With less than nine weeks until Christmas, we’re busy making plans and stocking up (pun not intended!) on gift tags and calligraphy kits for the festive season!
I’ve been working on some exercises for those of you learning calligraphy, and shared this Christmas card design on my social media. I love it because it’s deceptively easy to write, and teaches 3 important aspects of modern calligraphy:
1 – the technique of moving smoothly from a thin to a thick stroke
2 – the trick of seeing through the window* when your ink is about to run out
3 – the importance of not rushing! (this video is a time lapse – it actually takes over 3 minutes to create this card design)
It’s also wonderfully Christmassy!
I’ll be teaching this as a practice technique AND a Christmas card design in my calligraphy class on 7th December in Manchester. There are still tickets available and I’d love to see you there!
In every calligraphy course I teach, someone will say ‘It’s so therapeutic’ – with a little note of happy surprise. I wait for the moment, I guess who’ll say it first, and I love it when they do.
Modern calligraphy is the loveliest hobby, and accessible for almost everyone. Watching the graceful movements of your pen, seeing the calligraphy nib bend and the ink flow – it’s almost hypnotic.
The key to modern calligraphy, whether you’re writing with a pointed pen or a brush lettering pen, is slowness.
We rarely write these days. When we do, it’s either fast notes on the phone or in a meeting, or perhaps an exam where the challenge is basically to get as many words onto some sheets of paper as is humanly possible within 90 minutes.
That’s no fun!
Writing calligraphy as an art is different. Every shape can be carefully considered, every stroke of the pen should be planned – even if that becomes a subconscious process.
Modern lettering artists write slowly. The play between hand (pen) and eye is a rhythmic one. And as you learn calligraphy you come to appreciate the difference between everyday writing and lettering arts.
Calligraphy practice at home in the evenings can be a beautiful escape from the past paced lives we lead. After a busy day at work, treat yourself to half an hour in a quiet room, with a little music and a glass of wine. Find some lovely smooth paper to write on, and use your favourite coloured ink. Then take your time, relax your breathing and practice your letters – slowly.
Learning calligraphy really is therapeutic – and it’s not just about the letters but about consciously focusing on your creativity, away from the rest of the world.
This year is rushing by so quickly: I can’t believe it’s less than 9 weeks until Christmas! We were chatting about calligraphy practice in my workshop last week, and everyone agreed we’d be practising our lettering skills on gift tags and envelopes… it’s the PERFECT time of year to play with your pens!
I’ll be running a Christmas calligraphy class on the 7th of December in Manchester. It’s going to be all lovely and festive… I’m hoping the guys at Flourish will have appropriate flowers and sparkly bits so I can decorate appropriately and really get in the Christmas spirit!
We’ll be writing the obvious ‘Merry Christmas’ and practising for cards and gift tags – we’ll also look at little projects and ways to use calligraphy creatively over the Christmas party season.
We’ll also play with colourful inks and papers, and generally get in the mood for the festive season with some Christmassy calligraphy lettering!
Suitable for absolute beginners and those of you who’ve learned a little calligraphy, this is a relaxed modern calligraphy workshop in Manchester’s Northern Quarter.
My feet are finally touching the ground after Saturday’s lovely calligraphy class in Manchester. Thank you to everyone who came along – you were such a nice group of students to teach – and SO talented! I really enjoyed spending the day with everyone, and wish you all well on your modern calligraphy journey.
For anyone reading who couldn’t make it on Saturday, this was a calligraphy workshop where we explored both pointed pen calligraphy and brush lettering. In the first hour we learned about the pointed pen and nib, working with Sumi ink to create flowing, swirling shapes and the thin hairlines and thick swells which define modern lettering.
Then we moved on to brush pen calligraphy, which is a very different technique, although the same principle of thick and thin lines does apply. It was really interesting to see how some students found brush lettering easier, while most actually enjoyed and had more success with the metal nibs.
If anyone would like to refresh their calligraphy skills in 2019 I’m running an intermediate modern calligraphy class in Manchester in August. This will be a friendly catchup session for those of you who’ve been to one of my previous workshops, or who have a little modern calligraphy experience under your belts. We’ll skip all the ‘how to hold your pen’ stuff, and focus on creating beautifully smooth, flowing lettering. We’ll compare penholders and talk about any projects you’re working on, and I’ll demonstrate things like laying out quotes and creating different lettering styles.
I’ll be back in Manchester on the 7th of December for a Christmas calligraphy workshop – I can’t wait!! The last modern calligraphy class of the year will be festive and FUN! We’ll write gift tags and cards, play with colourful inks and papers, and generally get in the mood for the festive season with some Christmassy calligraphy lettering!