Calligraphy & Lettering Techniques
Before we begin, it is important to understand the difference between Calligraphy and Lettering and also their importance in today's culture. Though these two terms are used synonymously, there is a difference - Calligraphy is the practice (or art) of writing beautifully while Lettering is the art of illustrating individual letters. Lettering is the broader variant often used to draw letters rather than write letters whereas calligraphy is more likely to be used in longer pieces of writing.
Now, Irrespective of the type of writing, you must make sure that you are pressing hard on the downstrokes and light on the upstrokes. This is the perhaps Calligraphy 101, you will be very cognizant with this technique initially but after a while, you will get used to it and will come naturally. Before we describe the various styles of writing, you must be aware of the tools that you will be needing to get started with this art form-
- Plain paper with no texture or patterns
- Small Ruler
- Brush pens
- Classic dip pens (and ink)
- Fine Liner
All these various tools will be needed at different times and strokes while writing and can be very important and powerful tools in your bag. Now that you have what you need, let's begin.
- Bounce lettering
This is a fairly simple and basic form of modern calligraphy and is slowly becoming very popular due to its mass appeal and easy comprehension. As the name suggests, there is a very bouncy feel to the letters and words and is used in a lot of social media and modern artwork. Following are the steps -
- Draw baselines in the form of a table on a sheet of paper, like you would in elementary school. These lines will serve as the guide for you to write and they can be of any size or shape you would like
- Draw the sketch of the words by pencil so that you can make your edits whenever needed. Please ensure in the case of bounce lettering that every consecutive alphabet is above and below the baseline
- Go over the sketch with a brush pen of your choice
- Spaced lettering
Once again, as the name would suggest, this style of calligraphy is far more spaced out and flowing. A bigger font size would be preferable in this style but not mandatory. Following are the steps -
- You can keep the base grid a bit more slanted for this style since the overall style will be of that nature
- Start drawing a rough skeletal sketch of your design with a pencil, and try to extend the ending strokes of each letter while leaving more space between them as well
- Making sure there is not too much space left in between the letters, go over the pencil sketch with a brush pen
- Faux Calligraphy
A very popular and interesting form of calligraphy, especially since it can be made with any kind of writing tool. Faux means fake and this technique is kind of a way to imitate real calligraphy through various stroke patterns and techniques. Following are the steps -
- You can start off by drawing evenly spaced out perpendicular lines on the paper
- Next, with a fine liner, write a word or phrase in cursive
- Clearly mark out your downstrokes on the written piece with a pencil so you know where you need to emphasise your writing
- Lastly, fill up the downstrokes with a fine liner or a brush pen
- Make sure that all the ink has dried off before you touch the piece to ensure there are no smudges or marks
You can always go this route and try to bend the rules of traditional and modern calligraphy. You can try to amalgamate the various kinds of calligraphy styles or of course create something completely unique and wow your audience. For this, you can take inspiration from the various techniques and nuances from the various styles.
TIPS FOR WRITING
As previously mentioned, the upstroke and downstroke techniques are perhaps what differentiates calligraphy from normal everyday writing. You must consider that as the baseline for all calligraphy and artistic writing. Always remember thin upstroke and thick downstroke.
Now coming over to some other very important tips and tricks you must consider while writing -
- Angle - You must hold your pen at a 30-60-degree angle and must remain that way throughout your writing. This is major because the kinds of pens being used for writing are different from the ones we generally use.
- Nib - The nib of the pen must be at all times pointed towards a single direction and you should not twist it around.
- Parallel Lines - As you must have noticed, the first step to start off any artistic writing is to create a base of lines that you can later leverage. You must ensure these lines are clearly prominent and parallel to one another to create consistency.
- Consistency - Most of the calligraphy is created for aesthetic pleasure and this means that if it doesn't look good then it does not really have much use. So, you must try to be as consistent in your approach as possible, of course, there is no need to chase perfection because that might just be impossible.
- Spacing - Though you may want to create your own unique style of writing, there should be a balance of spacing between the letters, not to close and not too far apart.
Lastly, just like in any other form of art form or expertise, you must practice becoming better at it. Though it may be cliche, it is true and the best way to practice would be for a brief time every day. Try the various styles and figure out what suits you and what your unique style is. Oh, and one last tip Have Fun! You can get best calligraphy books from here.