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3 Ways to Improve Your Calligraphy & Lettering Skills

Calligraphers can always enhance their creativity by setting goals and consistently practicing their art. Here are a few methods I teach:

1. Fill pages with a single letter of the alphabet

If you’re a beginning calligrapher, take an empty page and focus on a single letter. Write the date at the top (for reference) and then fill the paper with whichever letter you’ve chosen. After you’ve finished, circle the best ones and give yourself an A!

Repeat monthly and compare each exercise to the previous pages. Seeing how you’ve improved is one of the most affirming things you can do for yourself.

And this exercise is more than just a way to practice. Use this meditative time as an opportunity to think about layout and color while learning about your writing tool.

For additional help at creating consistent, beautiful, letters, start by drawing wiggle lines in colored pencil to use as a guide. I know many groan at ruling lines, but it really helps us to slow down, think, and focus. Think of it as preparation; it’s a good thing!

practice-lines

2. Create alphabetical word art with descriptive words

Many calligraphers enjoy practicing their art by penning lists of words beginning with every letter of the alphabet in specific categories.

For example, go from A-Z choosing a color for each letter (azure, bronze, celadon, etc.) and then create individual artworks for each word using hues and strokes which convey the feeling of that color.

word-art
Here I used Tombow 603 (periwinkle) and 553 (lavender).

Other category options for this exercise include names, cities, countries, foods, animals, and flowers. If you like, you can write the words found in this wonderful color resource from Ingrid Sundberg.

3. Draw inspirational quotes or phrases

When you’re ready for a little more of a challenge, try working with inspiring words, famous artists, or one-sentence quotes. This year, I’m writing a new word each month for a journal. It helps improve my vocabulary as well as my lettering and design skills. And I like learning because . . . I’m curious.

descriptive-words-and-definitions

As you practice your calligraphy, be grateful you’re still curious, make a cup of tea, and nurture this special gift!

Take care! See you again in March.

*Note: this post may contain affiliate links*

NOTE: Before I begin, I want to mention that the process I’m about to describe is entirely intuitive. I’m not guaranteeing it will work for every artist; it's just what feels right to me. But, with that said, these principles are based in color theory, so they should work in most situations.

Selecting your color palette for new drawings is a personal. . . read more

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