Traditional calligraphic writing is governed by specific, structured, unique strokes that form different letters. The writings made in this way are made with special tools and with exact measurements of heights and angles. On the other hand, modern calligraphy gives more freedom, its framework creates the possibility for the user to deviate from these. You may legitimately wonder if you can write anything, however you like, on a piece of paper and call it calligraphy. Of course, it’s not that simple.
Calligraphy 101 – Everything you need to know about calligraphy
Calligraphy is an ancient art form that has been around for centuries. Its history can be traced back to the Egyptians, who used it to write religious texts. Over time, calligraphy has evolved and adapted to different cultures and religions. Nowadays, it is most useful for making wedding invitations or baby shower lettering. Recognizing its popularity, many brands, including ZERBRA, offer their own calligraphy pens to both beginners and advanced users.
If you are interested in learning calligraphy or simply want to know more about its history, read on!
Table of contents
- The origin and history of calligraphy
- What is modern calligraphy?
- What are the differences between modern calligraphy and traditional calligraphy?
- Tools needed to practice calligraphy
- Brush pens
- Traditional dip pens
- The mechanical or classic pencil
- Markers, ballpoint- and gel pens
- How to get started with modern calligraphy?
- The two basic rules of calligraphy
- Consistency and spacing
- Fake calligraphy – This is how you can create impressive letters and texts for the first time
- The health effects of calligraphy
The origin and history of calligraphy
Writing by hand is not only possible with traditional journaling, but special calligraphy is also gaining more and more fans. We can thank William Morris, who was a representative of the Arts and Crafts movement, for reviving this adventurous, meditative, and truly artisanal, artistic form of writing.
What is modern calligraphy?
When we mention calligraphy to someone, they immediately think of beautifully curved lettering. This is also true for traditional calligraphy. On the other hand, modern calligraphy does not necessarily follow the basic rules of traditional calligraphic writing (for example, italic, and gothic letter). As the youngest member of the family, it retains certain principles from its predecessor but provides its user with greater creative freedom.
It is interesting that thanks to different cultural and religious ways of use, several calligraphic writing styles developed parallel to each other in time and space. Typography deals with the typefaces and font families that have developed in this way. Let’s see how the Serif font was developed:
What are the differences between modern calligraphy and traditional calligraphy?
Tools needed to practice calligraphy
If you are also interested in calligraphy and would like to learn it, then you are in the right place. The first step is to find the right pens. Many people start their practice with a basic set of pens, which contains different brushes, tips, and types of pens. For beginners, for example, the Mildliner Brush&Marker pen can be an ideal choice, because with its easy grip and brush felt tip, it gives its user a sense of success relatively quickly.
Once you’ve mastered the basics of pens, you can experiment with different types of nibs, inks, brush felts, and techniques to find the combination that works best for you.
For experts, we recommend trying different fountain pens. These pens take a little more patience and practice but produce beautiful results.
No matter what type of pen you use, the important thing is to have fun and be patient while learning this new skill.
Modern calligraphy can be practiced using many different tools such as
Brush pens are the easiest tools to get started. This is because the brush pen has a flexible tip that allows you to easily draw nice thick and thin lines.
Traditional dip pens
The traditional pen used for calligraphy is called a dip pen. A classic fountain pen consists of two parts: the nib and the holder. The latter can be straight or diagonal – this is interesting because you can influence the thickness of the lines and strokes with the grip angle. In addition to keeping it at a certain angle, you must constantly ensure that there is an adequate amount of ink on the tip. Learning to work with fountain pens takes a little longer than writing with any other pen, it is no coincidence that they are used mainly by professionals.
The mechanical or classic pencil
A pencil is essential for learning and using calligraphy, be it ANY style of calligraphy. In modern calligraphy, a pencil is mainly used for sketching and following the guidelines mentioned later. A classic graphite pencil is an excellent tool for practicing calligraphy but we also recommend our Drafix mechanical pencil.
In addition to a pencil, you will also need a ruler to learn and draw calligraphy guidelines. The best ruler for calligraphers is a rolling ruler. The rolling ruler allows you to quickly and easily draw parallel lines and other shapes that you can use to create compositions.
Markers, ballpoint- and gel pens
Bolder highlighters, gel pens, and ballpoint pens are mostly used for fake calligraphy and other modern calligraphy styles.
Make it unique, use it for self-expression! Boldly spice up your calligraphic writing with colors, patterns, and decorative elements. Mix up the pens! You wouldn’t even think at first how much freedom creating by hand gives to your creativity – we encourage you to discover!
How to get started with modern calligraphy?
With the spread of modern calligraphy, many people want to give it a try – maybe that’s why you’re here. Thanks to the Internet, a lot of resources and practice exercises are available – but true beginners often don’t know where to start learning. That’s why many people don’t even start. Our advice is that no matter which worksheet or course you like, JUST START! The good news is that learning the basics is actually not difficult. All you need is a pen and paper.
To start, hold your pen at a 45-degree angle. When brushing up, make sure the pen is tilted slightly to the right. To drag down, slightly tilt the pen to the left: initially touch the paper only lightly, then as you drag the pen down, press a little harder. The key is to find a balance.
Once you have mastered the basic strokes, you can start practicing the letters. Start with simple letters like ‘a and b’. Then move on to more complex letters. There are plenty of online resources to help you with this. With a little practice, you can write beautiful letters in no time!
Books, workbooks, and workshops are waiting for you to learn how to draw letters, and thanks to the unlimited possibilities of the Internet, you can find the most suitable teacher for you in all the languages of the world!
The two basic rules of calligraphy
There are some basic rules that must be followed to maintain visual harmony. These rules may seem complicated at first, especially for beginners, but we strongly encourage you to follow them, because knowing them is part of the correct practice of calligraphy. It is worth paying attention to the rules, especially at the beginning, because later on, following them becomes a subconscious routine.
Most instructors highlight two basic rules in their courses and workshops: consistency and spacing.
Consistency and spacing
Drawing our letters consistently helps increase the overall visual harmony. If the letters in a word are the same size, it is more pleasing to the eye than if all the letters are different sizes. No matter how imperfect our letters may be at first, if their height and angle match, we get a uniform image and feeling.
And how can this consistency be mastered and practiced? All you need is a pencil and a ruler to make the letters “more consistent”:
- Use the ruler and pencil to create the baseline and center line (to create the x-height).
- Add the ascending, descending, and slanting lines that define the angle of the letters.
Is there a universal rule for sizes? There isn’t. You can freely determine the height, size, and angle of your letters, the main thing is to keep them consistent in the given composition. Keeping the proper distance between the letters helps with good readability, and this also makes our calligraphy really eye-catching. If the letters are too compressed or spread out unreasonably, or if they “let go of each other’s hands here and there” – the design will be inconsistent.
In order to maintain good and consistent spacing, you should proceed more slowly while writing, raise your pen between each stroke, and pay attention to the spacing of the previous pair of letters. With time and practice, this will become automatic.
To practice, get to know, and fill in the ZEBRA calligraphy practice sheet for beginners!
Fake calligraphy – This is how you can create impressive letters and texts for the first time
Not so patient and want to upload a beautiful calligraphy work to your social media page right after your first time, or surprise someone with a self-made postcard? Read along.
You can learn the fake calligraphy technique quickly and easily.
What is fake calligraphy? Fake calligraphy is created by drawing the thicker lines of the text with bolder felts, while the thinner lines are drawn with liners, brush felts, or even ballpoint and gel pens.
Cursive is the most popular calligraphy font, as its curves, bends, and thicker and thinner parts result in spectacular letters. Fortunately for us, this design is the easiest to “fake”. In 10-30 minutes, you can easily create an eye-catching text, short message, or calligraphy containing a single word.
Write a word or phrase in the font you want. You can find inspiration for this on Pinterest, Instagram, or by typing calligraphy font ABC into the Google search engine.
Make sure to leave enough space between the letters, because later you will have to redraw the lines with a thicker pen. In order to consistently maintain the distance, it is worth drawing the lines that you have already learned in classical modern calligraphy with a pencil.
Rewrite the given word or phrase to get a fuller outline! While filling in the text, keep in mind the writing technique of classical calligraphy. Downstrokes, when the pen moves from the top of a letter down, are thick, and upstrokes, when the pen moves from the bottom to the top, are thin. After that, rewrite the stems going down and decorate them by drawing even smaller parallel lines.
Fill in the empty spaces created by the letter stems. This step will give you the thick and thin writing image of modern calligraphy.
In the end, all that is left is to correct the lines and erase the pencil marks. Add decorative elements if you like.
The health effects of calligraphy
There is something therapeutic about the rhythmic movement of the calligraphy pen as it glides across the paper, leaving behind a beautiful line of letters. For many people, calligraphy provides a long-awaited and necessary getaway from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Practicing calligraphy gives you a chance to take a break from digital screens and clear your mind of any worries or stress factors.
The focused attention required to create beautiful letters can also promote feelings of peace and calm. It’s a great activity for any age, and it also has countless positive effects on mental health. There is nothing better than sitting down with our exercise book on a Friday night or at the weekend after an overloaded week and immersing yourself in drawing letters.
If you’re feeling motivated to start practicing today, we’ve got some great tips! First of all, it is important to use the best pens possible. Visit the nearest store and get your favorite ZEBRA pens and Mildliner brush felts.
Don’t be discouraged if your writing doesn’t look perfect at first – calligraphy takes a lot of practice to get accurate and precise, but it’s definitely worth the effort. Recharge, relax and experience your creative energies! Join the ZEBRA social communities and show us how you develop!