Just letting you guys know that this blog will be on hiatus until April 5th. I have a lot of things going on in real life like exams and interviews that I need to prepare for. Don’t worry about the blog. I’ll pick it up after this craziness settled down.

– J

1.9 – Roman Rustic Font

For this week, I’m practicing Roman Rustic Font using the same website that I used for the Gothic font.

Here’s the ‘a’.

It’s a little difficult to tell from the pictures but the second one is smaller than the first one. I’d say it’s 75% the size of the first one. I was using the largest nib I have, but the proportions were still wonky as you can tell. Making the character a bit smaller seemed to help, but it’s still off.

Now here’s a ‘v’.

Not a lot to say about this one that’s different from the first one.

And finally an ‘o’.

With this one, you can really see how much reducing the size helped forming the letters. The middle one is probably half as big as the other one.

I’m sure you can guess what today’s advice is. Make sure you try making the letters in a few different sizes so you get the right proportions.

– J


1.8 – Gothic Alphabet Part II

It’s hard for me to believe that March is already halfway over. So far, we’ve covered the basic of calligraphy, Roundhand font, and Gothic font. So where does that leave us? Well I’m finishing up Gothic font today and I’m hoping to use next week for Roman script. Then the last week of March will be a mishmash of modern calligraphy fonts. There will also be a special blog post next Friday that will cover the history of calligraphy.

And what about after March? Well this blog will be moving onto a new hobby that I’m planning on announcing next week. However, for myself, calligraphy will be put on the backburner indefinitely. It is a fun hobby, and I’d like to continue working on it occasionally. But I have to be honest and say that it isn’t something I really, really enjoy. There’s probably been a couple of times over this past month where I thought about stabbing my eye out with a nib. With that being said, I of course don’t want to discourage anyone that is interested in starting it. Just because I didn’t love it doesn’t mean you won’t. If you’re thinking about taking it up, go for it.

Now on to today’s lesson. I thought I would try something different and show my first attempt at a letter, then my (approximately) tenth attempt at it, and finally the tutorial I am following.

So here’s a ‘w’.

You can see that the tenth iteration is a bit better than the first in terms of spacing and line straightness. Both are not as good as the sample ‘w’ obviously. I still need to work on a few things, but you can see the evolution of it.

Next is an ‘f’. You can see where I accidentally dragged my hand through it. Oops, my bad.

Again the tenth iteration is better. Evidently practice does make perfect(or at least better). The lines are a bit straighter and the lengths of the top, middle, and bottom sections are more even.

And finally an ‘a’. Very similar observations to the other two letters.

What do you think? More helpful that just posting the same picture over and over? I think so too, and I will probably continue this format for the rest of the month.

– J

1.7 – Famous Calligraphers & Master Penmen

When picking up a new hobby, I always like to research the culture that has formed around it. The history, famous practitioners, new developments, etc, etc. And, since understanding the culture is important to me, it seems imperative that I include it in this blog to share with all of you. So Friday blogs are going to be a cultural lesson about the topic of the month. For right now at least.

Master Penmen

Calligraphy is often considered a subsection of penmanship so I feel it is ok to talk about calligraphers and master penmen. Plus I need more content for my blog.

The International Association of Master Penmen, Engrossers and Teachers of Handwriting (IAMPETH) has a Master Penman Society that recognizes accomplished penmen. There are currently only 12 Master Penman alive today. The most famous member(and the youngest by  ~30 years) is probably Jake Weidmann. There was actually a bit of viral sensation when he was inducted into the Society a few years ago. You can watch a YouTube video about him here, and read a news article here.

It seems like the Society actually disbanded in 2015. So, if you are interested in being a Master Penman, you might be out of luck unless you want to start your own club.

Calligraphy in Movies & TV

Calligraphy is also extremely popular in films and television shows. Below are a couple of artists that I found.

Daniel Reeves is a calligrapher from New Zealand. He is most well-known for doing the artwork in the Lord of the Rings/Hobbit movies. He also did work on King Kong and Narnia.

DeAnn Singh is a calligrapher from the United States. Some of her works include the National Treasure movies, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Charmed.

When I was started researching this topic, I quickly learned that it’s difficult to find famous calligraphers. It seems like a lot of films/tv shows don’t acknowledge penmen and their artwork in the credits. So, next time you see a penman’s work in a movie, take a moment to appreciate their contributions. You might be the only one who has.

– J


1.6 – Hit a slump

As I said in my first post, I’m terrible about starting something and then getting bored two weeks later. Well, it has happened again like clockwork. For the last three days, I’ve thought about getting rid of this blog, starting a new hobby, or just abandoning the blog to die. All of them seemed tempting, but I’m back at again today.

I’ll keep this short since it’s late. Today was just about practicing part I of the Gothic font tutorial again. I’ll do a special blog post tomorrow since it is Friday. I’ll hopefully get part II of the tutorial up by Saturday or Sunday.

I thought this captured my thoughts very well.

foto_no_exif (3)

– J

1.5 – Gothic Alphabet Part I

So my idea of having a special Friday blog post fell through pretty quickly. My computer networking lab took longer than I thought it would, and, before I knew it, it was Sunday night. However don’t fear. I did practice writing using the faux roundhand script as you can see below.

foto_no_exif (1)

Now onto the Gothic font. Also known as blackletter, Gothic script is probably one of the most well-known calligraphy fonts. It was used from 1100 CE to 1700 CE in most of Western Europe. For this font, I’ll be using this tutorial. I just want to again recommend that you look over this site if you are interested in calligraphy. Lots of tutorials for beginners.

Here you can see a side-by-side comparison of a professional calligrapher and my attempt at the Gothic script.

This time, I was just trying to form the letters correctly. If you look at the top of the ‘i’ and ‘l’, there is what looks like a little square. Looks pretty simple, right? Yeah, no. It was actually the most difficult part. You have to make sure your pen is at the correct angle and make sure that you don’t go too far. If you do, it turns into a weird rectangle that throws off the rest of the letter.

Next blog post, I’ll work on more letters, and getting uniform spacing and connectivity(?) between the letters.

– J

1.4 – Uppercase “Roundhand”

Today was all about practicing the uppercase Roundhand font, or what I thought was the Roundhand font. If you google “roundhand font”, all of these fonts pop up:

Look different, right? The first one is from the Mastering Calligraphy tutorial that I’ve been using. I was confused about which one was the real roundhand until I found this page on the International Association of Master Penmen, Engrossers and Teachers of Handwriting website that explains the differences between scripts that look similar to roundhand such as Engraver’s and Engrosser’s scripts. It would seem that the middle font above is the closest to actual roundhand. Oops, my bad.

So, instead, I’ll be showing you my faux roundhand that I’ve been practicing.


First off, sorry about the wonky angle. I’ve been procrastinating on cleaning my desk so there was very little room to put the writing pad down and take a picture. Second, I’m not going to lie. I’m not very happy with the way that it turned out. I can’t seem to get the little curves on the ends of some letters(L, M, U, etc.).  I’ll probably spend the next few days practicing it a bit more before moving on to Gothic font.

And that is it for today. To break up the monotony of me just posting about my practice drawings over and over, I thought it might be good idea to have Fridays be a special blog post. Maybe something about the history of calligraphy, modern-day calligraphers, etc.

Let me know what you think.

– J




1.3 – Mistakes were made

After yesterday’s post, I went looking for more tutorials to share. I found this website that explains the basics of calligraphy in more detail. It was a really good thing that I found it because I quickly discovered that I was doing basically everything wrong.

Below, you can see a picture of the pen angle that you are supposed to have when writing. When I was practicing yesterday, I was holding the pen at a 0 degree angle(parallel to the top of the paper) and rotating my hand to form the ends of the downward stroke. This is a evidently big no-no. You always keep the pen angle constant. Got it.

Katharine Beckett c.2009

Another problem was that I was holding the pen too tightly. You want to kind of just guide the pen back and forth. Gripping it tightly can hurt your hand and force you to press into the paper which can ruin the nib. So, armed with this new knowledge, I was ready to jump back into the saddle.

However, before I continue, I wanted to pause for a moment and go over the different types of calligraphy. Most people divide calligraphy based on region(Western, Eastern, etc.). There are also several variations within each region as well. For Western-style calligraphy, you have Gothic, Roundhand, Rustic, and so on. If you are interested in learning more about each style, the Wikipedia page is an excellent place to start.  I would love to do a month of Eastern-style calligraphy in the future; however, for this month, I’ll only be doing Western-style.

So, after I had practiced the correct technique a few times, I moved onto the Roundhand alphabet. The tutorial that I followed yesterday is just part I of a longer series on calligraphy. For part II, they recommend starting with Roundhand since it is a) easier and b)more familiar.

Here’s an example picture of the Roundhand alphabet.

Megan Eckman c. 2014

And here’s mine.


I really need to work on keeping my hand steady(my ‘k’ wobbles a bit) and making sure that both sides of the nib remain on the paper. If you look at my ‘u’ and ‘p’, you can see where the line isn’t completely solid at certain points. Reminds me of the papyrus font that used to be super popular. That’s because part of the nib isn’t touching the paper. No nib = no ink.

And that’s it for today. I have my senior project meeting tomorrow so I won’t be posting an update until Thursday.

P.S. I am one of those weird people who loves critiques. Stray comma? Let me know. Hate the topic? Let me know.

– J



1.2 – First actual post

Calligraphy practice has officially begun…and it’s more difficult that I remember. But that’s probably because I’m taking this a bit more seriously than I did when I was 13.

Downward stroke(top) and curve(bottom)

I found a Tutorial that goes over the basic strokes and was very helpful to me. You can see my attempts at the two basic structures in calligraphy: the downward stroke and the curve. I discovered that the stroke was actually more difficult for me than the curve. My hand kept wanting to rotate the pen so that it would make a stronger ‘S’ shape.

Overall I’d say I did pretty well for the first time in 10 years. Obviously the most important thing is what everyone always says: practice, practice, practice.

Before I sign off, I wanted to take a few minutes and talk about the supplies I bought. The Hobby Lobby near me didn’t have a great selection of calligraphy pens so I had to pick one that took cartridges instead of an ink well. You can see the differences between the two in the pictures below. Of the few tutorials that I glanced at, they all seemed mixed on which one you should use if you are a beginner. I personally liked the cartridge kind I bought and found it easy to use and fill.

Pen with ink well
Pen with cartridge


TIP: If you are using an ink cartridge pen that won’t write, hold the pen downward for about 15 minutes so that the ink can flow to the nib(the part you write with). If it still won’t write, dip the pen in some water, dry off any excess water, and try it again.


1.1 – Calligraphy

For March, I’ll be doing something that I’m actually familiar with…Calligraphy!  Calligraphy is defined as “decorative handwriting or handwritten lettering”.  If you’ve ever seen wedding invitations or letters with super nice handwriting on them then you’ve seen calligraphy.

I decided on this topic because I actually tried it when I was younger(12 or so) before I gave it up a week later. We moved a few months after that and all of my supplies ended up getting throw out accidentally. Regardless I’m very excited to pick it up again.

I need to run to the store and get a few supplies before I can start. However don’t worry. I’ll get an actual post up tonight or tomorrow morning.