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Beginning Calligraphy

There are two kinds of calligraphy:

1. Social Calligraphy
You'd like to write pretty addresses on envelopes, make invitations, flyers, posters, or just improve your handwriting.

2. Serious Calligraphy
Pursuing calligraphy because it expresses your creativity in a beautiful and satisfying way.

We all start out as the first and some of us develop into the second. But regardless of your intentions we need to start with a good foundation.

I can teach you how to do an alphabet with a broad edged pen or a flexible point pen, but it's up to you to LOOK, LISTEN and FEEL

LOOK

Watch what I'm doing. Pay attention and really watch:

1) The way I hold the pen
2) The position of the paper and slant of the board
3) Is your elbow too close to your side or too far away?
4) The angle of the nib to the writing line.
5) Look at the example sheet - really look at the letterform and determine why your letter doesn't look like the example. Then improve on that point and move on.

LISTEN

Listen to what I say as I talk to other students about a specific problem and see if that will help with something you're having trouble with. Even if something I saw doesn't make sense right now it may dawn on you just when you need it. So continue to listen and don't tune out.

FEEL

When you write, sooner or later one letter or word will come out just right and it will feel good. It actually feels good! It makes all the practice worthwhile.

With your practice, instead of looking at your letters as one failure after another. Appreciate the little successes here and there and be encouraged rather than discouraged.

Consider this a challenge and let it enrich your life. And trust me, it really can! Remember, anything worthwhile takes work, patience and practice.

PRACTICE:

Your progress is going to be a direct result of how much practice and how well you practice. Rewriting the same mistakes over and over doesn't help your progress so

1) Keep example sheet in front of you at all times
2) Look at your letter, then look at the example
3) Practice everyday at least 15 minutes. This helps you to progress faster than practice one hour, one day a week.

Now I know we all lead busy lives, ideally, we should practice one hour each day. But if it's hard to find one extra hour, 15 minutes will have to be enough. Some of you will neglect your practice and only work in class, which will be okay. But please come to class anyway it will be practice that you wouldn't get otherwise. Just remember not to compare yourself to others in class who may have practiced all week. We can all work at our own pace, but at the end of one session, you will be so surprised to see how far you've come.

None of us will be a calligrapher after one 8 week class, but you are certainly capable of some fine things if you work at it. Try to remember that calligraphy is a journey not a destination. After this course is over I encourage you to continue as an 8 week class is only an introduction, and it will take other instruction to be successful.

Finally, come to class each week whether you've done your homework or not. Give it a chance, and don't give up!

Once you are on your way, I can teach you:

Book binding
Illustration
Certificates
Posters
Flyers
Invitations
Broadsides
Rubber Stamping
Cards of all kinds
Envelopes (Formal and decorative)
Camera ready artwork
And all of this with calligraphy!

De Ann Singh

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