Can you teach yourself calligraphy? If you are interested in calligraphy as a hobby, this may be something you are wondering about. The short answer is yes, you can teach yourself calligraphy!
Calligraphy is a creative but specialised way of writing. You can teach yourself calligraphy, provided you are dedicated and willing to practice regularly. It is also important to ensure you have the right skills to be a calligrapher! There are some tips for teaching yourself calligraphy. These tips include starting with an easier form of calligraphy and learning the basics before attempting more challenging forms of calligraphy. Using what you learn in small projects is a way to stay motivated, and it feels great!
Learn the basics of calligraphy first
Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can pick up a calligraphy pen, watch a few YouTube or Instagram videos and be able to do calligraphy instantly. This won’t work as you are most likely just going to copy someone else’s calligraphy style.
The best and right way to learn calligraphy is to first focus on learning the basic elements of calligraphy, called strokes. Each letter consists of different strokes. Being able to produce strokes consistently will go a long way to making it easier to do complete calligraphy letters. Make sure you learn about using lines in calligraphy before taking on more advanced calligraphy forms and techniques.
Start with an easier form of calligraphy
Some forms of calligraphy are more difficult and may take longer to learn. These include Copperplate calligraphy, Japanese or Chinese Calligraphy. Start with an easier form of calligraphy. Once you have mastered this, you can move on to more challenging forms. This will help you remain motivated and build basic calligraphy skills before learning further forms of calligraphy.
Practice, practice and more practice
Learning calligraphy is not an easy task. You will need to practice a lot. Practising means doing drills repeatedly until you have mastered a specific stroke or letter. Make sure to have a dedicated time to practice at least twice a week for an hour. Regular practice helps you build muscle memory over time, which makes calligraphy easier over time.
Have your practice materials ready
Create a ring binder for all your calligraphy practice materials. This will help you keep all your drill sheets together, and you will be able to see your progress over time. Imagine what a boost in confidence that will be!
Use the right equipment
When you start, you can use anything you already have, including a pencil, ballpoint pen or markers. As soon as you think calligraphy is a hobby you want to pursue more seriously, get better equipment. Not only will better supplies help you create better calligraphy, but it will also lessen your frustration as you can create better calligraphy with the right equipment. Some essential items to purchase are straight and oblique holder nibs, paper and inks. Buy a variety of nibs to play with, see which ones you prefer, and find more comfortable to use.
Use social media to your advantage
Use Pinterest, YouTube and Instagram wisely. Some accounts are so good that they can be intimidating. Choose a few accounts to follow, but make sure these inspire you instead of overwhelming you. Save some pictures you can try to copy once you have gained some experience with calligraphy.
Use resources to learn
There are plenty of resources you can use to teach yourself calligraphy. These are:
- Online classes: There are a variety of online calligraphy classes available. These classes range from basic to more advanced calligraphy skills. Platforms such as Udemy or Skillshare offer cost-effective ways to access world-class teachers to learn calligraphy.
- Books: There is a multitude of calligraphy books for beginners on Amazon. Get the physical book instead of the ebook since many include pages for drill practices.
- YouTube videos: You can learn almost anything on YouTube – for free! There are many excellent calligraphy videos on YouTube, some even include downloads for practising.
- Teachers: Teachers can teach you all the little details and tricks in calligraphy as they have many years of experience which they can share with you. Having a teacher also means you get individual feedback and encouragement based on your progress.
- Calligraphy websites: Many websites are focusing on calligraphy basics. Many of these offer free drills and other calligraphy worksheets for you to download and use for practice. Some good ones with free tutorials are The Postman’s Knock, Kelly Creates and Pieces Calligraphy.
Calligraphy requires you to become an outstanding observer. You need to observe the form of letters, their styles and types. You also need to observe layout and design. Observe fonts around you and when you move around in shops or while reading magazines.
Join a club!
Clubs are great for learning from others, but also to share your progress and frustrations. Being part of a club can really encourage you to try new things quicker than you would on your own.
Take your team when you teach yourself calligraphy. There is no rush, learn to slow down. Learn to create your individual strokes and lines slowly and carefully before moving on to creating letters. Be patient with yourself and celebrate small victories when you succeed in creating a new letter or word!
Use what you have learned
Don’t just practice. Try using what you have learned in small projects, such as envelope art. Try doing one project every second week. Creating something you can use or share with friends and family will motivate you to continue your calligraphy journey. What’s more – it is great fun!
Don’t give up!
You will have good calligraphy days and bad calligraphy days. There will be challenges you need to overcome – some letters will be more challenging to learn than others. Don’t let the bad days demotivate you. Keep on practising and soon the number of good calligraphy days will be more than the bad days!
If you are committed to teaching yourself calligraphy, you will make progress in just a few months. Once you have mastered the basics, try challenging yourself with new letters, new forms of calligraphy and new projects. Try to keep things exciting and fun! Don’t get stressed and try to rush things! All good things come to those who are patient!