How I learnt calligraphy for FREE!
You probably did not know this, but I’m actually a self-taught calligrapher and I learnt everything I know today for FREE…
If you read till the end you’ll get a freebie!
I want to share a story of how I got into modern calligraphy because the truth is I have never had any official training or help in person for calligraphy. Everything I have learnt is from free resources online and books. I did not spend a dime on any resources, that’s why I made some free calligraphy practice sheets so you can learn for free too.
How did you get into calligraphy?
Let’s start at the beginning. I began my lettering journey back in 2015, but at this time I never considered it could be a full-time gig one day. It theoretically was a side hobby I did to create artwork for my first apartment because I was obsessed with Pinterest, I still am, and every apartment I saw on there had tons of cool art and calligraphy. I had a problem though, I didn’t have much money, or really I didn’t have much money to be spending on multiple pieces of artwork. Because I am an artist, trying a new medium and technique was never daunting for me. So I started combining my favourite medium of watercolour and began doing fake calligraphy with it. And at the time I was so proud of everything I created. They are not “terrible” now that I look back at each one, they are just not up to my standards today. My first ever piece probably took me 3 hours to do, now I can whip out a calligraphy quote in 20 mins.
After I got more comfortable with my “fake calligraphy”(drawing the letters out in cursive and drawing the thicker down strokes in after, not in one fluent motion) I started exploring with brush lettering as the supplies were the most accessible and cheapest at my local art store. You can get beautiful brush pens at a local art store, but nibs and nib holders is a different story.
It took me a while of just practicing different script letters and the basic up and down movements with a basic pen before I touched a pointed pen. In my early calligraphy days, I was not very consistent with my practice, I was a full-time student and a full-time student-athlete, so calligraphy was a hobby that did not get much attention. I maybe practiced a few times a month, TOPS! It really took me a long time before I really attempted to get serious with my calligraphy, more because I really did not think it could ever be a career. FLASH BACK! My early college years I thought I was going to be an interior designer, boy was I wrong.
When did you become more serious about practicing your calligraphy?
It was not till I was in my last year of college, that I really started to focus more on modern calligraphy (pointed pen) as it then became a dream of mine to be a wedding stationer very quickly after I created some wedding invitations in my design classes. It was then I made the investment and purchased some calligraphy supplies. Once my supplies arrived in the mail, I practiced and practice but... let’s just say, it was a complete fail for a long time!
So how did you really learn Modern Calligraphy?
I began researching hardcore into modern calligraphy blogs and reading tons of books. Luckily there are a ton of great blogs out there for the basics that focus on modern calligraphy which share the best nibs, nib holders, papers, inks etc for beginners and intermediates (but the supplies are only a little piece of the pie when it comes to learning calligraphy). During this time, I would be constantly reading blogs and books on how I could improve and make a career out of this. But, during all this research, there was one thing I NEVER could find much for calligraphy practice worksheets and if I did, they were not the right style or did not help. So I had to practice on my own, which was basically me trying to copy certain letters and calligraphy styles off Pinterest (a technique that is good for learning, but NOT for taking credit) but this process was difficult and frustrating because my letters looked NOTHING ALIKE the examples! For example, I would maybe have one great looking “G” and then a dozen not so nice looking “G’s”. And because this process left me so frustrated, I tended not to focus my energy on practicing, but rather researching ways to get better...
But after hundred’s of hours of research of different techniques, nibs and supplies, trying to find solutions to make my calligraphy as good as the pros, I realized something. The only way I was going to better was by practicing. It was that simple. It didn’t matter what supplies I used, or where I did it, I just needed to practice.
The reality was, it didn’t matter if my practice was coming from writing notes in my planner with a mechanical pencil, or with a pointed pen in a fancy notebook, it was still practice and it was making me better.
PRACTICING CALLIGRAPHY IS HOW YOU BECOME A CALLIGRAPHER!
So I practiced and eventually I got better. I started getting gigs and the rest is kinda history.
How do I improve my calligraphy?
Well, because my journey was such a struggle for a long time. I want to make your calligraphy journey a little bit easier than mine. Soooo… I have a freebie for you all.
If practicing calligraphy is the only way you can become calligrapher, then obviously you need some practice worksheets.
And you can probably already guess what it is…
Free Calligraphy Practice Sheets!
These practice sheets are everything a beginner or an intermediate calligrapher needs for practicing their lettering.
Practice sheets with the full upper case and lower case alphabet
6 pages of calligraphy practice
Access to a printable version and an iPad Procreate file
My story on how I started calligraphy
The supplies I use and my recommended beginner supplies
Go ahead and sign up below to get the instant download to my free practice sheets.
Until next time you beautiful humans,
— Jenna Phipps