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 6 Effective Ways to Improve Your Calligraphy Skills

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Published on: 21 Sep 2020

Calligraphy is the visual art of writing. This creative art form involves the use of specific brushes and tools to shape beautiful letters and symbols. An ancient art form like it is making a comeback and is a popular hand lettering skill today. Due to its numerous benefits to unleash the brain's creative power, calligraphy skill is gaining popularity. Moreover, it is calming and meditative, just like other art forms. 
If you want to learn this elegant creative style of writing, here are 6 ways how you can become better at calligraphy: 

  1. Know your nibs and pens
  2. Hold your pen properly
  3. Master your stroke
  4. Try faux calligraphy
  5. Know the Differences
  6. Practice, Practice and Practice 

Let's study each tip in detail and collect some precious wisdom on calligraphy. 

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Know Your Pens and Nibs 

Before learning any advanced calligraphy strokes, know your basics- the pen and the nib. Your art depends on the tool you choose. Therefore, select a pen depending on your mastery level. Beginners mustn't always reach out for traditional tools for calligraphy. Instead, modern calligraphy can be done with ballpoint pens, felt tips, or even a pencil.
The idea is to get acquainted with your calligraphy instrument before actually starting out. In the beginning, you must spend enough time exploring the right pen. This way you become more comfortable and aware of the nuances involved. 
The most commonly used pen for traditional calligraphy is a dip pen. It comes with two variants of the holder - straight and cursive. Learning how to letter with this pen is tricky and improves only with practice. There are numerous intricacies involved in the process like learning how to soak it in ink, the correct way to assemble it, and the appropriate way to control it. 
Therefore, you should research enough on the best calligraphy pen and make a list of all the dos and don'ts. 

Calligraphy Skill to Improve - Know Your Pens and Nibs

Hold Your Pen Properly

Holding a dip pen or any other pen to create calligraphy is different from the way you hold a standard pen. This is because calligraphy involves certain finesses that are specific to it. Therefore, you ought to dedicate ample time to figure out the correct way of holding a pen to write calligraphy. The optimal way is to hold it at an approximate 45 degrees angle and to lead with the nib. A pen held in an upright position will hinder the intended thick and thin contrast that comes from manipulating the ink flow. Additionally, you should be gripping the pen only with your thumb and forefinger while using the middle finger for support. This should be accompanied by a correct and relaxed sitting posture. 
Thereby, you will learn how to properly handle the pen to achieve the maximum amount of control and steadiness. 


Master basic calligraphy strokes

There are seven basic calligraphy strokes: 

  1. Oval stroke
  2. Downstroke
  3. Descending loop
  4. Ascending loop
  5. Compound curve
  6. Overturn stroke
  7. Undertone stroke

These strokes are to be incorporated every time while lettering every individual alphabet. Since calligraphy involves lifting the pen, the applied pressure on the letters is what creates a stroke. The beauty of calligraphy comes from the usage of such multiple strokes.
Therefore, practicing each stroke is key. A good way to go about it is by writing only a single letter with an intended stroke. For the best assistance, find yourself a calligraphy mentor. Our smart micro learning network connects you with the most talented people across the globe so that you can follow your passions anytime, anywhere. Look for your calligraphy guide and unleash your hidden creativity instantly. 


Basic Calligraphy Stroke - Faux calligraphy


Try Faux Calligraphy

Faux calligraphy is another name for modern calligraphy. It is different from its traditional art form as it uses modern-day tools (pens). Beginners can thoroughly improve their calligraphy skills this way. Since there are a lot of things to learn about a dip pen brush, modern calligraphy entirely eliminates this step and allows you to use a standard pen. It is not only less daunting but also more practical to learn. 
Learning how to draw each alphabet into a Celtic knot, gothic style, or bubble, gets easier since you don't struggle using your standard pen. Therefore, faux or modern calligraphy is a great way to try different strokes and scripts. This practice builds the muscle memory that you can use when attempting lettering with conventional pens. 
Besides being an aid to freshers, it is also convenient for a range of projects. You also improve your handwriting with modern calligraphy. 


Calligraphy Skill to Improve - Try Faux Calligraphy


Know the Key Differences

Just like calligraphy, cursive is also an aesthetic art of lettering or handwriting. But the latter makes use of continuous movement without lifting the pen from the paper. However, the former is a work of carefully plotted strokes. It involves building each alphabet with a combination of strokes and therefore requires lifting the pen multiple times while writing. With calligraphy lettering, you should only picture a letter in terms of strokes.
People often confuse calligraphy with cursive writing. There are many differences between the two and you must be informed of them. Major blunders can be avoided and new techniques can be learned only if you know what makes calligraphy unique. 
Knowledge of all these differences comes only with a thorough understanding and actual interest in learning the skill. This key tip will improve your calligraphy and is also a respected habit of successful people. 


Calligraphy Skill to Improve - Know the Key Differences


Practice, Practice and Practice 

A pro tip for beginners is to get comfortable with various lines. This practice will absorb the method of writing calligraphy in your muscle memory. It is only after repeated attempts that the style will come naturally. Air writing is also a popular technique to warm up your hand and shoulder muscles for added support for this fine motor skill. The added benefit of knowing drawing and handwriting skills will only step up your game. 
As a form of practice, make use of worksheets to improve your handwriting. Such training material will introduce you to the uppercase and lowercase letterforms. There are tons of tutorials, training materials, and guides online to enhance your calligraphy. 
Be it photography, origami, gardening, or any other creative skill, the secret to success lies in rigorous practice. So, you must step out of your comfort zone, get in the habit of consistent practice, and discipline yourself to learn this creative art. 

The creative art of penmanship, like calligraphy, is an impressive skill to develop. With its own set of rules and diverse uses, it is a must-learn. Acquire this skill from experts worldwide on our one of a kind, skill-sharing app Kool Stories. Download the app now. We have infused skill sharing with an element of social learning. Learning in a safe environment, with categorised content makes knowledge transfer social, personalised and authentic. As you connect and learn in the company of like-minded people, transform all your learning passions into skills. But the biggest tip is to have fun and enjoy your learning journey thoroughly! 

You can also try your artistry in most in-demand designing skills. Learn them from scratch through 15-minute micro-courses and get one-on-one guidance from seasoned experts. 


What makes a good calligrapher?

A good calligrapher has an eye for design, the power to visualise, knowledge of different mediums and tools, a strong sense of expression, the desire to improve and the ability to follow guidelines.

Is calligraphy a dying art?

Calligraphy or the art of lettering isn’t a dying art and has made a come-back in the creative circles. The practice of beautiful writing is an age-old art being utilised in its traditional and new variations in the realm of design, typography, and graphics. Plus, faux calligraphy and modern calligraphy practices have made the art more accessible.

Is calligraphy hard to learn?

Calligraphy is not hard to learn but is tough to perfect. With dedicated hourly practice per week, one can learn calligraphy. After refining the basic techniques, the challenging part of developing a style begins.

Is calligraphy a useful skill?

Calligraphy is so much more than just a creative hobby or outlet. Doing calligraphy has many positive implications, and it is a useful medium to earn and express. Other reasons that make hand-lettering valuable include its positive impact on:

1.Fine motor skills
2.Mental health

How to get better at calligraphy?

Mastering or perfecting a skill starts with practising. Similarly, you can better at calligraphy with:

1.Repeated practice
2.The willingness to experiment with different mediums
3.Stepping out of your comfort zone and daring to try
4.A daily dose of inspiration
5.Acknowledging your progress

How long does it take to get good at calligraphy?

It is generally recommended to give yourself two months to complete the Beginner's Modern Calligraphy Online Course. But if you plan accordingly, you can finish in a month for sure by dedicating at least five hours per week to filling out the course worksheet and watching the videos.

Is there money in calligraphy?

You can earn money through this art by selling your calligraphy skills on Etsy and other business websites. In fact, many calligraphers make a living solely through their Etsy and online shops.