get started | modern calligraphy

Although I've been interested in calligraphy and formal hand-lettering since I was very young, I only recently began practicing modern calligraphy in a more dedicated way. I love the simplicity and formality of calligraphy. It's lovely and simple and yet intricate and elegant at the same time. Calligraphy is complex, but it involves relatively simple tools, so it's not difficult to get started.

I started by purchasing the book Modern Calligraphy by Molly Suber Thorpe, a master of modern calligraphy. Molly's work is showcased on her website, and it's absolutely stunning. The book proved invaluable for helping me understand the tools I'd need. I purchased some Higgins permanent ink and a few different nibs and nib holders. I wish I could share which exactly I purchased. I just browsed the calligraphy aisle at Michaels and picked what looked right.

Clearly, I am not an expert!

Once I had the initial set-up, I spent just a little time in the evenings practicing my letters. Again, this book was critical. There are lots of versions of each letter, which encouraged me to experiment with my own style. I used an old, unlined journal I had lying around the house to practice, although now I've graduated to hot-pressed watercolor paper.

I actually find calligraphy really therapeutic - pressing down on the nib on the down strokes to get a heavy line and lifting up for a thin line. It's such an interesting form of lettering - pretty and light and delicate and steeped in history. The modern form of it is really intriguing, and not governed by any rules, really, which makes it something anyone can learn.

So what do you need to get started doing modern calligraphy? Certainly you'll need a few tools. But I think you also need a healthy dose of patience and a fair amount of curiosity. It doesn't take long to improve. For me, it's like learning a new language. The gorgeous, ornate lettering I see all over the stationery blogs I read is suddenly so much more accessible. And while I can't letter like those gals can, I know how they do it, which pulls back the veil on a craft that can seem really inaccessible, I think.

I hope you'll get started learning calligraphy if it's something that interests you. And if not, I hope this inspires you to get started on whatever it is you've been curious about learning!

You can also read my post about getting started with watercolor lettering HERE. Are you learning anything new these days?