Doing drills and practicing are the basics in doing calligraphy. You improve if you continuously do these. Here’s a post about those two.
Drills and Practice
It has been already more than a year since I saw my first practice sheet. Also, not so long ago that I started practicing calligraphy. Though it has been a year already, I still never stop doing the drills and practicing. Those two are the only ones that will make you better. I guess it’s about time to share the strokes that I have been doing. I hope they would help in your calligraphy journey as well. Or, might interest you in the craft.
This is a sheet that I have done. Some of the strokes shown are not that basics. I somehow discovered those strokes while practicing. Since I’m a leftie, other strokes may be tougher for me so I did some strokes that would help me write comfortably. With the basic strokes, I have only searched the internet for them. Most of the time I would search in Pinterest.
When you search on Pinterest, you may use keywords: calligraphy and drills. Right away, it will show you the best results. Here, I have shared the online tutorials that have been helping from the start.
While searching, this was one of the top results. As you can see, there are nicknames for every stroke to be able to help you remember it. That is from Aaria Baid. Also, I’ll be showing my version of it as well (the leftie version). 😂
Names for the basic strokes:
- Downward stroke (thick)
- Upward stroke (thin line)
- Underturn (or under-stroke for me)
- Overturn (I call it over-stroke at times)
- Combinations of under- and over- strokes
- Entrance & Exit strokes
- Ascender and Descender loops
- Ovals / Curves
For me, the most challenging is the thin strokes. We may get used to using the downward stroke because it’s the one that needs the most pressure. Controlling the pressure going upward is the challenge but if you continuously practice, it will be easy.
With this in mind, I sometimes tilt the paper to be able to do it more comfortably.
In practicing these, it’s best if you use (if you are on a budget):
- Guide sheets (found in calligraphy pads or in websites that offer them for free)
- Graphing paper or Math notebooks — The grids work like the guide sheets. Great if you are on a budget!
- Vellum boards — These have at least 200 GSM and costs Php 19.75 (USD 0.419) per pack (10 sheets).
- Kraft paper — I got a pack from Papemelroti and costs Php 50 (USD 1.06). But make sure that the thickness is at least 100 GSM so it could withstand the ink. Also check the texture if it’s workable for you.
- Paper with at least 100 GSM. — Mine is from Paper One. Around Php 55 (USD 1.17) per pack with 50 sheets.
- I heard there’s a brush pen that you can buy from Daiso that costs Php 30 (USD 0.64) each but I haven’t tried that one so I can’t tell if it’s a good buy.
- Artline Brush Stix which costs Php 37.50 each (USD 0.80). It may be bought from National Bookstore (NBS).
- Platinum Brush Pens which costs from Php 39 (USD 0.83) to Php 50 (USD 1.06) per piece. I only heard of this from a community and bought one when I went to NBS. When I tried it, it’s a good brush pen for practice especially if you just started.
If you have seen the brush pens from Tokyo Finds that you may see being sold at Fully Booked, I suggest that you don’t buy one. It’s more expensive than those enumerated. It’s uncomfortable to use because the tip easily breaks off. By that, I mean the tip gets destroyed quickly. It costs Php 85 (USD 1.80) each.
The Leftie Struggles
Being a leftie and practicing calligraphy is known to be a myth to some. Some would say that some don’t succeed in practicing the craft or whatever. Yet, I have seen artists (local and international) who practice calligraphy and are lefties! It’s so inspiring to have met one, Aileen of La Bella Scrittura. I’ve been following her since the start of my journey and really got inspired.
Moving forward, there are strokes that I found quite challenging for a leftie. So, what I did was I just recreated the existing strokes and wrote something that’s more comfortable.
Your strokes may vary if you are an underwriter or an overwriter. These may not be applicable to you but it aims to help in various ways.
The first two (2) rows are the strokes that I may have found challenge to do so. The strokes form parts of a letter (A) but since I am confused on how to create an A, I dissected it. The third row shows my S studies. Since I have seen people (artists, letterers, calligraphers) deviate from the usual, I decided to tweak the letters. Tweaking for me would mean writing it in the most comfortable way I am.
The A Studies
I’ve been struck by lighting to create this study. I was tried of the usual. I wanted something new. So from what I was feeling when I’m writing, I tried to experiment with it.
I’m more comfortable with doing minuscules than majuscules. I don’t know why. But I do. 😂
Where you could get worksheets:
Hope these helps!
Progress not perfection.
ROBERT LEEAugust 13, 2016 at 3:52 AM
Not bad. Practice makes perfect and as you continue practicing, it becomes easier. I like that you are finding ways to make it easier for you especially because you are a leftie and I suppose most if not all video tutorials and resource sites assume right handed and nag-learn. Great job. Keep up the good work.
Carola KnubbenAugust 13, 2016 at 11:57 PM
Great way to practice. I love the first picture of the basic strokes. Nice explanation. Luckily there’s so much to find on the internet, youtube, pinterest etc. I will always give something new to learn, or give some inspiration.
Virag HorvathAugust 14, 2016 at 3:18 AM
I was always interesting about callygraphy but I never tryed myself. Thank you for your grate advices, I’m gonna get some inspiration from Pinterest and drawinf my own font one day! 🙂
SriparnaAugust 14, 2016 at 11:22 AM
Great practice tips! I’m in love with the calligraphy style lately too… Glad you let us know about pinterest search criteria! I hope you found more ways to make it easier for you:)
Dominic BarriosAugust 14, 2016 at 11:26 AM
My wife was already considering on studying calligraphy. She’s really into arts and craft especially now that we have a daughter. She wants to make albums for them and do some calligraphy on it. I’d definitely share this with her to get her enthusiasm up and pursue taking a workshop.
R U S SAugust 14, 2016 at 12:00 PM
If I had the time, I will take calligraphy lessons. I like to make pretty stuff & I think one do a lot of pretty things with calligraphy. Practice always makes perfect so keep it going. With your skills, patience, and practice, I’m sure you’ll be a super pro at calligraphy.
KlaudiaAugust 15, 2016 at 5:32 AM
Great ‘guide’ again ! You are giving such good detailed information , I am sure , anyone who is into calligraphy can learn a lot from your posts ! And one thing just jumped right into my attention 🙂 the dollar exchange rate !!! So you are not leaving any question unanswered , no need to google exchange rates to get an idea of the price. Superb !!!
jaear paguioAugust 15, 2016 at 1:30 PM
I know a few friends who really put efforts like you into calligraphy too. I on the other hand never bothered much thus explaining why most people have a hard time reading my writings hehe.
ZwitsyAugust 15, 2016 at 4:22 PM
This is a good way to start for those who are interested in learning calligraphy! I can also use this as a guide on my first try. I believe one can start using those affordable tools, though.
Karlaroundtheworld | KarlaAugust 15, 2016 at 8:26 PM
All those types of paper made me realize that I’ve definitely left a bunch of them just hiding inside my usual storage. It’s been a while since I had anything Papemelroti! There’s a fair-priced calligraphy set that I’ve been meaning to buy at some point. I hope I can find alternatives like the ones you listed here in New York.
CheryleAugust 16, 2016 at 4:10 PM
I love lettering esp. brush lettering. There’s so much to learn here about strokes and so. Thanks for the guide, it’s really helpful for newbies (like me) out there.
KrisOctober 26, 2016 at 3:57 PM
I tried Calligraphy for about a week then I stopped thinking it’s somehing that Im not good at. I still have a lot of materials kept in a box. I guess I didn’t have the patience maybe for this although I really get the point of practice that makes things easy. Since Im getting tips now, I will again try to open my Calligraphy box and let’s see what will happen. 🙂