From considering a calligraphy class or downloading a lettering workbook online, there are so many resources for you guys out there. (Part of the reason I developed Quick Start Calligraphy…) But there are also some very basic tips that don’t neatly fall into a “learning lettering category.” Here’s my 5 secret tips that you might not find anywhere else!
tip 1: what to wear
You probably don’t want to wear your post-Memorial Day whites to your calligraphy lesson. The ink I use, black sumi ink, is 150% not washable. I would wear dark colors, and I also provide smocks to my students. If you’re careful, the ink usually doesn’t end up smeared all over your hands, but I have seen it happen. It comes out of skin if you wash pretty quickly.
tip 2: bring a bag
As part of my class, you receive a variety of supplies, and you might want something to carry them out in! I also provide plastic bags to carry your ink home in. You do not want to get home and find a river of black ink in your Kate Spade bag…
tip 3: be patient and practice a lot
Within my class, there’s always a variety of learning speeds. Some students get through their practice sets of letters quickly, and some need more time to master their P’s and Q’s. Take that time to practice more! I promise, at the beginning, you’re building valuable muscle memory. You can’t practice enough. And if you’re that more meticulous person – I am here for you. Take all the time you need.
tip 4: the tip-tap method
This is literally life-changing. Whenever you dunk your nib in the ink, give it a few taps along the side of your inkwell to get the excess off. So simple. But it prevents all of those sad ink globs that ruin your work.
tip 5: quitting is always an option
Now, now. I don’t mean forever. But if you are getting frustrated, stopping for the night can work wonders. Frustration and stress usually leads to a tighter grip, which honestly will make your work worse. So you get more frustrated, so your grip tightens more…it’s a chain reaction of sadness. If you keep having issues that changing nibs, washing nibs, and going slower won’t help – just stop for a bit! You’re not a failure. You’re human.