Over the years I have learnt what's important to begin your lettering journey on the best foot. So here I am spilling it all in my top 5 tips!
Bust the myths - "I have bad handwriting" OR "I can't do that"
First off we need to bust these myths and get you in the right mindset.
I hear all the time ‘I would never be able to do that’ or ‘my handwriting is terrible’.
These things are irrelevant when it comes to learning Calligraphy. When I first started in 2017, I was also bad at it, it wasn’t consistent or even in a straight line but with practice I got there!
Your handwriting doesn’t matter either because when you are writing in Calligraphy, you are building the letters one by one in a different way to what you have grown up with. It is a whole new skill you can teach your hands and with muscle memory, you will be Lettering in no time.
Learn the basics
When you are learning any form of Calligraphy, you will hear the term ‘Basic Strokes’.
These are a range of 8 different lines (strokes) that make up the majority of the alphabet when put together. They can look a little funky when they are on their own but I promise you, it will all make sense.
This is the first thing you should focus on learning before jumping into writing words and creating DIY projects. I didn’t learn these to begin with and just went for it, but found myself coming back to it further down the line and it completely changed the style and consistency of my lettering.
Take your time to practice the upstrokes and downstrokes, no matter whether you choose to learn Brush Calligraphy or Faux Calligraphy. I promise you, it will make all the difference!
You can check out this blog on the basics, with a free worksheet.
Pick your tools
Depending on which type of Calligraphy you are learning you will need to choose the correct pens.
For Brush Calligraphy, you need to choose a specific brush pen. These are pens that have a flexible nib and change the thickness of your strokes, based on how much pressure you apply. They can come in different sizes, colours and brands. My top brands to use are Tombow and Pentel Brush.
For Faux Calligraphy, you will want to use a pen that has a non-flexible nib. This can be anything from a pencil, biro or fine line pen. Essentially with Faux Calligraphy, the pen pressure does not create the thick or thin lines you see in Brush Calligraphy. You will need to put these downstrokes in yourself to create the Fauxligraphy effect.
Both of my beginner kits include all the materials and pens you would need to begin your lettering journey.
Take it slow
Don’t be fooled by the social media around Calligraphy. These videos are sped up to fit within a trending song and don’t show exactly how long Hand Lettering can take.
It’s a slow process to keep those lines consistent and smooth, so if you think you are going slow, that is a GOOD thing!
This is why Calligraphy can be such a good wellness activity. It takes concentration to focus on what you are doing next and takes your mind, slows it down and just relaxes in the moment, whilst you create something completely bespoke. Sounds like a dream right?
If you can pick Lettering up over night, that’s amazing BUT if you don’t that is super normal too!
It took me a long time to get used to using the tools, finding my style and just relaxing with the process. One tip I would definitely recommend is buying a pack of tracing paper. If you are using my practice sheets you can use the tracing paper to place over the top, keeping your practice pages clean to use over and over again.
Practice makes progress - remember that.
This is my work from 2018.
Each month I create a free worksheet, based around one aspect of Calligraphy. If you want to receive those and any future tips, please sign up to my emails below.
If you are looking for a complete beginners kit, you can find two options here.
I hope you love learning this amazing skill!
Love, Charlotte xo