How to Get Started in Calligraphy

The latest guest post from professional Calligrapher Angela Reed offers helpful tips on how to get started in Calligraphy. This is a question that often comes up from customers so we asked Angela to provide some specialist guidance on the subject.


Calligraphy is a fairly inexpensive hobby to get into. All you really need is a pen and a piece of paper to get you started!

The type of pen you need depends on the type of calligraphy you want to start learning. Most calligraphers start with the foundational, or Roman round hand, script. It’s certainly what I introduce people to first in my workshops. A broad edged pen is what you would need for that and many other traditional calligraphy scripts. You can then decide if you would prefer to use a cartridge pen, or dip pen and ink.

clp_1822

The Lamy Joy from The Pen Shop is a lovely, quality pen and comes in a range of nib widths. I would suggest the 1.5mm to get you started. You can also buy the gift set featuring all three nibs, which would be a sound investment.

The Coles Calligraphy range would be for you if you are comfortable with pen and ink. A variety of nibs can be fitted to a straight or oblique holder. Some will need a reservoir to hold ink, while others, such as pointed nibs, do not require one.

Pointed nibs are used for copperplate and modern calligraphy styles, where pressure, rather than pen angle, creates the thick and thin strokes.

Loose sheets of good quality cartridge paper are good for practising on, but you may want to use a notebook of some kind so you can keep track of your progress. Just make sure the paper is not too thin, as the ink will bleed.

20160714_104301_edited-1

A pencil, ruler and eraser are also essential parts of a calligrapher’s kit, for marking out guidelines. Lettering height is dictated by the style of calligraphy and width of the nib you are using.

There are many calligraphy books available and you may be able to find some in your local library. The best seller on Amazon at the time of writing this was The Calligrapher’s Bible: 100 Complete Alphabets and How to Draw Them, by David Harris. I have just invested in a copy of Modern Calligraphy by Molly Suber Thorpe after it was recommended to me by another calligrapher.

There are also countless tutorials and downloadable worksheets available online. Scribblers is a great starting point.

But I think the best thing you can do is find a workshop near you for personalised tuition and peer mentoring.

The Calligraphy Lettering and Arts Society has an interactive map of tutors and groups at www.clas.co.uk.

clp_1818_edited-1

We have been collaborating very closely with Angela over the past few months, you may recall her Question and Answer session where we took the opportunity to learn more about Angela and her passion for Calligraphy. In another guest post, Angela explored the different Calligraphy Pens and Sets we offer. In her next blog Angela will be looking at different Calligraphy styles – keep an eye on our blog for the latest update.

If you want to learn more about Angela and the services she can provide then head over to her website at Creative Calligraphy and socially you can connect with Angela on Twitter or Facebook. If you are inspired by Angela’s story and you too want to get started with Calligraphy then we have a curated selection of pens to help you.

St Pancras International: Learn the art of Calligraphy

St Pancras International is inviting visitors to learn the century old skill of calligraphy this weekend under the guidance of our experts. Covering the basic principles of calligraphy through demonstrations, the art of beautiful penmanship will be explored over an exciting and hands-on an hour an half session.

Our handwriting experts, including calligrapher James Fazz Farrell, will also be on hand to offer practical advice on how to improve your handwriting and how to transfer impressive mark making, that can take a life time to master, into everyday use through simple and easy to follow techniques.

james fazz farrell

Calligraphy by James Fazz Farrell

The one-off tutorial, on Saturday 3rd September, will mark the launch of the station’s Back to School activity programme where commuters will be encouraged to learn a new skill or even take up a new hobby. The session will take place at The Betjeman Arms on the Grand Terrance of the station from 11:00 to 12:30 (BST).

Book tickets, but be quick, places are limited and will cost £2.60 per person to attend.

Two pounds from each ticket sale for the Back to School activity programme will go to YHA, the charity that creates opportunities for young people across the country to grow through adventure and discovery. Through exploring the countryside and historic cities, the charity opens the door for young people to develop a greater knowledge and love for England and Wales.

Book Tickets >