Are you keeping your calligraphy a secret?

I wonder how many of us have a hobby we do for our own artistic pleasure, and which no one ever sees. In my online workshops I make a point of framing little pieces of work – it’s very much about celebrating every small victory and seeing your own progress – but I wonder if anyone actually does this, or if we all pack away our practice sheets and stick them in a box or drawer until next time…

Jenny Jones Photography

I have a little challenge for you. Next time you’re in a charity shop, antique shop – or even in a high street store which sells cheap frames – buy one. If it has a mount, even better. Keep it with your calligraphy stuff.

Then at the end of your next practice session, get a single sheet of A4 paper, draw a rough circle right in the middle (the size of a roll of sellotape), and write a tiny quote inside it. Song lyrics or titles are great for this. Let your ink dry for a minute, trim the edges, pop it in your frame and hang it on your wall.

Calligraphy should be seen. It doesn’t have to be perfect as you learn – so display and be proud of what you’re learning!

If you have children in your family, write their names in calligraphy. My 10 year old niece loved seeing her name on a card! A delighted smile is so encouraging – and we all need positive feedback like this as we hone our calligraphy talent.

Write envelopes – and send them. Post them to your friends and distant relatives, to companies (Innocent, Lush and Aussie packaging all mention how much they love letters!) – anyone you can think of!

Image credit: Jenny Jones Photography

Calligraphy isn’t something to hide away. People love it – and by sharing your talent you might just inspire someone else to have a go. More importantly, you’ll grow and enjoy your lettering more with a little positive feedback.

If you’re not already putting your calligraphy online, do. Pop a photo on instagram with a calligraphy hashtag ( #learncalligraphy #lovecalligraphy) and join a group or forum (@flourishforum) for inspiration and to meet other new calligraphers.

Ready to stop hiding your calligraphy? Go find your frame, and have fun!


Join me for a calligraphy workshop in Manchester: online booking & info – modern calligraphy workshops

Buy a modern calligraphy starter kit and begin your calligraphy adventures today!

Modern calligraphy – what’s next when you’ve learned all the letters?

Words are made of letters. Make the right shapes, put them in the right order and you’re all done, right?

Wrong.

In modern calligraphy, letters are the easy bit (apart form x. I hate x.) Letter drills are a fairly simple way to practice – write m 50 times and you’ll be brilliant at it. But there’s so much more to calligraphy – it’s about joining letters creatively.

No one really teaches how to do it – either because it’s assumed once you know the basics of letters you can work out how to join them, or because it’s bloody hard to teach! So how do you learn?

I’ve made a series of ‘Learn Calligraphy Cheat Sheets‘ which are on sale in my Etsy shop as printable, instant downloads. Sometimes the only way to learn is by doing: the easiest way to do is by cheating – at least at first!

There are 4 things to consider when joining letters:

  • the lightness of your pen stroke
  • the distance between your letters
  • the curve
  • the overall pattern of your joins

I love to teach an exaggerated spacing exercise in my calligraphy workshops, where students write the word ‘moon’ with increasingly longer spaces between the letters, eventually filling an A4 page with the word while still keeping letters small. It’s all about focusing on the joins and the patterns they make.

Next time you practice your modern calligraphy, write out full words and really focus on the gaps. Make joining strokes twice as wide as letters, creating really long gaps. Practice writing words in pencil, then rubbing out the letters, leaving only the joining strokes. Do they form a pattern? Are they smooth? Curvy? Pretty?

Giving a little extra attention to your joins will make your calligraphy all the more beautiful – and it’s the logical next step after learning all the letters.

Photo credit: Melissa Beattie Photography

Rustic kraft wedding calligraphy ideas

kraft rustic calligraphy font wedding invitation

Around about the time shabby chic became a thing and weddings all began to look vintage, an innovative eco-warrior invented kraft card and introduced it to all the brides and grooms in the world. And we all fell in love.

My kraft card wedding invites have been a big seller for almost 5 years. They’re printed or handwritten on recycled card and are really affordable. They’re perfectly suited to a barn wedding or a festival-style celebration – they work equally beautifully in a country house or garden marquee.

This beautiful pic by lovely Photography by Kathryn, based in Yorkshire

My kraft wedding invites come in various designs, all with handwritten place cards, seating plan cards, menus and other on the day stationery available.

Browse the images below for different ideas and colour palettes to work with the kraft card – there are so many options with this really versatile, natural colour.

I’m looking to add new designs to the kraft & calligraphy collection, so if you have a particular idea in mind for an illustration or theme, get in touch and we can chat about a bespoke design.

Simple kraft calligraphy wedding invitations – photo credit Theresa Furey, Fine Art Film Photographer
kraft wedding invites uk
Modern kraft wedding stationery collection

kraft calligraphy stationery

hello@calligraphy-for-weddings.com

When modern calligraphy gets challenging – a pep talk

There are days when I begin to write and just don’t feel happy with my calligraphy. Does this happen to you too? I think as creatives we can find it all too easy to be overly critical of our work – I know I can.

Those days where I begin a poetry commission four times only for it to end up in the recycling, when I start a piece of calligraphy at 8am and after many false starts put my pens down at 10pm… it can be such an uphill battle!

But you know what? The harder I find it to write, the more time I spend overanalysing my letters, adjusting my nibs or watering down my inks, the more I learn.

And no matter how many false starts I make on a commission, it is ALWAYS worth the time and effort.

Because modern calligraphy is a pleasure to write and learn. It’s therapeutic; you get lost in letters. And it’s all about finding your rhythm – once you have that, you’ve won.

Photo credit Jo Bradbury / illustration Amy Swann

New wedding place card styles for 2018

These last couple of weeks I’ve been busy writing, and sprawled on my studio floor photographing a new batch of wedding place cards.

While gold ink on white or ivory cards has always been the most popular look, in 2017 I was asked to write lots of bolder, darker and contrasty wedding place names.

The gold and navy colour palette from this editorial feature with lovely Emma Tebbey and Taylor & Porter (featured on Wedding Sparrow blog) struck a chord with so many of my couples. And honestly, I love my gold inks and writing on navy is a dream!

So my new range of place cards includes all the modern card colours I can get my hands on – from olive green to petrol blue, with grey and rustic colour options too.

Find all of these in my online shop this summer.



A total revamp – new calligraphy website design

My working life lies somewhere between graphic design and the wedding industry – the happiest place I can imagine working. Between the ever-changing world of bridal fashion trends and innovations in type and technology, my mind is flooded with so much newness I find I’m changing my calligraphy website pretty much every 12 months or so!

the long sunny days of June caused a little gap between calligraphy orders so I had time to review my website – and it was missing focus and clarity. So I’ve redesigned the menus to make it easier for you to find my printed or bespoke invitations, or to discover more about my modern calligraphy workshops.

I’ve also updated the visuals with beautiful photography by Kathryn Hopkins, Jenny Jones, Verona Lain, Camilla Lucinda and Inbetween Days – amazing creatives I’ve had the pleasure of working with this year.

I hope you love the new look! My net project will be dozens of new calligraphy ideas in my Etsy shop.

Follow me on Instagram for first sneak peeks!

The new ‘handwritten’ and why it scares me!

I follow a handful of beautiful blogs on Bloglovin’ and today this led me to discover something pretty freaky… it’s a genuine service, and advertised on Emmaline Bride (which is a blog I love) as ‘a dream come true’.

Too lazy to write your own thank you notes? Happier to type on your device than to hunt for a pen and paper to send a personal note to your great auntie for the thoughtful gift she bought and gave you on your wedding day? Think your family and friends won’t recognise your thank you notes are in someone else’s handwriting? Then this is for you…

With Bond, a robot will write your thank you letters with an actual pen. And this, my lovely friends, is being called ‘handwritten’.

Oh my goodness!! I’m torn: I totally agree it’s important to send thank you notes, and handwritten is best of course! But are they ‘hand’ written if a robot writes them?!

I love the innovation but it freaks me out at the same time that this is even a thing!

Is it bizarre or the future? Is it better than printing your own thank you notes in a ‘handwritten’ font on your home printer? Can a robot hand really deliver that personal touch? I would love to know what you think!

Note: the hand in the photo is my real hand – not a robot one. For that, head over to https://bond.co and watch the videos in the background 🙂 It’s the weirdest backwards step in tech I’ve ever seen – but strangely and disturbingly fascinating!

Image credit Jenny Jones Photography

 

Pricing for bespoke calligraphy and wedding stationery – how it works

I once worked with a wedding stationery designer who charges her clients £60 per hour for her services.

She was, as her price tag suggests, something of a diva. (I’ve never seen such an impressive tantrum about couriers!)

She is also the perfect example of how shockingly ‘high end’ wedding stationery can be priced. It’s NOT how I price my calligraphy services.

We were chalk and cheese (let’s say I’m the chalk!) – I consider myself an artisan, a craftsperson, an independent designer, a skilled maker. I work with my hands: my prices are more in line with what a stonemason or carpenter might charge for their craft.

My stationery designer friend, on the other hand, saw herself as the new Vivienne Westwood, and priced accordingly.

Photography by Oobaloos

Affordable personalised invites from £2

Calligraphy can be affordable or expensive, depending what you choose to have for your wedding. My printed ‘off the shelf’ invitations cost around £2.  I use a specialist printer to ensure quick turnaround and quality; once the design is complete, this is much less labour intensive for me, and costs you less than handwritten calligraphy.

Actual calligraphy work costs more per item because it takes time to produce. An invitation can take anything from twenty minutes to an hour to write, and so I charge accordingly for my time and for paper stocks, inks and ribbons.

Photography by Kathryn Hopkins

How I set prices for bespoke calligraphy design

If a handwritten calligraphy invitation costs £6 or more, it’s because it’s carefully and lovingly created. If I write two invitations per hour, and deduct the price for my paper and ink, I make £10 per hour… and it’s impossible to write by hand constantly for 7 hours a day so my ‘writing’ earnings tend to be around £50 – £60 per day’s work.

How does that compare to your salary?

Bespoke calligraphy wedding invitations are priced by the word because longer wordings take longer to write.

Prices start from £6 per handwritten invitation.

The average price is £7 per invitation.

Traditional wordings (“Mr & Mrs X request the pleasure of your company at the marriage of their daughter…. followed by dinner and dancing… RSVP address…”) can cost around £9 per invitation.

If you include your venue’s full address and post code, both sets of parents’ details, a full RSVP address and postcode as well as multiple middle names it can be more expensive.

The trick is to keep calligraphy wordings short and provide as much information as you can on your personal wedding website.

By keeping calligraphy word counts in check, you can have beautiful, handwritten calligraphy invitations on cotton rag papers for substantially less than you’d pay for letterpress printing.

Photography by Kathryn Hopkins

Bespoke calligraphy – a beautiful investment

Handwritten invitations are a wonderful keepsake for your guests; even more so if they’re personalised.

Calligraphy envelopes will be kept for weeks, months, years.

That personal touch is a rare treat nowadays – so it’s more than worth the investment.

Your wedding invitations aren’t really for you: they’re for the people you love so much you want them to share your day. Spending a little more than £5 on each of those people – only if you can afford to – is a wonderful, meaningful gesture.

calligraphy place names uk cheap

Optional extras or a surprisingly cheap alternative to calligraphy invitations

Place names are the most affordable little treat of all. Prices start from 50p for a simple, sweet, elegant handwritten place name card.

If your wedding budget won’t allow for handwritten invitations, save the calligraphy for the big day and hire me to write you some beautiful place names – they make equally beautiful keepsakes for your guests to treasure.