You have this idea that learning Calligraphy would be fun. Well, you're right. As you will see throughout these lessons, you can create beautiful 'art' and write in a style that will have your friends amazed.
This site is really designed for beginners. With this in mind, you should return to the beginning often and go through all the lessons from start. Practice is best done in 15 minute sittings. This way you don't get bored. If you follow through on the practice strokes, over and over, you will see the value. Letters in Calligraphy are made up of the parts. Learn the parts, then you can make any letter.
But you should not think that learning is easy. Some of the exercises you'll be asked to do may seem boring at first. Maybe even silly. However, with any learning comes an amount of apprenticeship. The sweeping the floor, if you might.
Each lesson will build on the next. The links will change colors after you have visited the page. The best way to learn is start with lesson ONE, go through the exercises, then take a break for a couple of days. During this break you should practice the exercises. Try to limit your practice time to 15 minutes each. This way you won't get too bored and your body and hands will adjust to the effort.
The first lesson is more an overview. What you will need. How to handle the instruments. Posture. Setting up a practice or Calligraphy session for yourself.
Take heart, Calligraphy is an art. Writing a nice looking letter or poem is penmanship. There is a difference. Some people just don't have a knack for "ART". So if you try and try and try again, but things just don't seem to work for you, you may need a personal teacher to assist you. There are many good Calligraphers in most every area of the world. You can probably find one in your neighborhood.
Doing Calligraphy is nothing like writing. This is a very important concept to TOTALLY understand from the beginning. In writing you glide along scribbling out the words as one motion. When you write 'cat' you do a few curves and loops and slash across the t to finish. When you Callagraph 'cat' you create each letter, as an individual, considering spacing, appearance, style, and more. But you won't be writing 'cat' for a few more lessons. You probably already wrote it on a piece of paper, anyway. So, here is what you do... turn the paper you have been playing on over, and date it. Then put it in your folder. You'll really like keeping and dating your exercises. You will be able to go back and see your progress. Eventually you will need to throw away some of your practice work (But you don't have to!) just to be able to keep from being covered in a snowstorm of paper.
I still do the basic line exercises. I first picked up a Calligraphy pen in 1978. Yet I still find joy in creating a page of thick and thin lines, diamonds, squares, light curves, and page after page of the letter 'O'. It is my favorite as most every letter contains some element of the letter 'O'.
Once you have the tools, you will be able to jump straight into the lesson area. I recommend you BOOKMARK lesson01.html. Then you can change the lesson number in the address bar and jump forward. I will place a link box at the bottom of each page listing all the lesson pages, so you can JUMP ahead to the next lesson you want to visit. If you create a folder (Scribeworx) in 'favorites' IE or 'bookmarks' Netscape, you can bookmark your last lesson, then jump right in where you left off.
I use SANFORD Calligraphy felt tip (size medium) pens for practicing. They come in packages of three or four colors and cost just a couple of bucks. It is more fun for me to practice in color. But you can buy BLACK pens, too. You can usually find them at any office supply store and sometimes at Wal-Mart. These are the most comfortable for me. They are waterbase so if you get some on you, it will wash off. If you are new to calligraphy, you should NOT use waterproof ink. It doesn't come out. If you spill it, you get to keep the really cool design it will make, especially on your carpeting.
You should buy waterbase ink pens. I'm kinda KLUTZY so I try to protect myself from myself.
For practicing, you can use wide ruled school 3 ring notebook paper. You can make BIG letters, lines, curves, and practice, then throw away whatever you don't want. However, you should turn over the pages, date them, then put them in a folder, for the first few months. You'll be happy to go back, look at your practice pages, and see the progress you've made. This will also keep you moving forward. You'll have something to gauge your progress.
SO... SANFORD (or some type) felt tip pens and school paper. TOTAL investment = $3.00 - $5.00.
Your ability is dictated by your practice. As with any endeavor, there is an apprenticeship, the "sweeping the floors" period, if you might. This is the time when you make lines, light curves, diamonds, and squiggles, over and over and over.
This is one area where practice really does make perfect. Actually, perfection in calligraphy is an illusion. There is always another style to learn, another project to tackle.
You can amaze your friends with just a few dollars worth of supplies. Don't go out and buy any expensive calligraphy equipment until you have finished the first few lessons here. You may find either that you have no interest in lettering, you lack the dedication to achieve a level of quality acceptable to you, or that, FRANKLY, you just can't seem to get the knack of it.
You can start with a few felt tips and get a feel for lettering. These are available at Wal-Mart for a couple of bucks.
Setting up your work area is important. I like being able to view my monitor so that I can practice letter styles on the net.
The right most part of my desk is cleared, ready for Calligraphy practice. Or ready to do a project. This picture shows that the paper is lined up STRAIGHT with the desktop. Keeping the paper straight is important. Most of us write with the paper at an angle. But with Calligraphy, it is needed that the page allows you to create each letter squarely and upright. As you learn more, you will see how much difference the alignment of the paper will be to your work and its quality.
HALF is the key to lettering. HALF WAY up, HALF WAY to your hand. Here it is related to if you are left handed or right handed. Because I am right handed, from now on I will make references for being right handed. If you are left handed, using a little common sense will determine how you hold the pen, align your work and do STUFF!. The pen is held at a 45 degree angle from you to your hand and a 45 degree angle from your surface to straight up. 45 degrees is HALF WAY. The picture at above shows the pen is held at an angle to the page and at an angle to the tabletop surface.
Now, take a break, think about where you want to go today... get your tools and work area organized and come back when you are ready to start.
Thank you for visiting. If you came here from the link at the bottom of the home/index page, you will be able to jump straight to the first lesson by clicking on Lessons in Lettering. This appears above the TRIPOD BANNER. The intro link is for first time visitors. This intro will cover the basic tools you will need to begin your lessons.
You'll want a working area. I use the end of my desk. Now, here is an area you will have to accomodate. I am right handed. So the right side of my desk is clear. My monitor is at the left end of the desk. If you are LEFT handed, you should adjust accordingly. This setup also allows me to view my monitor as I practice. You can use up a lot of paper and ink printing out pages from the net. Few people know how to set up a page to only print what is needed. I can to some degree, however, I can't get rid of the TRIPOD banner. EXCEPT if as above, you link directly to an image.
Unfortunately, some people just aren't able to grasp lettering. For them, you will know soon enough. If you find little interest in the exercises, or can't make the lines, don't beat yourself up. Just give up. This may not seem like the normal attitude of a teacher, but I have told many a student to find another endeavor.
You will want to buy a few lettering books, later. Again, you should hold off any investment until you decide your level. Making money doing Calligraphy is possible. But don't take on something that is important to a person, such as wedding invitations. At least, not until you are VERY GOOD!
Calligraphy fonts can be added to your computer. Fonts allow you to create great looking letters in WORD or for use in your paint programs. You can use fonts on your web pages, as above or to enhance your writings. Later, a complete tutorial will be provided to you here on this site describing step by step, how to download zip files, unzip to the correct folder, and add fonts to your computer (system) in Windows.
Calligraphy offers you an opportunity to have fun, earn extra spending money, and learn a skill that transports to the world with grace and beauty. Free or nearly free information is readily available on the internet. I will provide many links later in this website.