This is a question we frequently receive when people are deciding if they should give pointed-pen calligraphy a try, whether considering an in-person workshop or an at-home starter kit. While every individual’s skill level will vary, and there unfortunately isn’t any one factor that will tell you in advance if you’ll have success with the art, there are a few things to consider before getting started.

First of all, “good” is a fairly subjective term. If you’re achieving thick and thin lines, this will look aesthetically pleasing to some people. Repetitive practice to achieve consistency is what will truly elevate your skill & technique making your pointed-pen appear more polished. Which leads us to the first key factor…

Do you have patience?
Calligraphy is a learned skill that is cultivated over time. The tools are not necessarily intuitive, and even once you learn how to properly use the tools, you’ll want to develop consistency in your letter forms before even moving into stringing them together into words if you want to advance more quickly. This all requires patience and practice over an extended period of time. We frequently have to remind students in our workshops that they literally just started 30 minutes ago if they are experiencing frustration that they “aren’t getting it” right off the bat. While it does take longer for some students to get the hang of using the tools correctly than others, ultimately everyone in class shows improvement over three hours which is encouraging for going forward. Our workshops are designed to set you up for your continued learning and practice at home after class.

Are you willing to invest appropriately to experience success more quickly?
Oftentimes beginners don’t want to invest until they know they will like the art, so they piece together miscellaneous supplies they see others using online, pull some paper from their home printer and give it a go. Unfortunately this usually leads to struggles with getting the tools to work at all along with an inky mess and the person thinks they “can’t do it” when in reality, they may well be successful at pointed-pen calligraphy with the right combination of tools curated for beginners plus detailed, down-to-earth instructions on how to actually get those tools to work for you. Hint: this is what we provide in our starter kit + video tutorial as well as in-person workshops. Always keep in mind that beginner calligraphy kits are not created equally and you want to take the instructor’s experience with the art {length of time both practicing the art themselves as well as teaching it to others} into consideration.

Do you have good handwriting?
This one is actually a common misconception! You don’t have to have nice handwriting to be successful in pointed-pen calligraphy. Calligraphy is actually a bit more like drawing as you are “drawing” shapes to form letters. Students with impeccable handwriting are sometimes the most disappointed in class because they come in expecting it to be easy. Whether you have neat penmanship or not, it’s best to approach the art knowing you’ll need to invest dedicated practice to the art like any other learned skill. Being left-handed is also not a deal breaker. Sometimes left-handed learners are the best in class! 

Since early 2014 we’ve taught over 10,000 students the art of pointed-pen calligraphy and there is simply no way to foresee who will excel with the art until you sit down and give it a try. Even students who struggle in the beginning, we coach them throughout class, making adjustments, continuous reminders to turn this, check that, etc and they too show improvement. So if you’re considering learning the art, we hope you’ll give it try keeping these things in mind as you go! 

To learn more about it, you can download our FREE beginner’s guide to calligraphy here.