Crafting calligraphy

December 27, 2019

To learn to write calligraphy, you have to be acquainted with the 3 most fundamental calligraphy skills described (and highlighted) below.

If you are already happy utilizing a broad-edged nib, you may like my

Crafting calligraphy

Calligraphy requires very couple of special products to begin with. Fortunately, too, they’re mostly easy and affordable:

• A calligraphic writing tool like a pen or brush
Ink, or similar
Paper (or any other writing medium)
• An even, hard, flat supporting surface
• A seat in a comfortable height
• Optional: a ruler and pencil (for lines to create along)

It’s also a benefit to create your calligraphy on the sloping surface.

Practising vital calligraphy skills

Finding out how to write calligraphy within the Civilized world means finding out how to manipulate a ‘thick-and-thin’ effect which pleases the attention having a flowing, regular pattern.

Usually in the western world, a ‘calligraphy nib’ means one that’s broad and flat rather of the ordinary rounded point like a biro or fountain-pen nib. (Copperplate nibs work differently!)

This broad, flat structure implies that the nib results in a distinctive ‘thick-and-thin’ effect if this moves within the page, which effect is the reason why calligraphic letters look so nice.

Even though you already understand how to create calligraphy, it’s worth refreshing these 3 core skills:

  1. Keep your pen-position constant
  2. Lead the nib, don’t push it
  3. Make parallel lines as well as curves.

Get these right and it will be just detail, variation and exercise. Well . mostly 🙂

Crafting calligraphy: the very first skill

Hold your pen in an constant position. For many scripts you’ll contain the pen so the tip from the nib points diagonally from you left, around 30-60 levels. (The precise position varies for various scripts – don’t be concerned relating to this for now.)

The nib shouldn’t turn while you form lines and curves. It ought to always reason for exactly the same direction, just like a compass needle, regardless of the pen as well as your hands do. This give regularity towards the script. This is actually the first step toward crafting calligraphic letterforms.

Crafting calligraphy: the 2nd skill

Lead the nib lightly over the paper, moving it backwards or sideways in the direction it’s pointing in. Use little pressure and your hands barely touching the paper – do not lean heavily in your hands, wrist, forearm or elbow.

(Should you press way too hard around the nib you might damage it after which it won’t work nicely. Should you push the nib ‘forwards’ from your hands, it’ll have a tendency to dig in to the paper and sputter or blot, which spoils the job in addition to damaging the nib. Beginners frequently lean heavily on their own arm however this pressure helps make the letters look stiff and clumsy, and before long it hurts, too.)

Crafting calligraphy: the 3rd skill

Draw vertical, horizontal or diagonal lines parallel with one another. If you wish to learn to write calligraphy of various types, the 3 is going to be needed! (For instance, italic calligraphy is made with lines that slope away upwards right but ordinary Roman letters are made on perfectly vertical, straight-up-and-lower lines.)


Many beginning calligraphers never understand that all of these are separate skills, plus they don’t discover why they can’t result in the effects they need.

Drawing lines so that they are in exactly the same position as one another (skill no. 3) is really a different action from keeping the pen-nib in a constant position (skill no. 1). You can preserve your pen-nib in the same position but still draw vertical parallel lines … horizontal parallel lines … and sloping parallel lines. (This can be a helpful warm-up exercise, incidentally.)

Simply because you had been drawing a vertical line before and you are drawing a horizontal line does not necessarily mean that you simply change your pen-position!

And merely because you aren’t holding your pen in a vertical position (for instance) does not necessarily mean that you can’t draw a vertical line!

Keeping an easy, constant pressure around the nib (skill no. 2) is separate again, and it is essential to create even letterforms and layouts.

The next illustrations might help:

Illustrations of fundamental calligraphy exercises

When individuals skills are separate inside your mind and (more to the point) inside your hands, you’ve mastered the fundamentals of crafting calligraphy. That’s the fundamental simple it.

Now you’ve understood the fundamental concepts of Western calligraphic writing (a minimum of when i understand them!) you might be wondering what’s next?

Just like in skiing or learning an overseas language or memorising a regular . next is PRACTICE. Ask any calligrapher!

(If you are wondering crafting calligraphy with various types of tools for example felt-pens, square brushes etc, you may such as the ‘Five Options’ calligraphy tutorial.If you are searching for any quick-and-easy calligraphic effect or you’ve hit a wall inside your calligraphy practice, you might like to take a look at the page on ‘easy’ calligraphy.)

Just from interest, exactly why calligraphy pens possess a broad, flat nib happens because the first Western pens were made from reeds or down that have been only sufficiently strong for use for writing if they weren’t sharpened to some thin point. (Within the China the issue was solved by looking into making special brushes to color the letters with. The Arabic-speaking world uses thick-and-thin nibs made from reeds that are cut differently from ours.)

The thick-and-thin effect and small decorative tags or serifs that have been produced by our early nibs grew to become the conventional appearance permanently writing. They can nonetheless be observed in traditional typefaces or fonts for example Occasions New Roman. More ‘modern’ fonts for example Arial (and many other internet-friendly typefaces) have removed the thick-and-thin effect and also the serifs. Such fonts are known as ‘sans-serif’ (‘without serifs’) because of this. They’re simpler to see than traditional letters on the glowing screen – however they look bland, impersonal and utilitarian in writing.

“Calligraphy is really a craft requiring singularly couple of tools – the writing instrument, a lot of it and also the writing surface would be the only essentials. The art of calligraphy depends upon the scribe getting an awareness from the proper utilization of the 3, on his understanding of letterforms as well as on his skill and freedom within their use.”

Louise Child, ‘Pens in Perspective’, The Calligrapher’s Guide

Calligraphy basics

Medieval script

Italic script

Roman script

Tools, materials, workspace

Lettering & misc.

Fancy lettering

Celtic knotwork

Bubble lettering

Writing verse

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Qalam Crafting – The Art of Creating a Calligraphy Pen. [8-min]