Learn Calligraphy/Penmanship

Learn Calligraphy/Penmanship

What you need to know

  • Calligraphy/good penmanship will take time. You need to practice it like you would with any courses or instruments. 
  • You need to get the right writing instrument. If you are first getting started, a regular pencil will do because you can make the dark and lighter strokes with that. Later on when you are sure you want to invest in this art, start buying fountain pens, ink, etc.
  • You need to buy your desired writing tool and then the ink for it. You can easily find these online on Ebay, Aliexpress, Amazon, or on websites I will mention below

Types of writing instruments

  • Pencil: this is the most basic writing tool you can easily access. I kid you not. Pull out those hidden pencils from your childhood years!  Heck even writing with a stick on sand works if you know what you are doing! 😉

  • Chalk: Have some chalk and maybe even a board lying somewhere in the house? These may be a bit messier on the fingers but they are very good practicing tools. Especially if you’re a teacher learning to improve your writing. Start impressing your students 😉
  • Ball pen: I do not recommend this because the result is less obvious but if you master the pressure variances, you should still be able to show your skills with this writing tool
  • Brush: If you like to do larger calligraphy work, you may favor brushes similar to felt pens. These are flexible longer brush tips to create flowy letters. They are easily found in Japanese stores or Daiso etc. Tombow brushes/pens are easy to find and are very affordable on Amazon. Search for calligraphy brushes and you will find those on Amazon too
  • Miscellaneous tools: Go on pinterest and type in hand lettering tools and you can indulge in other types of tools and sizes!
  • Fountain pen: Now we are talking. Fountain pens aren’t as simple as you think. There are different types and the list can get lengthy
    • Basic fountain pen: This pen acts just like a ballpoint pen because it does not create the thin and thick strokes you are expecting. It comes in broad, fine, extra fine, etc My biggest mistake was not knowing the differences between the pens so I was very frustrated when my first fountain pen came and I could not for the life of me create the calligraphy I was hoping for. These pens are the same ones you would find from say Parker, Lamy or Jinhao etc. They are great for everyday writing and journaling as once you get used to this inking system, you will have that appreciation for the smooth writing. When in doubt, always do your research. Utilize youtube and look up your pen and see writing samples before buying!
    • Calligraphy specific pen: Ok if you want a really cool and versatile pen like the flex but want to customize the thickness or shapes of your writing, you must know this secret. Vietnam makes incredible pens for these. If you are traveling, do not hesitate to contact teacher Anh Duong. She is incredible. She has calligraphy classes and all you ever need products to get started. If you are like me, just order it online! Look up Thay Anh Luyen Chu Dep and messeage her. Tell her what your goals are and she will guide you with which is the best pens to purchase as believe it or not, there are gazillions! Her website has all the necessary grided books for practicing, and did I mention, the pens?!?! I know it looks daunting to look at a site in a foreign language. So you know what? Just follow step 1 and message her on facebook! Next, go on youtube and type in the keywod “thay anh duong”. You will see lots of clips about how to write as well as sample writing of her pens. They are usually named SH 004, 005, 008, 042, 043 etc. 
    • Flex pen: These are the pens you want if you don’t want to go through the trouble of getting it from Anh Duong! By flex, it means that the tip of your pen is able to let ink escape at different degrees depending on how you add pressure to your writing. The picture below is an example of using a flex pen. You can get an affordable one from Goulet Pen for about $23. You can get it from their website or even on Ebay. These pens are a must have in your collection. You will not regret it! If you want to get really fancy, there is the flex nib with an oblique holder. These are quite fun to use but you need to use it as a dipping pen. I would not encourage you to start off with that. Use the basics first then this pen will be a treat to use!


Resourceful sites to check out

  1. Guide to choosing fountain pens
  2. Learn the basics with follow along videos. Ok, there are lots. Just search on youtube. But this is the one I like to use
  3. Good guide to pen nibs
  4. Beginner’s guide to using a fountain pen. Please make sure you start off right by holding the pen the right way. I was stubborn and held it my wrong way and all I can create were ugly chicken scratches. So get over your stubbornness and just do it right! It is worth it!
  5. Check out my lessons. Learn along with me!

Lesson Index

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