You made it! This is the final installment of my modern calligraphy for beginners series. In this post, I’ll give you some general tips to help you improve your skills. These are just some things that I has helped me over the years.
Down strokes are thick, up strokes are thin!
This is the most basic principle of calligraphy and seems to be the most common problem with most beginners. It’s the easiest way to make your work go from average to great!
Analyse your work
A lot of the time we’ll look at something we’ve done and write it off if it’s not up to our expectations. Really scrutinize your work and try to identify where you went wrong. Mark down where you can improve and try again.
Practice. All. The. Time.
I’ve mentioned this before and I will never stop mentioning it. When you’re on the phone or waiting for a friend at a restaurant – practice. If you don’t have a brush pen, practice faux calligraphy with a regular pencil. No excuses! This is what most of the papers around my house look like:
The more you practice, the better you’ll get. No one is naturally good a calligraphy, even if you have amazing handwriting!
Try different pens
Sometimes it can feel like you’re practicing all the time but somehow you’re not seeing results. I don’t recommend buying a million different pens at the beginning but if you find that you’re really struggling, try a pen with a different firmness or a different tip size – it can make all the difference!
We watch a lot of sped up videos on Instagram and our mind tends to think that everyone goes quickly. Take your time. Really, if you think you’re going slow, go slower.
Go back to the grid
I recommend going back to dot grid or grid paper every once in awhile to improve the shape of your letters. It’s good to refresh your muscles every once in awhile, especially if you get used to writing on blank paper.
Sometimes it’s hard to work out the fine details of calligraphy when you’re writing small, so it helps to write bigger than you normally would. This allows your to press your pens (brush or dip) all the way which make it so your downstrokes are all even.
Take a break
When working on a project for a long time, it always helps to take a break and come back later with fresh eyes. This way, you can see any mistakes you may have previously overlooked and, more importantly, you’ll be able to get back to it with a clear mind.
Look back on your old work
I often do this when I’m having a bad calligraphy day or when I’m feeling less than average when compared to all those amazing folks on Instagram. When you see how far you’ve come, it helps you appreciate your hard work!
There you go! Now that you’re set, my most important tip of all tips: Keep things simple. Buy a pen or two, use whatever paper you have at home, do drills and worksheets and practice all the time! These tips should be helpful but remember that everyone’s technique is different. And remember, as every blog post in the history of time will tell you – have fun!
PS. All the pictures in this post are from a loooong time ago (except for the ‘good vs. not good’ one.) So if you’re feeling bad about your calligraphy just remember…if I can, so can you.