Pointed Pen Playground: Calligraphy Color Experiments | Natascha Safarik | Skillshare

Pointed Pen Playground: Calligraphy Color Experiments

Natascha Safarik, getting better one letter at a time

Pointed Pen Playground: Calligraphy Color Experiments

Natascha Safarik, getting better one letter at a time

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20 Lessons (25m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. 1.1 Writing with watercolor: Materials

    • 3. 1.2 Mixing up watercolor

    • 4. 1.3 Writing with watercolor

    • 5. 2.1 Creating mid-word gradients

    • 6. 2.2 Creating a light to dark gradient

    • 7. 2.3 Gradient examples

    • 8. 3.1 Wet in wet technique: Materials

    • 9. 3.2. Wet in wet: One-directional flow

    • 10. 3.3 Wet in wet: Two-directional flow

    • 11. 3.4 Wet in wet examples

    • 12. 3.5 Combining gradients & wet in wet

    • 13. 4.1 Color pushing: Materials

    • 14. 4.2 Color pushing: Basics

    • 15. 4.3 Pushing pearlescent colours

    • 16. 4.4 Pushing glittery pigments

    • 17. 4.5 Pushing with an ornament nib

    • 18. 4.6 Pushing water

    • 19. 4.7 Color Pushing Examples

    • 20. Bonus video: Broad edge nib

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About This Class

In this class, you will learn how to use watercolor for calligraphy and try a variety of colorful techniques. You will learn how to write with several colors to create a gradient in your letters, how to use an ornament nib and a pointed nib to dip one color into the other and how to make your colors flow in various directions while writing. The most important thing is to enjoy the process and have a good time creating. I promise you some good eyegasms. :)


This class requires basic knowledge of pointed pen calligraphy, since this class will not show you how to use this tool.


  • Thick, smooth paper
  • Pointed pen
  • Ornament nib (for part 4)
  • Watercolor (in pans/cakes)
  • Liquid watercolor or ink
  • Eyedropper

About me

I'm a calligrapher from Vienna. Find all my info at http://www.linktr.ee/tintenfuchs


The class was filmed and cut by me, Natascha Safarik. The music is Raro Bueno by Chuzausen u, under the Creative Commons License.

Meet Your Teacher

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Natascha Safarik

getting better one letter at a time


Hello, I'm Natascha aka Tintenfuchs, a calligrapher from the beautiful city of Vienna, Austria.

I've been working as a freelance calligrapher for a couple of years and I've published the first German language book on pointed pen calligraphy since the 1980s: https://amzn.to/2O5X56G

In my spare time I experiment with colors, mixing up my own watercolors and pigments and trying to find new techniques that are fun to try with pointed pen.

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1. Introduction: Hi. My name is Natasha. I'm from Vienna, Austria and I'm a calligrapher. During my work hours, I write for my clients and in my spare time, I like to experiment with colors. This has led to some very interesting techniques I've developed over time, and that's exactly what I would like to show you in this course. We will be working with my favorite tool, the pointed pen, as well as with an ornament nib and a good old brush. All you need is some papers, some ink, and these tools. Let's get started. 2. 1.1 Writing with watercolor: Materials: Let's talk about the materials we will be using. You need a very smooth paper. I am not using watercolor paper in this case because watercolor paper absorbs the water color too quickly. For our purposes, we would like to have the ink stand on the paper for a bit so that we can still manipulate it. I'm using nostalgie paper by the German brand Hahnemuhle, but any thicker, smooth paper will do. Then you will need your pointed Pen. I'm using a browse steganography nip. It's also called blue pumpkin or browser 371, that's the model number. Am using that one because the nib is of medium width and it's got a big pen, so lots of room for the watercolor. Furthermore, you will need one or several brushes, in order to mix the watercolor in the pans. An eyedropper filled with water, and of course, your watercolor pens. I'm using the vintage pestle set by primer watercolor because I really enjoy the colors and it's highly saturated sets, even though the colors are very pastry. 3. 1.2 Mixing up watercolor: The first thing I'm going to show you is how to use watercolor pens with your pointed pen. For that, you will need your watercolor pens and your eye dropper filled with water. Put a couple of drops of water onto the pens and let it sit for a minute or two so that the pens will soak up the water and become more mixable. After letting your watercolor pens soak for a bit, you can start to mix up your colors. The consistency of the color should be, like that of whole milk. I'm using several brushes for this, so that I won't get the colors mixed up. 4. 1.3 Writing with watercolor: The next step is to take your pointed pen, and fill the nib with the watercolor you mixed up. You want to fill it so that the hole in the middle, which is the part of the nip that holds the ink, is completely filled with the watercolor. 5. 2.1 Creating mid-word gradients: The next thing I would like to show you is how to write with a gradient that flows naturally into your writing. You will need more than one of your watercolors, and you will stop just like you did before. Putting some water color into your nib and start writing, but prepare the next brush and the next color already. When you notice that your nib is running dry, you can stops to mix up the next color, and put it into your nib but at the back of the nib. Where it will flow down into the previous color naturally. Just keep writing. You will notice that as soon as one color is done, the second color will flow down the nib. When you notice that the nib is running dry again, you can put in some more watercolor. You can see that I put in a third color here, and that my nib is very full, so I'll just shake it for a bit so that the drop at the top of the nib will fall off, so that I won't have any blobs on my paper. 6. 2.2 Creating a light to dark gradient: Gradients can be, especially, dramatic when mixing a very light with a very dark color. I'll show you what I mean. Put in my light pink and I'll start to change my color in the middle of the letter, which will give us a really dramatic effect. 7. 2.3 Gradient examples: 8. 3.1 Wet in wet technique: Materials: For this next part, you can use the same paper you used before, but you can also use watercolor paper. You will need your favorite ink. Or in my case, I'll be using ecoline, which is a liquid water color that I enjoy very much. You will need a clean brush, some clean water, and of course, your favorite pointed pen. 9. 3.2. Wet in wet: One-directional flow: The hardest part is deciding what you want to do and what you actually want to write. In my case, I would like to write the word flowing and I would like my ink to flow downward, and I'm deciding right now that I would like to write on a line right here. If I want my ink to flow down, that means that I will need to draw my water line underneath where I am going to write, and that's exactly what I'm going to do. I'm going to take my wet brush and draw a line, and I'm going to write on that line. I will dip my lettering down so that the ink will flow into the wet part of the paper. I decided that I would like my video to start with a bang, so I'm starting my letter on top of the wet spot so that the first stroke touches it. Whenever I feel that I would like more color spread, I touch the wet spot again. 10. 3.3 Wet in wet: Two-directional flow: Let's try a version where the ink flows up and down. I'm trying to match the length of my word with my watery strokes, I'm putting more water at the end of my watery line to ensure that it doesn't dry out before I reach it. Starting with purple this time, you will probably need to refill your nib more often then when writing regularly, because the water will of course draw the ink from the nib. I'm pressing hard here so that you will be able to see the descender even though it's in the water. When you switch back to a lighter color, be sure to wipe it before you dip it into the lighter color. 11. 3.4 Wet in wet examples: 12. 3.5 Combining gradients & wet in wet: Now, we will be combining the wet in wet technique and the gradient writing. For this, I'm using watercolor paper because I will be using a lot of wet ink and my alkaline liquid watercolors. I'm starting with a lighter color so that I can dip in my nib into the darker color next without having to clean it first. Because when switching to a lighter color, you will have to clean your nip because the dark color will darken the light ink If you dip it in. 13. 4.1 Color pushing: Materials: One of my favorite things to do is what I call color pushing. It's where you write with one color and then dip in another color. For that you will need two different inks. I like using one that is more viscous like the watercolor pen and one that is very liquid, like liquid water column. You will also need to point at pens this time. The oblique will be the one I write with and this one I will use for dipping in the color. 14. 4.2 Color pushing: Basics: Brush the more viscous color into your nib, like you did before, and then you'll have to be very quick. All right, quickly, and don't save ink on the down strokes. Then, quickly, as quickly as you can, dip your second nib into your second color, and touch the first one with it. 15. 4.3 Pushing pearlescent colours: This technique also works very well with pearlescent inks like the Coliro Finetec Pearlescent Watercolors, which I enjoy very much. Start like you did before by brushing it into your nib, maybe shake off the excess ink. I'm writing Sh for shine, and check out the beautiful gradient I am getting. 16. 4.4 Pushing glittery pigments: I also enjoy using powdered artists pigments. For our purposes, we will have to dilute them a lot. Like usually you want them to be of a consistency like whole milk. But in this case you want a much more watery so that the second calorie dip in will flow. 17. 4.5 Pushing with an ornament nib: If you want the color pushing effect to be even more pronounced, you can use an ornament nib, which is a nib with the flat round top. You'll have to make your pigmented ink extra thin, and dip the ornament nib in, very deeply, so that the whole reservoir is filled. You might even have to re-dip after half a letter cause so much ink comes out of this nib. [Music] 18. 4.6 Pushing water: It's also so much fun to write with only water and later dip in your ink or watercolor. You should do this in a well-lit room because you might not be able to see the water you write with. Especially with an ornament nib, this effect can be very dramatic and pretty awesome. Capillary action rules. 19. 4.7 Color Pushing Examples: 20. Bonus video: Broad edge nib: You can use all the techniques I've shown you with other tools as well. In this video you see me using a [inaudible] name. You can also try using a cola pen or a ruling pen for instance, and just see what you can come up with. I would love to see your project and your experiments in the project gallery. Feel free to share them. I hope you enjoyed my little class, it's my first one so bear with me. I'd love to see you here again or maybe pop by on my Instagram account. Alright, have a great day.