Develop Your Own Calligraphy Style | Kimberly Shrack | Skillshare

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Kimberly Shrack, Modern Calligraphy & Illustration

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10 Lessons (1h 27m)
    • 1. Class Preview

      0:30
    • 2. Introduction

      1:43
    • 3. The Why, What, & How

      3:47
    • 4. Step 1: Master(ish) the Building Blocks

      6:21
    • 5. Step 2: Identify the Mood

      3:06
    • 6. Step 3: Collect Inspiration

      7:39
    • 7. Step 4: Identify Style Anchors

      23:04
    • 8. Step 5: Play & Document

      11:26
    • 9. Putting it all together

      27:26
    • 10. Class Project

      1:34
22 students are watching this class

About This Class

In this course, you will learn how to take your knowledge of the basics of calligraphy and turn them into your own unique style! Kimberly Shrack of Hoopla! Letters (formerly Manayunk Calligraphy) will walk you through the steps she takes when developing her signature styles, from collecting and critically reviewing inspiration to identifying the style anchors that define your look. This is more than a surface review - this course is a deep-dive into the process of a professional calligrapher, and will help get you on the path toward creating a unique calligraphy style that will set you apart.

**To get the most from this course, it is highly recommended that you take Introduction to Modern Brush Calligraphy prior to watching this one.**

Transcripts

1. Class Preview: Hi, I'm Kim from Manayunk Calligraphy. In this class, I'm going to teach you something that people have asked me about all the time, and that is creating your own calligraphy style. We've all seen it, where we're looking on Instagram or Pinterest and we see a calligraphy style and we instantly think, "Oh, I know who that is." That's what you want to do when you're creating your own calligraphy, and that's what we're going to learn in this class. Hope to see you there. 2. Introduction: Hi. I'm Kim Track, the owner of medium calligraphy to small calligraphy and illustration studio based in Indianapolis. You can find my calligraphy on countless wedding invitations but also on products at places like Anthropology, Pier one, Home Goods, and more. My calligraphy has also been highlighted in magazines such as Martha Stewart Weddings, Us Weekly, and even Live With Kelly. Today, I'm here to talk to you a little bit about creating your own personal calligraphy styles. Now, styles are so important because that's what helps you stand out. So today, you're going to need a few things. First, I recommend that you take my brush calligraphy course here on Skillshare, if you haven't already, you can just click my name up there, and it will take you to all my other classes. The other things you're going to need, in addition to that basic knowledge of calligraphy, are some calligraphy tools. So, today, we're going to be using different brush markers. Again, you check out my other Skillshare class for recommendations on different markers, but you can also use pointed pen as well if you prefer to use pointed pen in deep ink. You're also going to need some paper. I recommend having a grided paper or a paper with the dots on it. That's just going to help you out as you are crafting your letterforms. Then, you're also going to need Pinterest or just a regular old camera. Let's get started. 3. The Why, What, & How: Before we dive in, I want to talk a little bit about the why, the what, and the hows of style. So, the first is the why. Why do you need different calligraphy styles? Or why do you need your own style? Well, first you need your own style because that's what makes you recognizable. That's the reason I've been able to make an entire career out of calligraphy. Is that I have my own style. One of the best compliments that I've ever received and that I continue to receive is when somebody is out and about at a store and I get a post on Instagram or a text message and say, "This is yours, isn't it?" And that feels really good. And the reason that people are able to identify my work is because I have a very distinct style. Now, that style didn't happen overnight, or over a month, or even a year. Style happened over a very long period of time. Now, in addition to having one signature style, it's a good idea to have a variety of different styles to offer your clients. One, there's lots of different reasons that you might need calligraphy. Some of the events might be a little bit more formal, some might be more casual. You might want something that's very playful, something that's very simple and subdued. So, the amount of different uses for your calligraphy is one reason to have different styles, and another is the variety of clients that you're going to have. If you want more clients, one of the great ways to do that is to offer a little bit of a variety. Now, that being said, you never want to stray too far from your signature style. For me, I do more of a modern calligraphy. So, you're never going to see me offering very formal copperplate because that's just not me, but maybe that's you, and that would be a very good place to start. So, that's a little bit about why you need to have different styles, and why it's a good idea to have different styles. Now, I want to talk to you a little bit about the what. So, we're going to do a very, very deep dive into what makes a style and how to develop your own, but on the very surface, what a style is, is using those building blocks of calligraphy. So, the very basics, your 10 basic strokes which we'll review and get into, and scripting, shaping, and combining them in recognizable and consistent ways. That is what makes a style. So, I have a variety of different, different calligraphy styles. They're all named after cocktails because I like cocktails, and they all have a very different mood and feel. And so they appeal to a lot of different clients for a lot of different events, but again, I'm not reinventing the wheel here. I'm using the same basic building blocks that I taught in the first Skillshare class and I'm just combining them and scripting them in different ways, and that is what makes up a style. So, I've covered the why and the what, but really what the class is about today is the how. How do you go about creating your own style? Like I said, it's not something that happens overnight, but it's also not something that you have to sit and think, and think, and think, and think, and think about. There are actionable steps that we can take toward discovering and developing your own style. So, let's get started. 4. Step 1: Master(ish) the Building Blocks: Step one toward creating your own calligraphy style is to masterish the building blocks. I say ish because we're not going for total mastery and perfection. If you wait for that you're never going to get started, but you want to have a pretty good grasp on what you're doing and so again that is understanding the basic building blocks of calligraphy the 10 basic strokes. So here again is where I plug in my original Skillshare class, Modern Brush Calligraphy. I highly highly highly recommend that you check out that class if you take it before, go back and review the 10 basic strokes, go back and review the basic alphabet that we learned. That's really going to help you. Now, we're going to do a very quick review of the 10 basic strokes. But before we do, I want to touch on something that you might be thinking and might be tempted to do right now. You may be tempted to just jump in to an alphabet. You might see one that you like on Instagram or on Pinterest and just jump right into copying that and trying to make little tweaks on your own, but I'm going to warn against that. I am going to use a little personal anecdote to demonstrate why that's not such a great idea. So, one thing that you might not know about me is I'm a big lover of acting and the theater. So, when I first moved to Philadelphia, I found a new theater that I really loved and I auditioned for a show. The show was Noel Coward's Private Lives. So, if you're familiar with that play there is a character named Louise and it's a really small part. She's the maid and I was cast in that role. The only problem was Louise speaks only French, at the time I didn't speak any French. So, what I did is I had a native French speaker read the script like I said it was a small part, so she wasn't doing this for hours at a time. She read the script, recorded it for me and then I was sent over and over and over and memorized phonetically my lines. I memorized them phonetically and inflection and so when I got onstage, I literally just spewed out the phonetics of what I had memorized. Now, to somebody in the audience, it looked like I spoke French, but if that person were to come up to me after the show and ask me a question in French, the only thing I would have been able to do was repeat phonetically my lines and that's a really good analogy for why it's important to start with the building blocks. If you jump right into the alphabet, when you go to make your own style, you're just going to be able to repeat what you've done. You're not going to understand how it's put together. So, you're never going to really be able to come up with your own unique style that is also of quality. So, learn how to speak French before you speak French and learn how to do calligraphy before you do calligraphy. So, as I mentioned the first step in developing your own calligraphy style is to have a mastery-ish of your the basics of calligraphy and I say ish again because it doesn't need to be perfect but you do want to have a very good handle on the building blocks and there is nothing more rudimentary than the 10 basic strokes. Now, if you have not taken my Skillshare class on the basics of brush lettering, I highly highly highly recommend you go check it out, even if you just go to check out the 10 basic strokes because we do a very in-depth dive on how to create those and then moving into the alphabet we do an in-depth dive on how those basic strokes combine to create the alphabet. Again remember, if you want to speak French you have to learn to speak French and not just memorize it phonetically. In the same way, if you want to do calligraphy and create your own styles, you need to know the building blocks and not just copy what you see. But we're going to do a very quick run through of the 10 basic strokes here. So first, we have our thin hairline, our thick downstroke, our U shape, our horse shoe, the V shape, the S shape, the O shape, the upward loop, the downward loop, the dot and whisker and the loop and whisker. So, a few final thoughts on step one masterish the building blocks is re-emphasizing that ish, you don't need to wait until things are perfect before you start to develop your own style. You do want to have a good handle on at least one alphabet. So, after you've learned the building blocks and you've practiced and practiced a very simple alphabet and you are very familiar with how you put those strokes together to create the letters, then you can jump in to start your style, but don't wait until it's perfect or you won't never get going. Up next is step two, identify the mood. 5. Step 2: Identify the Mood: Step two toward creating your own calligraphy style is to identify the mood. What I mean by mood is how you want this calligraphy to make the audience feel. If that sounds new agey, it's not. If you think about when you are typing something, you don't use Comic Sans for a business report, and quite frankly you shouldn't use Comic Sans for anything, but that's neither here nor there. The point is, you pick something that's a little bit more formal to match the tone. Same if you were typing up an invite to a rager, probably wouldn't be using Times New Roman. So, you want to identify the mood that you're going for before you start doing anything. Are you looking for something that's a little bit bright and happy or something that's a little bit more moody? Are you looking for something very ornate or something a little bit simpler? So, you want to identify the mood. You also want to think about how this is primarily going to be used. Now for my styles they are primarily used on envelopes or on paper products. But, maybe you are not going to be doing a ton of envelopes with this style, maybe instead you're going to be using this for signage or art pieces. So, that's going to impact how you go about creating your style. You're not going to pick something with teeny tiny intricate loops if it doesn't matter because it's in a giant sign. So, you want to think about the uses for your calligraphy before you begin jumping into the style. Now if you're not sure where to start here because I know that can be kind of nebulous, right? Like pick a mood. One thing that I like to do is imagine that I'm planning a party, and I identify what that party is going to be like. Who I'm going to invite? What kind of cocktails we're going to have, because obviously we're having cocktails. You know what the theme is going to be. Then, from there I have some terms that I can begin to identify what I'm looking for and can begin to search for inspiration, which comes into our next step. So, after we go through all the steps we're actually going to together create our own style of calligraphy. When we do that I'm going to start with this party scenario. So, that's just something to always keep in the back of your mind if you are struggling to get started on that first style. So, what you may do if your primary client for example, are a couples about to get married, think about wedding trends in your area. I'm in Indiana, so rustic is always in. So, that might be something that I would start with if I were going to create a new style for these couples. So, now we're going to move on to our next step, step three, which is collecting inspiration. 6. Step 3: Collect Inspiration: Step three toward creating your own calligraphy style is to begin collecting inspiration. Now, one note before we go into that is, don't collect inspiration with any intention. What I mean by that is, don't in your mind, think, "Well, I definitely want something super loopy." Then, only pick things that are super loopy. Because again, you're starting from not these elements for your style. You're starting from a mood, right? So, you might have a mood in mind and think, well, loopy of course, that's going to be perfect. But once you start looking at things that identify that mood, you might think, "Well, maybe that's not as good for it as I thought." So, you don't want to go in with any intention of what you already want. You want to go in just looking for things that for you, embody some of those terms that you came up with. So, you've identified your mood. Now, you're going to start looking for things that fit those terms. So, of course, one of the places that you can go for inspiration is Pinterest. I highly recommend Pinterest if you are not already on it. I have pinboards for everything, I have them for everything. Because when you are collecting inspiration from lots and lots of different places, that's a really good way to organize it all, and it's a free way to organize it all. When you are out and about, if you have a cellphone, you have a camera. So, you can always snap pictures of things, so if you're shopping and you see some beautiful lettering in the storefront, take a picture, post it to Instagram. If you see it on some signage or you're shopping at the flea market and you see something on an old vintage T10. There's just so many sources of inspiration out there, so don't feel confined to just what you can find on Pinterest. Now, when you are looking on Pinterest or on Google image search and you're trying to find inspiration, what you can search for is calligraphy and then comma, some of your style words. You might be able to find a few things there. But really what you're going to find more inspiration from is going back to that party scenario. So, let's say we want to use the example of a rustic wedding. So, even just searching 'Rustic Wedding', then you're going have to sort through a lot of things that don't have any calligraphy or lettering on it at all. But you are going to stumble on some things that do and that's going to give you an idea because you'll recognize right away when you see it in that setting, if it fits or if it doesn't. Sometimes it can be hard outside of the setting to think, "Well, I think this looks rustic, so I don't really know," but then, if you were to put that calligraphy in a barn and be like, "This doesn't make sense." Then, you have a better idea of what that style is and what it isn't. So, searching for those party terms can be really helpful as well. Now, don't limit yourself to inspiration that is just calligraphy. You can find inspiration in lettering. The difference of course between lettering and calligraphy is that calligraphy is done using one stroke. It's more handwriting, while lettering is building up words and so it's more drawing. But you can still find some inspiration from there and as much as it pains me to say this and it pains me. You can find inspiration in font and typography too. You really can because the letters are set in a certain way, they're in a certain typeset, so you can see consistency across the board. So, that's a good place for inspiration as well. Just remember that don't copy that, we don't want a font, we want something handwritten and unique, but that can be a very good source of inspiration. So, as you are collecting your items, start to take note about what is appealing to you in it. So, let's say you were looking for something with a more feminine style. You want something very feminine because you're going to be promoting this for a bridal showers, baby showers, things like that. So, as you're collecting things that feel feminine to you. Take note of what is it about this calligraphy or this lettering or this font that feels feminine to me. Is it the very thin lines? Is it really smooth curves? Is it loopty loops? Just identify what it is to you. Now there's no right or wrong answer there. Defining a style is not a perfect science, but if you can identify what is jumping out at you, what is making you feel that way, it's going to help you when you create your own style. So, I want to talk a little bit before we move on to our next step about inspiration versus imitation. I know this can be really tricky, right? Because I'm asking you to look at a bunch of different calligraphy styles from different calligraphers, but don't copy them. I know that it seems like I'm giving you conflicting information. I also know that it can be hard, like if you're looking at a style and then you're trying to come up with your own. Well, the first thing you're going to think about is what you're looking at, right? So, that's one of the reasons I recommend sourcing a lot of different material for your inspiration from calligraphy, to lettering, to sign painting, to the fonts again, and using all of that together as inspiration. So, what I like to do is look at all of these things and go through the steps that we're about to go through with in identifying different elements that I like, and then put them away while I'm creating. Because what that's going to do is, I'm not going to have something in front of me that I feel like I have to stick to. Instead, I have a lot of different ideas floating around in my mind that all go toward this similar style. I have notes that I've taken, noting the things that I liked, whether it be the slant or the swashes or some of that particular flourishes that are added to the ends of characters. I have that written down, but I'm not looking at something and feeling the need to follow it strictly. So, I'm not saying that you want to copy. I don't think that most people go into it saying, "I want to look exactly like this other calligrapher." Because you're not going to, you can't be that other calligrapher. They are the best at their style because it's their style. You want to be the best at your style. So, looking at it all, taking it in, looking at a lot of different resources, and then putting it aside and working on your own is going to help you pull your own style out rather than copying someone else's. So, for our next step, we're going to get really deep into it. Step four, identifying your style anchors. 7. Step 4: Identify Style Anchors: Step four of creating your own calligraphy style is identifying and defining your style anchors. Now, this is the really fun part. This is where we really pull together what makes a style a style. So the first thing that you'll want to do is from all the inspiration that you have collected on Pinterest or on your phone's camera or from magazine cutouts, whatever it is you're going to want to take all that inspiration and combine it together. If it is online on Pinterest or on your phone, what I would recommend doing is grabbing some screenshots of your inspiration and putting it together all on one piece of paper or two pieces of paper and printing it out. Now, one of the great things about having a hard copy is that you can take notes on it. You can circle areas, draw arrows, take little notes. It allows you to really explore the styles in a way that you can't so much when you're looking on a screen. It also allows you to see everything all at once in one view, which is going to help you draw similarities across the different styles and help you identify some of those style anchors that you find attractive. The elements of calligraphy that help identify your style and differentiate it from others are called your anchors, your style anchors. Now, a quality calligraphy style will have anchors that are consistent across the style and recognizable. Now we're going to discuss the different anchors that make up a calligraphy style. So as we said, the elements of calligraphy that help to identify your style are the anchors. It's very, very important to have consistent and define anchors across your style to make it primo, to make it quality. There are lots and lots of different anchors that we can look at but I want to start with the main three, the three that I find are a good place to start and very important. The first is slant. Slant simply refers to the slant at which your calligraphy is leaning, okay. You can see here this has a pretty decent slant to it. We'll call this slant. Now, maybe for you, you want your style to go straight up and down or maybe you want it to be even more exaggerated. You want to think about that before you get started. You want to think about the slant as one of your main style anchors. Another anchor to consider right at the beginning is the weight of your letters. You'll notice here, this is a pretty medium weight. We have [inaudible] hairlines and we have our thick downstrokes, and there's a nice variation but it's not too heavy. If I were to script with this pen, you can see that it's not quite as weighty, right? This is a thinner pen, so it has a little bit less weight to it. So that's just something to consider. Now you might ask, "Well, when I use my styles, can I only use one type of pen or one type of nib if I'm doing pointed pen?" Yes and no. You don't have to but I like to keep it, I do. Personally, I like to keep it consistent. So this particular style is done in a Faber-Castell Pitt artist brush pen. So if I were to get a client that says, "I like the style, I would like you to recreate this on my envelopes." This is the pen that I would use because it's going to give me the style the most closely. Now, if they wanted it much, much larger or much, much smaller, I would have to go with a different pen. But for the most part, you want to stick with the pen that's going to give you the weight that you want. So you want to keep that weight in mind. If you were using a brush, like a paint brush with dip ink, you have the possibility to get much, much weightier letters. So you want to think about the weight as well. Now, another main anchor to consider is the baseline. If you haven't taken the modern brush calligraphy course, my modern brush calligraphy course on Skillshare, you can go back and learn more about baselines and staggered baselines. You want to decide, is this calligraphy style going to be sitting flat on my baseline or is it going to be staggered? If it's going to be staggered. How staggered is it going to be? This one, it got some staggering but it's not overly exaggerated staggering. It's just pretty slight. Now, we could make that super exaggerated. Let's say, well, here's we'll do one first with a flat baseline. Then we'll do one with a really staggered baseline. You can see how those look very, very different. You would not confuse those two styles. They are very specific and different. Just by changing the baseline, literally, nothing else is different. Every other anchor, they are the same, just the baseline is different. Again these are the three anchors that you want to start with when you're creating and defining your own calligraphy style: the slant, the weight of your letters, and the baseline. The next place that you want to go after you've defined these three things is the height and width of your letters. Now, the height of your lowercase letters with the exception of the ascenders and descenders, is called your x-height. You want to define how large that's going to be. But more importantly, you want to define how large that's going to be in comparison to your ascenders and your descenders. So what that means are your ascenders and descenders going to be double the size of your x-height like they are here or are they going to be triple the size? Are they going to be just a little bit taller, just a little bit lower? Those are things that you want to consider when you are developing your own style. So, in this example here, our ascenders are about double the x-height whereas our descenders are about one and a half times the height, two and a half times the height. They're just a little bit longer is what I'm trying to say. I'm not a math person. So, you can see in relation to the X height the descender is just a little bit more than double whereas the ascender is double. So, those are things to consider when developing your style in terms of the height. Now in terms of the width, that's twofold. So, the first width we want to consider is the width of each individual letter. So, in this example here you can see the width of each letter with of course within reason because of course that an m is going to be wider than a y or a t but the average width of each letter is about a fingertip. So, you want to identify how wide your letters are going to be. You can make them much much more narrow, much narrower or you can make them much wider. So you want to identify that as one of your style anchors. So, we're going to we have our X height our ascender, descender so we're going to add here to the width of our letters. Now the other width that you want to consider is the space, the width of the space between your letters. Now, this is called kerning, a word from typesetting, and what that means is simply the space between your letters. Now you want to keep your kerning of the space between your letters consistent across your style. This is a pretty standard kerning. It's about half the size of each letter, they're not spaced too far apart. But you could make that space very wide, something like this. That certainly is an anchor to a style. If you were to look at this, you would instantly recognize that as a particular style and absolutely different from this example up here. So, again just to review of those; we have our X height, the height of our ascenders and descenders, the width of the letters and the space between the letters or the kerning. Another thing to consider with your descenders is whether or not they connect to the rest of your letters. So, in this particular style they don't. You can see that the y's move to the left. They don't even go to the right. They don't even have the opportunity to connect with other letters. You can see here in the f as well, If there were to be a letter after this it's not going to be connected. It's going to be looped around. So, that's something to consider as well. Now, all of these elements, so once you get beyond those first three, you might be thinking, "Well, how am I supposed to decide all these stuff ahead of time?" The answer is, you don't. We're just going through all of these now but the way that you're going to develop your own style is once you come up with the main anchors, you're going to play around with it and once you start playing around with it you'll be able to identify these other anchors as well. As you were going through this don't start panicking and thinking, "Oh my god I have to define all of this stuff beforehand." Because you don't, but these are all things to think about. So, again, what do we want our descenders to look like, and do we want them to connect? Another thing you want to think about is whether or not your alphabet is going to have any loops, swashes and ligatures. So, a loop just what it sounds like it's a loop. This in this particular alphabet we have a nice loopy f. We've got some loops in our ys here. Our l has a loop. You might be thinking, "Well, don't all Ls have loops?" "The answer is no." If you don't want yours to you could just make it straight up and down, you could make it a little curved line. There's lots and lots of different ways to do it. So, you want to decide if your ascenders are going to have to be looped or if they're going to be straight. You want to decide if there's going to be any loops within your descenders and other letters as well. Now, a swatch is any added element that comes off of your letters that doesn't necessarily need to be there. So, for example in this s this last line here is a swash. This little curve here is a swash. In the y of course this is a swash. So, you want to decide if your calligraphy style is going to have these and not only if it's going to have them but what they're going to look like and how elaborate and complex underneath they're going to be. In this example here this is a very simple swash. This isn't anything fancy. It's not super ornate and we've kept it the same. Now, if I interscript rather a g, I would do the same swash at the bottom. If I did a g with a swash like this, well, that doesn't really match the rest of the style. So, again if you're going to do these swatches you want to keep them consistent. The other term I just threw out there was ligature. So, again loops, swatches and ligatures. A ligature is when you connect two letters. So, now this isn't connecting by way of joins. This is connecting in a unique and interesting way. So, we can see that here from the s to the t. Part of the s and part of the t are joined together. So, you want to decide whether you're going to have those or not and if you are, how you plan to use them. So, we'll just write this down, loops, swashes and ligatures. The next anchor to consider are your lead in's. Now we talked briefly about joins again if you're not, if you're hearing me say join you don't know what I'm talking about go back and watch the fresh calligraphy video here on Skillshare. But a lead in is the join, it's how the letters connect together. Now in this example, the lead ins are sharp. What that means is there is a nice little curve here but then it goes directly into the next letter. We could do a lead in that was a little bit more curved. So, for example, if we were scripting the word style, you can see what we did with the y there. We curved that lead in. It didn't go straight up it curved in. So, that's just something to think about when you are developing your style. That is another anchor to consider is the lead in. But wait, there's more. Like I said, there are tons and tons of different style anchors when you are creating your own style that you can define to make your style unique and keep it consistent. So, we're going to talk about just a just a few more. Like I said, you don't have to define all of these ahead of time, but they are all things you want to consider. So, other considerations are; arms, legs, and tails. So, I bet you didn't know, your letters had arms, and legs, and tails, but they do. So, an arm, and a leg, and a tail are basically any elements of the letter that is connected to the letter on one end, and not on the other. So, in this alphabet, you can see the Y that's a tail there. Because it's connected to one end, but this end is not connected to another. If you were scripting the letter K, that's your arm, that's your leg. If you are scripting the letter Q, this is a tail. But, legging tail are used interchangeably. So you want to consider how you're going to do those. So, for, we use an example of the letter R, so we have this leg, this tail is pretty long, or do we want our tails to be really short. So, these are just things to consider again with your style. So, we'll put tail here, and arms, and legs. You also want to consider another anchor and which is called the bowl. So the bowl are these curved elements. So, in this particular style, these are pretty rounded. I would say even more oval shaped, less circle shape. But you could make your bowls, you can make them a little bit more squared. You can make them more circular, something to consider there. So, it's just as an example if we'll actually look at the R we just made here. So you can see that this one, it's almost squared-off, versus if we wanted the bowl in our style to be very round like that. So, those are just some another anchor to consider. Finally, and like I said, that I'm saying finally, but this is not final. You are going to realize that you get into this that there are tons, and tons, and tons of anchors, these are just ones that I think are important when developing your own calligraphy style. But the last one we're going to discuss is the counter and aperture. So, the counter is the word for the space inside letters. So, this A, this would be the counter. Okay. So, you want to know how much space you're going to be including in there. If you look at this particular style, the counters are a pretty average size. It's not they're not huge, but they're not teeny tiny and narrow either. The counter is pretty related to the width of your letters, if you think about it. You can see here, they're pretty oval shaped when you look at all the counters here, and they're pretty oval shaped. The aperture is the space between the elements of letters. So again, that's also. I definitely spelled that wrong. But that aperture the space between the openings of the letter. So if you look at that A for example here, we can see we've got this nice counter in there, but then we have a space here, that space is deliberate. Let's see if I spell it right now. Nailed it. Nailed it. Okay. So that's the aperture there. So I've decided for this particular style that I am leaving little openings in some of my rounded letters. I'm giving it a little bit more of a flair there. Okay. So there's a lot of notes. There's a lot of notes on here. We're just going to review everything we discussed in a little wrap up here. So again, remember, you want to start with the three main elements, the three main anchors of your style are going to be the slant, the weight, or the thickness of your letters, and the baseline, that is where you want to start. Don't worry about any of these other things at the beginning. Start there. Slant, weight, and baseline. Slant, weight, baseline. Say it again. From there, you want to concern yourself with the height and width. So, your x height, your ascender descender height, and how it relates to the x height. You want to think about the width of each individual letter, as well as the kerning, or the width between the letters. With your descenders, you want to identify whether or not these are going to connect back to your alphabet, or if your descenders are going to remain unconnected. You want to consider whether or not your style is going to have loops, swashes, or ligatures. Remember, a loop is simply a loop. A swash is anything that comes off the letter, any kind of adornment that comes off the letter, that's not absolutely necessary. A ligature is when letters have a shared element. So, in this example, the S and the T. Another anchor to consider is the lead in. Do you want your lead in to be sharp? Or do you want it to be a little bit more around? You also want to consider the arms, legs, and tails of your letters. So, we have a tail of our Y here. We look at our R and our K and our Q. The tails in the arms. You want to consider how high they are, how they connect, are they extra long? Are they extra wide? Are they super tiny? Those are all things to consider in that particular anchor. Another anchor to consider is the bowl. That's the roundness of your letters. Are they super, super circular, are they more oval? Are they squared a little bit? Lastly, it's the counter and the aperture, the counter again is the space inside of your letters, the aperture is the opening of the space in your letters. For our next step, we are going to play around with these different anchors to start creating our own style. 8. Step 5: Play & Document: So, step five of creating your own calligraphy style. This is the final step. You made it. Hurray! So, in this step, you are going to play around and then document what you've done. So, after you have made the decision about the three main anchors, the slant, the way, and the baseline, that's when you can start messing around. So, let's say for this example, we want our slant to be totally upright. We're going for a straight up and down style. Okay. We've got that, we're going to go there. For weight, we want to keep it pretty thin. Okay. So, I'm going to stick with this pen here. This is the tombow fudenosuke pen. So, we're just going to write. I'm going to write the pen there. So, this is how, when I'm creating a style, I make a note of the preferred pen, instead of measuring the weight of the letters. You can of course do it your own way. This is what's helpful for me. Then lastly, the baseline. So, I'm going to say for this baseline, I want to stagger it, but only slightly. I don't want it to be crazy stagger. Okay. So, I know I want to do up right, I'm using the brush that I want to use, I want to have that stagger. So, I'm just going to start playing around. So, usually when I start playing around, the first thing I do, is I make like a fictional envelope, because that's what I use calligraphy for a lot. So, it's helpful for me to see how it looks. So, let's see. I'm going to just do a Mr. and Mrs. and keeping this upright, keeping in this dagger very mild, drop a little, Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Okay. That's all right, that's fine. But let's see, what other things I need to consider? So, I have done these three. So, now I know I need to consider the width, and the height. So my x-height. This is a little bit plain, it's fine. It's whatever. But I'm going to make my x height normal rather, but make my ascenders and descendors really short. So, we're going to make that comparison to x height. Instead of double, we're going to make it less than double. And for the width, I like this narrows, I'm going to keep it narrow. See when we change that height in comparison to the x height. It makes a pretty big difference there. Okay. We kept it pretty narrow. Now, let's see what else we need to consider. The width between the letters, we've done that, the height. Now, I'm going to think a little bit about my descenders. I don't have any descenders here. So, let's say his name is John, because obviously it's John. We are going to draw John. So, now for my descenders, I think you know, I think I'm going to have it connect. Here we go. I'm going to have it connect. Okay. So, we've got that settled. Swatches, loops and ligatures. For this one, I want it to be pretty simple. So, I don't think I'm going to add any swatches or loops, but I think I am going to try out some ligatures. So, let's see here. What could be a good ligature to try? That's still pretty simple. We have a T and the H here. So, let's try that. So, let's say we make our T, we don't have it connect, and instead we go straight to the edge. I like that. That could work. So, that's our loop, but it's a little loop, it's not crazy. So, that's a ligature that we can add there. Other considerations are the delete in. So, for delete in for this, I like this. I like having the little sharp lead, and we're not going to round it out. The arms legs and tails, I'm going to say, let's keep them as pretty even. What I mean by even is, they say we do a K here, instead of having the arm and leg down here at the bottom, let's just put it all, so that this is exactly half right here, in the same with a capital R, it would be exactly R. Okay. You know what? Because this is pretty simple, and we want to stagger a little bit. Let's just do a tail on this, just a very slight curve, and just a little dip below the baseline. Okay. I like that. So, let's write we've got Robert here. So again, our x-height is not much different from our ascender and descender height. Robert. So, we're going out our ligature here. Okay. Now the last couple of things you want to think about, are the balls. So, the roundness of our letters, and I want mine to be very round. As you can see here, I've got this very round. No ovals, no square shapes here, we want this super round. Counter and aperture, I want my counters, I want them to be really rounded, and I think that these look pretty rounded. I don't want any apertures, any openings in my closed counters. I want all the counters to be closed. You can see that here there's no opening there. If we were to do a you'd see there would be no opening there as well. So, at this point, this is a very rushed version of this. This obviously is not how fast I create a calligraphy style, but let's say I've done this, I've practiced it over a pretty decent amount of time. Now, what I'm going to do is documented it. Now by documenting it, I mean I'm going to create an exemplar. Now, this is helpful for me as I'm going back and doing the style. So, I don't have to think," Okay. I remember the style, but I don't remember how I made the S, or I don't remember how I made the T."Having an exemplar will help you remember that. So, to create an exemplar, what you're going to do, is just write out each letter, uppercase and lowercase. So, obviously we haven't gone through every letter yet, but we can we'll just do a couple here. So, you know we're keeping it round, we're keeping the arms and legs directly in the middle. Keeping that counter close, that's nice and round. It's very simple one. But you know what, I dig it. Okay. So, what you're going to do, is you're going to write out all the letters, upper and lower case, you're also going to write out the numbers that you're going to use. So, I'm going to keep my numbers very round too. Then the last thing you want to do in creating your exemplar, is to write out a sentence. I like to do this, because then I can see, one, I can see the base line whether it's staggered or not, I can see any ligatures, I can see spacing, I can see comparisons of height and width. So, that's really important. You always have your quick brown fox lazy dog scenario that can go through. If you can come up with something a bit clever than that, be my guest, I happen to like the quick, brown, fox, and the lazy dog, I'm into it. So, that's what I do for her my own personal exemplars. So, we'll just write out the quick brown fox. We don't need to include the lazy dog on this one, even though I do like the lazy dog. So, we have our nice rounded balls. We're keeping our letters very close in height. Arms legs aren't even no loops in our R. So, you can see this is just how it's going to work for you too. You're just going to play around. Now, one thing I want you to remember, is that even after you've documented this, it's not certain stuff, you're not tattooing this on your body. So, if you change your mind, you can change your mind. So, as you're going through this over the years even, you're going to change it. So, for myself personally, I can tell you that it's all of my calligraphy styles, as I mentioned are named after cocktails because I like cocktails, and they have changed over time. So my Mint Julep style that I that I did three years ago has evolved. It is still recognizably Mint Julep, but I have changed a few things to make it a more recognizable style. That's what you're going to do too. So, just because you make up your exemplar that does not mean you're finished, you can always make up a new one. So, up next, we are going to bring this all together, and we are going to make our very own calligraphy style following all of the steps from selecting the mood, to inspiration, to the anchors, all the way through creating our exemplar. So, stay tuned. 9. Putting it all together: Now that we've gone through all the steps toward creating your own calligraphy style. We are going to work together to create our own. We're going to go through all the steps so you can see exactly how it's done. So, the first thing we're going to want to do is, remember, identify and define our mood. So, using that party scenario, this is the party I'm going to present to you. So, I love the show, the Great British Bake Off. I am really into it. When I say I'm really into it, I mean I've seen every season probably a dozen times and I have two of the cookbooks bought scales to measure out in European measurements metric system. I'm really into it. So for this example, we're going to throw out a Great British Bake Off themed party, and we are going to develop a calligraphy style that goes along with it. So, the first thing we want to think about in defining our mood is what kind of mood do we want to have. So, now if you've never seen the show this might all sound like gibberish to you. It's on Netflix, if you want to check it out. It's a very bright and happy show. So, I want this calligraphy style to be happy. I want it to be casual. This is not Iron Chef. These are all home bakers. So, we want it to be pretty casual. I want it to feel laid back. I want it to be a little bit playful. I don't want it to be overly kind of over the top with loops and flourishes. But I do want to have a little bit of fun, but I want it to be a little tighter. I want it to be all proper, not formal but a little proper. Casual, barite, proper-ish, playful-ish. I want it to feel a little summery maybe, when I think of the show it all takes place in a tent outside. So, I imagine that a bright sunshiny day. So, those are kind of the mood that I'm going to go for with this calligraphy style. So, now that I have that mood in mind, I'm going to start collecting my inspiration. Now that we've identified the concept and mood for our calligraphy style, we are going to start collecting our inspiration. So, if this does not look familiar, this is Pinterest. Pinterest is a free app that you can get on your phone, or your iPad, any kind of mobile device that you've got, and it allows you to search photos, recipes, all sorts of things, like anything you can imagine, collect them and pin them onto personal boards. Now you can have a board that's public that everybody can see, or if you want to kind of don't want people to know what you're working on or something like that, you can always make your board private. One note before we dive in here I have an 8-month old daughter who just woke up from a nap. If you hear squawking it's just her, she's just happy, she's just saying hey. So, just kind of bear that in mind as we go through this. So, now what I've done is I've picked one of our mood words and I've just searched it here. So, one of the mood words we chose was casual. So, I've just typed in casual calligraphy and I'm going to start looking at what pops up. So, now I can't really define really what I'm looking for. I'm looking for something that goes along with the feel, that mood. So, that embodies the casual nature but also kind of a feeling of the show than the mood I want to convey. So, you'll see there's lots of fonts, there's hand lettering, there's calligraphy, so I like this so what I'm going to do is I'm going to save it. Tap to save this. No, I just want to save it for now. Okay. So, we're going to create a new board. So, we're going to call this GBBO, Great British Bake Off, for those uninitiated calligraphy, Style Inspo. So now we've got that. So, we've saved that one. We'll just look for a couple more here to see what we like. Remember, at this point in time, you're not trying to look for anything in particular. You just want to see when you see it, it gives you that feeling that you're going for. So, don't look for specific elements, specific anchors, like I definitely want something with loops or I definitely want something that's straight up and down. Just take it all in. See what speaks to you out of here. So, I'm just going to scroll a little bit more. These are also beautiful, some of them are a little bit too fancy. Now this one, I really like that. It feels casual and fun to me, so we'll pin that. But also for fun here, we've tried casual calligraphy, let's go Great British Bake Off party, and let's see what comes up. Maybe we can get some inspiration here too. So, if you've not seen the show, this could give you a feel for what's happening there. You can see it has a lot of bright and shiny, summery things, very colorful. So, we're just going to scroll through here. Now, this is interesting here. So, this is the book, one of the books. I do not have this book. I need this book, apparently, because I don't have this one. So, that's just a font but I like it. I like it. I'm going to save it. That's the great thing about this. There's no limit to how much you can save on your board, I don't think. If there is, it's like huge because I've not hit it yet and I have a lot of pins on a lot of different things. So, that was just kind of look through there and we got some more ideas. So, now once you have gone through all of your inspiration, you've done Pinterest, you have taken photos of different things that inspire you, then you're going to put them all together and print out a hard copy. Again, the reason I recommend doing this is it allows you to take notes, it allows you to see everything all at once. So, what we're going to do is we're going to take a look at some of these things that I pinned and see what they end up maybe have in common. So, these are different cards from Minted. This is from a calligraphy artist that I found on Pinterest. I did not see her name. I believe it's I believe the business is Bloom Calligraphy, but I will find out for sure and post it in the comments so the person who did this lovely work gets credit. This is a storefront, a sugar paper in LA, and this is from the incomparable Molly Jacques. If you don't know her, stop what you're doing right now, like pause the class; I'll be here, and go Google her. She makes the most beautiful calligraphy and hand lettering. So, I found all these things on Pinterest. Now, we know what the style anchors are, so let's take a look. So, let's start with slant. So, what I'm noticing about all of these is they all have a little bit of a slant. With the exception of this one here. But it's not a really sharp slant, it's just pretty slight. So, I'm going to get my notepad here take a few notes. So, we've got slant and we'll just put slight. So, we're going to do a slight slant. Say that five times fast. Now the weight. So, the weight of these each of these examples is pretty similar with the exception of this one here is a little bit bulkier, and what I like about this one too is that the weight sort of changes. So you can see the downstroke here is very thick. It's not as thick there and not as thick there. I really like that, because again, this style that we're going for we want it to be, remember the proper fun. So, it's a little playful, but it's but it's proper. I think that this adds a little bit of that there. So, for weight, I'm going to say let's do a little mixed weight. I think for this particular style the best brush is going to be the Faber Castell pit artist brush. I think I like that weight. One of the great things about doing the brush calligraphy is that you can change the weight of your letters based on the amount of pressure that you apply. If that all sounds very confusing, again, go check out the first class. We covered it all there. But with this one, we can also get these nice, thick lines. So, for weight I am. When you write down mixed with Faber-Castell as heaviest. Okay. So now, we know that we're going to have a mixed weight, but the Faber-Castell brush, the thickness of that is going to be where the script, where the calligraphy is going to be the heaviest. Now baseline, we look at the baseline. Now, it's different for all of these right? But, when I'm noticed, so there is some stagger. There are some that are flat. But what I'm noticing is that, even those that are staggered are not staggered very much. So, we are, there she goes. She's very happy, if you can't hear her in the background. So, we're going to, let's see. I think, I want to do a staggered baseline, but it's going to be very slight, like very, very slight. Again, that'll go to that proper fun where it will give it all just a little bit extra, but it's not going to be so wild and crazy. Okay. So, that's a good place to start, right? In terms of the height and width, this is all pretty standard. We got our x-height, the ascenders, and capital letters looked to be about double so I like that we'll stick with that. The width between letters is again pretty average, not too narrow, not too wide, and I think, we're going to stick with that. I don't really want to widen it out. So, that's one thing I want to say to, when you're looking at your examples, you don't have to stick to all of this. So, yeah, this might have inspired you, but that doesn't mean you have to just do this. There's lots of different things that you can do, as you know because we've gone through all the anchors. So, just because you don't see it on this sheet doesn't mean you can't do it, and just because you see it here, doesn't mean you have to do it. All right. In terms of the descenders, we've got both here. We've got some that connect, and some that don't, and I like the connecting ones. I think that that gives it the little bit more of the casual handwritten feel. It just feels a little bit more of casual, a little bit more homespun, and I like that. So, that's what we're going for with this script, with this calligraphy style. So, we'll keep our descemders connected. You will notice, I'm not writing all of this down, but you certainly can take as many notes as you want. If I weren't doing a video, I would be taking much more intricate notes, but for speed, we're going to just walk through this together. The next thing to consider are loops, swashes, and the ligatures. So, I love Mollie's swashes here, but it's just a little bit too fancy for what we we're going for. Again, we want to keep it casual, but man, I love this swash here, and I really dig this too, how it dips a little bit lower. So, I guess what we'll do is we'll add a few swashes, but maybe nothing too crazy. I also, really like this loop here, really like that. So, I think what we'll do here, so this is the kind of note I would be taking, it's just this. Because it just tells me, okay, I'm going to add that where I can in different letters, but we also have this loop here on the L. So, moving on to this chalkboard, again, I really like this look with this swash here, but I prefer the more rounded style. That's really lovely, but we're going to stick with the rounded. But one thing I do like, as you can see, the lead-in here, it's hard to see, but this has a rounded lead-in, and a little bit of space from the stem over to the upstroke here, which is very very cool. Somebody just keep that in the back of my head, maybe not for the B, but maybe for other letters, we can add a little bit of space there, make our lead-in a little curved. Had a little curve to that lead-in. So arms, legs, and tails. We've looked to the tail here. I like the idea of making the tails just a little bit longer. I don't want any tails on the edges of my descenders, but I like the idea of maybe adding little tails to the ends of words. I think that could be really nice, but I want to make sure that they interact with the other letter. I don't want it to be a tail that creates too much kerning, too much space between the words. So, we will keep that in mind as we go to. So, the last thing is counter and aperture. Oh, I've skipped one, the ball. Next is the ball, we can't forget the ball. So, I like the roundedness of these, but I think, I want to go for something a little bit more oval. So, If we look at this here, we can see we've got the balls here are a little bit more narrow. I like that. I think that will stick with that, so we'll go with something a little bit more narrow. Same goes for here. It's just a little bit more of a narrow, narrow oval, so not so much squared, but we'll keep it a little narrow. So, I'm going to just, again, you can do this however you want to do it, however it helps you to take notes. This is just what I do. I just make little curves as I go, little marks that just remind me what it is that I liked about the style that I saw. Okay. Lastly, it's the counter and aperture. I think, I'm going to keep it. I think I'm going to keep the counter closed, and not let there be too, too much space. The exception being, I do like with the S, how it doesn't quite meet back. So, I think what we'll do, and the same happens here, I don't want to leave a total space, but I don't want to have the S completely close. I think that having the S completely close gives it a little bit, makes it a little bit fancier, so I don't really want to do that. If we look at this one here, you can see there's that counter isn't closed. So, we have a nice, little space there. I do, see, it's hard because I do really like it, but I just think for this style, we want to keep everything pretty close, except for our S, and you know what? I think, we'll keep our D and our A open just a little bit. So, let's try that out. So, here's our S. So, keeping that open or maybe like this, but we're just leaving some space there. I like this. I think, yeah, I like that. Then for our D, now I'm looking at it. Not crazy about it. I think, we'll keep that closed. All right, we'll keep it closed. Yeah, we'll go ahead and keep that close. So, we're going to leave this counter open. We'll leave the rest closed. So, just for the S, we will leave it open, everything else will be closed. Okay. So, now we've looked at our inspiration. We have defined the three main anchors and we worked through the others. We've made some notes about things we like, things that we would like to incorporate. So now, we're just going to play around. So, if you've seen the show, you know that the two judges are Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood. So, we're going to practice with their names. Yes, his name is really Paul Hollywood. I guess, I don't know if that's his real real name, but I think it is, and that's an awesome name. So, that's what we're going to do here. So, I remember, I liked to this curve, when I have a slight slant and we want our baseline to be very slightly staggered, mixed weight. So, I'm not going to use that. I'm going to use my Faber-Castell PITT Artist Brush Pen. Let's see here. We'll do a nice little curve. You know what? I'll leave a little opening there. This is what I mean by playing it, playing it loose. You want to give yourself some room to play around, so we got Paul there. I made this a little bit too high. I do want to keep this double the X height. So, I think that's maybe a little bit too high. Here we go. Keep a nice little rounded thing there, and we'll keep this A just a really slight stagger. Here we go. I know I like that. That looks a little bit more casual, a little bit more homespun, a little bit more hand-on. I like it. So again, we've got our height just about doubled. We have a nice little curve there just a slight slant, a very slight baseline stagger. So, let's move on to Hollywood here. So, for Hollywood, again, I like, I really like this curve. Let's keep that gamble. Let's try with a little less tail on it. Let's just go straight up and down. Well, I don't know where I was going with that. I'm sorry. See, this is my full-time job, and even I'm looking at it like, so making a style, not an exact science, guys, not an exact science. It requires a lot of playing around, so I'm going to try this. So, we're making our D centers connect, but I'm going to see what it looks like if we let our A centers stay unconnected, and I like it. I think I like it, keep that one connected. Remember, we're going to keep our bowls nice and round. We're going to keep our counters closed. Okay. Here we go. All right. So now, if we had more time, what I would do is I would go through all of the different anchor points that we've already discussed and I would practice this, and practice this, and practice this. Let me tell you one thing, and I want to make very clear, I would never, and I mean never, finish a style in one day. I don't think I would finish a style in one week. A month is more about the amount of time it would take me to to develop a style that I felt comfortable with, and remember this is my full-time job. So, you're going to do things over and over, and over again until you start to really get a feel for it. Now, what a feel for it, what I mean by that, I don't mean perfection. Remember, that does not exist, but right now, this is pretty early stages. Remember how I said that I started my mint julep style a few years ago, and then it refined, and refined, and refined? So, that's over a literally very long period of time. Of course, I don't expect you to wait years before you put your style out there but you can see how things will develop as you get more comfortable with it, as you get more of a feel for it. So, we'll see what we've done here, so this will be on a very small scale. We'll see how it evolves when we write it again. So, we're going to write the same thing again, so I'm going to go back through here. I like this, but I think I'm going to cut that lead in a little bit, cut that swash. Another thing that I noted that I liked about the weight was that it was a mixed way, and I haven't really done that here, so I'm going to focus on that when I move forward keeping that height pretty evenly double. So, let's see here. We're going to keep that counter open, that nice and round, keep that A center nice and round. There she is saying hi, say hi Ren. Okay. We're going to keep this. Okay, now, I'm going to try to make this small, thinner. There we go. One of the things that as a calligrapher you really focus on is consistency, so I have a hard time mixing up these widths, but I really like that look, so I want to see if I can achieve it here. So, that one's a little thinner. There we go. I'm keeping that nice and open. Okay, so you can see even how it's changed from here to here, and the more I write it, the more I get used to doing it, the more refined and definable it's going to come. The important thing is and I have gone through, I have an idea of the anchors that I want. I know that they match the mood that I'm going for. I know because I have done some research, I have looked for inspiration. I'm not just sitting down and saying, "I want to make a style and I guess I'll just play around and see what happens." You are playing around, but using this method, you have a plan. You have a roadmap. You're not going in blind. So, this allows you to know that what you're working on is at least heading in the right direction. Now, just because I wrote down that I want a slight slant, does that mean it's going to stay that way? No. Over time, I might decide, the slant looks a little too formal. Let's straighten it. Let's straighten it out. Let's make it totally upright. That could be what happens. I don't know. I need to flush out this style a little bit more and in fact I think I'm going to. I really do like where this is headed. I think this could be a really, really fun script. I need to think of a cocktail name. I think maybe we would do gin and tonic because that is Mary Berry's favorite cocktail, I have heard, so not that I am a fan girl or anything, but I heard she likes her gin and tonic. So, maybe I'd maybe I'd call it that. But, this definitely needs more work and more time, but I do feel like we have a very good start. So, next step as you are going to create your own calligraphy script for your projects, it's going to be super fun, so stay tuned. 10. Class Project: For your class project, you are going to create your own calligraphy style. Surprise! Surprise! So what I would like you to do for this calligraphy style we're going to do a little bit of a twist to it since we did our Great British Bake Off themed style together. What I want you to do is pick your favorite TV show or just a TV show that you like, enjoy and create a calligraphy style based on that. It could be something really silly and goofy like Arrested Development. It could be very moody and serious and sexy like True Blood, it doesn't matter. Pick any television show and using the steps that we went through create your own calligraphy style. Now what I would like to see you post in the group, I would love to see you post your inspiration kind of showing us where you are getting this inspiration, some of the things that you found helpful. I would like you to share your style anchors, and then finally I would like you to share some examples of your new style. I cannot wait to see what you all come up with. I'm very, very excited. So, if you have any questions feel free to post in the comments and I will get back to you as quickly as possible and I hope you've enjoy this class and I really can't wait to see what you all are going to do. Happy scripting.