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How to Get Started in Calligraphy

As Christmas approaches and you find yourself spending more time indoors, there couldn’t be a better time to take up calligraphy. Read our tips from calligrapher, Angela Reed, to help you with how to do calligraphy and how to find the best calligraphy set for beginners.

How to Write Calligraphy

When learning how to write calligraphy, the type of pen you choose dictates a lot of your style. The type of pen you need depends on the type of calligraphy you want to start learning. Most traditional calligraphers start with the foundational or Roman round hand script. It’s certainly what I introduce people to first in my workshops. A broad-edged pen is what you would need for that and many other traditional calligraphy scripts. You can then decide if you would prefer to use a cartridge pen, or dip pen and ink.

how to do calligraphy

The Lamy Joy from The Pen Shop is a lovely, quality pen and comes in a range of nib widths. I would suggest the 1.5mm to get you started. You can also buy the gift set featuring all three nibs, which would be a sound investment and is a great calligraphy set for beginners.

The Manuscript Calligraphy range would be for you if you are comfortable with pen and ink. A variety of nibs can be fitted to a straight or oblique holder. Some will need a reservoir to hold ink, while others, such as pointed nibs, do not require one.

When learning how to do calligraphy, pointed nibs are used for copperplate and modern calligraphy styles, where pressure, rather than pen angle, create the thick and thin strokes.

Loose sheets of good quality cartridge paper are good for practising on, but you may want to use a notebook of some kind so you can keep track of your progress. Just make sure the paper is not too thin, as the ink will bleed.

how to do calligraphy
Practising Calligraphy Using A Lamy Joy Writing The Alphabet.

A pencil, ruler and eraser are also essential parts of a calligrapher’s kit, for marking out guidelines. Lettering height is dictated by the style of calligraphy and width of the nib you are using.

There are many calligraphy books available and you may be able to find some in your local library. The best seller on Amazon at the time of writing this was The Calligrapher’s Bible: 100 Complete Alphabets and How to Draw Them, by David Harris. I have just invested in a copy of Modern Calligraphy by Molly Suber Thorpe after it was recommended to me by another calligrapher.

There are also countless tutorials and downloadable worksheets available online. Scribblers is a great starting point.

But I think the best thing you can do is find a workshop near you for personalised tuition and peer mentoring.

The Calligraphy Lettering and Arts Society has an interactive map of tutors and groups at

how to do calligraphy

We have been collaborating very closely with Angela over the past few months, you may recall her Question and Answer session where we took the opportunity to learn more about Angela and her passion for calligraphy. In another guest post, Angela explored the different calligraphy pens and sets and popular calligraphy styles.

If you want to learn more about Angela and the services she can provide then head over to her website at Creative Calligraphy and socially you can connect with Angela on Twitter or Facebook. If you are inspired by Angela’s story and you too want to get started with Calligraphy then we have a curated selection of pens to help you.

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