How To Write in Calligraphy

When learning how to write in calligraphy, you will need to choose a style, the formation of each letter, the pen you will write with and the paper on which you write.

Styles
Before you start, choose the style of lettering that appeals to you. Calligraphy is a centuries-old craft with numerous styles that include Japanese, Chinese, Celtic, Gothic, Greek, Hebrew, Roman, Cyrillic and Arabic. Each has its own look that ranges from block style to decorative characters and symbols.

Selecting a clean style such as Roman versus a much more complicated style like Old English gives you time to concentrate on and become accustomed to the basic forms before attempting the more intricate and decorative styles. How to write calligraphy letters is not only about creating bold strokes and fine lines but also becoming acquainted with the mechanics of the pen or brush itself in order to create the letters.

Formation
The strokes are fluid motions that create each part of the letter. Like an artist's paintbrush, a pen should be grasped and turned to utilize the edge of the nib, which determines the length and width of each letter. Unlike a fountain or ballpoint pen where you put pen to paper and write the letters, calligraphy is an art form where each letter has a specialized style and series of strokes and lines to create each letter. The art of calligraphy focuses on conveying feeling and emotion through the letters.

Materials
Lined parchment paper or inexpensive single sheet bond paper is a good medium for practicing formation of letters. The lined paper serves as a guide to keep you within the designated space so the letters are uniform in height across the page. Eventually, you will become comfortable at sizing and spacing each letter of a particular style without the use of lines.

As for the ink, try a brush, ink cartridge pen or dipping pen depending on what is most comfortable for you. Using ink from a dipping well has its own hazards. Also practice how to dispense of excess ink to prevent splotches and bleeding of the letters.

Practice
To learn calligraphy, you must be willing to practice often. Books, videos, workshops, DVD's and individual classes will teach you the basics of the different styles available, how to form letters using the correct movement of the pen and proper height and spacing between each letter.

Keep in mind when practicing that traditional cursive writing is a series of plain lines and curves all connecting to create words whereas calligraphy is a series of singular disconnected lines that use varying lengths, widths and embellishments to create each letter.

Once you master the basics of lettering, you will be able to move on to the more advanced styles that incorporate intricate techniques, exaggerated formations, elaborate serifs and versals (fancy capital letters used in verse), Chinese and Japanese symbols and characters that require the use of different pen types and nibs.

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