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5 Reasons Why you should learn Modern Calligraphy

Risha Khan is a content writer and calligrapher. She has been doing calligraphy for 3-4 years.


Traditional/Classic calligraphy dates back to the ancient period but it is still prevalent today. It has its own charm. The scripts falling under this type of style are Roman Italics, Uncial, Gothic style, etc. Nowadays, Modern calligraphy has become very popular among aspiring calligraphers for the following reasons: -

1. Easy to Learn

Like traditional calligraphy, modern calligraphy also has many styles and variations. The latter style is quite easy to learn. These basic strokes are important for letter formations. Minuscules (small letters) inherently follow these strokes. In fact, it is very simple for beginners to fake the art of calligraphy, known as "faux calligraphy". It can be practiced with a ballpoint pen or pencil. With patience and dedication, you will be able to understand the anatomy of the letters.

In traditional calligraphy, every script is written using pens having different nib-widths. Moreover, the angle of inclination is also different. The specifications are demonstrated in the table below: -

ScriptType of NibDegree of Inclination


Broad nib: 3.8 mm - 6.0 mm



1.5 mm



Pointed Nib


2. Flexibility of Tools

The tools used in modern calligraphy encourage flexibility to produce thin and thick lines. A pencil is an allrounder tool for drawing strokes and planning layouts to create stunning compositions. Following are the tools that are often used: -

  • Brush pens: - The tips of brush pens can be felt-tip or contain bristles. They can be firm (hard) or soft. They are available in small, medium, and large sizes. The brush pens contain ink that can be water-based or pigment-based. Water-based pens are quite juicy and easy to blend, creating beautiful gradient effects when different colors are mixed.
  • Pointed Pens: - These pens have flexible nibs to create thin and thick strokes according to the pressure exerted on them. The pen holder containing the nib could be straight or in oblique form.
  • Paper: - Marker papers are suitable for brush pens as they are smooth and thick compared to regular printer paper. Rhodia pads are available in different sizes and variations such as dot-grid, square-grid, ruled, and plain papers.
  • Tracing paper: - It is a great alternative for marker paper.
  • Rolling ruler: - It is used to draw guidelines with ease.

Recommendations: -

  1. Brush pens: Tombow Fudenosuke hard and soft tip brush pens (ideal for beginners), Tombow Dual, Camlin Artist Brush Pens, Pentel Fude, Zig Fudebiyori (available in metallic shades too), Faber Castell brush pens
  2. Pointed pens: Hunt 22, Nikko G, and Leonardt Principal nibs with Tachikawa, and Speedball pen holders.
  3. Paper: Canson, Strathmore, and Bristol marker papers, Arches hot-pressed watercolor paper, and HP Premium 32 paper for printing worksheets.

Additional tools: -

  • Sakura Gelly Roll white pens for highlighting.
  • Sakura Pigma Micron pens.
  • Crayola markers.
  • Chalk markers.
  • Paint markers.
  • Watercolor paintbrushes and water brushes

Any smooth surface is suitable for showing off your creativity. For example - window glass, wine glass, chalkboards, and even Christmas ornaments.

3. Fundamental Strokes

The basic strokes that are used in modern calligraphy will give you a clear picture of how letters are formed with two and more strokes combined. But before getting started, it is necessary to draw guidelines to understand the concept behind these strokes.

  1. X-height: it is the gap between the waistline (W) and the baseline (B) which is a foundation for all letters.
  2. Ascending line (A): The part above the waistline (W) where the ascending stem-loop resides.
  3. Descending line (D): The part below the baseline (B) where the descending stem-loop resides.

Pay close attention to those tiny triangles. This is the place where the transition happens as the pressure is exerted and released on paper

Pay close attention to those tiny triangles. This is the place where the transition happens as the pressure is exerted and released on paper

The basic strokes used in modern calligraphy are as follows: -

  1. Upstrokes and Downstrokes: The upstrokes are formed when the pen moves toward the upward direction with little pressure resulting in thin lines whereas the downstrokes are formed when the pen moves in the downward direction resulting in thick lines with heavy pressure.
  2. Overturn stroke: It resembles an inverted “u”. Start from the baseline to waistline as an upstroke and further transition into a downstroke back to the baseline.
  3. Underturn stroke: It resembles the “u” letter. Start from the waistline to baseline as a downstroke and transitions into an upstroke back to the waistline.
  4. Compound Curve: It is a combination of an overturn and an underturn. This stroke has two points where the transition occurs. It is used to connect letters. Another variation is the reverse compound curve.
  5. Ovals: Start from the right side and then draw in an anti-clockwise direction. It has two points of transition. Another variation is a reverse oval that goes in a clockwise direction.
  6. Ascending stem-loop: Start from the waistline (upstroke) like a curve toward the ascending line, meeting the starting point, and move toward the baseline (downstroke).
  7. Descending stem-loop: Start from the waistline (downstroke) and go toward the descending line, forming a curve meeting the baseline (upstroke).

The size of x-height, ascending, and descending lines as per the guidelines may vary depending upon the tool being used. For example: - the guidelines for the medium tip brush pens and the pointed nibs will be the same: two ruled lines or 3 dots/squares as per dot-grid and square grid paper.

4. iPad Lettering

The aspiring calligraphers can try their hands in the digital mediums as well. You will need an Apple pencil and the "Procreate" app to be installed on your iPad device. The app has some default brushes for creating the strokes.

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Some websites and influencers such as Lettering Daily, Loveleigh Loops (@loveleighloops), and The Happy Ever Crafter (@thehappyevercrafter) offer online tutorials for learning lettering on the iPad. Design Cuts offer various brushes that are designed for this app.

5. Versatility

Hand-lettering is the art of illustrating letters. Each letter has its own space. Calligraphy and hand-lettering are often mixed to create enticing layouts, such as: -

  1. Block letters (capital letters) and watercolor lettering.
  2. Faux calligraphy and drop-shadow styles.
  3. Ribbon lettering.
  4. Drawing letters within the banners.
  5. Monograms filled with floral doodles.
  6. Bouncy Lettering using watercolor confections/metallic shades.
  7. Drawing floral wreaths.

The possibilities are endless and one can get inspirational ideas from Instagram and Pinterest. The professional calligraphers can conduct their own online classes and offline workshops. This is a great start for generating income through calligraphy. Calligraphers are hired for creating place-cards, birthday cards, addressing envelopes, designing the cover for notebooks, or customized quotes, etc.

The best part of learning modern calligraphy is that your handwriting doesn't matter. Calligraphy will not help you in improving your handwriting, either. Although the visual appearance of modern calligraphy is similar to the cursive letters, the motive is to go slow and draw one stroke at a time.


Calligraphy and hand-lettering incorporated into journaling is altogether a healing experience. It is more about self-expression. It is a journey to self-discovery. You can show off your creativity in your journal spreads as per the themes and keep looking around for inspiration. Following is the list of influencers you must follow to learn calligraphy: -

  1. Lettering Daily (@lettering_daily).
  2. Kelly Klapstein (@kellycreates).
  3. Jillian and Jordan (@loveleighloops).
  4. Becca Courtice (@thehappyevercrafter).
  5. Amanda Pel Arneill (@amandaarneill).
  6. Weronika Zubek (@twoeasels).


Risha Khan (author) from Bhilai, Chhattisgarh on November 08, 2020:

Glad to know that you are also into calligraphy, Preeti. And you have been teaching this beautiful art since 7 years, this is really awesome. Would love to learn many things from you. Thank you for your encouraging words

Preeti Shah from Delhi on November 08, 2020:

A great piece of information for beginners. I am also doing and teaching calligraphy for the past 7 years. Love to see more articles on this beautiful art. Keep sharing!

Risha Khan (author) from Bhilai, Chhattisgarh on October 27, 2020:

Thank you for your time and invaluable feedback on my article,Amit. Traditional calligraphy has been in existence for a long time. You may have seen work of calligraphy in wedding card invitations and other places.

Amit Masih from Jaipur, India on October 27, 2020:

This is so good. I am a person who knows nothing about calligraphy but after reading this article, I came to know everything. Thank you for sharing such beautiful information.

Risha Khan (author) from Bhilai, Chhattisgarh on October 24, 2020:

Thank you for your encouraging words, Vikram. Many people are now gradually becoming aware of this art. I find it quite therapeutic

Vikram Brahma from Assam, India on October 24, 2020:

Very nice informative article, my friend. I don't have much idea but enjoyed reading. Thank you.

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