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Introduction to Calligraphy

Calligraphy can be described as drawing letters that are decorative while ensuring that the downstrokes are thick and the upstrokes are thin (with the exception of one style). Your letters can be elegant or playful and can be written on anything from wedding invitations to a last minute birthday card. In this introduction I am going to briefly go over different types of calligraphy and will be sharing some drills. Join me to learn about where to begin and how to find your own unique style!

A few of the more popular styles of calligraphy include traditional, modern, faux, and copperplate calligraphy. To achieve thick strokes, you have to apply a little more pressure than usual. To achieve thin strokes, you have to release pressure and keep a steady hand. Always make sure your brush pen (whether it's a Tombow, Ecoline, or Crayola marker) faces about a 45 degree angle.

In traditional calligraphy, the baseline is always the same and the letters are always facing the same angle. Modern calligraphy can best be described as bouncy calligraphy; essentially the baseline remains the same, however the descenders of the letters alternate. Also, there are (usually) more dramatic flourishes in modern calligraphy. Below are some examples of each.

Faux (or "fake") calligraphy imitates real calligraphy by adding thickness to the downstrokes of the letters with the tool of your choice rather than with a brush pen. For the example below, I used the fine part of the Tombow Dual Brush Pen pictured.

Copperplate calligraphy, is the most difficult to master (in my opinion). This calligraphy is done by using a nib, nib holder, ink, and a paper specifically durable for handling the sharpness of nibs. The thick downstrokes and thin upstrokes still apply, so when practicing copperplate, you must still apply and release pressure with your strokes. Here are some examples of how to properly use each nib holder. If you are interested in beginning with copperplate calligraphy, I recommend starting with an oblique holder, (the one photographed directly below this paragraph) because the nib is already at the correct angle it needs to be.

Below is the proper way to angle a straight nib holder, for best results always have the nib pointing to the top of the paper.

Drills are one of the most important things when you start learning brush pen or nib calligraphy, because they really help you build muscle memory in your hand. Muscle memory is necessary for applying and releasing pressure that is placed on the pen. It is best to get really comfortable with drills before starting to practice words, or even letters. At first the upstrokes will be a little shaky and that's totally normal! Just be sure to keep pushing through the shakiness and doubts and continue practicing! Here are some of my favorite drills that you can download for free.

Drills
.zip
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I recommend downloading and printing these sheets to practice drills. You can also purchase tracing paper like this https://www.amazon.com/Strathmore-370-9-Tracing-Bound-Sheets/dp/B0027AAIB2/ref=sr_1_6?dchild=1&keywords=tracing+paper&qid=1626317849&sr=8-6 so that you can use and reuse the original drill sheets as often as you would like!

I understand that all of this might sound overwhelming, but keep in mind that you do not need to master every single style all at once! If you are just beginning, I actually recommend starting out with faux calligraphy or simply working on drills. Next week I am going to delve into faux calligraphy and the advantages it has, be sure to join me! Thank you so much for learning calligraphy with me and be sure to subscribe to stay up to date with my most recent blogs!


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