Calligraphy letters are an art form of writing which means “beautiful writing” in Greek and employs large brush strokes and perfectly executed lettering. Learn how to write calligraphy below, with example guides and tips to make you better.
Calligraphy is the art of writing beautifully. It is an ancient art that has many different styles across several cultures. But the principles of calligraphy are the same, no matter what writing system you happen to use.
“Calligraphy is a kind of music not for the ears, but for the eyes.” — V. Lazursky
If you have always wanted to learn calligraphy and decorate your writing, you have come to the right place. In this article, I will give you all the basics and teach you how to do it. With practice and a dose of patience, everyone can teach themselves calligraphy.
What Are the Basics of Calligraphy?
Before you can make any attempts at writing calligraphy, there are a few basics to which you need to become acquainted.
The first thing you need to learn is how to hold your pen. If you want to write calligraphy, you need to get used to holding your pen diagonally. The angle should be between 30 to 60 degrees.
It is also important that the nip or the tip of your point points away from you (to the left) when you write.
Another important lesson to learn is to never twist the nip of your pen as you write. Always point the tip of your pen in the same direction, regardless of the letters you are trying to write.
Also, always lead the nip of your pen either sideways or backward. If you push or lead the nip backward you will mess up, so do not do it!
When forming letters in calligraphy, only apply light pressure to the piece of paper in which you are writing. If you apply too much pressure, you might damage the nip of your pen. Also, do not lean on your hand or arm.
“Each script has its own calligraphic and cultural history. It is more a question of matching different calligraphic styles to one another, without the features of one scripts dominating another.” — Bruno Maag
Finally, you need to ensure that you always keep your lines parallel to each other. All the lines (horizontal, vertical, and diagonal) in the different letters should always be parallel in your writing for the sake of consistency. This will also make your calligraphy seem more professional.
What Do You Need To Write Calligraphy?
In this section, I will tell you what supplies you need to begin learning calligraphy.
The best paper to write calligraphy on is archival paper that is acid-free and smooth. Also, choose “sized” paper. Avoid waxy or greasy paper at all cost as it does not absorb ink easily.
Choose your writing tool carefully. See how you feel using the different options you have and then choose the one that you feel most comfortable with. You can choose between a fountain pen, a dip pen, or a brush. Each of those tools has its pros and cons but, ultimately, choose the one you feel most comfortable with the one that serves your purpose in the best possible way.
The most common writing tool in Western calligraphy is the fountain pen. So, if you are stuck and do not know which tool to choose, you might as well pick up a fountain pen.
Once you have chosen a writing tool, you must choose the right kind of ink for it. Pot ink is widely used but if you choose a fountain pen, then you must just use fountain pen ink.
Ink sticks are widely used in Asian calligraphy.
Having a ruler is essential so you can ensure that your writing is straight. Remember that two of the essential rules of successful calligraphy are consistency and beauty.
If you are just starting with calligraphy, it is also a good idea to have tape or something that you could use for weight in order to keep your paper in place when writing on it. You may use anything that keeps the paper you use in place so you do not mess up your beautiful writing.
Now that you know all the basics and have the necessary supplies, it is time to start practicing.
“I did calligraphy for the invitations for, like, Robin Thicke and Paula Patton’s wedding.” — Meghan Markle
The best way to begin is by working on the alphabet many times, letter by letter. And the best to do that is to print out one of the many calligraphy alphabets that you can find on the Internet, cover it with a piece of tracing paper, and trace each of the letters. If you are a total neophyte you might need to practice over and over, so make sure that you have plenty of tracing paper.
Once you have practiced the alphabet a few times and see improvements in your handwriting, you will be ready to practice your strokes. In calligraphy, each letter is made with a series of precise strokes (different sections of the letter that are traced by a single hand movement). In Western calligraphy, downward and upward strokes are fundamental.
Then, you need to work on your spacing. Again, use a template you like but, this time, focus on the space. It is important to keep your spacing consistent so that all your letters do not slant across the page.
Finally, practice freehand. Begin to write calligraphy as much as you can without using templates. Practice makes perfect, so the more you attempt to write freehand, the best you will get.
Now all you need to do is get hold of the right materials and some alphabet samples (you can get those for free online), and practice. Focus on different areas each time you practice. For example, focus on your strokes, your spacing, or your freehand, at different times. Writing good calligraphy takes time. Do not give up!