I have been practicing calligraphy for a little over half a year. I’m a person who really fails at motor movement so you could just imagine how hard it was (and is) for me to practice new handwriting techniques. People have asked me if it takes a gifted person to do calligraphy and of course it doesn’t. Anyone can do it, you just need hard work and persistence!
I am not a professional but I’ve improved a lot, so here are five super duper simple practice tips that worked for me and that anyone with a hand can follow.
Calligraphy is fancy penmanship, that’s how I describe it. It’s an art where the pressure you put on the pen has a lot of impact on how amazing or crappy your chosen word is going to look like.
For me, it relieves stress once you get used to it. The first few practices will stress you out because it really is quite difficult. But after a while, you’ll be reaching for your nibs and brush pens faster than your phone.
Be patient. Letterforms first before the fancy fancies
I started my calligraphy journey thinking that if I had the fancy brush pen everyone had, my handwriting will be instantly beautiful. NOPE. It’s really based on your handwriting and you have to “fortify” that first before you move on to other things.
Start with your favorite school or office pen. Yes, that pen you always reach out to when you have to write something or sign documents. Naturally, this pen will feel comfortable in your hands and you won’t be fumbling around with it or holding it up to brag about it.
Practice letter by letter. Practicing letterforms is like learning cursive all over again. Here’s a free worksheet you can follow.
Keep a notebook
I like to be reminded of my achievements every once in a while. Typical Aries. Keeping a notebook was a great way for me to keep track of my progress. Now that I’ve passed the imaginary 6 month mark, I decided to go back to my first few weeks practicing.
I’m still not a professional but I saw how my calligraphy became better, they were more controlled now and I have started to learn flourishes. My letterforms and general handwriting were becoming even, although still not perfect.
The most inspiring thing really is to see how much you’ve grown. This notebook or journal will motivate you to write more.
I just used a simple blank notebook first but moved on to a graphed one so I could control my letters’ drops and heights.
Pinterest and Instagram are life
Pinterest has a wide array of calligraphy tutorials you can copy or draw inspiration from. When I don’t know how to write a certain letter, because that happens a lot, I just go on Pinterest and see how other people do it.
Since this is kind of like the world’s mood board, Pinterest shows varying calligraphy styles for you to experiment with.
Instagram – I get inspired a lot by artists who show their work progress on Instagram. Their videos are just so satisfying to watch that you’ll be hooked in no time. My current favorite is Grace (@gracecallidesigns). She is a Filipino living in Helsinki and is my flourishes queen.
Hello everyone! I’ve been on a little break from social media, but I am slowly getting back into things and I am looking forward to posting more again soon ❤ There are times when you just need to slow down and take care of yourself. Thank you to those who sent messages of support 😘 In the meantime, how about a “what are your favorite lyrics” post? PS I will be getting back to your messages and comments in the next few days. Plus my A-Z name post I promised will be up tomorrow 😄 Pen used: Kuretake Zig Brushable Pen
Don’t be afraid to copy
I figured that if you’re just starting calligraphy, having your own style isn’t a priority. I mean come on, I go on Pinterest to look up how people write a single letter. Sometimes, I look at videos online to see how someone writes the letters ‘e’ and ‘l’ side by side and imitate that. If it feels comfortable, then I experiment with it. If it feels kind of weird, I look for more!
Imitating someone’s way of writing can increase your control over your own. It can show you which styles work for you and which don’t. Just don’t end up copying them altogether. You’ll find your style after a while.
Lift up, press down.
Here’s the real calligraphy tip that involves writing. When I was using my brush pen, I thought it just involved pressing down all the time. It was only when I purchased my first calligraphy starter kit that I realized you’re not going to get results with that.
My first calligraphy kit involved nibs. These are metal “pen tips” that you dip in ink. Yeah, the thing you see in the olden times.
When a part of the letter goes down kind of like the stem of a ‘g’, you press down to release the ink and drag it down. When you go up like the first stroke of an ‘l’ or an ‘e’, you won’t be able to press the nib. This results in a thinner line.
Notice how the parts of each letter don’t have a single weight? This is the basic principle, I believe. Lift when you’re going up, and press when you’re going down.
Remember, calligraphy involves patience and willingness to practice over and over again. Ready to start?