The art of hand lettering has been pretty popular the past few years, but lately a more traditional form of decorative writing has been getting a lot of attention. Calligraphy has been around for centuries, but modern interpretations are bringing fresh life to this classic handwriting style. Modern calligraphy is lively and artistic, and you can incorporate it into all sorts of projects—here are some of our favorite ideas along with some tips for getting started!
The Difference Between Calligraphy and Hand Lettering
One way to look at it is that calligraphy is the art of writing letters while hand lettering is the art of drawing letters. Traditionally, calligraphy is very formal, with very particular letter shapes in styles such as Copperplate or Spencerian.
Modern calligraphy is less rigid, but still requires a certain level of consistency when it comes to letter height, angle and spacing. It also maintains the distinctive “thin up, thick down” letter structure that distinguishes it from ordinary cursive.
Calligraphy Tools & Skills
Calligraphy is typically done using a dip pen with a flexible nib, but many modern artists have found brush pens are a great alternative. You will also need a pencil and a ruler, to help keep spacing even. Whatever tools you use, be prepared to practice! You can find downloadable practice sheets to help you master basic letter forms and techniques.
Once you’ve got the hang of writing basic letters, you can begin to add your personal style to your calligraphy projects. Flourishes are a favorite embellishment, of course, but small changes in spacing, angle and general flow of the letters can make a real difference.
Projects with Calligraphy
Anyone who’s ever planned a wedding will know what a difference beautiful calligraphy can make on everything from invitations and envelopes to place cards and table numbers. It’s an elegant detail that can heighten guests’ appreciation of the event.
Beyond weddings and events, calligraphy can be used to enhance a variety of papercraft projects. Write your favorite quotes and frame them or share inspirational messages on pretty watercolor bookmarks. Alternatively, you can use calligraphy for headers in your bullet journal.
Calligraphic sentiments on handmade cards are timeless. Or how about simply elegant gift tags which are perfect for every occasion. There’s so much that can be done with calligraphy, why not give it a try?
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