30 Powerful, Majestic, Confiden
As the saying goes, one's calligraphy mirrors one's personality. Due to the difference in personality of each master, their writing usually carried their own style, and this helped with identification.
There was a school of Unbridled Passion, a school of Flowing Elegance, and a school of Magnificent Vitality; there were numerous calligraphy styles throughout the years, but none of the old experts there had witnessed a style that was so… precise?
When Ye Shuang wrote, he didn't exude the ease and freedom that was normally associated with calligraphy. Instead, he approached the activity with the precision and accuracy of a determined scientific researcher…
Ye Shuang's calligraphy couldn't be called calligraphy; it was more of a scanning and photocopying venture.
In Ye Shuang's mind, the white paper that she was supposed to write on was already separated into precise and accurate vertical and horizontal lines. Every brush stroke was a replication of the original, following its ratio and distribution. She had completely copied the original onto the white paper. To be frank, it was as Fang Mo commented in his mind, this was merely another form of photocopying, albeit more complicated in nature. A scanner used line-by-line analysis to duplicate the original, but Ye Shuang copied the original brush stroke for brush stroke…
This required a speedy and concise mind, a careful hand, and a meticulous attitude. It was no wonder that the room was made uncomfortable by it. If someone picked up Ye Shuang's calligraphy and placed it over the original, one would realize they overlapped precisely.
Therefore, when Ye Shuang asked politely for opinions, Fang Mo was speechless, and the group of elders chuckled amusedly to themselves.
"Indeed, heroes come from the youth." An elder, who seemed to be the lynchpin of the group, was pushed forward by his friends' gazes, and he said to shatter the awkward silence, "If you don't mind an old coot like myself take a look at your calligraphy…"
Ye Shuang obediently took a step back from the table to allow space for the elder. The elder walked forward and lowered his head to look.
Damn! It is really a hundred percent similar!
Facing the anticipatory glow in Ye Shuang's eyes, the elder felt weirdly inconvenienced. "…The structure of your writing is not bad; it looks like you've put a lot of practice into your work."
Oh, pfft. You shouldn't have. This is only my first time…
Ye Shuang smiled brightly, blinding his audience with his handsomeness. "Sir, you're being too kind."
"…" Even the elderly liked to look at beautiful things. Appreciating Ye Shuang's neat looks that were rare these days, the elder bit on the comments that he felt like adding. Then again, he would feel too frustrated if he didn't speak his mind. Therefore, with an intention to lend a guiding hand to his junior, the elder forced out a "But."
He then continued with his critique. "In spite of the perfect structure, the calligraphy is too derivative of the original, to the point that it has lost a personal touch."
Personal touch? But did you not see me touch it many times earlier?
After a moment's silence, Ye Shuang uttered, "…Do you mind explaining it in a clearer manner?"
This time, it was the elder who was silent. His face was pressed like he wanted to poop but couldn't. "To put it simply, it is the question of vigor of strokes. Everyone's handwriting has their own style. For example, some handwriting is like chicken scrawl, others as busy as a bee, and some is powerful and confident… Using this original as an example, yes, it might look similar to yours structurally speaking, but each of the original's brush strokes is powerful and present. One can envision the author wasted no time and hesitation to jot down every line and stroke but yours…"
Yours is as tasteless and lack luster as a glass of plain water.
The elder still knew how to save the junior's face. Furthermore, Ye Shuang did manage to copy the structure perfectly, that in and of itself was a kind of talent, just one that was not required in calligraphy. Therefore, he swallowed the last sentence that was the actual critique; however, everyone present understood what he was hinting at.
Well, almost everyone anyway… One might say Ye Shuang was naïve, or one could say she was impossibly obtuse… If one didn't express their thoughts to this young woman explicitly and clearly, she wouldn't have understood what they were trying to say. This was the perfect example. Ye Shuang used her own understanding to process the elder's words; ignoring the hidden meaning, she started to compare the two writing.
Powerful brush strokes? Does he mean I have to use a greater force when writing‽ That has to be it, right? No wonder the original looks darker, the author must have applied a greater force when he was writing! This has to be what the elder meant when he said I was lacking a personal touch! Indeed, too light of a touch equals to less power!
The elder was waiting for his lesson to register in Ye Shuang's mind. Even though Ye Shuang didn't have much of a talent for calligraphy, his basis was good. If his little reminder could push him toward a great understanding of calligraphy, when he boast— when he shared this experience with his friends in the future, it would not reflect badly on him.
As he waited, Ye Shuang, who had reached an epiphany, lowered her head once more to edit her work— well, to rescan her work, this time including the consideration for the lightness and darkness of color…
With an additional brush stroke here, filling in the details there, the finished product was as precise as before, the added effect blended perfectly into the previous version… If one squinted very closely, one could say the added dimension of light and darkness did add an extra depth to the calligraphy.
Ten minutes later, the editing was done. Ye Shuang asked politely once more for the elder's opinion.
The elder lowered his head to examine it…
Powerful, majestic, confident… It was definitely not!
The elder's worldview was upended there and then.