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Calligraphy Lessons for Beginners | Free Alphabet Templates & Tutorials

Updated on May 8, 2015
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How To Learn The Art of Calligraphy

Calligraphy is a beautiful art which adds class and elegance to all kinds of stationery, and is especially popular for using on wedding invitations for an extra special touch.

If you want to master this craft yourself, please find many beginner's lessons and video tutorials below, with inspirational examples of what can be achieved. Of course, once you know how to do it, practice is definitely the key to success!

I hope you find this page helpful :)

Calligraphic Scroll

Beautiful and ornate.
Beautiful and ornate. | Source

Best Calligraphy Kits, Gadgets & Pens

Few tools and materials are required for calligraphy, especially in the beginning, which means that it is the quality of the products you use that make the difference. Here are some highly-rated products for you to browse - mainly from popular brands:

Introduction To Calligraphy

Calligraphy means 'beautiful writing' and was how all written material was created before the printing press was invented - even books were painstakingly hand-written one by one on parchment using a quill.

Fountain pens (where the ink/ink cartridge is in-built) or dip pens (which need to keep being dipped in a bottle of ink to refill) are the most common ways of writing calligraphically. The nibs used with these pens are relatively wide and flat (i.e. not a ball point) to create the 'thick-and-thin' look of calligraphy. A quill pen is unusual but traditional, and brushes can also be used, although this is mainly for large artworks and Chinese symbols. You can also get calligraphy markers which are like felt-tips and can be useful for a beginner.

Fountain pens are more convenient and create lovely results, however a more authentic look is often created with dip pens, and these also offer more control over your writing. Dip pens are 'loaded' with ink using either a brush or from just dipping the nib in ink. Click here for a very handy troubleshooting guide to dip pens.

The original reason for pens having to have a broad tip was that the materials (reeds/feathers) used for nibs/pens at the time were not strong enough to have a fine point, so the points were made broader to add strength.

The ink used is mostly a water-based variety, and you can see a variety of inks that are used by having a look at this page.

The paper is usually parchment or vellum due to the fact you can erase mistakes with a knife, and also you can see through them - which allows you to put a piece of lined paper behind the parchment/vellum in order to help you write in neat straight lines. With thicker materials which you can't see through, a lightbox is often used to work on so that you don't need to draw pencil lines on your work with a ruler. You can experiment with different papers; you just need to make sure that the porosity of the paper is consistent and doesn't cause blotting. Check out this site for tips on how to choose what paper to use.

Two words you may see when reading about calligraphy are 'minuscule' and 'majuscule'. These are the original words for 'lower case' and 'upper case' letters respectively.

There are several styles of calligraphy which are the most common - but you can always make up your own! You can see the most used styles on this page.

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Skillshare Online Lesson

As a side note, there is an online class in modern calligraphy available (that I have just signed up to myself) which provides a series of video lessons for modern calligraphy so that you can write like this >

If you are interested, click on the link below the image for more information.

P.S. Just with regard to honesty, yes I will receive a free month subscription if anyone signs up to the class through this page, but I am genuinely already signed up to the class as a full-paying member! Thanks in advance for anybody using this link :)

Beginner Video Lessons

Gold Gilt Lettering

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Wedding Invitations

Photo by Miss Cupcake 207 - and the calligraphy was created by Whoa Nellie Press.

Charming Envelopes

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Oblique Penholder

Oblique pen holders are used by right-handers when working with steep writing angles. They allow you to control the pressure of the nib on the page a lot easier on extreme sloping angles than you can with regular straight pens.
Oblique pen holders are used by right-handers when working with steep writing angles. They allow you to control the pressure of the nib on the page a lot easier on extreme sloping angles than you can with regular straight pens. | Source

Obituary Handwriting

Calligraphy is a beautiful way of writing announcements.
Calligraphy is a beautiful way of writing announcements. | Source

Save-The-Dates

Calligraphy is very popular for weddings especially.
Calligraphy is very popular for weddings especially. | Source

Black Text Speedball Lettering

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Traditional Feather Quill

There's something romantic about letters written with a feather quill, don't you think?
There's something romantic about letters written with a feather quill, don't you think? | Source

Brush Calligraphy & More Inspiration

How to Cheat with Faux Calligraphy!

Perfect if you only want to do calligraphy as a one off - perhaps for your wedding stationery.

Illuminated Manuscript

With lovely gold gilding around the first letter.
With lovely gold gilding around the first letter. | Source

Writing in Gold

Top-Rated Calligraphy Books

Whether you are searching for inspiration, alphabet templates or beginner's instructions, there are some fantastic books to choose from:

Have you ever tried calligraphy before?

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Please Leave a Comment!

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    • aviwolfson profile image

      Avi Wolfson 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Great lens, thanks for sharing!

    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 3 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      One's got to have a special talent for calligraphy! Not everyone's got a nice handwriting.

    • profile image

      Carlos Aspas 2 years ago from Spain

      Wow. Very nice

    • MonkeyShine75 profile image

      Mara Alexander 2 years ago from Los Angeles, California

      So kewl, this is great. My sister took calligraphy and she writes fantastic. Thank you for sharing

      I voted it up

    • eilval profile image

      Eileen 2 years ago from Western Cape , South Africa

      I'm new to calligraphy but would like to to learn this beautiful art . There is a learning curve though but all your great ideas will defintely come in handy .

    • Jonas Rodrigo profile image

      Jonas Rodrigo 23 months ago

      Ever since a friend gave me a Speedball calligraphy book as a gift, I've been enthralled by the art of lettering. I've never really gotten around to actually buying a calligraphy pen and trying it out because it all seems expensive for me. But I'm going to try and save up for it. Wish me luck!

    • wellingtonboot profile image
      Author

      wellingtonboot 23 months ago from U.K.

      Good luck!

    • profile image

      Miriam 14 months ago

      Thanks Paul I loved the videos and your accent :P you should make more please

    • profile image

      Alanis 3 months ago

      how easy seems when you do it! lovely lessons for begginers. i have to practice so much...how beautiful words you write..

    • profile image

      Barbara 4 weeks ago

      Thank you so much for this! You've laid it out really well, it's very helpful.

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