Do You Want to Learn Calligraphy?

Do You Want to Learn Calligraphy?

CALLIGRAPHY cal·lig·ra·phy noun \-f?\

Artistic, stylized, or elegant handwriting or lettering, the art of producing such writing French or Greek; French calligraphie, from Greek kalligraphia, from kalli- beautiful (from kallos beauty) + -graphia -graphy

I have taught Calligraphy for over ten years and with almost every one of my students I have heard the same story. They purchase a dip pen set and it comes with a little book with all the beautiful scripts that they will be able to create. This approach sets you up for certain failure, because there is little explanation for what to do, or what not to do.

There are certain visuals in Calligraphy that are only created by allowing the pen to do all the work. When the student tries to create the stroke to create this, it will never look the same.

You want to put down the dip pen (for now) and purchase a 3.5mm broad edged marker. There are brands but I recommend the ones that have nibs on both ends. So you can start with the larger size nib and then switch to the smaller size and create a fresh nib to work with as you practice. This will also help eliminates some of the potential issues.

I would recommend that you start with a basic script. Chancery Cursive Script is the perfect start as most scripts are loosely based on this. It was the standard hand in Italy in 16th Century. Chancery Script characterized by possessing thick and thin lines.

You MUST hold the flat edge of the marker at a 45 degree create these. You do not want to rotate your hand when you form the letter the pen should never move in your finger. For example when you create the number 7 the top line of the seven is a thick line. The descending line is thin. If yours looks different you are holding the pen at the wrong angle. If the line seems to go thin to thick during the stroke, make sure that the entire surface of the marker is making contact with the paper. Using the marker will make it a bit easier because you will not have to deal with ink flow, the marker will create the same quality of line each time. When you switch back over to a dip pen. The width of your line is determined by the amount of pressure placed on the pen as you create the letter. The lighter the pressure the thinner line. More pressure will create a thicker line because more ink is released. You also want to practice on paper with lines. Remember the lined newsprint that you learned to print on… this is perfect! It is helpful to start on writing on a larger scale to help fix mistakes and as you perfect your calligraphy skills to scale down to a smaller sized letter.

The most important thin is that your PRACTICE and do not get frustrated. It will take a bit of time to feel comfortable. Just remember how long did it take for you to learn how to write in grammar school. Give yourself time to explore and enjoy. When you feel comfortable with the marker then pick up the dip pen and it will be easier for you. You will soon be on your journey creating invitations, address envelopes and elegantly writing out your most cherished quotes and poems.