tí in
direction as shown in the figure below and in the animation.
In principle, there are at least two different stroke sequence
orders for the
忄 radical (
xīn – heart; rad. no. 61
心). Either you can
write the shù first, then followed by the two diăn
strokes to its left and right [ASS99]. Or you start with the left and
diăn strokes first and only then complete the radical with the middle
shù stroke [PCR81, FEI01, LI00].
Chinese students even add a third variant, where the strokes are simply
written left-to-right in the form of left diăn, middle shù, and finally
right diăn (kind of
who cares attitude).
When digitizing, first digitize the left diăn, then the right diăn,
finally the shù stroke in the middle of the xīn radical. This is also
The 阝 radical (
yì – city; rad. no. 163
similiar in form to the
fù radical (mound; rad. no. 170
However, the fù radical always appears in the far right of a character.
Unfortunately, Unicode 3.0 has no separate character code slot for the yì radical, so that is the reason why it looks on this page like the fù radical.
Please refer to the
fù radical for
concise information about digitizing this particular radical.
For the real Chinese writer, the following literature references
might be rather unauthoritative, but it's the kind of material many
beginners will start with. And since it is especially in case of
[PCR81, FEI01, LI00]
rather kind of semi-official, we are referencing it here.
The graphics for the strokes and stroke animation were made with The Gimp. The font used in
these graphics for the Chinese characters is Sim Hei (not that would be
the nicest one, but it closely resembles the calligraphic personality
of the dragon character training software). Mozilla's Composer tool
helped us to create this HTML mess, which is still way superior to
MSFrustPage. Beware, this page has been created by an engineer.