There is an ever growing number of new calligraphers out there thanks to the increased popularity of the art. We love teaching the art of pointed-pen calligraphy and are extremely passionate about setting up new calligraphers with best chance at a successful hobby or career in calligraphy. However, so many people who want to learn calligraphy, get stuck not having the right supplies, techniques or mindset to follow through on their calligraphy goals and dreams.

Below are my top 5 pieces of advice for new calligraphers or someone that is interested in learning:

1 // If you have zero experience with pointed-calligraphy, supplies curated for beginners + instructions on how to use them are vital. It’s easy to search on Instagram and ask what pen holder and nib your favorite calligrapher is using but what happens once you buy that nib, a random bottle of ink from a craft store and regular printer paper from home? Our guess is {as we have seen it time and time again}, you won’t be happy with the results and will quickly abandon your new hobby.

You never want your supplies to be a barrier to learning the art. Our Calligraphy Starter Kit is specifically designed with tools that will work well together for beginners and instructions on how to use them. You’ll learn useful tips like how to prep your nib, proper technique for dipping into your ink, different ink consistencies and how your nib and paper quality reacts to each of them, how to hold your pen correctly and so on. When you are just learning the art {which is difficult enough already!}, struggling with your tools and figuring out which piece of the pie is causing the trouble can be very discouraging. Make the right investment the first time and you’ll be on your way to learning the fun and beautiful art of modern calligraphy!

2 // If it feels impossible that this will ever feel “natural” when you are getting started, don’t get discouraged & definitely don’t give up! It is difficult for nearly everyone when they first pick up a calligraphy pen holder. You are writing with a tool that feels & works completely different than a ball-point pen. It will feel more comfortable the more you practice and if you are using paper, nibs & inks that work well together {see above}. And even though you might want to throw away your early practice, go ahead and date then keep the papers so you can see your improvement over time – this will help encourage you to keep it up when you seen how far you’ve come!

3 // Avoid the temptation of jumping straight into words. We get it, you just got your hands on the pen & ink that will let you create the thick and thin lines of your dreams and you want to get going on penning your name, your bestie’s name, your pup…you name it, calligraphy for all! But wait! You are forgetting the fundamental step of developing consistency in your letters so that they actually look like an alphabet that belong together instead of simply a collection of mismatched letters that all have thick and thin lines. So how do you find this consistency? Practicing calligraphy drills {miss the practice plan? Get on the waitlist here} & focusing on the key components of your letters that will make them consistent with one another to form an alphabet. Instead of writing out the alphabet every night, try working on letters that have similar letter forms so that they look like they belong together.

We walk you through the various aspects of your letters that will help you with consistency in our Beyond Beginner Guide before moving into letter connections (we even include a tracing pad to help build the muscle memory for a slew of letter combinations) and then two additional flourished alphabets. If you want to improve even more quickly, don’t skip the fundamentals and head straight to words. You’ll build bad habits and never feel satisfied with your work.

4 // Be sure you are paying attention to the difference between Inspiration vs. Imitation. There is SO much content out there on the internet these days, it’s nearly impossible not to see ideas and be influenced by them. With Pinterest boards running rampant, often with no concrete trail back to the original source, you will undoubtedly get requests from clients to “mimic” “duplicate” or even flat out “copy” another artist’s work. Whenever we receive a request like this, we assess whether they are asking for a generic style {sometimes the “inspiration” they want you to pull is simply to do a full calligraphy suite} or whether they are asking us to blatantly copy a distinctive design from a particular artist. If it’s the former, we kindly let them know that we can certainly create an invitation suite that features all calligraphy in Laura’s distinct style. If it’s the latter, we will let the client know that they should contract with the other artist directly.

It’s okay to practice with inspiration from others, but you should stay away from replicating other artists’ work. This article lays out some good tips for how to stay inspired without copying someone’s work. It gets very tricky because the more we see work, the more we are influenced by it, which is great when you are trying to develop your own style. You just have to use your best judgement. The book, How to Steal Like an Artist, also has great insight into this topic.

5 // Don’t compare yourself to everyone else you see online. You never know the full story behind another artists’ talent. Maybe she has been practicing for years even though she only recently started sharing her work online. Maybe she has experience in lettering and that has translated over to her journey in pointed-pen calligraphy lending to a shorter learning curve. Perhaps she was recently laid off and has full days to dedicate to developing her art or maybe she’s working two jobs but is so intent on getting better that she stays up until 1am practicing calligraphy. We simply don’t know what’s going on “behind the scenes” for anyone else and there’s no need for comparison. Everyone has their own style to develop! If you find yourself falling into the comparison trap, take a peek back at this blog post.

Your journey into calligraphy does not have to be an intimidating one. Remember, great things really do take time!