Calligraphy 101: 10 Tips for Beginners

Calligraphy is probably closer to drawing than it is to writing in spite of the fact that you are creating letters and numbers, so it helps to have some drawing experience in order to create truly artful calligraphy.

10 Tips for Beginners:

1. Metal nibs can be very sharp, and beginning calligraphers often tear the paper. You can avoid tearing the paper by using softened nib tips.

2. Unlike writing in cursive, calligraphy requires that you lift your pen several times, even when making the same letter, so be conscious of when you need to lift the nib from the paper.

3. When you're first starting out, practice your strokes according to various stroke charts available. There are only nine basic strokes you need to know for lower case letters, and there are seven basic strokes for capital letters and numerals.

4. After you load your pen nib with ink, make a few practice strokes on a separate piece of paper before you start lettering. This will help even out the ink flow and avoid splotches or blobs of extra ink.

5. When the pen nib starts feeling scratchy on the paper, refill the nib with ink.

6. For thicker strokes, use more pressure on the nib, and for lighter strokes, use less pressure. Make dots by pressing and holding the nib on the paper so the ink pools.

7. It's a good idea to use guide sheets to keep your lettering running evenly across the paper.

8. Choose smooth, flat paper for calligraphy work. Shiny paper will make the ink smear easily, and textured paper has a tendency to catch the nib, as well as make strokes look uneven.

9. It's better to move your arm to create strokes rather than your wrist. Moving your arm helps to make the strokes smoother and more fluid.

10. Calligraphy is just like any other art: your own approach can make it yours, so don't worry about small idiosyncrasies in your lettering. It will make the lettering look more unique.