A Beginner's Guide to Getting Started With Calligraphy

08th Feb 2020
Manga Demonstration

Hand-lettered calligraphy is beautiful and timeless. We often see signs and cards written in a calligraphic style and marvel at the letters and words' elegance and flow. Wherever calligraphy is used, an air of class and a refined taste is suggested to the viewer.

Anyone can learn calligraphy. With a bit of instruction, the right tools, and regular practice, you'll be able to write in this beautiful style on your own. It may seem challenging at first, but as time goes on, your hand calligraphy will improve.

There are many different calligraphy styles from which to choose. It is advised to get a feel for the different types to see your personal preference and then aim to master the chosen technique before pivoting to one of the others to prevent bad habits and help you practice. Treat the different styles as if they were their language, you would not want to learn two languages simultaneously as this may become overwhelming and confusing. Eventually, with enough practice, you will end up developing a style that is personal to you.

There is also some special equipment you'll need to purchase with which you must become familiar before you can progress very far.

However, you'll only need a few things. Those items, paired with patience and determination, will help you become a calligraphy master in a short time. Before you know it, you'll be able to write letters and address the accompanying envelopes with beautiful handwriting that will impress your friends, family, and business associates time and time again.

If you want to learn more about learning how to handwrite calligraphy, read on. This informative post will tell you everything you need to know to get started today.

Calligraphy History

Calligraphy is just another name for fancy handwriting, but it has a a history in many cultures that goes back many centuries. The term calligraphy comes from the Greek; the phrase kallos, or beauty, is paired with the word graphe, or writing.

People have used calligraphy in many languages to add words to many different objects. Of course, there are books handwritten using calligraphy and paintings or murals that are signed, captioned or titled using it as well.

Suppose you look back at old and even ancient objects. In that case, you'll see calligraphy everywhere you look, including on religious texts, dishes and dinnerware, maps, and even on substrates like wood carvings or animal bones.

Today some people choose to use calligraphy for their personal correspondence. Others use it on holiday cards, wedding invitations, or professional envelopes. Some businesses create logos that feature calligraphy. It's beautiful, and it sends a message to all who see it.

It's no wonder that so many people even today are drawn to learn this art form and craft. It's someone that everyone can master if they have the time and patience to dedicate to a calligraphy hobby.

Types of Calligraphy

There are several different types of calligraphy that people choose to learn in the Western world today.

Brush pen calligraphy is one of them. This type of calligraphy is a great place to start. The pens are preloaded, tapered markers and there are many different colours available.

On the other hand, pointed pen calligraphy is a bit more old fashioned, and as a result, it's a bit more challenging to perfect. Calligraphy of this type is written with a pen, and a pointy piece of metal called a nib. Nibs are dipped into ink, and then thick and thin lines are created based on the amount of pressure placed upon the paper.

The third type of calligraphy that people enjoy learning is a broad edge calligraphy. This type of calligraphy has been popular in Europe and the Americas for centuries. This type of calligraphy also uses a nib, but the linework's thickness is based on how the nib is turned, instead of the amount of pressure exerted upon it.

If you're starting out, you may want to begin with brush pen calligraphy to get a feel for forming the letters and connecting them with one another. Later, you can move on to pointed pen calligraphy, which is perhaps the most popular and common type today. Then, if you'd like a challenge, you can try broad edge calligraphy as well.

Calligraphy Tools and Equipment

When you buy calligraphy tools and equipment, you can purchase items one by one or buy a complete calligraphy kit. When you choose the former option, you can select each item you like based on personal preferences which are nice, but if you choose a kit, then you'll save some money and will purchase all you need at once.

You can buy brush pen calligraphy markers many places, but you may need to look a little harder for suitable pens and nibs for pointed pen and broad edge calligraphy.

For both pointed pen and broad edge calligraphy, you'll need to buy a pen tand nibs that are made especially for the type of calligraphy you want to try. You'll also need to purchase some ink and a container with a lid to store the ink once you've opened it.

Thirty-two-pound printer paper seems to be one of the best paper weights out there for practising calligraphy, although once you get the hang of it, you'll find that you can write just as well on many different types of paper.

Getting Started

When the time comes to sit down with pen and paper and get started, you should have your equipment, specifically your paper, pens, and nibs in front of you. You'll also need a cup with some water in it for rinsing, and a non-fibrous cloth to wipe off the nibs after dipping them in the water.

When you first open the the nibs you purchased, they will have some oil on them to help keep them in good shape until they are first used. A great way to get this oil off of the nibs is by sticking them in a raw potato. This will clear the oil off of them better than water and cloth will. If you don't remove the oil before beginning, the ink won't collect on the nibs properly.

Once your nibs are ready to go, attach one to your pen so you can begin. The way that the nibs work is rather unique. When you dip the nib in ink, the hole at the top fills with ink and holds it for you. As you press down on the paper in either type of ink calligraphy, the two sides of the nib open up, and ink flows through it onto the paper.

You'll see thicker lines on the downward strokes in pointed pen calligraphy, and thinner lines on the upward strokes when you exert less pressure. On the other hand, when you work in broad edge calligraphy, you'll need to exert consistent pressure at all times; the thickness of the lines will change as you turn the pen in your hand.

You'll need to hold your pen at about a forty-five-degree angle with your fingers close to the nib. Too much or too little of an angle, and the ink will not flow in a smooth manner. Holding position can be one of the most challenging things to learn, but you will get it in time with practice and patience.

Calligraphy Styles

There are many different modern calligraphy styles for you to try to imitate. Your personal style, however, will depend a lot on you.

No two people produce calligraphy that looks identical, and it's the subtle differences among calligraphy enthusiasts that make this method of writing a true art form. Don't get frustrated if your letters and words don't look exactly like the examples you see; instead, celebrate your personal style and the fact that the user's personality is often visually expressed through the pen.

However, if you've seen some calligraphy that you like, go ahead and try to incorporate it into your own writing. There are so many different options out there, but there are some category descriptors that divide them. For example, if you like the look of brush calligraphy, you can try to copy it with your pointed pen. If you want to take a more whimsical, loose approach, you may wish to pursue the somewhat uneven look into bounce calligraphy instead.

Try many different calligraphy styles and always keep learning. You'll fall into a niche in time, but you should always try to challenge yourself. In doing so, your calligraphy will continue to improve and advance year after year.

Practice Makes Perfect

Unfortunately, if you make a mistake when writing in calligraphy, there are very few options to fix your error. Often leading to you having to discard the piece you are working on and start again. Whilst this can be very frustrating at; first, the practice will ensure that you will learn over time.

The key to becoming adept and skilled at calligraphy is to practice. Try different calligraphy styles and find your groove. It will take time to get the results you desire, but if you keep at it and persevere, you'll be pleased with the results down the road. Keep at it and keep practising. Calligraphy is a great hobby, and it's worth the time to learn.

If you're looking for some fantastic deals on calligraphy materials and pens of all kinds, check out Staedtler’s range of calligraphy pens & markers.

If you need any assistance while shopping, please don't hesitate to contact us today; we can't wait to help you take the first steps on your calligraphy journey!