Jeem comes in three forms, that at the beginning or middle of a word, that which comes at the end of a word and that which is written on its own. In this post I’ll write about the Jeem at the beginning/middle of a word. I’ll leave the Jeem at the end of a word for another post, because it is more complicated.
The Jeem shares the same form as two other letters in the Arabic alphabet. These are “ḥā’ – ح” and “khā’ – خ”. The form is identical, so when you master the Jeem, you’ve effectively mastered them as well. The only difference the placement of the noktah.
I find the beginning Jeem is somewhat easier to write than the end Jeem. This is because it involves three pen strokes. Nonetheless, the strokes are very precise, and have intricate details to them that I find make it the Jeem a really beautiful letter to write.
So, the Jeem is split into three strokes. The first stroke is almost a straight stroke downwards. It is a little longer than two noktahs in length. At the start, there is a slight move to the left. This is followed by a move of the pen a little right. Finally, the end of the stroke there is a sharpening of the point. I achieve this pointy-ness by lifting part of the pen and slightly rotating the angle of the pen so that it is closer to 80 degrees.
The second stroke start where the first stroke began. It is drawn right and down diagonally at a more or less 30 degree angle for the length of 5 noktahs. For the first noktah of the three it has a little hump, after which it goes virtually straight. There is however a little indent, very subtle. A noktah should fit snugly in the negative space between the horizontal line where the second stroke has its highest point, and it’s lowest point.
The third and final stroke leads from the end of the second stroke. The angle is also around 25 degrees, and there is a slight dip and raise just as the stroke intercepts the first stroke. A noktah should fit snugly beneath the third stroke and the horizontal line from the drawn from the lowest point of the third stroke. Finally, the negative space inside the Jeem should have a noktah and a half.
As I said above, I really enjoy writing the Jeem. I find that the strokes have very nuanced curves. But because of that, it is really difficult. In fact, there was a lot of work that went into practising to get it right. Something, that I don’t always do. And a lot of time into creating the materials for this particular post.
The first stroke
I really like the first stroke, because on its own it looks like a flame. I find there are a few points to keep in mind for this first stroke. Firstly, make sure there isn’t too much ink on your pen. Otherwise you end up with a blotchy beginning. Secondly, be sure that the angle of your nib is really towards 70 to 75 degrees. This makes the stroke a lot finer in width. I find this more elegant for the Jeem.
The second stroke
The second stroke is perhaps the hardest. As always, I find it hard to eyeball the length of 5 noktahs. In fact, anything that is longer than 2 noktahs is hard to eyeball. In order to work around this, and get used to the length I have little hack. At the beginning I draw 5 noktahs above the Jeem. I use these noktahs to guide me and get me used to the correct length.
Then getting the correct angle, the little hump at the beginning and the tine curve at the end is also hard. The noktahs at the top really help for this too. The initial hump should align with the first noktah. Then, the stroke should go basically diagonally straight at a 30 degree angle. Only towards the last noktah, should it level off horizontally, but only ever so slightly.
The final stroke
Although in many ways this is the easiest stroke, it is also the one where you can mess up the easiest. Or at least, this is what I found. That’s because I found myself getting complacent. Normally before this final stroke, I’ll re-dip for some more ink, at which point it is to blotch the paper. Don’t do that! Focus! Make sure you have the right amount of ink, then keep on going. Also, just before you intercept remember to to start lifting the stroke ever so slightly.
Jeem is a great letter to learn, because it is challenging. With it, you can really start feeling like you are on your way to becoming an Arabic calligrapher. This post is only about the Jeem at the beginning and middle of a word. I will in the near future make posts about writing two other forms of Jeem, at the end of a word, and when it is written on its own.
In the meantime, should you be trying your own attempts of the Jeem, post it up to the community gallery!