The First 2 Steps to Learn Calligraphy

by Admin on April 28, 2013

The last time we took a look at the most common and versatile calligraphy alphabet types. I believe that by now you already have decided for yourself, whether you would like to learn calligraphy or not. If you do, please read on, since this article focuses on some basics essential for starters. We are not talking about mastery yet, we are just starting out way towards calligraphy excellence.

Start to learn calligraphy with these basic steps

So, before you start learning to write calligraphic letters and sentences, there are few basic steps that need to be accomplished:

  • Gather your tools and supplies. Although calligraphy does not require significant investments into tools and supplies, you still need to decide on what exactly you will use for creating your beautifully crafted letters.
  • Get comfortable with your working place, try out your tools and learn to do basic strokes with them.

Gathering calligraphy tools and supplies

Calligraphy Writing ToolsThere are few items that are needed for starting to learn calligraphy. Don’t go fancy at first, as this will distract you from the main goal. Remember that it is not as much about tools as it is about skill. The more skills you acquire with your basic tools, the more other tools you can try in order to explore various sides of your creativity. So the basic tools are:

  • Writing instruments. Most commonly used instruments include calligraphy fountain pens (do not confuse them with the regular fountain pens used for writing), dipping pens (traditionally used by calligraphers), markers (care must be taken when choosing markers for calligraphy, I’ll explain that later), quills and reed pens, and brushes. I would suggest going for dipping pens at first, as they are both traditional and cheap.
  • Inks and paints. The most common is calligraphy ink used for dipping pens or calligraphy fountain pens, followed with india ink, acrylic inks, sumi and Chinese stick inks, fountain pen inks, metallic pigments and inks, artist colors, calligraphy gouache, tube watercolors, and acrylic paint. Try getting simple calligraphy ink for dipping pens, nothing fancier is needed to get started.
  • Paper. The choice of paper is quite vast these days, but inexpensive thicker notebook paper will do for practicing calligraphy. Then there is a special paper for ink, Bristol, parchment and vellum, printmaking and watercolor paper, commercial paper and other types of art paper.
  • Art supplies. The most common supplies you might need are T-square, a ruler, pencils, erasers, a utility knife, scissors, craft glue, drafting tape, paper towels, and a tabletop or drawing board. Many of these items can either be found in the household , or are not that expensive anyways.

Getting comfortable with work station and tools

Calligraphy Work StationBeing able to get the most out of your tools is the secret to mastering calligraphy. Each tool requires its own slightly different set of skills. The main goal here is to stop tools getting in the way of your creativity and turn them into trusted and convenient friends of yours. To do so, you need to take care of the following:

  • Prepare the writing surface. It is important to have slightly padded surface beneath your writing paper – it helps the pen to “bite” into the paper. A simple drawing board can be made from a piece of plywood, but it’s a subject for another article.
  • Set up your workstation. It’s convenient to put your tools and supplies the same way every time you do calligraphy. An important aspect is the source of light, as well as maintaining proper posture and having a drawing surface ideally at 45 degree angle. Again, this subject deserves an entire article.
  • Try out your pens. It would be nice to have at least a dipping pen, calligraphy fountain pen and calligraphy marker to get an idea which one you like the most. If it’s just a dip pen you have, don’t worry, and just focus on holding your pen properly. You may try other tools later.
  • Learn the basic strokes with the tools of your choice. There are about two dozens of basic strokes that make up most calligraphy letterforms. Their shapes and angles may wary depending on your personal style and the kind of calligraphy alphabet being used. Continue writing them repeatedly before proceeding to learning specific calligraphy alphabet letterforms.

This concludes the introduction to the basics of how to start to learn calligraphy. Most of the topics mentioned above will be uncovered in greater details in later posts. Stay with me for more information on learning and mastering calligraphy writing. Till next time, friends.


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