How to Learn Calligraphy

thankful word in calligraphy

Last year I was interested in learning calligraphy and looked into a few online calligraphy courses. I ended up taking Molly Jacques’ Introduction to the Art of Modern Calligraphy. When I took this course, there was a list of suggested nibs, holders, paper, etc. but I had already purchased some tools and since we live in small town in Canada, I had nowhere local to get the suggested tools and I wanted to avoid the shipping cost and time of buying more supplies. Unfortunately, the stuff I bought did not work for me, so I got quickly frustrated.

Later, I purchased the tools recommended by Molly and have been happy to find a nib and paper combination that is working for me. Here are the tools I am using:

Calligraphy Tools

I had a really hard time finding the calligraphy tools I’m using now. I could only find some of them on paperinkarts.com.

  • Nib: My favourite nib is a Nikko G pointed nib. It took me many types of nibs to find this one. I found the Speedball nibs the worst, but the others weren’t much better, I just couldn’t get make thick and thin lines.
  • Nib holder: I’ve been using a regular Speedball holder, but have also tried others. I found that taking the nibs in and out because I had a fewer holders than nibs was annoying, so I now have a holder for each nib type.
  • Ink: I have been using Higgins Eternal black ink. I have a few others, so I would like to do some more testing.
  • Paper: Boris Marker Layout 9×12 paper pad (50 sheets). The initial paper I tried was part of my problems because it wasn’t smooth enough and kept catching the tip of the nib and making big ink splatters. While I am pretty happy with the Boris Marker Layout paper, I do find that the oils from my hands create spots on the page that I can’t write on. Also, the Boris Marker Layout paper is kind of see through, which makes it a little harder to digitize.

To make the top image, I started with this phone photo:

learning calligraphy

This is how I digitized the calligraphy word:

Digitizing Calligraphy Steps

  • I took a photo of my calligraphy with my iPhone 4s.
  • I brought the image into Photoshop, then:
    • Created a duplicate layer of the image and changed the blending mode to Soft Light.
    • Made levels and curves adjustment layers to try to make the background whiter.
  • Then I saved the Photoshop version and opened the file in Illustrator, then:
    • Selected the image and chose Live Trace. Actually, I think I opened the options for Live Trace to get the best trace.
    • Then I chose Expand.
    • Then I was able to delete the few random dots.
    • Then I saved the word as a PNG file so I could put it on top of the photo.

I’m not super happy with my digitizing results, so I really want to complete the online course I  have previously purchased, Digitizing Calligraphy: from sketch to vector by Molly Suber Thorpe on Skillshare. As I learn more about calligraphy, I will add it to this page.

Calligraphy Resources

Do you know of any helpful calligraphy resources (books or websites)? Post a link in the comments.

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Art Journaling

I am participating in the 31 Days, which is a blogging challenge in October organized by The Nester. I have chosen to (attempt) to write Monday-Friday during October on the topic of art journaling.

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By | 2017-09-21T12:28:44+00:00 October 29th, 2014|Art Journal|1 Comment

One Comment

  1. Denielle October 29, 2014 at 6:23 am - Reply

    All good stuff to know! I’ve been thinking of getting into calligraphy. I’ll be interested to see how the skillshare digitizing class goes.

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