How To Learn The Art of Calligraphy
Calligraphy is a beautiful art which adds class and elegance to all kinds of stationery, and is especially popular for using on wedding invitations for an extra special touch.
If you want to master this craft yourself, please find many beginner's lessons and video tutorials below, with inspirational examples of what can be achieved. Of course, once you know how to do it, practice is definitely the key to success!
I hope you find this page helpful :)
Best Calligraphy Kits, Gadgets & Pens
Few tools and materials are required for calligraphy, especially in the beginning, which means that it is the quality of the products you use that make the difference. Here are some highly-rated products for you to browse - mainly from popular brands:
Introduction To Calligraphy
Calligraphy means 'beautiful writing' and was how all written material was created before the printing press was invented - even books were painstakingly hand-written one by one on parchment using a quill.
Fountain pens (where the ink/ink cartridge is in-built) or dip pens (which need to keep being dipped in a bottle of ink to refill) are the most common ways of writing calligraphically. The nibs used with these pens are relatively wide and flat (i.e. not a ball point) to create the 'thick-and-thin' look of calligraphy. A quill pen is unusual but traditional, and brushes can also be used, although this is mainly for large artworks and Chinese symbols. You can also get calligraphy markers which are like felt-tips and can be useful for a beginner.
Fountain pens are more convenient and create lovely results, however a more authentic look is often created with dip pens, and these also offer more control over your writing. Dip pens are 'loaded' with ink using either a brush or from just dipping the nib in ink. Click here for a very handy troubleshooting guide to dip pens.
The original reason for pens having to have a broad tip was that the materials (reeds/feathers) used for nibs/pens at the time were not strong enough to have a fine point, so the points were made broader to add strength.
The ink used is mostly a water-based variety, and you can see a variety of inks that are used by having a look at this page.
The paper is usually parchment or vellum due to the fact you can erase mistakes with a knife, and also you can see through them - which allows you to put a piece of lined paper behind the parchment/vellum in order to help you write in neat straight lines. With thicker materials which you can't see through, a lightbox is often used to work on so that you don't need to draw pencil lines on your work with a ruler. You can experiment with different papers; you just need to make sure that the porosity of the paper is consistent and doesn't cause blotting. Check out this site for tips on how to choose what paper to use.
Two words you may see when reading about calligraphy are 'minuscule' and 'majuscule'. These are the original words for 'lower case' and 'upper case' letters respectively.
There are several styles of calligraphy which are the most common - but you can always make up your own! You can see the most used styles on this page.
Skillshare Online Lesson
As a side note, there is an online class in modern calligraphy available (that I have just signed up to myself) which provides a series of video lessons for modern calligraphy so that you can write like this >
If you are interested, click on the link below the image for more information.
P.S. Just with regard to honesty, yes I will receive a free month subscription if anyone signs up to the class through this page, but I am genuinely already signed up to the class as a full-paying member! Thanks in advance for anybody using this link :)
Beginner Video Lessons
Gold Gilt Lettering
Beginner's Calligraphy Lessons & Information
- Basic Calligraphy Tools
A helpful page of information for those just starting out.
- Calligraphy Basics
A guide to the tools and basics - by Martha Stewart.
- Vital Calligraphy Skills
Vital skills you need to practice in order to master calligraphy.
- Popular Alphabets
Several alphabet examples which are the most used.
- Letter & Word Spacing
How you space apart letters and words within sentences.
- Calligraphy for Beginners
A great intro to calligraphy, with quality information.
- Choosing a Pen
All about the different pens and brands on offer.
- Caring For and Using a Dip Pen
More detail about dip pens and how to keep them in tip-top condition.
- Scribblers Lessons
Project ideas and equipment help for those who are new to calligraphy.
Further How-Tos & Beginner Guides
- Lindsey Bugbee Lessons
Learn how to write calligraphically in watercolor, white ink and more.
- Lettering with Gouache
An alternative to ink which offers a more solid, stronger colour.
- Calligraphy Alphabets
Display of the most popular alphabet styles.
- Dip Pen Tips & Advice
Useful troubleshooting for anyone struggling with using dip pens.
- Calligraphy School
A brilliant list of advice which could save you lots of time.
- Choosing the Paper
An excellent guide to choosing the best paper.
- Selecting Calligraphy Ink
Let this article do the research for you.
- Address Writing
Lovely starter tutorial for writing silver addresses using an oblique pen holder.
- Working with Gouache
More information on working with this media.
- A Collection of Lessons
Many video lessons, plus alphabet examples and articles.
Font Style Ideas & Inspiration
- Plurabelle Calligraphy
A very pretty blog run by a professional calligrapher.
- Pinterest Gallery
Beautiful and inspiring examples.
- Da Font
Digital calligraphy fonts to give you ideas for adding your own creative touches.
- Gallery of Alphabets
Huge gallery of examples of lettering from across the web.
- DIY Wedding Calligraphy
Fab article on creating beautiful envelopes.
- A-Z of Calligraphy
Different ideas for how to write the letters of the alphabet.
More Calligraphy Tutorials & Creative Ideas
- Decorated Letters
A step-by-step for creating ornate letters at the start of paragraphs.
- Detailed Lessons & Practices
Lots of links to practice sheets and printed tutorials.
- Top Tips
A few useful tips for bringing the most out of your writing.
- Make a Quill Pen
If you feel like making your own feather pen!
- DIY Quilling Ink
How to make your own ink from fruit and other natural products.
- Creating White Calligraphy
Tips and examples of using white ink on a dark background.
- Wax Seals
The traditional, classic accompaniment to calligraphed letters.
- Gilding with Gold
How to transfer gold sheets onto paper or card.
- Goldleaf Letters
A video series showing the best way of gilding paper.
Black Text Speedball Lettering
Free Exercise Sheets & Alphabets
- Roman Lettering
How to write in 'rustic capitals' which is a good beginner style.
- Gothic Alphabet
A bolder style which is made up of precise lines.
- Italic Alphabet
Free template for a simple italic font.
- Foundational Letters
A simple style for beginners.
- Blackletter Lesson
A strong style made with straight lines.
- Uncial Alphabet
Curvy lettering which is only in uppercase.
- Ornamental Script
Beautifully ornate alphabet with exercise sheets.
- Italic Exemplars
Handy alphabet sheets for learning the Italic style.
Traditional Feather Quill
Brush Calligraphy & More Inspiration
How to Cheat with Faux Calligraphy!
Perfect if you only want to do calligraphy as a one off - perhaps for your wedding stationery.
- Without a Calligraphy Pen
How to use a fine point pen to create the look of calligraphy.
- Video Lesson
How to design your own fancy letter with a fine point pen.
- Lightbox Method
Type and print the writing out beforehand - then trace.
- Printing Directly
How to print directly onto your envelopes.
- Cheating Calligraphy
Use a coloring-in technique to replicate the look of calligraphic writing.
Writing in Gold
Top-Rated Calligraphy Books
Whether you are searching for inspiration, alphabet templates or beginner's instructions, there are some fantastic books to choose from:
Please Leave a Comment!
bushraib on April 26, 2018:
Man, I love calligraphy. I've always had a thing for pens and beautiful writing, so if I ever try to do calligraphy again, I will definitely use tips off of this article.
Barbara on May 23, 2017:
Thank you so much for this! You've laid it out really well, it's very helpful.
Alanis on March 08, 2017:
how easy seems when you do it! lovely lessons for begginers. i have to practice so much...how beautiful words you write..
Miriam on April 12, 2016:
Thanks Paul I loved the videos and your accent :P you should make more please
wellingtonboot (author) from U.K. on July 27, 2015:
Jonas Rodrigo on July 26, 2015:
Ever since a friend gave me a Speedball calligraphy book as a gift, I've been enthralled by the art of lettering. I've never really gotten around to actually buying a calligraphy pen and trying it out because it all seems expensive for me. But I'm going to try and save up for it. Wish me luck!
Eileen from Western Cape , South Africa on April 09, 2015:
I'm new to calligraphy but would like to to learn this beautiful art . There is a learning curve though but all your great ideas will defintely come in handy .
Mara Alexander from Los Angeles, California on February 27, 2015:
So kewl, this is great. My sister took calligraphy and she writes fantastic. Thank you for sharing
I voted it up
Carlos Aspas from Spain on January 04, 2015:
Wow. Very nice
Charito Maranan-Montecillo from Manila, Philippines on March 03, 2014:
One's got to have a special talent for calligraphy! Not everyone's got a nice handwriting.
Avi Wolfson from Massachusetts on July 30, 2012:
Great lens, thanks for sharing!