Calligraphy II: Finding Your Personal Script Style | Bryn Chernoff | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Calligraphy II: Finding Your Personal Script Style

teacher avatar Bryn Chernoff, Paperfinger Calligraphy and Hand-Lettering

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.



    • 3.

      Experiment and Play!


    • 4.

      Style 1: Modern Angular


    • 5.

      Style 2: Rounded Curving


    • 6.

      Technique: Adding Flourishes


    • 7.

      Style Madlibs (Custom Styles)


    • 8.

      Materials, Colors, Pens, and Inks


    • 9.

      Choosing the Perfect Style


    • 10.

      Working with Clients


    • 11.

      Writing a Letter


    • 12.

      Addressing an Envelope


    • 13.

      More Creative Classes on Skillshare


  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

Find your own beautiful, calligraphic style in this one-hour class with calligrapher Bryn Chernoff! Always welcoming and encouraging, she shows how to explore a range of angular and curved styles, add flourishes, and transform a simple letter and envelope into a treasured keepsake.

By the end, you'll script your own letter and envelope. Whether you choose your own words or transcribe an inspirational letter you love, you'll have a beautiful piece of writing to enjoy or share with a friend.

This class is a follow-up to Calligraphy I: Writing in Classic Modern Script. It's recommended that students take that introductory class or have some basic familiarity with calligraphy. It's perfect for beginners looking for a challenge as well as intermediate students!

Be sure to also check out the third class in this series: Calligraphy III: Experimenting with Layouts, Surfaces, and Digitization!

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Bryn Chernoff

Paperfinger Calligraphy and Hand-Lettering


Bryn Chernoff started her calligraphy studio Paperfinger out of a true love for writing by hand. Paperfinger provides modern, hand-drawn calligraphy and illustration for everything from weddings and events to graphic design projects, keepsakes, commercial and custom work.

Her work has been featured in Town & Country, Real Simple, The New York Times, Refinery29, Cool Hunting, Martha Stewart Weddings, The Knot, Swiss Miss, 100 Layer Cake, and countless others.

Sharing her love for calligraphy, Bryn also leads a number of workshops and offers private instruction. To follow her work, explore her portfolio, online shop, and blog.

See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Trailer: Hi. I'm Bryn Chernoff of Paper Finger Calligraphy, and it is a calligraphy and hand-drawn science studio based in Brooklyn, New York. We're going to get into more styles which is just going to open up your mind creatively as well as your hand muscularly into trying to make some different effects and creating a different mood with your writing. Class is really just structured around presenting some styles, gearing up for letter writing, how to make the letter look beautiful both on the page as well as the envelope that you send it often. We'll talk a little bit about client work which comes into play if you want to start offering calligraphy of envelopes, which is kind of the classic bread and butter service. It will really get you often running to really expanding your practice as well as your array of tools and techniques. 2. Introduction: So, welcome to calligraphy two where we're going to really get to dive into styles and having more fun with calligraphy and trying out lots of different techniques, and the whole end goal will be about creating a beautiful letter and a beautifully addressed envelope that you can then send to somebody or keep for yourself or just start to practice what you've been learning so far. The letter is the most classic way to present beautiful writing. So, what better way for us to try out our skills and we've got lots of good inspiration for you. There's so many good letters out there that we're going to be able to reference, and then you've got all your own ideas inside. So, to get us started, I just want to show you a few different styles of mine just to get a sense of things. The moment that I really think about, even though I've been doing this day after day for a long time, there's that moment when you receive an envelope in the mail that's been beautifully calligraphed your name, your address, and it really causes moment for pause and just the special feeling of like personal attention and significance, like it adds to this moment. So, you've got this amazing letter in the mail and you know that there's something really special inside, like great care has gone into the process of getting this piece to you. Maybe it's an invitation to something, maybe it's a letter from your dearest love or whoever it's from, you know that there's some real significance, and it's a really special moment and I don't downplay it. Even though addressing envelopes, it's kind of the bread and butter of a calligraphers job and you can get used to it but it doesn't mean it loses its impact in terms of what you know, the significance of it is. So, there's a lot of different things you can communicate in that moment when somebody receives a letter from you, and it's not just about the contents, but it's about the whole presentation. Everything from applying a wax seal to close it or choosing the color of your envelope and the ink on this dramatics of size or style to convey a certain mood. All of these styles, there's a lot of differences between these different styles that I've picked, and I just want you to start looking at these examples. Just looking for what you notice about. What makes this different? What do you feel when you get this one versus this one? What mood does it set? What expectations does it creative about? What's about to happen when you open it? Then, there's the moment of the actual letter, and there's so much about the way a letter looks that it not only instructs you about the pace to read that, the significance of what's happening, maybe it's this beautiful thick Italian paper that I adore and it feels like really sturdy and significant in your hands, maybe it's been written so almost large that you feel like you just have to slow down and soak it all in. Maybe it's written really casually, beautifully but in a casual script and it makes you feel like, "Oh, this is just fun and playful, it's not too serious." Or there's like serious passion in these lettering styles or all these possibilities. It all conveys certain messages, it creates a certain mood, and it really sets the tone for what you want to say to the person. So, I just present all these to you to start taking notice of little things like, did you capitalize any of the letters? Did you use a sort of jumping baseline like we've talked about in the previous class to make it feel more playful or using structured lettering that gives us more modern serious tone? Is it more curly and curvy and somewhat feminine? All these different features help convey a certain style and mood, and there are things you might want to think about when you're actually composing the letter and addressing an envelope of what do you really saying and what sort of tone do you want to set for the recipient. So, to get you just warmed up, I want you to start writing and thinking about your style options and all the different ways that you can set up a goal mode with your letter. There's this next worksheet and style considerations, and I made this basically to review a lot of different ideas that I employ in order to create a different style. So, what I want you to do at this worksheet is I've given one example of a style created focusing on one of these features, like the type of nib you use or the shape of your letters or the slant, maybe it's really upright like my example. What I want you to do is just to practice and start warming up to these ideas more is with your regular writing paper, and you're welcome to use this as a guide for your lines or you don't need to, and try to make something that really contrasts my example. So, I'll do one of these examples just to demonstrate. I'm going to choose slant, that's a simple one to mess with. You'll see that in general, you can choose consistency for your lettering and your calligraphy and you can look at all these different features and try to make one decision about how you're handling each of these features and stick with it. But then, I usually recommend if you want to start experimenting with style, change one of these to be inconsistent, but don't change all of them to be inconsistent and you'll have a really jumbled looking calligraphy. But if you pick one to fiddle with, then you might get some really fun results. So, let's say I've committed to everything's consistent and I'm going to choose a different slant. So in my demonstration, I have a really upright slant. But let's say I choose a really dramatic angle. So, there's my contrasting example. I try not to even change too much about the way I letter that first example, but I messed with the slant. In another case, spacing, and spacing you might say, "Oh, I want to be really consistent sometimes." But other times, you might want to change it up as you write. So, let's say I mimic this version of Hello here, but I decide to make inconsistent spacing. What happens? So, it just creates a different mood. I think spacing can have a lot to do with the pace of experiencing the work and it might slow down your eye, it might really just add a bit more art to the way you're writing your calligraphy, and thus it changes your experience. So just experiment with each of these features in the worksheet and see what results come about. This is one way to open up ideas about what your own calligraphy style might look like. 3. Experiment and Play!: So, the way I recommend to use this worksheet is to take your transparent layout paper and just place it over because that way you can see through and you'll see my samples on the left, and you can use these line guides as a place to write your own tests. So, try as many times as you want. If you'd like more room to practice by all means you can always place an extra line guide under your sheet, and pull this out for reference. The second worksheet is a continuation of these experiments, and it's really just continuing to open you up to ideas about how you can write in a lot of different ways, and create a lot of different effects by choosing different styles. This one is all about shape. So, we've talked about how the shape of your letters should fit together, and that in a sense you could take an O, you could overlap an H right on top of it, a P, a D, and then you could fit them all on top of each other and they make sense. Maybe they'd all be leaning this way, or they're all this wide, or they're all this tall. So, by starting with the five different O's that I've given you here, you can determine what the rest of your lettering should look like. So, I'll just do the first to demonstrate how I want you to use this worksheet. Similarly, place your layout paper on top, so you can just see it all in one place, but you've got plenty of room to write. So, I'm starting with O number one, and you can tell, it's tall, somewhat tall and skinny, it's a little narrow, and it's very upright. So, that means that it's determining how I'm writing the rest of this word, going to write oranges just because. So, this is not a test at all, but it's more a way for you to start thinking about, if you start writing in one particular way, you want to continue that, you want to pay attention to what choices you made stylistically. So, that O is determining basically the width here of the rest of the letters, the slant, the weight of the lines, it's really dictating the rest of the style. So, try it out with numbers two through five, and try number one yourself, and see how different your word looks each time you write it. Feel free too to write a few lines of potential letter that you have in mind, just start warming up, start thinking about your letter as you're practicing these styles too because all of this you want to have in mind when you work on the finished piece. 4. Style 1: Modern Angular: So, I'm going to introduce to you a couple of my own styles and try to explain what goes into the process of creating them, how I see them as different from the rest of my work, and demonstrate for you a little bit about how they're made and what goes into the style. I have a demo sheet here. I started writing more pen grams. This one is a special one, "Foxy diva Jennifer Lopez wasn't baking my quiche." Covers all the letters in the alphabet, in case you get tired of the Quick Brown Fox. I think some things might stand out to you right off the bat about this one. I think of it as a more modern style. It feels like a little bit more metropolitan. It's not too soft. It's angular. There's a lot of dramatic lateral lines, very bold contrast between the thicks and thins, and it's really upright. It has a boxy feel. For me, I love it. I think of it for really just modern setting. So, the type of maybe a framed piece, a framed print of a quote or a passage, I think it works really well on envelopes. It's been fun for modern metropolitan events, where you want something that feels like special and clearly hand done, but has this nice edge to it. So, that's what goes into my process in how this style developed. If it makes any sense, honestly, like this one tends to appeal to more male clients, it's not like soften frilly calligraphy, which appeals to women as well. But it's just fills a good category that isn't always easily found in some of the traditional calligraphy styles. When I write and I'm using some texts that I'm transcribing from, which you might be doing when you're working on your own project, you might have a typed letter or something that you want to copy, I like to keep it right in front, right at the top so it's very easy for me to see as I'm working. You don't want to keep something over here and you find yourself doing a lot of this. It's just a pain. So, place it so you're really comfortable and you can see everything easily. Then, before you start, you might want to warm up with the style. So, I'll take out my practice sheet just to get a sense of what is this again, what is the style, what do I need to set my brain into thinking about as I write. In my warm up, I don't care about straight line. So, I'm feeling sufficiently warmed up. I just basically got myself into a groove with what the style is, what the parameters are. There's a lot of basic horizontal lines extending whenever I have the opportunity. So, when I end with a lowercase letter that sits right on the baseline, I extend it as you saw with my A, or my E, or even the F. When I have any crossbars or tails coming off my Ys or any of the capital letters, I also extend those laterally. Since it's just for fun practice, I'm not going to worry too much about messing up along the way. I also find the style pretty forgiving. So, now I'm done, and I like it. It works really well with the H, but you'll see it has its own feel to it based on using this style. There's nothing like taking the time to actually copy something that you love to read. It requires your total attention. So, if you have a poem that you love or a letter you want to copy, there's no better way to appreciate it than sitting down and writing it slowly. So, it's a nice experience. 5. Style 2: Rounded Curving: The next style l chose, really has a different field than the previous and I chose it so you'd really experienced the contrast book looking at as well as as trying it out yourself. This one has a lot more rounded edges, it has a nice soft slant, and there's a few flourished elements and part of introducing this style to you is introducing some options with flourishing and I want to show you some of the techniques around that which we'll get to. I use certain technique while shaping a lot of my capitals as well as some of my letters like Ps or Ds, they all have as many kind of rounded curves as few sharp corners as possible. The tails always tend to do this same, little loop here and those are some of the stylistic choices I've made that created, even this capital annual C has, is just as round as possible without it feeling too bubbly. That's basically what I'm going for. It it's particularly interesting, it's kind of like a fun activity for your brain actually to go from one style to the next right one after the other and I do that a lot of my work because I try to do a lot of different projects in a given day and it's almost like flipping a switch because you kind of have this set of parameters that guide your style and you have to make sure you've turned them all on and you've turned the other ones off and that your hand is kind of like in the flow. So, sometimes it's even better if I say, I'm going to commit to working on these projects all-day today because they're on the same style and then I sort of achieve this good flow and consistency and then the next day I might do something in a different style, but like flipping back and forth constantly can be a little bit tricky but it's also kind of a fun, mental challenge and physical too. So, I'm going to start here, just warming up. You'll see with this style, my capital Ps, Rs, Bs, Cs, they all take this curved rounded approach. So, I'll just demonstrate a few of those, to get into the flow. Even may D. So, that gives you a sense now let's just get into warming up to this actual weather. This is kind where flesh out those decisions. So, you can kind of see where I'm going. Anytime I can like Ds, As lowercase gs, I do give it a little bit of a loop a little softness so that turning corners becomes a bit more rounded. So, I'm just kind of writing slope letters to get warmed up but I think this is working much better now and also rounded that are a little bit. The ask just giving things a bit of a softer touch. So, I feel a little better now, I'm warmed up to the style I'm remembering what techniques I need to employ and I'm going to write this letter, part of this letter. You, should read the whole thing, it's really good. You should write the whole thing, it's really good. As always, if you're writing with a slant and you want to use the slanted guide sheets that help you keep things parallel, by all means. Just because I'm not doing it doesn't mean we shouldn't because it's really just preference. Here it goes. So, anytime I do any work, there's like running voice in my head as I'm writing that's saying, "Wait a minute, you made that decision, look at that." So, you may find that's happening a little bit till you're critiquing as you go and I want you to just try to suspend that voice some of the time. It's useful because maybe after the fact I'll sit back and look and say, "This seriously looks a lot bolder than the other ones so I really apply to much pressure there," and it's useful and it's helpful but the other point is and I've said this in different ways before but it should look hand-on. It should look like there was somebody behind it shouldn't look so seamlessly consistent that you could maybe be convinced that it was produced digitally or somehow not manually and so I just want you to appreciate the inconsistency that show up. Because that adds something to it, and overall, if you can step back and just appreciate what it is and you know that whoever might receive it or get this in the mail, will feel your presence behind the work, like that's what makes it special and what makes calligraphy different from just printing out a pretty script on the computers. 6. Technique: Adding Flourishes: So, I mentioned flourishing when I started talking about this more rounded script, the second style here I presented. You'll see that the next worksheet is a chance for you to practice some of the gestures and movements, and there's a few different ways to look at flourishing. One is that it's kind of this distinct decorative piece that you could then place anywhere on the page, centered at the bottom of an envelope, kind of at the entry point of a letter and then it's not necessarily connected to your calligraphy writing. You can see there's different ways to incorporate a single flourish into your writing. There's a couple things to think about. I basically recommend that you start tracing or looking at the flourishes and trying to mimic them here on your practice sheets. It's really helpful to just even start practicing flourishing with the pencil and like remove the whole nib equation from it if it feels it's like a little stressful or intimidating or you're feeling a little unsteady. Just start practicing these gestures and a lot of it is going to be about looseness. You don't have to worry about mimicking them exactly. But I want you to just start practicing these movements. Even if you're just like work on your figure eights which then can shrink to smaller at the bottom or you can alternate sizes and just go up and down like this. Often, if I'm about to do a flourish, I might do the gesture in the air because that kind of helps me figure out where do I need to go to make this happen. It's a different sort of mental process, sort of anticipate where you need to go and which way you need to go to get there. So, I find it really helpful to kind of just try it out in the air then also trying out in pencil. Some of them are hard for me too but they just take practice. When it gets really ornate and complicated I have to do it a thousand times until I really like the version that I've come up with. Some of the simpler ones like you'll see attached to the wires here. These will get more comfortable with time. It's really just about kind of going with the flow. So, the more you can just practice free and easy movement the better and more comfortable you'll feel doing them. So, just do these over and over again, get a sense of them. If this is feeling like not up your alley you can also skip it. It's not any sort of requirement. I've mentioned before I don't do extensive flourishing in my own work. It's just an aesthetic preference so it really depends what you like and what you want to create. There's a couple of other tips for getting more easy movement when you're flourishing. One of them certainly is just like giving yourself plenty of space. I've also heard from other instructors that some people love standing up while they do it so you can really get some good leverage and then you're not like managing your arm on the desk and all that stuff so you could like get way up there. You can also just lift your arms and if you've pre-penciled the flourish on the page, that's nice too because you have something to follow. So, I've given you at the bottom there's this little tip list of things to think about. The only thing to warn you about, you want to watch out for lines that intersect and sort of rub too closely together because it just looks bad and it will look like a mistake. Part of what gives flourishes their best appearance is room and spaciousness and so you'll see that in all of these examples, there's balance, there's kind of breathing room around all the different loops and overlapping, intersecting lines. In that little example at the bottom of your page you'll see that Y. When the loop comes back around, it just slides in right on top of the original tail of the Y and it doesn't fit, it feels too tightly packed. It's just like mushed in. There's a couple of ways that I approach flourishing. Other than just practicing the movements which is kind of its own separate thing. It's like doing your calisthenics and warming up to those gestures. Practicing those is so useful and then you'll feel much more natural fitting them back in and when you're ready to fit them into your work, my favorite way to accomplish them is basically to set up my writing. So that once I've written the phrase or the word or the line, Dear John, whatever, you've got all these little opportunities. So, if you look at these two examples of Happy Birthday, it's kind of like what's missing in the first one. I've basically stopped, you see, kind of like where the cross stroke is on the H or the tail on both of the Y, it ends right in the thick part. I didn't do a crossbar on the T. Those are all opportunities and spots where I can go back and add a flourish. I find that I do a much better job if I don't try to flourish like as I'm actually writing words because that's a lot to pull off, and flourishing really benefits also from just moving your page around. There's no rules about, you don't have to accomplish it from the same exact angle that you wrote. Oftentimes, I might, I'll just use a regular pen on this worksheet. I've written Happy Birthday here and I want to take that cross stroke on the H and make a flourish up above happy. I might say, "You know, I'm going to draw this better if I flipped the page around." So, the ink is dried here. I come up around here and that felt like muscularly much more easy for me to accomplish. Now, I turn around, it looks so cool. So, nobody knows those could have happened like hours apart from each other, but I've accomplished what I wanted to accomplish. In fact, sometime it's easier to flourish over your wording once the ink has dried because if you, let's say you're crossing your T here and everything's super wet, you might drag the ink from the other letters all over the place as you cross and you might have blurry intersections there. So, that's one, I'll trace this over. That's just one other consideration that makes waiting for everything to dry a little bit easier. So, in the second Happy Birthday, you'll see I've added those flourishes but you could try different ones. So, try tracing your own flourish ideas over the first instance of Happy Birthday. Just placing your layout paper on top. So, there I have set myself up to then add my flourishes. I do this one first. I'm going to proceed recklessly while this is still wet. But I'm going to be very careful as I cross. Changing my mind. This one. So, if we pulled this away. I've got some pencil to race but now it's so festive. It's like a real party here on this Happy Birthday. There's lots of different things going on. I kind of did the same flourish a few different ways. I did it in different directions. You can see this is one of my favorites, just kind of a little loop. That's one demonstrated on the second Y, right here. So, once the ink dries, I erase the pencil and I've got some nice flourishes. So, you can see that just makes things easier on you and gives you plenty of opportunity to nail it. As a final example of how I use this in my work, I've been writing this artwork for a wedding invitation and these are all the lines of the invitation which I then scanned from which will then be prepared for printing. I wrote the entire invitation suite without any crossbars. I've kind of done my flourishes on tails but haven't crossed any of the lowercase T's and there's a lot of lower case T's on this one for some reason. What I decided was I could write all this perfectly once. Well, I had some bloopers along the way where I cross things out. But I wrote it really well. Wasn't worrying about nailing the flourishes because I'm doing kind of more dramatic crossbar flourishes. So, instead I've set myself up to have this perfect backdrop. Then, separately I did a whole page of just lots of different crossbars, just like tons of different varieties. Then, I'll scan those separately and piece them all together in Illustrator and then I have this perfect version. So, I didn't have to nail it every single time. So, there's lots of different ways to kind of achieve perfect finish flourishes without nailing it the first time. 7. Style Madlibs (Custom Styles): For any of you who are ready and interested in making your own style, I have the worksheet style madlibs which is my door key or what I'm referring to the process of thinking of your own. That's where you can really define what are the features that you're going with. So, maybe you've chosen a nib you want super round letters or maybe you want really like tall, narrow delicate letter shapes. Maybe you want really slanted or perfectly upright. Maybe you want really tall ascenders and descenders or a really jumpy baseliner or super steady baseline. Mood vibe that's the one it brings us back to class one when we were experimenting with just creating different looks and feels. That one is still up to interpretation. It's obviously such a subjective thing but it's like, are you composing or are you transcribing a letter that's really romantic or is it just to a dear friend in a really thoughtful way or are you conveying some serious news, are you, whatever it is. What mood are you trying to create and how are you going to add to that visually not just with the content of the letter? Like we've said, if you want to use any of the inspirational letters we're providing for you or just offering to work with, great. Maybe you want to find some online or if you have your own. Whatever you wish to work on, we hope you'll share with us on the Skillshare site too. So, just think about what is that mood and what would be the right style to match it. Letter spacing was another thing we've talked about that can help influence like you want it super spread out or really tightly compacted letters. All of that is just going to affect the way that the style is presented and as well as what this letter conveys. Then other is really just maybe you've got a particular flourish that you want to add to it or there's a color or there's something that you want to really add to your composition that's going to define your style. If you don't want to write out a definition by all means you don't have to, you could just keep this information in your head. You could write down an alphabet that is fitting together all these different parameters, but this is just one guide sheet to help you think that process through. I certainly don't fill this out every time I come up with something new but it's going on in my head. So, when I start with letter writing and I'm honored to be a part of that for a lot of clients. Love letter composition is something or transcription rather is something that I get to do for clients regularly. They send me the text and I write it to send to their loved one. The main thing you want to do is first set up for the paper that you're going to be writing on, and that could be anything. You could certainly write a nice letter on the label on paper we've been practicing on like no harm. It's a great sheet. You might see in stationery stores calligraphy parchment paper which also takes ink really well and it has it antiquey vibe to it. Sometimes I use this it's nice archival paper. But you could also write a love letter on a card, a blank card folded. You could take any materials you want. The key is with any new project where you're changing papers is you want to make sure you've tested your ink on it before you really launch in. Make sure it works well, that you like writing on it with that ink as well as with your nib and that they all fit well together. So, just get enough supplies that you can test them out. I've tested everything ready myself so I know that I like it. So, today I'm going to be transcribing this letter from Jim Henson that he wrote prior to his death to his children, his five kids as a parting letter in the event of his death. It's just a sweet loving and somehow letters make the contacts that I enjoyed. So, I'm going to pick just to give myself plenty of space. I'm going to just use those parchment paper here. But this card stock is one of my favorites as well. So, maybe we'll do a little demo with that. The next stuff is setting yourself up so that you have line guides because writing a long letter unless you're just want to go freestyle which you're welcome to, it really helps to have guides, and that just gives me a lot of peace of mind. What we've been doing in class so far is using guide sheets underneath transparent paper which works really well together. But if you're using paper that's not fully transparent and you can't see through it, actually this parchment works well. So that's another good option you don't need the light box. But what I use every day at work is a light box which I have here. These are nice because they're really thin and so you don't have to reach up or like climb over it with your arm in order to lean on it. They're just endlessly useful and mainly for straight lines. I use them when I'm addressing envelopes, when I'm writing place cards, when I'm doing anything where I need to keep a straight line. You can buy transparent guides. You could also use a printout guide and you'd still be able to see through it, but the transparent ones are easier to use, You can get them in all sorts of different widths. So, what I like to do if I'm working with the light box we'll link to resources and recommended light boxes for you. Let's take some removable tape and put everything down. So, we have a nice, so won't slide around our work working. 8. Materials, Colors, Pens, and Inks: So, I want to take a moment and just talk a bit about colors because we've been using sumi ink, at least I have, throughout all the demos, but obviously, you're going to want to use lots of different kinds of inks in your projects, maybe in your letter and maybe in anything you're working on. It could be that the color preference is coming from you or it's coming from somebody you're working on the project for, a client or a friend or whomever. So, you might have some structure or some guidelines around what color you need to achieve. That will obviously change your approach. If I'm in charge, I'm going to choose colors using materials that I really like to work with. So, I often choose some of my colors from this line of acrylic inks because I love working with it. It's the Daler-Rowney and we've linked to resources for it. It's pretty easy to find and they have a really cool range of colors and I really like a lot of their colors, and if you want to make a color, you can mix any colors that are within one line. So, you can mix this grey and this blue together. Because they're the same kind of ink, they'll blend well. You can't necessarily grab an ink from another line or another material and mix them together because you'll get weird chemical reactions that just glom up and don't work well. These sometimes I add a little water to thin them, out which makes writing a little bit more smooth, and it flows a little bit better on the nib, it just doesn't get all sort of stuck up, or it doesn't get like sticky on the nib. Another one that's really good for mixing colors is using gouache. I have a couple of examples that I used in recent projects. This was for a fun fluorescent project, but this is a water color actually which you can use. Similarly to gouache, and you just mix these with water. I have a few samples here and just even to show you this is the same color envelope, but I've tried the black ink on it versus the white ink and you get different results. So, it's fine if you have a special color envelope you're working with, you might want to play around with what color inks you're using. This one I really love the white because it just pops a lot more than the black but the black still looks good and that might be what fits the occasion. These are some other samples using the white, you want a nice really opaque white because that'll look really nice and crisp and very legible. Here, I've done some water color beneath. Let it dry and then written in black on top. So, that was just another effect to get from the color. Another whole realm of options in terms of materials is putting down your nib, even though that might sound crazy after we're talking about nibs forever, but using a monoline pen which basically just means that it's the same thickness, the same width all the time that you're writing. Because we've been talking about these thicks and thins. But a regular monoline pen can be really fun and can produce some cool effects. The micron line is one I use all the time and it comes in a lot of different widths and these are samples of monoline calligraphy that still has a lot of great impact. You'll see it's good if you're in a bit of a hurry, maybe you don't have as much time to spend on the work, but it also might open up some different color options that you don't have in your inks. I like it for certain styles. This one's super neat, and just a little bit more sort of formulaic in its structure, and so it makes a lot of sense with the monoline. You might find that gel pens work really well for you in whites are different colors if you're working on a dark paper. Those are really fun to try as well. The other pen I want to suggest that you play with is a brush pen, and those produce some really cool results. So, that has this whole other effect. It really is not monoline because you get thicks and thins and it has the same effect of using a paint brush but it's really easy and fun and these come in a lot of different colors and it's really high-quality. It's India ink that is waterproof. It's really great for a lot of different projects and purposes, fun to address envelopes with those. It might be a bit big to try to write a whole letter but maybe you want to fill the page with tons of huge words and that will look really beautiful too. So, I just love this brush pen. That's how I feel about it. As always the inks just test it on what you're working on and that will be the key to making sure that your project goes well and you're not pulling your hair out in the process. I find having a little water dropper handy for a lot of different inks and materials. Certainly the white that I swear by you have to mix with water in order to get it to the consistency for writing. So, I always scoop a little bit from the jar into my little dinky dip and then add several drops of water. Mix it. See how it's feeling. Is it writing well? Add a little more water if not, or add a little more of the ink so that you feel out and suss it out as you go. If you need to make more, you might use a bigger container or maybe you actually use a larger pot. Also, there's still going to be times when you have ink that you need to use on certain paper and you can't seem to find any ink that doesn't bleed on that paper. It could just be the paper you're using there's just really no hope until you add gum Arabic which can be tricky to work with because the tiniest bit makes a really big difference, but adding one drop to start, and then maybe two, maybe three, testing as you go, this will thicken any ink and will prevent bleeding on the page. So, it's a helpful thing to just have, if you're I'm doing a lot of calligraphy, if you're starting to really offer it to people or you're taking on some projects and you don't really know what materials you'll be faced with, have some of this handy because it could potentially save you. If you add too much, it will be way too thick and you can't work with it at all. So, go slow. One little drop at a time. 9. Choosing the Perfect Style: So, let's say you're faced with a project from somebody else or maybe it's your own project but you're you got to go through the same questions to start even if you are doing it for yourself. And that has to do with basically what's the mood, what's the occasion, what is the context of what we're creating here. Maybe you're working on a letter or invitation or maybe you're just addressing some envelopes, and you want to find out what's the setting, the place or the type of occasion that this letter or envelope or piece calls for, and that will help you to sign on styles that makes sense in that context. So, I have a couple examples just to show you. Specifically first with invites like creating and choosing calligraphy styles that make sense based on where this is happening, what the occasion is, and what the mood is. So, just as contrast, here's a beautiful home wedding that's happening in the backyard, a really nice backyard in Wilmington, North Carolina. So, it has this homey thing going but it's still a very special elegant occasion. So, we went with this nice, very clearly hand done look that has a bit of a casual touch to it but still in these nice greys it feels formal and elegant even though it has the softness of the home wedding. And then the final contrast, this one's in Palm Beach. It weighs 30 pounds or it doesn't but it is so heavy. This is four ply, which means it's basically like four really thick sheets glued together, edge painted. I did all the calligraphy and then each guests name was written in this line right here so it had this ultra personalized treatment which is super luxurious. The script is kind of one of my most formal. There's a lot more flourishes. It feels a lot more classic. It's over-sized. It comes in this big grand envelope. We've got just more of this incredibly thick stock on the reply card. This same thinking applies to any project whether it's your own casual party or you're composing a special note to somebody. You can think about all these different features to decide on colors and styles. Menus are another good way to play with this idea. Maybe you're having friends over for dinner, you want to have this cool dinner party and you're going to make 10 menus for each seat. You might choose something like casual, all lowercase, this has this really hand-done feel to it as well. It still feels super special but it's not really rigid and formal feeling. Whereas, this was for a super elegant wedding. I did a really formal script and I mixed with type and then had these letter pressed. So, you can see that this different mood is created by different styles as well as different colors. This has a more soft natural feel. This style resembles one of the rounder scripts that I was instructing you in earlier and it's this whole theme of salt, it's really just about good [inaudible] food and special meal, it's really about the food and emphasizing the natural source of all of it, so I went with kind of a soft fresh like seaside vibe. So, this is all the different things that I think about and what you might want to talk to your clients about or to your friend or to yourself as you think about what am I doing with this project? What am I doing with this finished piece? What are all the factors that might influence my final decisions? 10. Working with Clients: So, a lot goes into working with clients in the role of calligrapher, and some of it is true to any creative work where you're offering your design and your artistic services to somebody else. There's a couple things that I abide by that helped me in my relationships with people, as well as just through the project process overall. One is not to give them a bajillion options because part of your role is to make some really good key artistic and stylistic decisions and make your best recommendations. I like to let clients choose from maybe two or three suggestions. Maybe I talk to them about what we're doing, and I present three samples of calligraphy that they then choose from but limiting it to a really manageable amount. You don't want to say, ''I write 20 different ways. Which one do you want?" Unless they come to you right off the bat with a very clear picture of what they'd like, it really helps to just narrow the field early on so that you make the decision-making process a little bit easier for them. The other thing is really just to think about timeline and because you're doing something that's physical and manual, there's no real way to rush, or I think any calligrapher has had a job where you worked all night and the all-nighter thing happens to people in all kinds of jobs. But I find that there is this like physical exploration thing that happens, maybe 8-10 straight hours of writing. I really hit a wall and I might hit a wall in a physical way that makes my work start to really suck. I can't keep it going, I can't keep a steady hand, maybe I start to have a little pain, or my back's hurting, or whatever it is. There are certain things like you can push through and just be, "Whatever, I can just run this out." With physical work like calligraphy, I think that for me there can be a limit. So, you just want to make sure that you plan backwards to make sure that you've left the right amount of time for every step of the process without totally killing yourself. It just sucks to be super physically exhausted and keep trying to write. So, what I do with clients is really try to be clear about how much time I'm going to need, and that if I get things from them late, if they send me their mailing lists late, or if I get the envelopes from them that they've picked out, if they send them later than we agreed to, I'm very clear from the beginning that that will affect my ability to commit to delivering on the date we also agreed to because things always come up, and schedules always change and things come late from printers, or you will also need your setup time. I've said a bunch of times, you have to test your inks, you got to try out the paper, make sure you've got a good flow going. The setup takes a little while no matter if it's a tiny job or not. It's getting all your pieces together. So, it just you want to build in that cushion time. If you don't leave yourself any setup time, or if you're really crunched, it could be really stressful. 11. Writing a Letter: So I've got my guide sheet down and now I'm going to take my letter paper. The main thing is that you want to make sure you've placed your paper down so that your guide sheet is straight beneath it, otherwise you're going to have all crooked lines even if they're consistent, they'll be crooked on the page. So I'm matching it up with my edges. There's a few different ways you could make sure you could use a ruler, you could draw your own pencil lines if you don't have a light box and your paper isn't transparent enough. Sometimes a ruling ruler is really helpful for that because you can consistently move it down. It's basically just a range of how time consuming a process do you want. A light box will cut down on a lot of time for projects, but it's not immensely superior a process it's just easier. So I've lined up my page and when you're working, it's really helpful to anticipate how much space you need for the text. Do you have analyst pages that you can just fill? Great. You can just write and continue on and as you need, but if you're really trying to keep it to one page and you want to map out your layout in advance, the best thing to do is to place the text into Word or in design and in a matching document size to your page. Try to anticipate where your line breaks will be, how's this all fitting on the page and your spacing. I'll demonstrate this in a sample document as well. But it's going to really make a big difference so that if you're writing and you're trying to keep this letter to one page, because it's going to be framed or something, you don't want to get to the bottom and realize you run out of room because you didn't plan ahead. It's just such a bummer to put all that time in and be like starting over. So what I do most of the time is I apply twenty six point font to my documents which is about the size that I typically write. Sometimes it's a little larger, I can make it a little smaller too. But I've found that that's like a sweet spot. Even if you're typing Times New Roman that will generally give you the spacing that you will then also have on the page itself. So, mapping it out in advance, then you know, this where I'm doing my line breaks, this is how much space I have and I've planned ahead and I've anticipated how this is all going to play out. For my sample, I'm just going to do a portion of this letter and I know I have enough room on the page. If I don't, I'll continue to a second page and I don't mind that it will be a two pager. So, just take some time right now, figure out what you're writing and if it's something that you're trying to fit into a compact space, I really suggest that you map it out. Maybe you map it out in pencil, that's totally fine you can go back and erase it. But a quick fix is just to place it into Word as long as your file is the same page size as your letter sheet itself, then you'll be able to plan things in advance to save yourself the headache later. So, I've thought of a style in my head that I'm going to use, I'm going to go back to one of my classic scripts. It feels personal. This letter has a lightness to it, like I said it's not too intense but it's also a really important message. This is a letter that they're going to keep forever. I want it to be classy. I don't want it to be super jazzy or overly freely, I want it to be full of heart and elegance. So, I'm going with my classic script. The other thing you want to think about is your margins, if you aren't laying out the document ahead of time, what are some things that I'm going to keep in mind as I'm writing, like basically keeping my left margin intact. So maybe I'll give myself a little pencil guide, I'm going to give myself an inch margin because I think that will look good. I'll do it on both sides. These are classic page layout ideas. The same margins that Microsoft Word gives you when you're plotting out a simple letter template. So I've written my letter, it needs to dry. Thankfully I didn't have any major bloopers along the way but let me tell you it's happened a million times so don't beat yourself up if you're halfway through and then something somewhat catastrophic in the realm of not real catastrophes happens and you have to start over. So I'm going to set this aside to dry but in the meantime, we can address the envelope. 12. Addressing an Envelope: So, your gorgeous letter is drying. We can't wait to see it. We got to put some work into an envelope. Oftentimes, an envelope becomes just as much of a keepsake as the invitation letter, whatever's inside. I see it on people's fridges all the time, they get a beautiful calligraphed envelope, and it's like, "It's our names. It's our home. We're going to keep it, it has beautiful stamps on it." Conveniently enough, I chose one that I could use a light box on for today which is just nice and relaxing. Similarly, we're going to position it so that it's straight on the guide sheet. I'm going to tape it down as well so it stays in place. I really recommend that you take the list, you take the address that you're writing and you type it, or you take it on your list on Word or Excel or something, and place it centered on the page. Now, if I'm going to match this size, I'm basically thinking like,"Okay, this is going to fall about here on the page." You want to think about leaving room for postage at the top, and sometimes it's fun to get a collection of cool old stamps in smaller increments, so that you can have a little collection there at the top. Not adds a lot, it's just fun decoration to the envelope itself. Typically, if you're doing calligraphy on your envelopes, you're putting the recipient on the front and the return address on the back flap, not in the top left corner. So, that just adds to the cleanliness of the presentation and looks better. So, I'm starting around here, ending around here, and then I'll figure out the lines that follow afterwards. But if I tested out really lightly, you can see I started to run out of room. So, it's good I'm testing because if I had just written with ink, I would have ended the line over here and the whole thing would have been off to the right. Since my writing is a little bit bigger than this sample type here, I'm going to start a little bit earlier over. Even here, I'm just mimicking without even barely writing. This spacing feels a little bit better. So, here's my start and endpoints, and then I'll figure out the second line from there. One thing also as an alternative. If you don't have a lightbox but you got an envelope that you want to address with guidelines, making your own little rule card to fit right inside. I drew this myself just using a rolling ruler and a thick black pen that would give a bold enough line. I did little half-inch lines. This, I can then insert blindside out each time I want to address the envelope. This will work better than trying to place your whole envelope on top of a guide sheet like we've been using in our exercise. Just giving myself a little elbow support here. So, I've written my first line. I'm looking at it now. I feel good about it centering. One thing is flourishes can come in handy if you felt like, it almost looks center, it just needs a tiny bit more on one side or the other. You can add a little flourish or more interesting entrance or exit. That is a really common little technique by calligraphers if you need to go back and make it look a little more even. So, now when I look at the second line, I see that the one, it starts out around between the period and the A. So, I'm going to start at the same place, and it ends at the S and Bronson. When you're centering something, it does really help to look at it straight on. Make sure you're still on track. I'm just going to add a flourish down here at the bottom because it seems fun and I have space for it. Same goes, let it dry. I'm imagining the recipient holding this in their hands and being psyched about it. It can stand alone as something artistically and graphically pleasing. That's how you should feel about the finished envelope just as much as the letter itself. 13. More Creative Classes on Skillshare: