Modern Calligraphy

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It seems everyone is learning how to use watercolor pens or make their own invitations these days. The resurgence of interest in calligraphy and typography has seen an explosion in do-it-yourself kits, workshops, and small businesses. Here is our guide to modern calligraphy-what it is and how to start.

Traditional calligraphy as an art form has been around for centuries. It adheres to strict rules and uses particular strokes and formations. Modern calligraphy is any calligraphy that does not do this. Traditional styles require particular letterforms. Modern calligraphy ignores traditional rules and celebrates unique and imperfect variations on each letter. Traditional calligraphy states that you must have certain talent whereas modern invites anyone and everyone to learn. It is more accessible and allows you to be playful. Traditional calligraphy is all about conformity and consistency-every letter must be true to form. Modern calligraphy favors a mix and match of letterforms.

Because modern calligraphy is open to interpretation, there is not set way to learn it. Some beginners find dip pens intimidating. If this is you, faux calligraphy might be for you. This technique just requires any standard writing instrument. Simply write a word in cursive, leaving space between the letters. Next, reinforce the downstrokes used to create the word and then draw lines that are parallel to your downstrokes. Lastly, fill in the space between the lines created with the same pen.

If you are ready to jump into a dip pen, here is what you need to assemble your starter kit:
-2 Nikko G nibs
-1 straight pen
-#32 laserjet paper (most cost-effective and prevents bleeding)
-Sumi ink or India ink
-screw top container (for the ink)

-cup with water
-Non-fibrous cloth

If you are nervous about buying the wrong products or simply want to treat yourself, there are plenty of calligraphy kits online to purchase.

Once you have your kit, you want to clean the manufacture oil off of the nibs. This is used to preserve them until sold but you should clean them off before you start. Next, assemble your dip pen. Once this is complete, dip the pen into the ink just above the hold in the center of the nib (vent hole). Do not dip any further or you will have too much ink and it will get everywhere on your paper when you try to write. Dip pens are different than regular pens. Never hold the pen vertically and shoot for a 45 degree angle. Keep the angle of the nib in relation to the paper constant.


Now you are ready to start making letters! Experiment, download worksheets, or sign up for a class.

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