How to Create A Calligraphy Page
What is calligraphy?
Known as the art of beautiful handwriting, calligraphy has been used through the ages. Scribes and monks would study the art of beautiful handwriting and put it to good use. They would spend five years copying page by page to produce one bible, usually in Latin. The old pages are true artwork that is highly valued for their design and style. Even though calligraphy has been outdated by computers, beautiful handwriting is still valued and considered an amazing feat.
Why Try Calligraphy?
Having beautiful handwriting is a practice that is not widely used. Cursive is not even being taught in most schools. By practicing calligraphy, your handwriting is easier to read to others. Instead of having a doctor's signature, you can sign your name with flourishes and a design that causes viewers to pause and wonder where you learned how to write.
Calligraphy teaches patience because there is no way that you can sit down for the first time and create perfect calligraphy. Just like a musician, practice makes perfect. You will learn patience and go through a lot of paper and ink when learning to calm down. The act of handwriting creates a calm and soothing peace after you have practiced. Some consider the act a type of meditation.
What Do You Need?
- One or two rulers
- Calligraphy pens
- Black ink (or different colors if you wish)
- Paper (or a canvas or what you intend to write on)
- Some research books
- Paper towels
Instead of breaking out the ink and using the calligraphy pen, first practice on a regular piece of paper and a regular pencil. When learning, it is best not to practice in permanent ink. You will not be proud of early attempts later. Place your paper on a flat space with plenty of room to work on. Some individuals do better when the paper is at a slant, but try both ways to see which is best for you. Use the practice papers from some of the research books you have. Each book teaches something different but most start out in learning Italic. Have all of the utensils (more paper, pencils, eraser, ink, paper towels, calligraphy pens, etc.) right near your work space less than an arms length away. Go through the book at your own pace. If you wish to work on a few certain papers, please spend more time on them. In calligraphy, it is best to be all you can be and take your time.
After you have practiced with a pencil and paper, it is time to try paper and ink. Choose the tip that already comes on the pen for the first try. If you are using an old fashioned pen, take a paint brush and dip the end in the ink. Then brush the ink onto the tip of the pen. If you are using a newer version, the ink container will need to be pushed into the compartment, shake the pen a little to move the ink, then try writing. As your book will offer, try different hand positions, different tips, and learn how the pen works. Each person must take time to grow accustomed to each pen tip because each has their strengths and weaknesses.
Planning a Project
1. Realize what project you would like to do. After practicing and learning calligraphy, it is time to start a project. Most individuals who start calligraphy have a project in mind. Would you like to rewrite a poem in your favorite style of calligraphy? Or would you like to create a Renaissance based page with your favorite Bible verse as the center of attention? Have a goal to focus on.
2. After you know your project, figure out how to do that project. This is where you focus on where to place the decorations. For example, if you are to have little animals drawn out, where would they go? The lower right area or the upper left of the page? What style of writing will the words be? For example, there is a big difference between romantic (thin and sweet) and Celtic (thick and bold). Does the page go together or will the styles clash? Etc.
3. Prepare for the project. Gather all of the utensils necessary for the project. This could include new ink colors, various patterns of paper, or different ink tips. Reorganize your work space to accommodate your new tools. Also, use your ruler and pencil to draw lines on a scrap piece of paper. Write, in ink, the project. This is only a rough draft and a good chance to see if the size you want will fit onto the project space.
4. Begin working on the project. Go slow and steady. If your hand starts to hurt, just take a break and come back to the project later. Your calligraphy needs to look your best or you will have to restart the entire project. Note: You can never practice enough!