Learning Calligraphy

I love beautiful typography. As a graphic designer, I love great fonts and often feel like I can’t find the exact font I am looking for. I have nice handwriting, but not anything I’d want to use on a design project, so I mentioned to my husband that as a New Year’s resolution, I’d like to learn calligraphy. I sent him some websites with details on supplies, books and tutorials that I checked out. For Valentine’s Day, (we get to our resolutions a little late around this house. ) he surprised me at brunch with a bag full of all of the supplies I might need to start.
suppliesI’m a super newbie, so I’m writing this post after only spending a few hours practicing, but I can give you some items that have been really helpful to me so far.

The Postman’s Knock

This website has the best basic tutorials and she sells these awesome stroke by stroke practice sheets. They only cost $5 for the pdf and you can print as many as you need to practice on. I’ve just been laying tracing paper over them and writing letters over and over again.calligraphypractice1

calligraphypractice2Another helpful tip her lessons contain is learning “faux calligraphy” before picking up the nib and ink. Faux calligraphy is just writing the letters with a regular pen and adding in some shading to make it look like calligraphy.

This skill proved to be incredibly useful a few weeks ago when I helped with some decor for our friends’ fundraiser banquet where I wrote words on many different surfaces – including on a giant balloon. I could never have used a traditional calligraphy pen, but I was able to use the “faux calligraphy” with the gold paint marker and it worked!banquet pics(It was a lot of work to get that paint to stick to latex, but with many, many coats, it worked)

Modern Calligraphy (*affiliate link)

This is a fabulous book for beginners. I love that it starts out basic and gives you lots of ideas for projects to use calligraphy on. It also has a ton of different examples of letters you can model your calligraphy after – my only complaint is that the letters are separated by letter instead of by font, so you have to spend a lot of time flipping from page to page to write a whole word.moderncalligraphybook2

So far, it’s practice, practice, practice for me.
I can’t seem to quite get the hang of the quantity of ink I need to write a whole word. I get big blotches or run out of ink before the word is done – I guess practice makes perfect.
learningcalligraphy2And I cannot for the life of me keep my hands clean…

Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions to learn a new skill? I’d love to hear!

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