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




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