There’s a huge trend at the moment for modern calligraphy; a style of writing using the basis of traditional copperplate calligraphy, but with the more relaxed and fluid feel. I’ve had a brief go of the traditional style with some pens before, but I thought I would give it a proper try as it’s so popular at the moment. I’ve been thinking about this for a while but I actually ordered a modern calligraphy starter kit by Alice Gabb (http://www.alicegabb.com/) on a whim via the Holly & Co website (https://holly.co/shop/) as I happened to see it pop up on their Instagram and thought, why not?
Included in the kit was:
- Nibs x2
- Wooden pen holder
- Black ink
- Glass water jar
- Lettering guide
- Guide line sheet
Also included was a fold-out with lots of top tips about how to attach the nib to the pen holder, how to load the pen with ink and how to create thin and thick lines. In addition to this was a list of stockists for classes, online tutorials, and stockists for supplies for anyone wanting to take their calligraphy skills further. There weren’t really any more instructions. I was expecting there to be more exercises to work through, but aside from a card showing various marks to practice getting a feel for the pen, there was only really the lettering guide showing how to do capital and lowercase letters, numbers and punctuation marks. I was also a bit disappointed that there was no paper included in the kit for either practice or freestyle writing once you had mastered your letters. I used some printer paper to practice mark making on, although the ink bled a little on this, and then found some nice letter-writing paper to write a nice message on using my new found skills. You can purchase another kit directly though Alice Gabb’s website called ‘Calligraphy Starter Kit: The Fanciest Edition’, which costs £55 (the standard kit costs £25). This includes extras such as different nib types, two different pen holders, a pad of paper, and white as well as black ink amongst other things.
I started off following the practice marks guide sheet before moving onto the letters using the guide line sheet to help. I did an upper and lowercase of each letter, the full lowercase alphabet joined up (although I totally misjudged the space I needed and ended up on a second line!), and the numbers and punctuation. Some of the letters turned out better than others, but like anything, it’s all about practice.
I had a few more goes of the letters on my mark making paper and then moved onto the fancy letter-writing paper. I think my alignment and spacing still need some work, but overall I’m pretty happy with what I’ve learnt. I found the angle of the pen quite tricky as I’m one of those left-handed people that writes ‘upside down’, so I found it took a lot of concentration to keep my hand in the correct position. I also found that my upward strokes were quite scratchy, even when the pen was freshly loaded with ink. I just couldn’t get it to flow nicely, but perhaps its just another technique that comes with practice. Now I just need to get all this ink off my fingers and remember not to spill it next time!