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How do I start learning Calligraphy?

How do I start learning Calligraphy?

Thirty years ago, learning calligraphy meant heading to your local library to borrow a "how to learn calligraphy" book. If you were fortunate, you could also enrol in a calligraphy evening class at a local school or college.

These books typically included a historical introduction to calligraphy, showcasing examples from medieval manuscripts, followed by chapters on tools and materials, and instructions on traditional calligraphy alphabets such as Roman Capitals and the Foundational Hand. Other styles included Italics, Gothic, and Uncials.

Twenty years ago, websites with resources and articles began to appear on the Internet, often replacing the traditional library approach. These online resources made learning calligraphy more accessible and provided a wealth of information at your fingertips.

In the last ten years, Modern Calligraphy has emerged as an alternative to Traditional Calligraphy styles. With fewer rules and a more relaxed approach, Modern Calligraphy can be learned much quicker.

Today, there are two primary paths to learning calligraphy: Traditional Calligraphy and Modern Calligraphy. Before starting, decide which style you want to study. Spend some time online researching examples of both Traditional and Modern Calligraphy to understand their differences.

Although there is not a right or wrong style to study first, Traditional Calligraphy gives you the best foundation and transferable skills as you study in detail the letter proportions and letterforms. 

With Modern Calligraphy you would learn by copying basic pen strokes and an alphabet. Every Modern Calligrapher has their own and unique variation of a style. Whereas with Traditional Calligraphy, for example Uncials, the variation between two calligraphers writing in this style would be minimal.

Once you've chosen a style, purchase the appropriate tools and equipment. There's considerable overlap, as the same nibs can be used for the majority of Traditional lettering styles. This is also true for Modern Calligraphy, as the same pointed nib can be used for many modern lettering styles.

The secret to learning any calligraphy style is to practise. You will make better progress by practising regularly. It's a bit like learning to play an instrument. Try and practice 20 minutes most days of the week rather than setting aside a weekend afternoon.

5 steps to start learning calligraphy effectively.

Choose Your Style: Decide whether you want to learn Traditional Calligraphy or Modern Calligraphy.

Gather Resources: Research books and online tutorials specific to your chosen style.

Acquire Tools: Purchase the necessary tools such as nibs, pens, and paper. Remember, the same nibs can often be used for various styles within both Traditional and Modern Calligraphy.

Learn the Basics: Start by learning the letter proportions and pen strokes for your chosen style.

Practice Regularly: Try and dedicate regular practice sessions, ideally 20 minutes a day, to develop your skills. Consistent practice is crucial for progress, much like learning to play an instrument.



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