About 2 years ago I started looking at ways I could stretch my creative arms outside of my computer. I started looking at hand lettering and calligraphy. I bought what I thought I would need and started watching videos mainly focusing on calligraphy. I of course bought all the wrong things and ended up going back to buy the correct supplies for pointed pen calligraphy.
I practiced, writing the same letter over and over, the same word until I got to a point where I wanted to take a class to see if I was missing anything. I was missing something. The realization that calligraphy is not the same as handwriting. Because it isn’t handwriting, it is an art form that takes practice, and patience and is rather quite meditative. I fell in love.
The more I practice, I began posting what I was doing and one day got a call from a friend asking me if I would be interested in teaching a workshop. Me? Really? OK. So I jumped in. I did more research, knew what I should begin teaching because of my journey and taught my first workshop. Haven’t really turned around since.
I have bad handwriting
Now that I teach calligraphy the most common comment I hear is this: I would love to learn, but I have horrible handwriting.
Well, good news for you. Calligraphy isn’t handwriting. Practicing calligraphy is a muscle memory exercise. You start with practicing simple drills, move to letters and practice those. One thing you need to know is you really aren’t practicing writing the letter H. You are practicing the form of the letter, the shape it forms, the flow of how it loops and curves.
If you practice your handwriting, it would get better also, but handwriting is different. You are writing words and your thoughts are flowing as you write. Calligraphy is drawing shapes of each letter. It is art. I focus so much on the shape of the letters, I have to be careful, I tend to spell a lot of things wrong sometimes because I am so much in the zone of drawing the shapes.
I can’t draw.
Now you are just coming up with excuses not to try something new. You don’t have to be an artist, good at drawing, or even be able to draw a “straight line “ to practice calligraphy. Calligraphy, like I said before, is a muscle memory art. Calligraphers practice drills so that they can be better at drawing the shapes of the letters. I remember a friend asking me if I had let my daughter draw in my sketchbook. When I looked to see what they were talking about, it was my first pages of my practice. Goes to show even an art school graduate has to start somewhere.
No more excuses.
So now that you have the information, what is stopping you from trying calligraphy. There are so many things you can do once you have learned. When I am stressed out and need something to center me and calm me down, I practice drills, letters or words. The action of doing calligraphy is very meditative and relaxing. When it is time to get a card for someone, I now create one myself, and writing their name on an envelope is always nice when it looks super fancy. I make a little extra money on the side when someone asks me to use calligraphy on something for them. And I love teaching because I love the look on peoples faces when they see how much they have improved, get some special time with a friend they took the class with, or just meet new people and bond over calligraphy.