How to Write Calligraphy

A calligraphy is a form of visual art that is rooted in the mechanics of scribes. It has gone on to influence virtually every major literary tradition, including French, Italian, and Romanian writing. The Japanese also enjoy calligraphy, most commonly known as the art of kanji – detailed Chinese characters that are used in Japan. Calligraphy is a fun hobby and can look even better than any professionally-made font. But sometimes, especially when starting, people find beautiful art a bit difficult to achieve. Or maybe they can’t find the right tools and supplies to use. Whatever their reasons, calligraphy should always be enjoyable. Everyone should learn how to write calligraphy. It’s an artistic skill that anyone can pick up regardless of age.

If you have a passion for connecting with people and telling your story through calligraphy, this guide on how to write calligraphy will help you write calligraphy that is both easy to read and appealing to the eye. So, keep on reading!

What is Calligraphy?

Closeup of calligraphic artwork

In calligraphy, beautiful symbols are engraved by hand to express harmony, integrity, timelessness, and rhythm. According to this definition, integrity refers to the proportions of the characters and their design in calligraphy images. It is the harmonious relationship between the words, the characters, and the single letters.

Keeping a traditional ancestry involves preserving the shapes and materials of lettering and the techniques that calligraphers use. In conclusion, rhythm is the deliberate repetition in calligraphic writing, which creates an impression of pattern and emphasis in the viewer’s eyes. These factors aren’t enough to constitute a valid calligraphic discipline on their own; only when they are combined do the entire process start to resemble calligraphy.

It is widely believed that creative fire is also a crucial ingredient of perfect lettering. Even though this is puzzling and nebulous, it appears to be an expression of the life and individuality of art itself. Calligraphy differs from conventional penmanship and any standardized letterforms by the stamp of the calligrapher’s personality, making it a good part of the arts.

As with any quality work of art, calligraphy seeks to provoke a response from its viewers by invoking a deeper meaning and interacting creatively and linguistically. While it may seem metaphorical to consider reading calligraphy one of the closest things to hearing music with the ears, many experts consider it the closest thing. That may be the best way to describe the calligraphic creative fire.

Modern Calligraphy Art and Its Importance

We seem to be as distant from calligraphy as ever since the introduction of computers and other technological gadgets. Yet, despite having to deal with more effective methods in modern times, such a rich tradition has proven highly resilient and defiant. Even though calligraphy was evicted from every day, more everyday activities, our most important documents still display elegance, grace, and distinction. It can add artistic touches to various designs, including book covers, invitations, inscriptions, logos, fonts, certificates, and records.

Calligraphy is also commonly used to create props and graphics for film and television and court testimony. Also influenced by it are many alternative and special artistic practices, including writing stylized letters on girls and the famous vaginal lettering. Calligraphy can only be analyzed in the context of all the above-mentioned practical applications to see how it applies to the contemporary world. It will always be a part of humanity to create fine shapes to signs harmoniously and expressively, no matter how advanced technology becomes.

How to Write Calligraphy: Things to Consider


● The First Skill

Maintain an unchanging angle when holding your pen. Generally, the nib tip should face away from you when holding the pen, at about 30-60 degrees to the left. For now, don’t worry about the angle – it varies for different scripts.

You should not turn the nib while drawing lines or curves. Regardless of what the pen does or how you hold it, it should always point in the same direction. This gives the script regularity. The basics of calligraphy rely on this principle.

● The Second Skill

Take the nib and gently move it across the paper, aiming it backward or sideways from the direction it is pointing. Try not to lean heavily on your hand, wrist, forearm, or elbow when handling paper – apply slight pressure and keep your hand barely touching the paper.

Using too much pressure on the nib may cause it to break, meaning that it will not function properly. Pushing the nib forward away from your hand can create sputtering or blotting, which spoils the work and leaves it damaged. Starting students may lean heavily on their arms, but this causes the letters to appear stiff and clumsy, as well as hurting after a while.

● The Third Skill

Make your horizontal, vertical, and diagonal lines parallel with each other. All three are necessary to learn different types of calligraphy. Italic calligraphy, for instance, has lines that slope upwards, while Roman letters typically have perfectly vertical lines.

Basic Equipment for Calligraphy

You can express yourself at your workstation more freely by making a few minor preparations. The materials can be arranged on the right side of the workstation by right-handed writers. Left-handed writers can do the opposite.

You can also tilt your drawing board to get a perfect view of your drawings with a sloped surface. For a stable base, add a few sheets of paper underlayment to the drawing paper.

This is how to do it:

  • To draw guiding lines for the slant of the letters, use a triangular set square instead of a ruler.
  • First practice runs should be soft grades such as 4B.
  • For delicate guiding lines, 2H hardness is ideal.

The Paper

Calligraphy needs the right paper to be successful. A layout paper’s smooth surface makes it excellent for practicing. The layout paper is slightly transparent, which means guiding lines previously drawn on a paper beneath the layout paper can be seen clearly. Hot-pressed watercolor paper is also ideal for calligraphy drawings because of its smooth surface texture. Calligraphy beginners will benefit most from drawing on smooth cardboard. The cold-pressed paper has a rough surface, whereas warm-pressed has a smooth one. Interesting fact:

During hot-pressing, heated rollers gently press the paper. This makes it smooth. When cold-pressing, no heat is applied to the paper. In turn, the paper gets a rough surface.

Guiding lines:

Using guiding lines in calligraphy will ensure the letters have a uniform appearance. It is already possible to find practice paper with guiding lines printed on it. However, guiding lines can also be drawn manually.


To understand the properties of the chisel tip, begin by creating simple shapes like curves, crosses, or circles.

The Brush Nib

An essential tool for calligraphers is the brush nib. Asian characters have traditionally been written with brush nibs. Brush nibs are versatile enough to accommodate impulsive, artistic writing and modern scripts due to their versatile application options. Traditionally, calligraphy uses quills, reed pens, or metal nibs. However, calligraphy nibs may come in many different styles and varieties. A brush nib and a chisel nib are the most commonly used nib variations.

It’s fun to calligraphy with a brush nib, but you’ll have to practice. Consequently, you should draw some lines with more or less pressure before you begin exercising with the alphabet.

The Chisel Nib

In contrast, chisel nibs provide thin and thick lines to brush nibs. Calligraphy writers use this nib variation, especially in Western and Arabic calligraphy. Chisel nibs can be used both on their thick sides and on their corners.

How to Write Calligraphy: Basic Techniques

The basic calligraphy techniques must first be learned before achieving optimal results. Play with various colors, nib styles, and techniques to achieve the best results.

  1. Base line: In a letter, the body of the letter sits on a writing line.
  2. Ascender line: An ascending letter’s height is determined by a guideline.
  3. Cap line: A guideline determining the height of capital letters.
  4. Ascender: This is where the 7 x-line meets the 2 ascender line.
  5. Descender: An area of a letter below the base 1 line.
  6. x-height: Between the 1 base line and 2 ascender line is the height of a letter or the portion of the script (for example, the height of the lowercase “X“)
  7. x-line: The correct position for the higher limit of the 6 x height is shown in the guideline.
  8. Slant line: An example of the correct slant shown in the guideline.
how to write callicraphy

Slant: A letter’s slope is determined by how far it slopes away from the vertical.

Nib width: Writers should know the width of their writing instruments. If you write a letter using the same writing tool, a letter written four nib widths high will be twice as heavy as one written eight nib widths high.

Ductus: Each letter is made up of a number of strokes, arranged in a certain order, and composed of specific strokes.

Hairline: The thinnest line.

Pen Angle: Respective to the base line, it is the angle the nib makes with the paper.

Downstroke: A downward stroke directed to the descender or base line.

Cross bar: Part of a horizontal stroke that forms a letter (e.g., the „t“ or „H“).

Writing Rhythm and Pen Angle

The Writing Rhythm

  • Rhythm with the B-nib
calligraphy writing rhythm
  • Rhythm with the C-nib
calligraphy writing rhythm

The rhythm is especially important in the art of calligraphy. A stroke must be made approximately, in the same manner, every time. Working at a slower pace will allow you to gain control. Only then should you speed up.

Spacing and Width

calligraphy spacing and width examples

Depending on the type of lettering and the structure of the word, a letter’s width will vary. The “dual l,” for instance, will require an increased amount of internal separation, as well as separation from the next letter, compared with an “A,” for example. Ensure the script has a harmonious effect by spacing the letters accordingly.

The Correct Grip

griping a pen perfectly

Between your index and middle fingers, hold the pen with your index and middle fingers. In order to guide the pen properly, it should be controlled and comfortable. Avoid applying too much pressure to your hand. Otherwise, it will become very tired very quickly, and your writing will look stiff. The writing will be thinner or thicker depending on the angle of your holding the brush nib. Angles that are more vertical create thinner lines, and more horizontal angles create thicker lines.

Pressure With the Chisel Nib

chisel nib pressure for calligraphy

If you’re using a chisel nib (C), you must maintain constant pressure. The pressure should be soft and steady.

Pro Tips: How to Practice Calligraphy 

  • Practice Every Day

Most of you have busy schedules and find it difficult to find time for practice. Even 15-20 minutes of practice daily is better than practicing twice a week for two hours.

  • Practice Warming Up

Warm-up your hand muscles before you start writing, for example, by filling in the basic drills worksheet. This will only take you a few minutes, but it will greatly benefit you!

  • Positioning the Tools Properly

Sitting at a desk is the best way to practice calligraphy. Various people have practiced lying in their beds, sitting on the couch, etc. Don’t expect to see much progress if you practice this way.

  • Follow Guidelines

You can keep your letters consistent by following guidelines, as mentioned earlier.

  • Keep it Simple

Do not use more than one layout or too many effects. During the first weeks, focus on properly incorporating the basic strokes into single words. First, make sure your letters are consistent.

Final Words

Many people do not realize that calligraphy is a skill that can be very easily learned. Anyone who likes to write or comes from a long line of people who enjoy creative writing can learn the art. It takes time and practice, but anyone can learn how to write calligraphy with these guidelines and tips. Ultimately, any one of the pens may perform well for you, depending on your calligraphy needs. Hopefully, this article has given you enough information for you to make an informed decision moving forward.

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