How To Do Calligraphy: Instructions and Photos

My Finished Photo


Are you interested in learning how to write Calligraphy?

Calligraphy has been called “the art of beautiful writing”, and is as old as writing itself and our closest living link to past cultures and extinct civilizations. It flourished in the hand-lettered tablet of Greek and Roman scribes and survived the Dark Ages in the illuminated manuscripts of cloistered monks. Beautiful writing lives on today in the skilled hands of engrossers and craftspeople who letter a wide range of materials from books to family trees. With practice you’ll soon be creating your own “beautiful writing”.

I took a class in Calligraphy at our local craft store about three years ago, and I have really enjoyed this art. I have addressed wedding invitation envelopes, I have written my poems in Calligraphy to be given as gifts, and now I’d like to share with you my method of writing on my Grandchildren’s photos that I have displayed on a wall of their photos. I had a new Great Granddaughter June 18, 2011, and I wanted to mount her photo on the same wall. I used oval mats I found at our local craft store to mount the 8X10 photos in. It isn’t necessary to take a class to learn this art. If you buy a good book, you can learn on your own. A good practice pad is a lined legal pad. In Calligraphy, the pen is held at a 45 degree angle. The book will explain this also.

There are many books on Calligraphy you can buy. My favorite book is one that came with my Calligraphy set made by Sheaffer Eaton. The set came with several different tips for the pens, different colors of ink, and several pens. These sets usually sell for about $15.00. They can be found in Office Supply stores and Craft Stores.

The book has several examples of the different “hands” or styles you may use. My favorite is the Chancery Italic Hand. There is another style called the Gothic Hand. This method is a little more formal than the Chancery Hand. Another method is the Uncial Hand. This hand is often referred to as an “early Christian” alphabet. It was used during the 4th and 5th centuries for scriptural texts and other sacred writings.

There are styles of decorative alphabets. These are much more difficult to learn, but they are included in books of Calligraphy if you want more of a challenge to learn. Once you’re confident of the basics try experimenting the different forms, spacing, speed, pen angles and colors.

Book By Sheaffer Eaton


The Chancery Italic Hand I Chose For This Project


The pen that is used for Calligraphy has several interchangeable tips. Some tips are very narrow, and some are quite broad. The tip I used for this project was the Italic B pen. The special pen is loaded with an ink cartridge, and the instructions for this are found in the Calligraphy set.

My Calligraphy Set By Sheaffer Eaton


Pencil, Ruler And Book Ready To Use On Project


1. Using a ruler, draw a straight line about ½ inch from the bottom. This will be your guide on placing the bottom of the letters. Draw another line ¼ inch above that line. This will be the guide for the top of the letters.

2. Measure the length of the mat. Mark the center. Count the letters including all spaces in the name. In this case, the name is Adelina Mae-Hyatt Lozoya a total of 24 characters. Divide that number in half. I started writing the letter H . Hyatt Lozoya is 12 characters. This is very important because you want to make sure you have room to write all the letters.

3. Begin drawing the letters using a pencil. These markings will be erased when you are finished.

4. After you are satisfied with the name, write the date of birth below.

The Lines Are Penciled Onto The Mat And Lettering Is Started


After you are satisifed with the penciled lettering, you are ready to write with the pen and black ink.

The Lettering Is Done; Pencil Lines Will Be Erased


Lettering Done In Black Ink Beginning With The Letter "H"


Photo Is Ready To Mount On The Wall


My Oldest Granddaughter's Photo On The Wall


My 7 Grandchildren's Photos On The Wall That I Labelled In Calligraphy


Apply Calligraphy To Many Projects

After you learn how to write in Calligraphy, you will find all sorts of projects you can apply this skill to: Wedding Invitations and Envelopes, Christmas Cards and Envelopes, and writing your Poems in Calligraphy to give as gifts, just to name a few.

When your friends learn you have mastered this art of writing, you will be in demand to write for them!

Good Video On How To Do Calligraphy

© 2011 Mary Hyatt

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Comments 28 comments

Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 5 years ago from South Carolina

Wow Mary,

Outstanding step by step instructions and also a lovely way to display baby photos of your family and welcome the latest addition!

Voted up across the board except for funny.

mary615 profile image

mary615 5 years ago from Florida Author

Hi HBN, thanks for reading, and for the compliment and the votes! I was going try your suggestions on the photos, but I decided I wanted the photo right beneath my text about it. I have enjoyed your Hubs SO much lately. Hope you have a wonderful day!

Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

This is a unique and interesting Hub. I love calligraphy and even have a set of nibs and inks. Being left handed though, I find it extremely difficult not to drag my hand across wet ink. You have given great instructions and anyone with a desire would certainly have a start here.

drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida

Excellent instructions, mary. I can't wait to get started with calligraphy. Just waiting for 'them' to allow me to stop using crayons and get permission to start using a real pen.

mary615 profile image

mary615 5 years ago from Florida Author

Hi, Hyphenbird, Gee, that might be a problem, being a "leftie", but you could always work with a marker that dries fast, rather than ink, I would think. Thanks for reading.

mary615 profile image

mary615 5 years ago from Florida Author

OK, drbj, I'm curious come you can't use a real pen??? Surely, you jest! Thanks for reading. Regards, Mary

habee profile image

habee 5 years ago from Georgia

Beautiful work and beautiful babies! Voted up, etc.

mary615 profile image

mary615 5 years ago from Florida Author

Why, thanks, habee for the nice compliment and for the vote UP! Calligraphy is sometime that if you don't keep practicing, you get rusty. I do enjoy it, though. Goodnight.

Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 5 years ago from Riga, Latvia

Great informative hub! I have always loved the art of Calligraphy but have failed to master it. Perhaps I should rethink because I expect the computer to do to much for me and forget to be creative myself. Love those grandchildren of yours!

mary615 profile image

mary615 5 years ago from Florida Author

Good Morning,Gypsy Rose Lee, good to see you! Thanks for reading, and for the nice compliment to my Grandchildren. Calligraphy really isn't hard to learn. Just takes practice like anything else. Hope you have a wonderful day in Latvia!

Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

A lovely hub Mary, I have a dabble at calligraphy every so often, I have a how to book and pens, I think the writing is just beautiful and looks fabulous on your photos, this has renewed my interest in it and I am going to have another go!

mary615 profile image

mary615 5 years ago from Florida Author

Thanks, MM, for reading, and for the nice compliment! I enjoy doing Calligraphy, but I don't practice enough. Have a wonderful Sunday.

Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 5 years ago

Good hub! And good news, Lord still can write his letters in cursive and we are proud of it. Those years won't come back...Lovely Adelina Mae!! She is certainly an Angel sent to you guys as a proof of his Love


the gurus at HP should add an app. for calligraphy!

Voted up!

mary615 profile image

mary615 5 years ago from Florida Author

You know, Lord, schools don't teach handwriting anymore, or at least where I live. We were taught to write cursive in school, but now writing is a lost art. It's too bad, too., I think. Thanks for reading and for the compliment on my newest little Angel! Thanks for the vote, too! Goodnight.

profile image

Sueswan 5 years ago

Hi Mary,

Your grandchildren are adorable and your calligraphy adds that special touch to your photographs.

My handwriting is bad. My mother said I could have been a doctor.

Voted up, up and away!

Enjoy your day.

mary615 profile image

mary615 5 years ago from Florida Author

Hi Sueswan, always good to see you! Thanks for the compliment on my little ones. Thanks too, for the votes! I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day!

SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 5 years ago from Southern California, USA

Calligraphy is a beautiful way to dress up photos and scrapbooks. It was cute seeing all of your grand kids photos with the nice calligraphy captions.

mary615 profile image

mary615 5 years ago from Florida Author

Thanks, SweetiePie for the nice compliment. Thanks for reading this and for the nice comment. Goodnight.

K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 5 years ago from Northern, California

mary615, this is awesome. I have always been fascinated by calligraphy, my Mother had a beautiful free-hand talent for writing in this style. I must admit, I did not inherit this crafty writing gift from her. But, after reading your hub, I can't wait to give it a go! I think this is the right time of year to add special pens to a list somewhere...

Nice job and thank you for a wonderful lesson in a not-so-lost art!

Up and awesome!



mary615 profile image

mary615 5 years ago from Florida Author

Good Morning, K9, thanks for reading, and for the nice compliment. With today's choice of fonts on a computer, we are losing the art of beautiful handwriting, I'm afraid. Do hope you'll try Calligraphy! Thanks for the votes, too. Regards, Mary

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

Hi Mary,

Like you, I also took a course in calligraphy...actually two different kinds in two different classes. It is a beautiful type of lettering and/or handwriting. I use it occasionally. I love how you have applied it to the child photograph mats. Lovely! Up votes and sharing.

rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

What an inspiration to try Calligraphy! This sort of reminds me of the lost art of cursive writing. A beautiful Hub!

mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida Author

Hi Peggy W I love calligraphy, but I don't practice it as often as I should. Christmas is coming, and the few cards I send out, I will address in calligraphy. After a friend saw my work, she hired me to do wedding invitations for her.

I'm happy you enjoyed my Hub, and I thank you for voting and sharing, Mary

mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida Author

HI rebeccamealey, I'm so glad I may have inspired you to learn calligraphy. It is quite beautiful. I'm afraid the art of beautiful handwriting is a thing of the past, and I think that is just too bad.

Thanks for the nice compliment on my Hub. Mary

Mike Robbers profile image

Mike Robbers 3 years ago from London

A great hub and a useful step by step guide on calligraphy. Many thanks for sharing!

mary615 profile image

mary615 3 years ago from Florida Author

Hello, Mike Robbers. Thanks for reading and the nice compliment on my Hub about Calligraphy. This is such an enjoyable hobby. I just love doing it.

Good to see you, Mary

Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 3 years ago from Nepal

In oriental culture, calligraphy is considered one of the Three Perfections (Other two are poetry and art). I'm not into this but I admire the artist's work.

mary615 profile image

mary615 3 years ago from Florida Author

Hi Vinaya Ghimire. Calligraphy is truly an art. It takes a lot of practice to perfect it, but I have really enjoyed learning it. There are so many computer programs now that do calligraphy, that people don't see the need to learn it.

You are a very talented photographer. I love your photos of your beautiful country on your Hubs.

Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

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