5 top tips for new calligraphers

Posted: 20 May 2020

Here are a few tips I would give to anyone who is thinking about starting calligraphy as a hobby. Most of these are based on my own experience, but also from speaking to lots of people who have tried calligraphy and have, for one reason or another, stopped. My aim is for you to fall in love with calligraphy, use it as a way to switch off and create something beautiful.

 

1. Don’t worry about the state of your handwriting

Calligraphy is made up of a series of strokes, and some letters aren’t actually written as you would write them in your normal, everyday handwriting. So many people have told me they couldn’t possibly do calligraphy because their handwriting is awful but I’ll let you into a secret – some of the best calligraphers I know have unremarkable handwriting (including myself!)

 

2. Find a local workshop

There are great calligraphers all across the country so, chances are, you will be able to find a calligraphy workshop close to you. Since COVID-19 hit, most calligraphers have also launched virtual workshops, online videos and starter kits which can be posted to you, so there really is no excuse not to get started.

3. Practice, and not just the fun stuff!

Yep, writing letters and words is fun but, put the time in to practice basic strokes and drill them. This will help to build muscle memory and will create beautiful, consistent shapes. I promise it will pay off! However, I’m going to totally contradict myself because, if you get to a point when drilling the basic strokes isn’t fun, and you’re thinking of putting down your pen then….

4. Go crazy, and do the fun stuff!

Sometimes, you just need to experiment. Modern calligraphy is about building your own style and letting loose, so look at some calligraphy accounts on instagram, watch youtube videos and see if you can recreate new letter shapes, new compositions, new styles. Try creating a whole page of one letter, or if you’re planning on creating your own place cards for an event, then perhaps try a whole page of names which start with the same letter.

 

5. Keep old practice sheets

It’s amazing how quickly you can improve with consistent practice. However, sometimes it can be discouraging if you are comparing yourself to professional calligraphers, or are struggling with a particular word, letter or flourish. In those moments, I find it really helps to look back at old pictures of my work or dig out a scrap bit of paper with some letter drills from years ago. Just seeing that improvement always gives me the boost I need, I’m sure it will work for you too.

calligraphy practice