Have you ever admired the decorative writing that is sometimes used to address wedding and other formal invitations? There are fonts that can be used to mimic this type of writing but if it was hand written using a pen and ink, it is most likely a form of calligraphy.

The art of calligraphy is defined as the creation of lettering using a broad-tipped instrument such as a brush or pen tip. Calligraphy is the art of creating beautiful writing based on handwriting techniques and styles used throughout history.

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Calligraphy is a craft that can be learned by anyone but it does take time and practice. People who enjoy this art form find it calming and almost meditative to create pages with ornate and decorative script. Even if neat handwriting does not come naturally to you, practicing calligraphy can make your handwriting neater.

To get started you will need to purchase some specialty supplies. The most important tool you need is your pen, which is comprised of a nib and nib holder. There are many different nib types, but you’ll want to start with a pointed nib to write modern calligraphy. Choose one that is reliable and sturdy.

Nib holders are available in wood and plastic models and are relatively inexpensive. To insert the nib, wedge the back of the nib between the metal ring and the inner prongs until it is seated tightly. Don’t forget to purchase ink as well.

India ink and Sumi ink are two good choices for beginners. You want an ink that is waterproof and very dark so your calligraphy will look crisp and clear.

The next step is to select a paper for your writing project. A smooth, slightly transparent paper is best to start with. This will allow you to place a guide underneath that you will be able to view and trace through the paper. This type of paper is sometimes referred to as layout paper.

Do not make the mistake of trying to use ordinary paper as it will cause the ink to bleed and it doesn’t always have a smooth surface that could snag the nib causing ink splatters.

If you choose a paper that is too absorbent, like printer paper, the ink will spread out along the paper’s fibers. This is called “feathering” and prevents the smooth lines calligraphy is known for.

The first thing to practice in calligraphy is how to hold your pen. Unlike regular writing, calligraphy requires a special method of holding and moving your pen that is critical to maintain the correct form of the letters.

Hold the pen at a 45 degree angle for optimal line drawing, and always make sure the nib is leading the line. This will feel a little different than normal writing where the pen is not held at such an angle, but with time, this will come to feel more natural.

As you begin to write, focus on each stroke, not each letter. In calligraphy, each letter is composed of multiple strokes. At first, you will need to practice each stroke until you become proficient

. Once you have mastered the strokes, the letters will come easily and you can begin to focus more on the letters and words as a whole.

Many people begin with a style called faux calligraphy to get a feel for how the strokes should look and feel. This is the practice of using your calligraphy pen to write in cursive then fill in the down strokes, mimicking the line variation in calligraphy.

You may also find it helpful to write your text lightly in pencil and trace over it slowly with the pen. Erase the pencil marks when the ink is completely dry.

One of the most fun and creative parts of calligraphy is adding flourishes. These are decorative loops and curlicues that you can add to your texts for extra beauty and to make them stand out. When adding flourishes, try to only cross heavy lines with lighter lines to keep the design balanced.

You don’t need to have neat handwriting to do calligraphy. In fact, practicing calligraphy can actually improve your everyday handwriting. One of the great things about calligraphy is that you are free to create your own style, changing the script and slant as you see fit.

Calligraphy adds creative flair to any hand written project allowing you to turn your writing into a beautiful work of art.

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