Calligraphy quotes and effective, creative layouts – a step by step guide

I’ve never been a fan of letter drills as a way to practice modern calligraphy. I find writing quotes so much more rewarding and fun!

There’s something compelling about a block of writing. A chunk of text becomes a pattern – writing quotes is a great challenge, a confidence builder an a wonderful way to mark your progress as you learn calligraphy, one month at a time.

1. Choose your quote!

A quote for calligraphy practice should be short and sweet – about 10 words or so. Choose a quote with letter ‘t’ – it’s a great space filler! Instagram is a great place to look for quotes.

2. Draft your quote in pencil

Write one or two words per line. Watch for ascenders and descenders – the letters which are high (l, d, b, h etc.) and those which hang below the line (f, g, j, p, q etc.) Don’t let them crash together!

After each line, stop and consider where the next one will fit. Try and fill any gaps above the words with ascenders – your best trick is a ‘t’ with a long, looping crossing stroke to fill any gaps or white space.

3. Review your draft

Look for big gaps between words or lines, and any letters which sit too close together. When you’re happy there are no blocks of white space in there, it’s time to copy it (on a new piece of paper) with your calligraphy pen

Try to keep your quote small and central on the page. You don’t need to fill a sheet of A4 paper with just 10 words, so don’t be tempted to write huge letters. Leave a wide margin all around the edge.

4. Frame it!

Be proud of your progress and inspired by your words!

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