Graduating from Practice Sheets: Learning Project Week Three

Last week I started on my hand-lettering journey using the grade one style alphabet practice sheets. After doing the alphabet in both upper and lower case I got bored and decided that I was ready to graduate to free-hand practice. I felt fairly confident about my lettering ability and when I set my pen to paper I imagined creating something like this….


I know that this will come as a shock to all of you but my letters did not look anything like that. It turns out that free handing the letters is much more difficult than I had anticipated. My letters were shaky and somewhat misshapen. You almost have to retrain your brain how to form the letters. When you use the calligraphy markers and pens you have to be conscious of two things: how you are holding the pen and where you are creating your down-strokes. I don’t think about either of these things when I write normally so it was a bit of an adjustment.

One of the distinct aspects of calligraphy is the use of the wider down-stroke and thinner up -stroke. In order to create the thicker down-strokes the writing tool has to be held a certain way. I found that it was easier to create the calligraphy effect using the pen which had free flowing ink. The shape of the tip on the markers made it a bit more challenging.

My first attempt at letting free hand.

I fond that because I had to think about how I form my letters differently it was much easier to watch a video on YouTube and mimic their motions. I browsed a few videos before I found this one by Julie Turrie. I like this video because the style is simple yet elegant. Also the pen that is used in the video is similar to the one that I use and so it made it much easier to mimic the letters. I also enjoyed that I could go back and watch the process over and over if I couldn’t get it just right.

I also used another video this week called Learn to write ABC Calligraphy for Kids. Now I realize it says “for kids” but that is the skill level I am at right now and I actually really like how the letters turned out.

The last thing I did this week was I attempted my first word. After all the lettering searches I had done a video about creating basic calligraphy words popped up and I decided to do it. Again I watched the video and then duplicated it as best I could.

Then I experimented with the lettering styles from the practice sheets and created this:

Videos are definitely the way to go in terms of learning how to form the letters. I had so much fun this week, especially with mixing words and art. Next week I will continue to experiment with individual words.