So at the beginning of this year, I decided to learn something new each month. It's been a crazy year, and I'm so excited to finally start sharing it all.
January started out with learning calligraphy. I've been doing hand lettering for a long time now, and have just been using thin pens and filling in the thicks and thins to create the calligraphy effect. Realizing how much time I would save by using an actual calligraphy pen, I started experimenting.
Not knowing where to start, I looked on Skillshare to see if they had any classes offered. I found a great class by the amazing Bryn Chernoff. She actually has an entire series of classes on calligraphy there and I would highly recommend them. They go from beginning level where you are just learning how to use your pen and what materials to buy, to more advanced classes that teach how to find your personal style and perfect your skills.
The ink and pen I use are just the ones she has on her class list for her materials, which you can find here. Everything on her material list was incredibly helpful. I purchased the Complete Collection, and I'm still using many of those same materials 9 months later. I've even reordered new nibs and paper multiple times.
I can't tell you how much of a difference it makes to have the right materials. At first, I was just trying out random calligraphy pens and ink I found from Michael's and it was really splattery and messy. I was constantly frustrated. Using professional grade nibs and smooth paper meant for ink has made all the difference. So if you have tried it before and felt like giving up, give it another chance. Her basic collection is only $20, and I promise you won't regret it.
After taking Bryn's classes, I was totally hooked. I loved making letters and calligraphy. I wasn't super great at it, but just kept going. I practiced every day writing random things and practicing some of the letters I have trouble with. I started adding swashes and getting fancy.
During this whole process, my good friend from growing up asked me to do her wedding invitations (which I'll write more on in an upcoming post). In the process of doing her invitation, she had me illustrate some of the elements of her wedding.
I had already been illustrating for a while, but was trying to nail down my personal style. Once I started illustrating with the calligraphy pen, it was like magic. I loved the way the pen created thicks and thins in the illustration. It looked very elegant while still feeling hand done. It's also just a fun fun medium to work with.
Soon I was using my calligraphy pen to illustrate everything I could. I was experimenting with drawing people and buildings. Later in the year, I've started to play with my ink lines digitally and filling them in with color. I'm growing and finding my style more and more everyday.
To see some of the illustrations I've done with my pen, hop on over to my illustrations page or the prints in my shop, or my Instagram feed for what I'm currently working on. Learning calligraphy was so helpful in increasing my hand lettering abilities, and the calligraphy pen has turn into my signature illustration tool. I just can't get enough of it.
More Resources I love:
Following professional calligraphers on Instagram (aka people who know a lot more than me):
Books to Read