You Can Learn to Letter
Whether you got an "A" in art class as a kid or you're about as creative as a thumbtack, my philosophy is this: Anyone can learn just enough hand-lettering to put something pretty on their wall.
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In my opinion, the best place to start learning calligraphy is with "faux" lettering— a method that uses any utensil to manually draw calligraphy's thick and thin lines, rather than using pressure and ink flow, like in dip pen and ink calligraphy, or brush pen calligraphy. I recommend "faux" lettering because there are no special tools required to get started, and it's also the only kind of lettering that translates easily to other mediums, like chalkboard lettering.
From there, you have two options, both of which I have for free on my site:
Option 1: Start With Your Own Handwriting
You can get started fast!
Great for people who already have nice, consistent cursive.
You pay for the quick start-up with more work in the end, cleaning up your own cursive and making it more consistent.
Requires the ability to write in cursive.
Requires you to change aspects of your own cursive, which is difficult to do, given muscle memory.
Adding thicks and thins is more difficult.
Option 2: Learn With "Simple Script"
Does not require you to know cursive.
No need to re-think the way you write; instead, this method creates an entirely new space in your brain for hand-lettering, keeping it separate from your everyday handwriting. You won't fight muscle memory.
Sets you up for a seamless transition into other types of calligraphy, like brush pen lettering.
Getting started takes longer; more time is required in the beginning to learn the basics.
Requires you to repeat and build muscle memory again, which takes time, but pays off.
Simple Script: A Free printable workbook
Simple Script started as a solution to one major problem I have wanted to solve as an in-person workshop instructor: Most of my attendees either A) have never learned cursive, or B) struggle to make their existing cursive consistent enough for hand lettering. Simple Script is the only method currently that doesn'trequire you to know or master cursive. It is a completely new method that borrows principles from line drawing and brush pen lettering to teach you calligraphy faster and easier than before.
"Faux" calligraphy or hand-lettering is the art of turning your own handwriting into beautiful calligraphy—and because it does not rely on pen pressure, angle, or special tools, it is a great place for the beginner to start! Even better, you can begin with making only five basic changes to your own cursive. Read more...
One of the hardest parts of learning calligraphy is knowing which parts of the letter should be thick and which parts should be thin—this knowledge is the essence of calligraphy! If you're a beginner, here's a lettering mantra for you: "thick downstrokes, thin upstrokes." Or even simpler, "thick down, thin up." But, you might ask, what does this even mean? Read more...
In this previous post, I discussed how to create calligraphic thicks and thins, and what it means to create thick downstrokes and thin upstrokes. However, it's one thing to define terms, to know which parts of the a letter should be thick and which should be thin, but it's entirely another to know transition smoothly from thick to thin, and vice versa. Read more...
Other Articles & Free Downloads
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Private Classes & Parties
A hand-lettering workshop can be a fun birthday party, bridal shower, or bachelorette party. It also makes a fun "just because" get-together.
Hosted at Madelia Makers' Market: Depending on the workshop topic, number of people and other details, these usually cost around $20-30/person.
Hosted in Your Home: Depending on the workshop topic, the number of people, and other details, these usually cost around $12-18/person.
The Methods of Lettering
HAND-LETTERING OR "FAUX CALLIGRAPHY"
This method uses a normal writing or drawing utensil to manually color in the thick and thins lines that are used to create calligraphy.
BRUSH PEN LETTERING
Brush pens are markers made with flexible or even real brush tips so that they are pressure-sensitive. Light drawing creates thinner lines and heavy pressing creates thicker lines.
Brush lettering uses a paintbrush dipped in ink to create calligraphy. Much like brush pens, their flexible bristles make for very thin and thick lines, but they are often harder to control.
POINTED PEN & INK
This traditional method of lettering uses a flexible nib dipped in ink to create the thick and thin lines used in calligraphy. Like brush lettering, quill pens are more difficult to control and require frequent dipping.
Follow along on Instagram...
I regularly post tips, tricks, and create real-time videos to help you learn!