Over the past year or so my social media channels have been flooded with projects that include calligraphy. Inspired by seeing so many creative ideas, I signed up for a calligraphy class. Learning the art of lettering using a traditional dip pen and ink taught me these three things.
A lot of calligraphy classes include a starter tool kit. The class I took at Meridian included a basic dip pen, a bottle of ink and heavy paper. That’s what I used for the first few weeks, but it never felt “right” in my hand. After trying my instructor’s personal pens, I realized how important having one that fit my hand was going to be worth the investment. Etsy has a variety of dip pen options that range in price. Additionally, the type of ink that you use makes a difference. Some of the ink I purchased was too thin, and I struggled to make complete lines. Another brand was too thick and couldn’t ever create a smooth line. This article reviews a variety of ink types to help you decide what type is best for you. If you’re super crafty like my instructor, you can even make your own ink. As you might imagine, the paper also has an impact on the outcome. The wrong paper can cause your ink to feather or pool, ruining even the most perfect pen stroke.
The reason people say practice makes perfect is because it does. Each week our class ended with homework for us to work on for the following week. My dedication varied on some weeks. When it did, it showed in both my work and my patience. I would strongly suggest dedicating a few minutes out of the day to develop muscle memory for both pressure extension and strokes. There are a variety of practice worksheets available on the web, but this one is my favorite because it has directional arrows to show how the pen should move with each letter.
Before you get started in calligraphy, I think it’s important to remind yourself that it is an art and it’s going take a lot of practice. Early in the class, I really struggled with my letters not looking like the practice worksheets or my instructor’s samples. It was easy to feel defeated. I eventually learned to let go of my need for perfection and just enjoy the experience and the creativity. I also became more comfortable with lettering when I learned how many different calligraphy styles there are. If your handwriting isn’t a fit for one style, don’t be afraid to try another!
If you’re interested in learning the fine art of flourishing, sign up for one of the two Calligraphy series we will offer this spring. Call 405.377.3333 with questions or below. To find out about more courses like this sign up for our monthly e-newsletter. View all of our upcoming courses in our digital catalog.
Cara Adney is the Marketing and Media Relations Coordinator at Meridian Technology Center.