Learning Calligraphy—finally. – life+running

Learning Calligraphy—finally.

What is calligraphy?

Although I thought there was more structure to the practice, calligraphy is simply beautiful writing. Yes, there are rules about downstrokes and thicks and thins, but each person’s hand makes different marks. Although, monoline calligraphy is without thicks and thins (hence “mono”—one—line).

rehearsal dinner invitations with monoline calligraphy in multiple colors

Brush vs. Nib

I’ve played with brush calligraphy for a while and decided to use a vacation day a couple of weeks ago to dive into nib calligraphy. I tried brush calligraphy first because it seemed much less complicated than nib and ink.

an example of brush calligraphy

Pros of Brush Calligraphy

  • Relatively easy to learn
  • Inexpensive
  • Lots of options (pens, brushes, waterbrush pens)
  • Materials work for non-lettering projects
  • Forgiving—sloppy letters are often a design choice
  • Dries quickly (or instantly)

Cons of Brush Calligraphy

  • Difficult to keep consistent pressure with a flimsy brush
  • Limited to larger letters due to brush size options
  • Not always waterproof (waterproof is important for mailing)

an example of nib calligraphy

Pros of Nib Calligraphy

  • More control
  • Millions of options for nib+ink combos
  • Waterproof (unless using watercolor/gouache)
  • It can make your regular handwriting look super fancy

Cons of Nib Calligraphy

  • Learning curve
  • Somewhat expensive to start
  • Materials specific to nib calligraphy only
  • Takes a while to dry
  • Requires lots of practice so it doesn’t look sloppy

I wish I would have learned calligraphy years ago.

I’m having fun playing around with calligraphy.I spent the better part of the last decade studying letterforms, and now that I’ve started studying calligraphy, I can’t believe I didn’t do this sooner. Calligraphy would have been hugely helpful with our wedding materials. And it’s a valuable skill to add to my graphic design work.


Have you tried a new hobby recently?

Love on ya, chimes

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