Introduction to Modern Brush Calligraphy | Kimberly Shrack | Skillshare

Introduction to Modern Brush Calligraphy

Kimberly Shrack, Modern Calligraphy & Illustration

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15 Lessons (1h 24m)
    • 1. Introduction to Modern Brush Calligraphy

      0:38
    • 2. Welcome & Materials

      1:21
    • 3. Calligraphy Basics

      5:53
    • 4. Grip & Movement

      13:44
    • 5. 10 Basic Strokes

      9:14
    • 6. Lower Case Letters with the V Shape

      5:02
    • 7. Lower Case Letters with the O Shape

      5:05
    • 8. Lower Case Letters with the Upward Loop

      5:15
    • 9. Lower Case Letters with an Upstroke or Downstroke

      3:22
    • 10. Remaining Letters of the Lower Case Alphabet

      2:50
    • 11. Lowercase Review & Uppercase Alphabet

      5:11
    • 12. Connecting Letters

      12:52
    • 13. Brush Pen Review

      11:24
    • 14. Class Project

      1:28
    • 15. Wrap Up

      0:23
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About This Class

Do you swoon over pretty letters? Do time-lapse videos of calligraphy make you weak in the knees? Do you wish you could join in on the fun? Join Kim from Hoopla! Letters (formerly Manayunk Calligraphy) in this Introduction to Modern Brush Calligraphy to learn how to transform a brush marker into a magic wand capable of creating Instagram-worthy masterpieces.

In this course, you'll learn:

- proper grip, posture and movement
- 10 basic strokes - the building blocks of the lowercase alphabet
- how to script the lowercase alphabet
- how to properly connect letters
- the ins and outs of different brush pens (and where to find them)
- tips and tricks from a professional calligrapher

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Brush Pens Used in Class

In this class, I demo several brush pens. Here is a full list - click the link to pick up yours online!

Transcripts

1. Introduction to Modern Brush Calligraphy: Do pretty letters make you swoon? Do Instagram time lapses of calligraphy make you weak in the knees? Hi, I'm Kim for Manayunk Calligraphy, and I'd like you to join me for an introduction to modern brush calligraphy. In this class, you're going to learn the basics of modern brush calligraphy, including how to properly grip and move your pen, the ten basic strokes, which are the building blocks for the lower-case alphabet, how to script a lower-case alphabet, how to connect your letters, different brush pens and where to find them, and tips and tricks from a professional calligrapher. Hope to see you in class. 2. Welcome & Materials: Hi, everyone. Thank you for joining me for an introduction to modern brush calligraphy. I'm Kimberly Shrack, the calligrapher behind Manayunk Calligraphy. My designs have been featured on products and stores such as Anthropologie, Pier 1, and HomeGoods, and my work has been featured in publications including Us Weekly, Martha Stewart Weddings, and Live with Kelly. I'm so happy you decided to join me today, so I can teach you to do what I do. So, for class, you're going to need a few things. You're going to, of course, need a brush pen. Now, today in class, we're going to talk about many different brush pens, but the two that I recommend you to start with are either the Faber-Castell Pitt Artist brush pen or the Tombow dual tip brush pen. Both of these are medium flexibility, really easy to work with, and will give you very good line. Now, for full disclosure, I have done some work with Faber-Castell before, but I do love these markers, use them on a regular basis. The other thing you're going to need is paper. Now, you can use plain printer paper, if you like, but I recommend using a gridded or dotted paper. This is going to help you with your letters, keeping them consistent and on the same line. Once you have those materials, let's get started. 3. Calligraphy Basics: Before we jump in to learning our brush calligraphy, we're going to talk about some of the basics. So, at its core, calligraphy is just a form of decorative writing. Now, the hallmark of calligraphy is the presence of these thin and thick lines within each letter. So, you can see that each of these letters has lines that are thinner and lines that are thicker. Now, these lines are made using just one stroke. So, we're not drawing everything thin, and then going back and adding in. Instead, we are creating all of these lines regardless of their thickness with just one stroke. Now, in calligraphy, there are two different ways to do this. You can do it by angle or by pressure. So, if you've ever gone to a craft store and bought a pen marked calligraphy pen, only to take it home and see that it's just a chiseled tip. That's because that type of calligraphy pen is based on the angle at which you hold it. So, if you hold it at one angle, you get a thin line. If you hold it at another angle, you get a thick line. But that's not what we're doing today. We are using brush markers. With brush marker, a thin or thick line is created, not based on the angle, but based on the pressure that you apply while using the pen. So, the less pressure you apply, the thinner the line. The more pressure you apply, the thicker the line. We'll get into the mechanics of that in a bit. So, before we jump in, I want to discuss a few terms with you as well. So, the first term I want to discuss with you is a downstroke. So, if you look at this example here, you'll see that every time I bring the pen down, the line is thicker. That is called a downstroke. So, anytime I bring the pen down, I'm going to apply more pressure. More pressure equals a thicker line. So, a downstroke is anytime you're bringing the brush toward you, and you are applying pressure and getting a thicker line. An upstroke, on the other hand, is anytime you're bringing the brush up. So if you'll notice, in this example, every time I'm bringing the brush up, the line is thinner. You can see that in the examples on these envelopes as well. Anytime the line is being brought up, we have a nice thin line. That's because we're applying less pressure that it equals a thinner line. A hairline is just another word for the thinnest line you can get. That's because, in traditional pointed pen calligraphy, the thickness of this line is the thickness of a hair. So, of course, all of your upstrokes are going to be hairlines. But any time you're moving the pen horizontally as well, that's also going to be a hairline. So, in some flourishes, when you cross the A, when you cross the T, those are all going to be done using the least amount of pressure possible, so you're going to get a thin line. Now, the baseline is the imaginary invisible line where your letters sit. So, you can see in this example here, all of the letters sit on the same baseline. Now you may have heard of what some people call bounce lettering. Now, this is when the letters are staggered on the baseline. So you can see in this example here, the letters don't quite sit on the same baseline. They are staggered. So, we're going to talk more about this later, but I did just want to mention that this look you get is all about where you place the letters in relation to the baseline. The mid-line is where the tops of most of your lowercase letters hit. So now you see it's not exact, because again this is modern calligraphy, so we don't have to be exact, but they're all in about the same position. With the exception, of course, of any letter that goes above the mid-line. So, for example, these l's this h, those are called ascenders. Other ascenders include the letter b or the letter k or the letter l. Any lowercase letter that goes above this mid-line. Now, any lowercase letter that goes below the baseline is called a descender. So, here we've got three descenders. We have a g, a p, and a y. J is also a descender. So, anytime a letter goes below the baseline, that's called the descender. So, as a quick review, when you bring the pen towards you, you bring it down, you're applying more pressure, you get a thicker line, that's called a downstroke. Anytime you're bringing the brush up, you apply less pressure, you get a thinner line, and that's called an upstroke. The thin lines are also called hairlines. You can get the hairline when you're doing an upstroke, but also, when you are crossing letters or making a horizontal line, you're going to apply less pressure to get a thinner line. The baseline is where your letters sit. In this example, all the letters sit on the same baseline, but they don't have to. In this example, you can see the letters are staggered around a baseline. That's sometimes called bounce lettering, and we'll talk about that more a little bit later. Where the tops of a majority of lowercase letters hit, that's the mid-line. Any lowercase letter that goes above that is an ascender, and any lowercase letter that goes below it is a descender. 4. Grip & Movement: So, before we can get started on actually scripting or calligraphy, we need to understand how the brush marker actually works. So, as we mentioned before, the hallmark of calligraphy is the presence of those thin and thick lines and the brush on our brush marker is what makes that possible. So, if we take a look at the brush, you can see that it comes to a very fine point. So, when we apply less pressure and just the tip of the brush is touching the paper, then that's going to be what gives us that nice thin line. So, when just that tip is touching the paper, again, it's going to be a nice thin line. But you'll see that the brush is nice and barrel-shaped. Now what that barrel shape does is when we actually apply pressure, more of the brush will touch the paper. So, when more of the brush touches the paper, you actually get that nice thick line. So, it really isn't magic. It's just how much of the brush is actually touching the paper. Now, the two brushes that I have here, and we will go through a review of all the different brushes, but these are two of my go-tos and these are what I recommend you use for the course. So, this one that I just used, this as a Tombow. Now, this is a Tombow Dual Tip. So, it has a bullet tip on the end too. But one thing that I like about this one is does come to a very fine point and the barrel is really nice and thick. So, you're going to get a larger letter. So, this is actually what I'm going to be using today because it does make larger letters. So, it'll be a little bit easier for you to see. Now, the other one that I recommend that you use for this course is the Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Brush Pen. Now, you'll notice the barrel on this one isn't quite as wide. So, you don't get as thick of a line. So, you can see a comparison of the two there. Both of these are a medium flexibility. So, how flexible the brush is is going to determine the variation between thick and thin that you're going to get. So, the more flexible the brush, what that means is that you have to apply less pressure to get a thick line. So, you're going to get bigger, prettier swells, a lot more variation. But the problem with that, when you're a beginner, is that it doesn't take very much pressure at all for you to get that thick line. So, you will lose some of those thin lines. So, I recommend when you're starting out to use one of these two. Now, as I mentioned before, just in the spirit of full disclosure, I have worked with Faber-Castell on many projects before, but this is one of my preferred pens regardless of that, but I do just want to give the full disclosure at the very beginning. So, pick one of those pens to work with. Again, today, I'm going to be using the Tombow. Just because it does make a larger letter, it will be easier for you all to see. So, now I want to talk to you a little bit about how to actually hold the brush pen. So, you'll notice that I'm holding it pretty far down. It's about two inches from the barrel, an inch and a half to two inches from where the brush meets the pen. Now, the reason for this is that it gives us more range of motion. Now, when we handwrite, we tend to hold our pens really, really close to the edge. If we do that here, we really don't get any range of motion at all. So, you can see that as thick as I can get versus this right here. So, you want to make sure that you're holding it about two inches up from where the barrel of the brush meets the pen. Now, the grip that you use truly does not matter. You use the grip that feels most comfortable to you when you are normally handwriting. You're not going to hold it in the same spot as handwriting, but you are going to use the same grip. Don't look at my grip and think, "Oh, I have to copy exactly what she's doing." You don't, just use the grip that's most comfortable to you. You do want to keep the grip nice and loose. You don't want to death-grip it. You want to make sure that your fingers are nice and loose. You don't want them to be all synched up. One, you're going to lose range of motion, but, two, your hand is also going to cramp up really quickly, and you definitely don't want to do that. Now, like I said, in modern calligraphy, the angle of your letters doesn't really matter so much, but the angle that does matter is the angle at which your brush touches the paper. Now, again, remember, we want our lines to be as thin as possible, which means just the tip touches the page, and as thick as possible, which means most of the barrel is touching the page. So, to get that optimal thin position for both thin and thick, you want your brush to touch the paper at about a 45-degree angle. So, a good way to test that is you put your pen at exactly 90 degrees, slowly lower your hand so that the tip is still touching and your pinky is on the paper, and that's about 45 degrees. So, you can see at that angle, I can get just the tip to touch, which means I get that nice thin line, but I can also get a really beautiful thick line as well because the barrel can really spread out on the paper. So, what I always like to say, and I've said it already, but I'll say it again, that it's not magic. It's really just how much of the brush is touching the paper. So, if, while you're working, you think, "My thick lines and thin lines look pretty similar. I'm not seeing much of a difference", the first thing to check, of course, is the pressure. Make sure you're applying enough pressure when you're doing your thick line. But the next thing to check for is your angle. What normally happens when we're first learning is that we start to revert back to the way that we handwrite and we hold it up too high. When you hold it up too high, that's not so bad for the thin lines because they're just the tip of the brush is touching. You get a nice thin line. But if you're holding it up really high and you apply pressure, I mean that's an okay thick one, but that's not anything like this. That's because when you're holding it high up and you apply pressure, not very much of the brush is touching the paper. Again, you want to be coming in at that 45-degree angle. So, more of the brush touches the paper, and you get a nice thick line. Now, I do want to go ahead and address the lefties of the group quickly. So, when you are left-handed, you are either an underwriter or an overwriter. So, what I would like you to do, if you're left-handed, is go ahead, and you can use a regular pen or pencil, and write your name. Now, after you've written your name, I want you to take note of how you wrote it. Was your hand underneath your name or was your hand curled up and over your name? If your hand is curled up and over your name, you are what's called an overwriter. It just means that you right over your letters. If it was under your name, then you're an underwriter. That just means you right under your letters. So, know that now and then as we go, just listen to whatever instructions I give to overwriters versus underwriters. So, we're going to go ahead and make our first marks. So, making sure that your grip is about two inches up from the barrel of the brush, it's nice and loose, you're going to put the tip of your brush on paper at 45-degree angle, you're going to apply pressure, and you're going to pull down, giving yourself a nice thick line. So, you'll notice that I said, "Pull." When you are doing your thick lines, you are pulling the brush toward you. Now, that applies to righties and to underwriters. But if you're an overwriter, you're actually going to be pushing it up. If you're an overwriter, you're going to be pushing it up instead of pulling it down. Now, for your thin lines, again, two inches up in the barrel, nice, loose grip, make sure you're at a 45-degree angle to the page, just the tip is touching, and you're going to sweep up, making nice thin lines. So, now the upstrokes, you're going to push up and away from you. Now, if you're an overwriter, again, that's going to be opposite. You're going to pull them. All right. So, just to review, when you're making your downstroke, you're pulling it toward you. If you're an underwriter or lefty or if you're a righty, when you're doing an upstroke, you are pushing it away from you. That might seem like an odd distinction to make, but as you start to work on your letters, it's really going to help you. Now, if you are an overwriter, instead of pulling it down, you're going to be pushing it up to get your thick line and pulling it down to get your thin line. It's just the exact opposite. So, now I want to talk a little bit about movement. So, I do wedding invitations. I do hundreds and hundreds of wedding invitations at a time. People always ask me if my wrist get sore. I say, "Well, sometimes, but what really gets sore is my shoulders and my elbow." That's because that is where the movement comes from with calligraphy. Another reason for that again is range of motion. So, if I'm relying just on my wrist, this is the widest I can get. That's the widest range of motion I can get. But if I'm using my elbow and my shoulder, I can go all the way across the page. I can make really big flourishes, really big swoops, using the movement in my elbow and shoulder. So, what you want to do is think of your fingers, your hand, your wrist, and your forearm as just one solid unit. Now, as you're scripting, you will use your fingers a little bit and you will use your wrist a little bit. But for the most part, you want to keep this as one solid unit and instead of getting the movement from your wrist and from your fingers, you want the movement to be coming from your elbow and from your shoulders. So, we're going to do a little practice for that. So, what I would like you to do is start out with a little bit of pressure, the nice thick line, sweep across the page with the thin line, and end with a thick line. So, now, if you're just using your wrist, there's no way you could get that wide. So, using that elbow and that shoulder, sweep all the way across the page. Now, this takes some practice, and it's going to feel awkward at first, again, because it's not how we handwrite. So, if you think of how long you've been handwriting, and now we're doing something totally different, so, don't get frustrated. So, now we're going to do the inverse. Instead of starting thick and thinning out and ending thick, we're going to start with thin, apply pressure, make the middle thick, and end with thin. Now, let me show you what happens when we try to do that with the paper at just this angle. So, I'm going to start out with thin. I'm going to applied pressure. It gets thicker. I'm going to thin it out. So, you'll notice that that's not really much of a change and again, that's because of how the brush marker works. When I'm applying pressure, I want as much of the brush to touch the page as possible. But when I'm going at this angle, not very much of the brush can touch the page. Only this much of the brush can touch the page. So, I'm not going to get that nice thick line. So, if you ever want to do a thick line that goes horizontally, like, for example, if you're doing a flourish, you want to instead turn the page. This way, when you are pulling down toward you, more of the brush is going to touch the page, and so you are going to get that nice thick line. So, look how much nicer that looks than this here. So, again, the takeaway from this is that you want to make sure you are really using your elbow and your shoulder to get those long movements rather than your wrist and your fingers. 5. 10 Basic Strokes: So, now we're getting into the fun stuff. This is the 10 basic strokes. So, these 10 basic strokes make up the building blocks of your lower-case alphabet. Now, the reason that we start with a basic strokes rather than jumping right into the alphabet is twofold. First, when you know the building blocks, it makes creating the actual letter that much easier. But more importantly is that, by knowing the building blocks, you're going to be able to develop your own style. You're going to know how the letters are built and how they're put together, and so you're going to be able to make tweaks along the way to make it your own. So, let's jump right in. The first basic stroke is the thin hairline. So, again, make sure, I won't remind you every time, I promise, but make sure you're about two inches up from the barrel, loose grip, hitting the paper at about a 45-degree angle. So, for the thin hairline, you're just going to push up and away using a lightest touch possible. Again, you want to make sure that just the tip of the brush touches the page. Now, with angle, angle, again, it doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is keeping it consistent. So, if you want your angle to be more dramatic than this or if you want it to be up a little bit more, and this goes for the whole alphabet, it truly does not matter the angle, just that you keep it consistent. So, that is our thin hairline. The next basic stroke is called the thick downstroke. So, for the thick downstroke, you are going to apply pressure evenly the whole way down. When you get to the bottom, you're going to slowly release the pressure up. Now, the reason that we slowly release that pressure is we want a nice square bottom. If you release it too quickly, you get a little odd shape there. So, you want to pull down, slowly raise it up. You want to make sure the pressure is consistent the whole way down. The next basic stroke is called the horseshoe. Now, the horseshoe is a combination of these two. So, we're going to start out with a thin hairline, and you're going to gradually add pressure and square off the bottom. So, again, thin hairline, gradually add pressure, thin hairline, gradually add pressure. Now, that gradual added pressure is super important because we want to get a nice rounded top. If you add the pressure too quickly, you're going to get a point. We don't want that. We want a nice rounded top. Now, you might notice, as you're doing these, that yours look a lot wider than mine. That's okay because we're learning and sometimes it's easier to do this wider. But as you are continuing to practice this, try to get them more and more narrow because, remember, these are parts of letters. These aren't going to stand on their own. The next basic stroke is called the U-shape. Now, the U-shape is just the inverse of this. So, instead of starting with the thin hairline, we're going to start with our thick downstroke. We're going to release the pressure at the bottom and pull up. Sorry. Rather, push up into our thin hairline. So, again, we're going to pull down with a thick downstroke, gradually release the pressure, and push up with a thin hairline. Now, you might notice that this one is a little bit more difficult than the last one. The reason for that is that it's much easier to add pressure that it is truly said. I can be a little bit more difficult. So, what helps is if you take it slower, now you might say, "Oh, but I can. When I take it slower, my upstroke is super shaky." That's okay. That's just going to come with practice. So, you don't want to speed through it and lose that nice little gradual curve at the bottom. You want to make sure you take it nice and slow. The shakiness of your upstroke will definitely improve with practice. The next basic stroke is the V-shape. So, for the V-shape, you're going to start with a thin hairline. You're going to gradually add pressure, gradually release it, and sweep up. So, you'll notice that mine was just really shaky there, and I do this every single day of my life. So, don't feel bad if you get a little bit of shakiness. So, gradually add, gradually release, gradually add, gradually release. Now, that gradual add and release, again, super important because we do want those nice rounded tops and bottoms. Now, the V-shape is the one you're going to use most frequently in your lowercase alphabet. So, you really want to make sure you practice this. So, up next is the O-shape. I'm not going to lie, this one is a little tricky. So, for the O-shape, you're going to start on the right side of the letter form. With a thin hairline, you're going to gradually add pressure, gradually release it, sweep up, meet the hairline. Starting with a thin hairline on the right side, gradually add, gradually release, sweep up. Now, this one, it takes practice. It really does. So, I really wish there was a magic bullet I could give you to make it easier, but the only thing that's going to make it easier is practice. The next basic stroke is the S-shape. Now, this is not the letter S. It's a very subtle curve. So, you're going to start with a thin hairline, gradually add, gradually release. So, you see, it's a very subtle curve. Thin hairline, gradually add, gradually release. The next basic stroke is the upward loop. Now, if this looks like the letter L, it's because it basically is. So, for the upper loop, you're going to start with a thin hairline, gradually add, gradually release, thin hairline, gradually add, gradually release. Now, you're going to use this in all of your ascenders. So, it's a good one to know. Next is the downward loop, and it's just the inverse. You're going to start with a thick downstroke, gradually release, sweep up. This one, if the upward loop looks like an L, that one definitely looks like a J. So, you're going to be using this on your descender letters. The last basic stroke is the dot and whisker or the loop and whisker. So, first, let me explain how you're going to use these. So, you might use these within letters. So, for example, the letter R. There's the dot. There's the whisker, or the loop and whisker, there. Or you could use them when you are connecting certain letters. So, for example, w to i or o to u. We'll talk more about connecting letters later on, but this is how you'll be using them. So, to practice it, for the the dot, you just want to apply pressure, release it, and sweep out. For the loop, you're just going to sweep up with a thin hairline, gradually add some pressure, and then release it and sweep out. So, now this is much larger than you're probably actually going to make it, but it helps for practice. Now, we're going to do a quick review of our 10 basic strokes. First, we have our thin hairline, our thick downstroke, horseshoe, U-shape, V-shape, O-shape, S-shape, upward loop, downward loop, dot and whisker, loop and whisker. Now that you have the basic building blocks, let's move on to our lowercase alphabet. 6. Lower Case Letters with the V Shape: So the best way to learn the lower-case alphabet isn't by going from A to Z, it's actually by learning the letters that together have similar shapes. So, we're going to start with letters that have a V-shape. So first up is the letter N. We're going to start with a horseshoe and then a V-shape. So again, we have a horseshoe and a V-shape. Now, I'm lifting my pen off the page just because we are learning here and it's easier for you to see but you don't have to. So actually when I'm normally scripting, I wouldn't do that. So you can see that just by changing the height of those humps you can really change up the look and feel of your letter. Up next is the letter M, you're going to do a horseshoe, a horseshoe and the V-shape. Horseshoe, horseshoe, V-shape. Just like the N you can change up the look of this letter by adjusting the height of your humps there, gives it just a little bit more personality, a little bit different feel. The next letter with the V-shape is the letter U. You're going to start out with a V-shape, and then you're going to do a U-shape. So again, a V-shape, a U-shape. Now you might be wondering why we're starting all these letters with this little hairline, and that's because we're assuming that these letters are going to be a part of a word, right. So, the way that you're going to join to that letter is by using that hairline. Now, if your word started with the lowercase U, you wouldn't even need that. You could just do your U-shape and then a smaller U-shape. So just something to keep in mind as we go along. The next letter with the V-shape is the letter V, shocking I know. So, for the letter V you're going to do a V-shape, and then you're going to do a dot and a whisker. Now again, the reason we're adding that dot and whisker to the outside is because we're assuming this is connected to another letter. If the V is the last letter of your word, you could just end it like that. The next letter with a V-shape is the letter W. You're going to do a V-shape, and then a U-shape, and then a dot and whisker. Now you can also do a loop and whisker, that's my preferred way to do it. Now just like with the N and M you can change up the look of this W by adjusting the height of these shapes here. So, if this one came a little lower and this one came a little higher, how does that change the look? Or if this one hit the baseline but then the second one came really low, how does that change? So again, as you're practicing these use those different building blocks and adjust them, just little bits. Just adjust them slightly and it can completely change up the look of your letter. The next letter with the V-shape is the letter Y. So, for the letter Y you're going to do your V-shape, and then you're going to do a downward loop. Now, you can really change up the look of your letter Y by how you do your loop. So this one was pretty straight forward, but how does it change if we do it like that, what kind of vibe does that give off, or if we made it really long and thin. This one is my favorite, if we gave it a little curly cue and we come up and instead of sweeping over, what's this another loop. It's so easy and it makes a huge difference in the look of your letter. So, the last letter with the V-shape is the letter X. You're going to create a very wide V, and then you're going to do a thin hair line up. Very wide V, thin hair line up. So those are the letters that used the V-shape. Up next, we'll show you the letters that used the O shape. 7. Lower Case Letters with the O Shape: Now, we're going to learn the lowercase letters that used the O shape. So, up first is the letter O. So, now, the good news is that letters that use the O shape are way easier to script than the actual O shape itself. So, for the letter O, we're going to start on the right side with a thin hairline. You're going to sweep up but then instead of meeting that hairline. You're going to do a nice little loop and whisker. So, again, thin hairline, sweep up, loop and whisker. The next letter with the O shape is the letter A. So, for the letter A, you are going to start on the right side, make your O shape, but when you come up, you actually going to come up just a little bit wider. So, you're going to go ahead and bypass where you started. You don't have to worry about meeting that line. Then, you're going to do a U-shape down. So, again, we're going to do our O shape coming out just a little wider, and then pull down in a U-shape. O-shape, little wider, U-shape. The next letter is the letter G. I have to say this, the letter G is my favorite letter. You might not think that you have a favorite letter but I promise you after taking this class, you will definitely have a favorite letter. If you'd like to tell me your favorite letter in the comment section, I would love to know. I would love to see a picture of your favorite letter as you've scripted it as well. So, now, to my favorite letter, the letter G, you're going to do your O shape coming out a little wider like you did with the letter A, and then you're going to do a downward loop. Now, just like with the Y, you can really change up the look of this letter just by changing up your downward loop. We'll do our little double loop here. Super fun. The next letter with the O shape is the letter D. So, for the letter D, you're going to start out with your O shape. We're going to go ahead and meet where you started with the hairline, and then, you're going to do an upward loop. So, again, we have an O shape. You're going to meet the hairline. So, right about there is where you're going to start your upward loop. Now, a great way to change up the look of the letter D is by where you start that upward loop. Let me show you what I mean. So, we'll go ahead and make our O shape. Now, instead of starting the upper loop here, which is where we would normally start it, let's start it over here. So, it's the same basic shapes. You already know how to make both of these shapes. But how much different does this letter look than this letter, right? So, it's a really nice trick to know these basic building blocks so that you can change up the look of your letters, and the D is a perfect example of that. You're just changing it up because of where you're starting that upward loop. So, the next letter with the O shape is the letter Q. So, for the letter Q, you're going to start with your O shape. Come out a little wider, just like you did with your A, and then, you're going to do a backwards downward loop with a dot and whisker. O shape come out a little wider, backwards downward loop, dot and whisker. The next letter with the O shape is the letter C. So, now, with the letter C, you want to start that a little bit more inward than you started your O. So, for example, if we were going to start our O right there, we'd want to start our C just a little bit more inward right here. Okay? So, you're going to make your basic O shape. The only real difference is that, the beginning stroke is going to be just a little bit more inward than it normally would. For the letter E, you're going to start at around the center of the letter. So, you're going to start with a thin hairline, sweep up, gradually add, gradually release. So, again, it's that same basic O shape. But you're just starting with the hairline on the other side of the letter form rather than on the right. Those are the letters with the O shape. Up next, we're going to learn letters that use the upward loop shape. 8. Lower Case Letters with the Upward Loop: Now, we're going to learn letters that use the upward loop shape. So first, we're going to start with a letter that is basically just the upward loop shape, and that is the letter L. So you're just going to start your upper loop shape with a thin hairline, sweep up, gradually add, gradually release. Again, then hairline sweep up, gradually add, gradually release. That's your upper loop and it's also your L. Up next, we're going to do the letter B. So for the letter B, we are going to do our upward loop, now, instead of releasing that pressure and sweeping up, we're actually going to go ahead and square the bottom, and then we're going to do a little horseshoe with a curve out. So now, you'll notice, this is more of a typographical B. So, when you learnt cursive in school, you may have learned a B that looks more like this. That's a totally acceptable way to make a B. One thing I want you to remember is that this alphabet is one of literally an infinite number of alphabets. So if I'm making a letter away and you're thinking, you know, I don't really care for that, or what if I did this and made it a little different, this is not the B all end all way to make an alphabet, not even close. So feel free to experiment with this. Now, just like with our Y and our G, how the downward loop add a lot of personality, you can do the same with your upward loop. So we can make our upward loop really wide and fat. How does that change the look? See, I prefer that to that like any day of the week. But, your style might be a little different. You can even add a really simple flourish in there. So for this flourish, you can use with any upward loop letter. You start with a thin hairline go into the left, sweep up and start your upward loops. Let me show you that again. Thin hairline, sweep up and over. So, instead of starting your upward loop right here, you're just starting it right there. Now, this was one of those that I think is a little easier to do faster. You can see while I was trying to explain to you and doing it slow, I got a nice little shaky line there. So this is one that you can benefit from having one quick fluid motion. The next letter with the upward loop shape is the letter F. So for the letter F, you're going to start out with your upward loop. You are going to pull all the way down past the baseline, sweep up into a downward loop, and then do a dot and whisker out. This is a super tall letter, so, this is one where you really don't want to use your wrist. You really want to make sure you're using that elbow and your shoulder to get a nice long thick line. If you try to use your wrist, you're going to end up doing something like that, which is not a bad looking letter but you do lose some of the range of motion that you would have if you were to use your elbow and your shoulder. The next letter with the upward loop is the letter K. So letter K, you're going to do your upward loop square the bottom. Then, you're going to do a thin hairline, and then a backward S-shape. Okay, let me show you again. Upward loop, square the bottom, thin hairline, backward S-shape. You can really change up the look of this letter not only by your upward loop but by where you position these two elements. So let me show you what I mean. We'll go ahead and do a standard upward loop here. But then, how does it change the look if we make our hairline up just a little higher and then make our long S-shape, our backward S-shape nice and long? How does that change the look, or conversely, if we make it very low on the side of the letter? So these are different things that you can play with as you're developing your own style. The last letter with the upward loop is the letter H. You're going to do your upward loop, square the bottom, and then a V-shape. Upward loop, square the bottom, V-shape. Those are our letters with the upward loop. Up next, we're going to learn letters that combine a thin hairline with a thick downstroke. 9. Lower Case Letters with an Upstroke or Downstroke: Now, we're going to learn letters that combine a thin hairline upstroke with a thick down stroke. So, the first letter in this category is the letter i. So, for the letter i, you're going to start out with a thin hairline and then a u-shape down, and you're going to dot the top. Now, there's a couple different ways to make the dot. I prefer to make mine just by putting the tip of the brush on the paper and making a little circle, but you can also do a nice little dot by applying pressure and pulling down to get a little bit more of a square look. Or you could do something that looks like your dot end whisker where you apply pressure and then gradually release it. So, let me show you that again where I actually do it correctly, apply pressure, gradually release it, there we go, much better. Again, I do this every day of my life and I still mess up every day of my life, so don't get frustrated as you're doing this if it seems like things aren't coming together. We're all beginners at some point. So the important thing is to just keep going. The next letter with this shape is the letter j so you're going to start out with your thin hairline, then you're going to do a downward loop, and then you're going to dot it. Just like with your y and your g, you can change up this letter by how you create your downward loop. We can do our fun little double loop here, super-fun letter. I'm predicting that this will be a favorite on somebody's, so be sure again to let me know. The next letter in this category is the letter t. Now, for the letter t, we're going to have a really long upstroke, so you want to make sure, again, you really keep your hand, wrist, forearm as one unit and let your elbow and shoulder do the pushing of upward. So, we're going to make our long upstroke and then you're going to do a long u-shape down and then cross with a thin hairline. You can really change up the look of this letter by where you cross the t. So, how does it change if you cross lower, or if you cross higher. Again, these are things that you can experiment with as you create your own alphabet. Up next is the letter p. So, you're going to start with your thin hairline, your upstroke, then you are going to go ahead and do a long down stroke and then you're going to do a little horseshoe. Again, thin hairline, long down stroke, little horseshoe. You can even add a little bit of a curve to this one, so if you want to make a long s shape down and then do your little right-hand curve, that's an option as well. So, our last batch of letters are what I like to call the Island of Misfit Toys letters. These are the letters that don't fit into any other category. So up next, we're going to finish up our lowercase alphabet. 10. Remaining Letters of the Lower Case Alphabet: Now, we're going to learn the remaining three letters of the alphabet. These letters don't really fit into any other category but are super important and super fun nonetheless. So, let's get started. Up first is our letter r. You're going to start with a thin hairline up, loop and whisker. Then a u shape down. Thin hairline up, loop and whisker, u shape down. Now, you can also do a dot and whisker. You can really dip that u shape low. There's lots of different things you can do to give that letter a little bit more personality. The next letter is the letter s. You're going to do a thin hairline and then you're going to do an S shape down. Thin hairline, s shape down. Now, you can swing that out to give it a little bit more of a fancy look if you want. I always like to dip my essence just a little bit below the baseline. You can also change the way you enter the letter. Instead of dipping low, you can just make it one nice straight line. Sweep up like this. Lots and lots of different ways you can change up the look of these letters. Again, I know I've been really pushing this but it's super important. You know the basic building blocks of each of these letters. Just by changing the building blocks even a little bit, you can make a huge difference in the style and personality of your letters. Yes, letters do you have a personality. Our last letter is the letter z. There's a couple different ways you can make a letter z. So the first is a more typographical z, where you're going to do a thin hairline across. You're going to do a thick down stroke. Then a thin hairline across. Then cross it with a thin hairline or you can do the more traditional curves of v, where you do a horseshoe shape and then sweep up in a curve. Do another horseshoe shape and then a downward loop. So that's like extra. That's doing the most. That is the z doing the most. So I usually prefer my z's this way. But if you want a little bit more fancy z, you can certainly go that route. And that is your lower case alphabet. Up next we're going to do the lowercase alphabet from a to z, and I'm going to show you a quick uppercase alphabet as well. 11. Lowercase Review & Uppercase Alphabet: Now, we're going to do our lower case alphabet from start to finish. Let's get started. Now I want to give a quick note on the upper case alphabet. So, you've already learned in class today that anytime you're bringing the pen up and away from you, you're going to use a thin hairline and anytime you're bringing it down, you're going to apply more pressure and get a thick down stroke. Now for the upper case alphabet. Unfortunately, those letters are made up of way more than just these 10 strokes. So, there is so many different ways to do the upper case alphabet. So, what I want you to remember is that you don't need to focus so much on, okay, what piece is this? What pieces is this? And more on remembering that if you're going up, it's less pressure. If you're going down, it's more pressure. Thin line up, thick line down. I'm going to show you a quick version of an upper case alphabet but again remember you can do this in any style you want. There's no right way, no wrong way. Let's get started. 12. Connecting Letters: Up next, we are going to learn how to connect our letters. So, when you connect a letter, it's called using a join. So, we're going to learn about the different joints that you can make. So up first is the diagonal join. So diagonal join happens when a letter that ends at the baseline meets up with a letter that starts at the midline. So, for example, here you can see the a to the c, k to the s, u to the d. So, let me show you. We have letter a going to the letter i. So that is a diagonal join. Letter c going to the letter u, there's the diagonal, d to r. So, those are all diagonal joins. Now, there are special kind of diagonal joins. Any time you are going to a letter that has an O shape. So, if your letter ends at the baseline and it's going to a letter with an O shape there's a couple different ways you can make those joins. So let me show you what I mean. So, for example, if we were doing c to a. So there's one way to do it, which is the way we just learned. So you just create that diagonal line and then you go ahead and start your a and just make sure that they get connected. So, the one thing that could go wrong here is if you come over and then you make your a and its not quite close enough. So, one thing that you can do to combat that instead of making just a diagonal is you do what I like to call a little over an app. So, for these O shape letters, instead of just ending on the diagonal you can come over and start to create that O shape and come back. So you can also do that for any letter that goes from a baseline to a letter with an O shape. So, let's try from a to d, from u to q. So, that's another way you can do it but again it's still just a diagonal join. So let's practice a few words that are made up just a diagonal joints. So the first is the word bump diagonal, diagonal. Now I'm pausing here again just for teaching purposes but as you're scripting, you're not probably going to stop and pause. Now, Azure learning if that helps you, go for it. But if you're going along and you're thinking I have a good flow, I don't really want to stop, you don't have to. Let's try the word made diagonal. Now, I like to do mine, I don't really care to do the up and over, I usually just go straight into the letter but I didn't want to show that version to you because a lot of people do prefer that and let's try the word fine, like damn, these letters are fine, diagonal, diagonal, diagonal. The next kind of join is called the horizontal join. So a horizontal join happens whenever you're connecting a letter that ends at the midline to a letter that begins at the midline. So, for example, o to i. So if this looks like our loop and whisker, it's because it is. So I mentioned that you'd be using that when you're connecting letters and this is exactly what I meant there. You also see it in w to o, o to m. I mean there are so many different combinations here. So we're going to practice a few words that use horizontal joins and diagonal joins. So we're going to start out with the word we, like the French we, not the we the people we. So you're going to do the o to u, that's a horizontal join, u to i diagonal, so horizontal diagonal. Let's try the word round. Diagonal, horizontal, diagonal, diagonal. So, those are the two basic kinds of joins, diagonal join and horizontal join. Now there are a couple of different rules that apply when you're connecting to ascenders or connecting from descenders. So, for joins that go to an ascender, you're going to start the join either diagonally or horizontally whichever it calls for and then you are going to swing upward to begin the ascender. So let me show you what I mean. So let's try a to h. So we're going to go ahead and start with our diagonal. We have our diagonal join created there and then we're going to start our ascender. Now, I pause there, whenever I'm scripting, I like to pause because I like to have the option to create that upper loop however I want it. So, even though the diagonal is coming in at this angle, I like to have the option to create my upward loop however I want. But you can also just go straight into it. There really isn't a need to pause if you don't mind the angle that it's coming in at. Another practice here, let's try o to k. We go ahead and make that with an upper loop, made a little mistake there. So again, you do the join. In this case, it's a horizontal join and then you start with your ascender. Let's try a couple of words that use this join as well as just the regular old horizontal and diagonal. So let's try about. So we have diagonal and because we're going up to the ascender, we start with the ascender first, then we have another diagonal, horizontal, diagonal. Let's try the word white. So we have a horizontal join there and we've started the horizontal join. Now we are going to start with the upward loop of our ascender, diagonal, diagonal up to the ascender, diagonal to the e. Now, there's also a little trick to connecting from a descender. So now one thing to know is that with a descender you actually don't have to connect it. So, for example, if we were writing the word you, we would be fine with not connecting that y. Now if you're going to go that route, you just want to make sure that you keep the spacing between the letters nice and even. Now, I really like to do this, I don't connect my descenders to letters very often. I mean I do depending on what the style I'm going for. But one of the reasons I don't typically like to do that is that I can do cool stuff like this, like I can sweep that letter underneath them. So, yo, looks way cooler like that I think. But if you do want to connect them, you're just going to use a diagonal join. So if I wanted to create that word with connecting it, I will just use a diagonal join but it's a very long diagonal join. So you want to make sure again that you're really using your elbow and your shoulder rather than your wrist. So, let's try a word that uses all these joins. Let's do young. So we're going to go ahead and connect it, then we have a horizontal join, a diagonal join, a diagonal join. So those are the different kinds of joins that you can use to connect your letters. Now, I do want to make a quick note on bounce lettering. So we talked about this before but just as a reminder, a bounce lettering is what happens when your letters don't sit on the same baseline. So they're staggered. So, we'll script that out here. Now this is a really popular style right now in modern calligraphy and frankly I mean I use this all the time. I get requests for this. When I'm doing product design, I also get lots and lots of requests for this kind of baseline when I'm doing wedding invitations. And part of the reason is it's super fun and it gives a little bit of style, you can be super creative with it, it makes it a little bit more playful, a little bit more modern. So it is a really fun style to be able to do. Now, as mentioned before, the way that you do this is you simply stagger your letters around where the baseline normally would be. But why I mentioned this when we talked about joins is that when you're doing diagonal joins in this method, you need to realize that the sizes of them are going to change. Whereas when you're using a word that doesn't necessarily but all sits on the same baseline, your diagonals are all going to be about the same size and height. But when you're doing this, you see this one's a little bit shorter, this one is much longer, so you do want to be careful to make sure that you have a nice balance of lines. What I mean by that is you don't want one really long one and then have the rest be short. You want to make sure that the diagonals have a nice balance. So you can see this example here looks much more pleasing to the eye than this one here. So, if you are going to do this bounce lettering or this staggered baseline, make sure that you maintain some consistency and some balance with your diagonal joins. So now that we know the diagonal joins, what I would like you to do for practice is go ahead and script your name. Now I'm sure you've already done this like 10,000 times as we've been going because I did, when I was learning I didn't want to wait till I got to the joins but now that you know them, I'd like you to go ahead and script your name and then share it in the class community so we can see the work that you've done. 13. Brush Pen Review: So, now I'm going to talk to you about something I'm super excited to talk to you about, and that is review of different kinds of brush pens. Now, there are so many brush pens out there. I'm just going to show you a few of my favorites. So, we're going to start first with a Faber Castel Pitt artists brush pen. Now, full disclosure again, I do do some work with Faber Castel, but I love these brush pens. In fact, this is usually my go to. It has a nice flexible tip, that isn't too large. So you can see it has a nice thin line, nice thick lines but it's not too big. Another thing I like about this brush pen is it comes in tons and tons of colors. It's also pretty readily available. You can get this at Michaels, you can get it at other craft stores. Maybe not necessarily the colors that you want, but you can at least get black. Another cool thing that I like about these pens, that you might not know, is brush pens typically wear down. I mean it's a pen, is a tool, it will wear down over time and you're thin lines won't be as thin. But with these brush pens, you can actually pull out the nib and see it's double-sided. Which is like game changers. When one side wears down, you just pull it out and replace it with the other side. This allows you to use your brush pen for twice as long as you can with some other brush pens. So, that's one of the many reasons that I really love these brush pens. Now, another brush pen that I'm a huge fan of, are these Tombow dual sided brush pens. This is another one that I used in class today. So, these have a much thicker barrel. So, you'll see we can get bigger swells there. Now, this one is a little bit more flexible than the Faber Castel. So, you can get bigger and nicer swells on your lines. But because it is a bit more flexible, it does require a little bit more skill to be able to get those really fine lines. Now, this is the dual tip pen, which I love because you have a bullet tip on the other side. Now, this is great if you want to add some little flair to your lettering. If I wanted to add some shadow, I can add that super easily and in the same color. So, this is the Tombow double-sided. Now, this one, you can get these also at Michaels, but you can also get these online. They come in so many colors, just like Faber Castel. But you can see that these letters are a little larger. So, if you want something a bit finer, this might not be your best bet. So, another fun brush that has about the same thickness, is the Kuretake. This comes in lots of metallic colors. Now, I do apologize for my pronunciation. If you can't tell from my accent, I'm Midwestern. So, I'm pronouncing it as best as possible. So, this one has great variation in line thickness as well. Nice thin line, you can get some really pretty swells. But the thing I love most about these, are the colors. If you take a look at that, it might not be super visible in the video. But that is metallic. It has a really cool shine on it, and it comes in lots of different metallic colors. Now, this one I have never seen in stores, but you can get it online. In the about section of class, I'm going to include links to where you can get all of these brush pens. Now, if you want your writing to be a lot finer, so for example in your class project, you are going to be writing a letter. So, these would be great for addressing the envelope. But if you're writing a letter, you probably want a pen that's a little bit smaller. So, I have a few of those to show you as well. First, this is the Pentel sign brush. These come in tons of colors just like the other brush pens. In fact, I should probably stop mentioning that. So important because they all come in so many colors. Now, you can see the barrel here is super tiny. Just let's compare that to our Tombow. I mean, you can see that it's much smaller. So, you're going to get a really fine point and really this is great for much smaller writing. So, that's like the same color as the grid. So, let me show you in a different color here. There we go. But look how tiny those hairlines are. This is just a really great pen for writing smaller items. One cool thing about this too, is that these act like watercolors. So, they blend really nicely. The next small pen I want to show you, is another Tombow. This is called the Fudenosuke. Again, forgive my pronunciation. But these pens are are just my favorite. I really love these. Now, you'll notice that I have two different ones here. This one's a little bit blue, this one's a little bit black. The difference between the two, is not in size but in the softness. So, one of them, this blue one here is a harder brush and the black one is a softer brush. So, let me show you the difference. So, we'll start with the blue harder brush. So, you can see here how beautiful and thin those haidlines can get, but you still get those nice swells. The soft brush, it just has a little bit more flexibility. So, you can see it's not super visible in the video here, but it feels a lot softer. Now, you can see because this has more flexibility. My thin lines have a little bit more texture to them than these two, because the harder one is a lot less flexible, you have to apply a lot more pressure to get that thick line, which means you're going to have nice steady thin lines the whole way through. This is a great pen. This is another one that I've never seen in stores, but it's very easy to get online. They usually come in sets where you get the hard and the soft. But if you do have to choose between them, the soft is definitely my favorite. Now, I want to show you a couple brush pens that use bristles. So, bristle pens are really fun. Because you get lots of beautiful texture. So, this is the Pentel pocket brush. So, you can see this uses, let me spread it out, this uses actual bristles and it's got an an India ink capsule inside. So, look at all that beautiful texture that you get. Now, this one does not come in a lot of different colors. This one comes in black and a couple different metallic. But you can see it's just beautiful for that really brushy look. The last brush pen I want to show you, is one that is very accessible and that is just a Crayola marker. So, Crayola has created these super cool markers that are called super tips. I did not do that on purpose, I just say super a lot. So, the super tips are made with calligraphy in mind. So, you can see this looks a little bit different than a traditional Crayola pen. So, let me just show you how this writes. So, you get really nice thin and thick lines. I mean it's not as thin and thick as some of the other ones that we've seen. But I mean it's pretty good and this is just a Crayola. These are super accessible, you can find these all over the place. They can make really beautiful work and they come in a variety of colors. Again, because it's Crayola. So, just to do a quick review. We have our Faberr Castel brush pen, Tombow, the Kuretake, a nice and metallic, super fun. Our Pentel sign, which gives us this really nice thin line. This is what you're going to want to use for writing your letters, either that or the this one, the Fudenosuke. That's the hard brush. This is the soft brush. If you'd like to get some bristles in your work, you can try this Pentel pocket brush. Really beautiful texture. Finally, our Crayola super tip. So, again, those are just a few of the many brush pens out there. Go ahead and check the About section of class, and I list them all and tell you where you can find them. 14. Class Project: Now that you've learned the introduction to your modern brush calligraphy, we're going to start with our class project. For today's class project, you're going to write a letter to somebody you love. Now we're not talking about e-mail, we're talking about a real life letter that goes in the mailbox. So, what I want you to do is, first, pick somebody that you love, it could be your mom, your grandfather, your bestie, or a mentor, it does not matter as long as you have their physical address. As a tip, the physical address should not include the phrase "@gmail.com". Once you've decided who you're going to write the letter to, you're going to write your letter. Now, for your letter, you can use one of the smaller brush pens we discussed, like the Pentel sign brush or the Tombow Fudenosuke. Once you've written up your letter, you're going to craft your envelope. Now, these are all different envelopes crafted using the different brush pens that we learned about today. You have lots and lots of different options. I'd love for you to get creative with the envelopes. There's a link in the class description to a Pinterest board with lots and lots of different ideas for you. Once you've addressed your envelope, you can pick out a pretty stamp to add, and then drop it in the mailbox. Then, just wait and see what happens. My guess is you'll receive a call with lots of happy tears. 15. Wrap Up: I want to thank you all for joining me today. I hope that you learned something, and I hope that you've found a new hobby that you love to do. You can find me on Instagram at @mnykalligraphy. I cannot wait to look through all your class projects. If you have any questions at all, feel free to reach out. Thanks and happy lettering.