Christmas Calligraphy with Angela Reed

We have been collaborating with professional Calligrapher Angela Reed over the past few months to help customers learn more about the traditional handwriting art of Calligraphy. The latest guest post from Angela brings us a Christmas theme to help get us in the festive spirit.


Christmas is a great time to get your calligraphy pens out. Whether it’s writing a card, adding a name to a gift tag or addressing an envelope, there are plenty of opportunities to get fancy with your handwriting.

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You can also get pretty creative with your lettering and make your own Christmas stationery, turn your envelopes into works of art and make hand-written gifts for your loved ones.

Christmas is probably one of the few times of the year that people still make the effort to write – and calligraphy can add that extra special touch. It has always been one of my busiest times of the year as a calligrapher.

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This is my third Christmas in business and my calligraphy skills have been called upon for a range of projects over the festive season.

I have been asked to create bespoke gifts, such as hand-written poems, written messages in cards and personalise gift tags and baubles. I’ve even been involved in a Christmas proposal!

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I’ve made and swapped cards with fellow calligraphers and this year I have been involved in a ‘Secret Santa’ lettering project with a group of calligraphers on Instagram.

I had a lot of fun creating a card for the calligrapher I was matched with and adding a few gifts to the envelope, which I also took great delight in decorating. It’s that personal touch that people appreciate and brings such joy at this time of year.

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You can use calligraphy pens to design your own simple cards – like these snowman and Christmas tree ones – or add festive greetings to store-bought cards and tags. Or you could use broad-edged pens to give a bit of texture to your ordinary handwriting.

Calligraphy pens also make great gifts for the creative people in your life. Check out the range from The Pen Shop in my previous blog here.

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If you’d like to get to grips with calligraphy in time for your Christmas projects, I can help!

I’m holding a Christmas calligraphy workshop at Dappers Tea Rooms in North Shields on Wednesday, December 14, from 10.30am to 1.30pm. The cost is £20 per person, including materials and refreshments. A £5 non-refundable deposit will secure your place. E-mail info@creative-calligraphy.co.uk to book.


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 one blog Angela looked at How to get started in Calligraphy and the latest featured Popular Calligraphy Styles.

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.

Popular Calligraphy Styles

We have been collaborating with professional Calligrapher Angela Reed over the past few months to help customers learn more about the traditional handwriting art of Calligraphy. The latest guest post from Angela talks us through the different Calligraphy styles.


There are many forms of calligraphy out there and it can be daunting for beginners. But don’t feel you have to master everything! I tend to dabble in more traditional styles, with Copperplate being my favourite.

Calligraphy Style: Foundational

Calligraphy Style: Foundational

The first script I introduce people to when they come along to my workshops is foundational hand, which is quite rounded and widely spaced. Developed at the beginning of the 20th century by Edward Johnston, it is based on the circle and vertical straight line. I usually pair its lower case alphabet with Roman capitals, a script based on the lettering from the stone inscriptions of Ancient Rome.

Calligraphy Style: Roman Capitals

Calligraphy Style: Roman Capitals

Uncial is also a good hand for beginners to get to grips with. Like the foundational, it has roundness to it and round shapes are easier to form. The script itself is traditionally a formal book hand used from the 4th to 8th centuries, but there are many variations.

Calligraphy Style: Uncial

Calligraphy Style: Uncial

Italic was developed during the Renaissance in Italy in the 15th and 16th centuries, hence its name, and was used for papal documents. It is flowing and rhythmical, with springing arches, a forward slope, compressed forms and relatively steep pen angle. Italic capitals are narrower than Roman capitals, based on an oval rather than a circle, and are often elegantly flourished.

Calligraphy Style: Italic

Calligraphy Style: Italic

Copperplate, or English round hand, was prevalent in the 19th century. It is written with a pointed nib, rather than a broad-edged one, with the thickness of the stroke determined by the pressure applied when writing. It is a sound basis for anyone wanting to go on to explore modern calligraphy, which is less rigid than more traditional styles.

Calligraphy Style: Copperplate

Calligraphy Style: Copperplate

The best thing to do is try a few styles and see which one suits you. Eventually, you’ll end up developing your own variation of a style, just like handwriting!


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 last blog Angela looked at How to get started in Calligraphy.

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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Finding Inspiration to Write

As much as writing can be an intuitive practice, fueled by the desire to tell a story, quite often the creative juice runs out and help with the writing flow is required. Here at The Pen Shop, we are keen to encourage the writing process, so have come up with our top five tips to help propel your creativity:

1.     Live life. What is there to write about, if you forget to live? The best stories and writing evolve from experience. We would urge you to put down your pen, temporarily at least, and spend some time travelling and have an adventure. You don’t need to travel far to meet new people and experience something new. Do something different.

2.     Read. A good source of inspiration comes from reading others’ work. You can pick up and learn from other writers’ styles, without following them exactly of course. You may notice things you hadn’t seen before, such as content ideas, tone of voice and choice of words.

3.     Join a writing group. There are many local groups, easily found through a quick internet search. You will meet other like-minded people and learn together. A regular writing group is also the opportunity for a social night out!

4.     Browse the internet. The internet is a wonderful tool, giving us access to millions of pages of information. Start a search and hours later you have floated around the world wide web, picking up a multitude of information with ideas for short stories and grammatical assistance.

5.     Finally, of course we would suggest investing in a writing instrument that you are going to look forward to using. The Pen Shop offer a selection of pens in a variety of styles and to meet a range of budgets.

Handwriting Guide

Guide

Happy New Year from us all at The Pen Shop!

While writing out your New Year’s Resolutions why not add on your list to perfect your handwriting? If you do then we have a few handy tips to share in the guide below from our team of experts.

1. If your writing is hard to read try slowing down a little. When you are writing bear in mind the person who will be reading your handwriting and focus on writing clearly rather than automatically.

2. Practise exerting just enough pressure on your pen – neither too hard nor too light. Keep your pressure balanced and let your pen flow smoothly.

3. Be sure to hold the pen between the thumb and index finger with the barrel resting on the middle finger. Do not hold the pen almost evenly between the thumb and the index and middle fingers as that will give you uneven control as well as stressing the underside muscles of your wrist.

4. Try to keep your arm’s bend at a 90 degree angle while writing and make sure it is not resting on the table. Posture is important so don’t lean down too much while writing and try to keep your wrist straight and hovering as you write.

5. Experiment with size and slant to find a writing style that feels comfortable and looks good.

6. Practice with different pen and pencil sizes to find the best grip.

7. Keep your spaces consistent while writing.

8. Take every opportunity to write longhand instead of on a keyboard.

If you follow these tips and practice your handwriting for a few minutes each day you should quickly start to see some improvement.

Happy Writing!

The Pen Shop

How To: Free Delivery

This Christmas, we want your shopping experience to be as stress-free as possible, so we’ve put together the following guide on how to get free delivery on selected purchases made with The Pen Shop.

You may have noticed our adverts in the national press, and on each advert you can find a code (it’ll be two letters followed by four numbers.) This code entitles you to free delivery on the item pictured.

HOW TO REDEEM YOUR CODE:

1: Find the relevant item on our website, and add it to your basket.

2: Once in your basket, you’ll notice a Promotional Code box. Here is where you’ll enter the code from the advert. Click ‘Apply Code’.

3: If successful, you’ll receive a confirmation at the top of the page.

4: Continue to check out as normal, entering your billing address. Step 4 of the checkout process is Shipping Method. You will see three options, the first of which is ‘Free Shipping £0.00.’ Click this option, then click ‘Continue’.

5: Enter your payment details.

6: Sit back and wait for your items to arrive! Simple!

Happy shopping!

How To….

Thank you for looking at our latest feature – How To. This guide is designed to help with the most common questions and queries you ask our people in store.

Today our Store Operations Manager – David Titterington is going to demonstrate how to properly use a converter for a Fountain Pen. He’s using a Waterman Expert Fountain Pen with a Waterman standard screw convertor and a bottle of Lamy 50 ml blue ink.


Here’s David’s instruction on how best to use your converter;

Converters are like a piston. They push in or screw into position, place the nib of the Fountain Pen into the ink, draw the piston back fully and then empty the ink chamber. Repeat filling operation for a complete fill of the convertor. Let 2/3 drops of ink back into the bottle to create an air space.

A word of caution, over full convertors will leak if the ink is warmed by body heat.

As always if you have any questions then please feel free to get in touch – Sales@penshop.co.uk or you can tweet us @ThePenShop.