Beginners guide to calligraphy and hand lettering – My Life Handmade

Beginners guide to calligraphy and hand lettering

Calligraphy and hand lettering is a way of adding a decorative dimension to simple words.

More recently, access to calligraphy tools and online tutorials of beautiful calligraphy designs have been heightened, possibly influencing the spike in popularity of this craft.

Calligraphy And Hand Lettering Tool Kit

  • Pens – There are a number of different styles of pen you can use for calligraphy and hand lettering. These include; brush markers, water brush, or an ordinary ball point pen. The type of calligraphy or hand lettering you want to achieve will influence the type of pen you need to use.
  • Paper – Ensure you use a high-quality, smooth paper with no grains or patterns. Using a grainy paper could cause unwanted spreading of the ink you’re using.
  • Ruler and Pencil – This enables you to draw guidelines to get used to the height of your calligraphy letters.

Calligraphy And Hand Lettering: Getting Started

There are a few key elements that influence the shape of your letters within calligraphy and hand lettering. These include, the angle of your writing, the height of each letter, and the widths of your upstrokes and downstrokes (the thick and thin strokes).

Choosing your pen

Choosing your pen is crucial depending on the type of lettering you want to achieve.

Brush Pens

Brush pens offer a more fluid, scripted calligraphy type. You can get a number of different types of brush tipped pens, one with a more rigid tip and one with a more flexible tip. A more rigid tip is usually better for beginners as it helps to identify how to hold your pen.

Pieces Calligraphy

Aquash Water Brush

Water brushes also offer a scripted calligraphy effect; however, you have to keep dipping the tip in ink as the colour fades after just a few letters. Of course, this is great if this is the effect you’re after.

Doll So Real

Ball Point Fine Liners

Ball point pens are regularly used in calligraphy, especially to create ‘Fake Calligraphy’.

Basically, Fake Calligraphy is where you write out your word as you would in normal calligraphy. The only difference is, to create the thick and thin line effect, you need to do an outline on the downstrokes of your words. You can either leave this as it as an outline or you can go back and colour in the outline.

Cut Out And Keep 

Practicing your upstrokes and downstrokes

It’s a great idea to practice your upstrokes – the thin strokes – and your downstrokes- the thick strokes, by simply drawing a wavy line a few times and then individually practicing each stroke too. This helps you define how you should be holding your pen and at what angle.

Calligraphy letters

To get started with lettering it’s a great idea to draw out four lines about a small ruler width apart from one another. This will help you to gauge how large your letters need to be.

Your smaller letters such as ‘a’ and ‘e’ will fit between the central two lines, your ascending letters such as ‘t’ and ‘h’ will fit between the top line and the third line and your descending letters such as ‘j’ and ‘g’ will fit between the second and fourth line.

Write out the alphabet individually (both in capitals and lowercase) to decide how you prefer to write each letter – there are a few ways you can do most letters so you may prefer one to another.

South Ranch Creative

Remember, practice makes perfect. The more you persist and practice with calligraphy and hand lettering the better you’ll get, you may even find you’ll pick up more techniques than you knew existed.