The Pen Lessons Alphabets Gallery & Videos Store History of Writing
The Pen Lessons Alphabets Gallery & Videos Store History of Writing

Calligraphy lessons get the feel of how calligraphy letters are made

Go to Amazon for a great selection of calligraphy books

The practise exercises on this page will help to give you a good idea of how letter shapes are built up (click images for bigger picture). Practise these shapes to get the feel of the pen. It is the combination of the shapes that make any given letter.

Calligraphy practise shapes
Images open in a new window for you to save or print for future reference

Left-handed? Read this.

You will need suitable paper for any calligraphy writing. Generally, if you are using steel nib pens, the smoother the surface of the paper the better as the ink will not bleed into the paper fibres and smudge. Most cartridge papers will be fine but sometimes it is a matter of experimenting to see what your results look like.

Hold the pen so that the angle of the nib to the writing line is approximately 30°. This angle differs from alphabet to alphabet but will suffice for these exercises. Try to maintain this angle to give your letters uniformity. There will be some, minor, natural variation in angle as you write but this will add a liveliness to the work as a whole. Take a look at this great little video (below) that shows how you can strap two pens or pencils together to practise your thick and thin lines

Follow the direction of the guiding arrows in the images. Dip pens, in particular, are designed to be pulled downwards and sideways - if you try pushing the nib of a dip pen it will dig into the paper fibres. The best way to learn these shapes is to repeat them as many times as you can. Clicking the images will open them in a new tab so that you can save them or print them for reference.

Remember - Practise Practise Practise. You'll never be perfect otherwise.

Hold the pen at a 30° angle to the writing line

How to put the letters together

Calligraphy Alphabets >>

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