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How To Do Calligraphy: Instructions and Photos

Updated on April 17, 2015

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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