How to Advance your Modern Calligraphy Skill! | Nicki Traikos | Skillshare

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How to Advance your Modern Calligraphy Skill!

teacher avatar Nicki Traikos, Letterer, Watercolorist & Instructor

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.

      Welcome to Advance your Modern Calligraphy Skills


    • 2.

      About the nibs, pen and ink


    • 3.

      Learn a new modern calligraphy lower case alphabet


    • 4.

      How to vary your letters and create bounce


    • 5.

      Using Guache & the alphabet


    • 6.

      Oblique pen and watercolor


    • 7.

      Fun project


    • 8.



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About This Class

So you've taken an interest in learning Modern Calligraphy and have done a beginner class, or two?  Now what?!

This advanced modern calligraphy class has been designed to help you grow your modern calligraphy practice, help you develop personality and style with your calligraphy lettering and inspire you to keep exploring calligraphy!   Be inspired with ways to incorporate it into your daily life or add it to your creative skill and grow a potential income from it!

What you can expect to learn in this class;

  • Learn how to join letters to form words
  • Learn how to create bouncy, letters to really grow your personal style
  • Learn how to use guache or acrylic inks on cotton card stock paper
  • Be inspired with how I use Modern Calligraphy in my design work

Use the free tracing sheets to help build your muscle memory and get a better grasp of how to add personality to letters.

Enjoy a simple class project! Write your name, a word or a short quote in your new stylized modern calligraphy letters!

I hope you enjoy this class with me!

Please note:  If you are new to Modern Calligraphy, please watch this class first!  

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Nicki Traikos

Letterer, Watercolorist & Instructor


First of all, welcome to Skillshare! I've been a student of this amazing platform for years and have learned valuable, new skills, and techniques that I use in my current creative business to this day!!

I love all things watercolor & modern calligraphy lettering related.  I work in a variety of mediums such as; watercolor, guache and acrylics, to designing patterns, working on commissions & even create tattoo designs! 

A little fun fact?!

I started my creative home based business,  life i design when I was 40 and haven't looked back!  This creative business of mine, has allowed me to stay at home to raise my kids into the independent teenagers that they are today!!  It's never too late to try, to do, and to... See full profile

Level: Intermediate

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1. Welcome to Advance your Modern Calligraphy Skills: Hello. Welcome to how to advance your modern clicker feast Skill. My name is Nikki, and I'm happy to take you through the advanced portion of a modern clicker fee using a Dependent Inc. Welcome to class. So maybe you've taken my first class, which is intro to modern clipper feet for beginners using a Dependent Inc. And you've enjoyed the process and want to learn how to expand your, um, lettering styling as well was how to join letters to form words. Well, I'm gonna take you through that and a few other things during this class. So the things that you can expect to learn is how to join letters together to form words. How to create more of a bouncy, floaty, stylized modern clicker feed alphabet. And then I'll take you through the process of mixing some wash paint together to make ink and even using some acrylic ink so that you can expand your tools and mediums also be showing you a few fun projects that you can use in your everyday life style. Perhaps you want to even let her a quote. I'll show you some things that will hopefully get you to start practicing a little bit more and using modern calligraphy style lettering and your everyday practice. If you're new to modern calligraphy using a dependent, think I'm not gonna be covering the essential tips that you need to get started using a dependent ing. So go ahead and watch my first class so that you can get all of that knowledge. And with this class, we're really going to get started just with the lettering and being focused on that. Okay, so excited that you're here, Let's get started and advance your modern calligraphy skills. 2. About the nibs, pen and ink: Okay, so I'm gonna show you some alternate tools and Nibs that you may want to check out, and I'll try to incorporate some of the new inks and colors that I'm using as we start to practice. Let's talk about Nibs and pens for a little bit. So this is called an oblique pen. It's actually adjustable, so I can take off the plans on the side here. What it does is it allows me to create modern calligraphy lettering that is more slanted because of the way that the pen is designed. So unlike the straight tip, where it have to slant my arm to create a nice land with my lettering, this does it for me. And I find that the flex of the pen allows a little bit more opening of the time so I can have a thicker, more sort of lush downward stroke with this oblique pen. So this one I just got from my local pen supply store is adjustable so we can take off the flinch, and when I removed it, I can actually insert the nip and it becomes a straight pen, so I really like it. It's called an adjustable oblique pen. It's by speedball. So it might be something that you're interested in trying. And again, I'll demonstrate it when we get to the lettering portion of the class. Okay, So that feel bleak And again with my Nico g neb. I love the Nico G. It's just something that I always sort of reach for. However, what I'll do is I'll show you a few other options again. You don't have to go with what popular necessarily with nips. So I'm gonna show you how the flex of a nip can really change the stroke of your calligraphy lettering pay. So those are some options there? Thes ones, I believe are just browse. I bought a nice little pack of nips Show the little pack. Um, there you go. And again, it sort of just store some of my nips and this little container here. So again, if you're enjoying modern clicker using a depend and nip there, so many options for tools you can really just go. Okay? Okay. So these air wash squash is similar to water color in that you mix it with water. However, it drives more Matt, and it's not as transparent as water color. So in these little tubes here, I actually created some wash thinks that a used for my lettering. You go ahead and open this one for you so you can see that it is very pigmented. I'd have to mix it up before I start using it. But it is similar to water color in that it is you mix it with water. Color with water is sorry, and it creates a really nice ink that you can use with your depend. So when you're mixing your own pigments, I'll show you how to do that in the next video. But you want to make sure that the ink orthe e medium that you're using is fluid enough to flow through your nip. Okay, so keep that in mind and again I'll show you how to mix your own. Thanks these air to other things that I like to use. So what I do is I just have these little glass jars and pour the men so that it's easy for me to dip into. This is a doctor, pH Martin's radiant, concentrated watercolor. I love this actually achieved paint with as well. So what? I'm doing florals and foliage and it's just highly pigmented. You can add some water to it. The colors are vibrant. It's actually really beautiful watercolor to work with again Work spoke with your net and dip n okay. And this one is just a liquid. Techs uhm acrylic ink. So if you look for any links that are acrylic base, you can still mixed them with water. They are a bit more opaque and waterproof. Okay, so keep in mind wash and water color. If you get any bit of water on your paper, it will bleed. Okay, So again, don't forget that you only need your work. So here is my coffee here. I'll make sure that I turned to the practice sheets when you stop using them. And for today I changed the paper that I'm using. So I picked up this pad of tracing paper. So it's called a red marker paper and it is translucent. So the papers Very fine. You can sort of see translucence that is, let me turn to you the workbooks. So again you can see that you can trace over. And I like that there's a tiny bit of texture within the paper. as well. Still be using this one for workshop as well as some washi tape. Again, make sure you take your paper down so you don't have to worry too much when you're lettering, especially when you're practicing. Okay, so those are your tools for today and gather whatever you have. Handy work with me and we'll start in the next video. 3. Learn a new modern calligraphy lower case alphabet: Okay, So here is the new lower case. A flip it that I created for you for this class. Think what I'll do is maybe just put a piece of washing take down there. So what I want you to notice with this al alphabet versus the 1st 1 that I created for you in the beginner class is that the letters are a little bit more expressive. So, um, they're a little bit more stylized. You could see the under turn their of the G, the upper swell of the h. You want your letters to be not as perfect in terms of being aligned with one another. You want each letter toe, have its own personality. Okay. Okay. So I'm gonna take you through the alphabet that I created for you and talk you through a few of the letters with the A. You just want Teoh. Maybe creates a letter that's a bit on the slant and the B you can have a little bit more fun with. So that upper swell can be really nice and expressive and then have fun. Was that lower ball? Okay, the letter c Well, there isn't too too much. I do with the letter C other than maybe make the tail a little bit longer. Your letter D again, as in the B, create a nice big upper swell there and even a more expressive, too. With your letter E. Again, you can play around with, um, the slope of the as well as the tail. If you can have a lot of fun with, I'll show you just the version that I created. Or if you wanted to create a nice, big, full upper swell as well as a tiny, um, less proportionate lower school, which makes it interesting again when your style izing you're literate, play around with the proportions, make them really exaggerated, because that's when water and calligraphy becomes more fun and stylized. For H can really have fun with that. So when we think about lettering, words, how we join the letters together is really the tail. So once we start connecting letters in the next video, you'll have a better idea of how that goes. But you want to think about really exaggerating your tails as you're practicing the self of it. Nice came a 1,000,000,000. Change that tail a little bit, so you can get an idea of how to play. There's no better Oh, with the m, I love making the humps of the M different. Perhaps he changed the size, making this one a little bit bigger, that one smaller, totally up to you and just quickly going through this alphabet for you. Peace also. Thanks. Fun one that you can create in one stroke. So I don't lift my pen toe letter the letter P So now that you are becoming more advanced, you'll be able to make your own decisions as your lettering. As to when you're lifting the pen. When you're creating that continuous stroke as they are here, I'm gonna be Hey and the S be a little bit more expressive on the tee as well. You can even cross your cheese and across that goes opposite Do you can do to too much with . But I find the way that we cross The T can vary, so there's W as you. I did this in the last platitudes. That's actually a U not a w. So here is you. It's not funny. You'll find that as your lettering words you make spelling mistakes like you won't believe ? Because what you're doing is thinking about how those letters connect with one another and you'll have some favorite connectors. So you're not even gonna think about how the world should be spelt. Okay, so here is the letter. Why? As well as people Better. Okay, so just again quickly to go through the alphabet that I provided you with. Go ahead and make sure you warm up before you start lettering. I didn't show you here because I know that you are advanced, but when you warm up, it allows you to create either even smoother strokes and again bills that muscle memory. Go ahead and practice your lower case alphabet once and in the next video, I'm gonna show you how to vary some letters. So some of my favorite letters to create some personality and character with will be up next 4. How to vary your letters and create bounce: Hopefully, you've practiced this lower case alphabet a few times. What I'm gonna do is just keep it to the side so I can use it for reference as I show you how to vary your letters a little bit more again to make your letters more modern and, um, stylized looking. Okay. And what I'll do is I'll start joining the letters juice. You can see how that happens, so let's just do a B C. First I start with the letter a create again more of a slanted version. I am go right into the B, make that ball a little bit smaller and the sea again is a different size from the A. So with modern clicker feet, you don't want your letters to follow the rules. When we're looking at our baseline in our waistlines, you want them to flow in balance so that they become more stylized with feeling and again more water gets sick of that word After this glass, Um, let's go ahead and do d e and f elbow through the alphabet. Maybe so. A nice expressive upper swell. Maybe a smaller A. That's a bit lower. Gonna stop and make sure that I have enough ink to load up that f and then creating that again. It's not sitting on a waistline or baseline. There's my lines. Basing. The reason why I don't like to work with Lions is because I feel like they are restrictive . Okay, So if you feel like you need to work with mines, feel free. Go ahead. And in the brickwork with that cottage with created a line sheet, you can put it underneath your tracing paper and use that as a basis. But what I don't want you to do is follow the lion, so I'll show you what I mean. Here, go ahead and do G. H and I. So I'm gonna start on the line, but then letter my G a little bit higher. So it's not sitting on that baseline there. Really expressive. Um, lower. Swell. I'm going right into the H there. Okay, so I didn't even stop. I don't need to reload, but I'm going to, um and I did stop at that waistline there, but creating a little bit more bounces slow with my eye. Okay, So if you do need lines for reference, what I want you to do is challenge yourself to work outside of those boundaries. Okay, Don't be constricted. Because then your calligraphy lettering won't look as stylized and interesting. So that's going to gey J K. And out. Yes, it will work down here. The lines are gonna mess me up, Try to go ahead around. So there are some letters when we get into the joining letters will show you that a little bit more there some letters that just naturally flow into the other. So that's the jail. Go ahead and drop the I. And then that's the upper swell of the cave on. The chaos change a little bit from the one that a case you. But again, I can create the swell of the l just by attaching it. What? I'm part of that Kate there. That's Jake. Can now. Did you, um so for the m, you can create something that is the little bitch again, very off base so that it looks interesting. I didn't attach it to the end, but I want to show you different varieties of the, um Okay. So see how a change that letter just based on the first hump versus the first type of that m it completely changed the feel of it. So that's how you can play around with letters. So when you're working on us, just a specific letter, which is what I recommend you do go ahead and practice that letter a few times and see how you can change it. And every time you change the way that you better that specific letter, it will look different and it'll create a different feel. Let's go back to joining the letter M, don't you? And that's the beginning part of my end. I'm gonna get rid of these lives because I feel like there, making you follow them a little too much. Remove those lines and it's still bouncy and flowing because of these tales here. Okay, So if I were to create the same and that you, um, and make it look a little less bouncy and and so because it had a very those tales, it doesn't look a bouncy and flowy as it does here. So there you go. That's what creates that bounce. Okay, so that's well, where is here? I didn't create that. So it's not as expressive and as flowing. Now we're onto P. Q and R. Switzer. My, he and I'm going to create a tail so that sits a little bit higher. So again, play with my Q and R spacing, so I don't worry about my letters being all on the same angle. You can see that my P is sort of up and down. My cue is to the side, and my art is a little bit more up and down as well. So this way, whereas my cue sort of went on an angle. So again, try to push yourself out of your comfort zone and make your letters a little bit more varied in terms of even how they sit on the page, whether they're up and down or if they're on a slant. Let's move on to the letter S t and you. So there's my s. Here's my cheat. Always go back and cross your cheese dot your I's at the very end and then with your tea because I can't really do much this. What I can do is bring in a really prominent cross S t and you. Now we're looking at a fee so that little extra tail is how you join letters like the letter B on the letter e gets joined like that. You have to create sort of a higher tail. And then you could go in and put in your w again, creating that tail. And then I'll go any my ex this way, working a little bit too quickly. So if you're running out of ink in your pens, not connecting, maybe you're working a little bit too quick. Remember to drop your pen as well that you write with the underside of the next again, back to basics from our first class. So in last two letters are Y in X good to go ahead and create really nice express or sorry , Y and Z a nice, expressive under swell and then finish it off with C just like that. So what would you maybe is right the entire alphabet so that you can see how that looks joined together, and we can go from there 5. Using Guache & the alphabet: So for this video, I thought I would change my tools for you. This is Mike Wash mixed inks that I've created so again, when working with squash, you want to make sure that you let me grab one of my wash tubes here and my next trait watercolor, but have created. So what you want to do is go ahead and squeeze out a little bit of that quash you can see in a tube. It is very similar to two off water colors. And then you want to add a little bit of water to it until you get a liquidy flowy medium like you see in these containers here, okay? And that allows the wash to run through the new so that you can create some lettering with your quash inks. Okay, so what color shades looks like It does need to be mixed up asleep. See how that works. And the nip is one of the new nips that I have from that container that I showed you. Maybe don't use your net to mix the wash got, but I just needed to give us a little bit of a stir. Okay, so here we go. So again, I'm just going to show you how to join the alphabet together and see the flecks of this new allows me to create a nice, thick downward stroke, but an even thinner upward stroke. Do you have to watch on the apurate strokes with this news? Look at that flex initial. You here. How nice and thick I can get with that name. Pace of play around with nips. They're not too expensive. I find that they range from a couple of dollars. But can I offer you some really interesting fine work? Fill in probably should have a bit of water to this slash mixture. So see, I created a nice big upper swell and a smaller lower swell. And what I'm doing is really lettering each letter and then creating a tail so that I can cover it with my downward stroke. H i j. You're gonna find you'll do that to start working with the alphabet this way to make sure that it don't skip letter que moved down here. Uh, just happy going right into. I just created a little low. Sometimes I go really big with my own with do something a little bit different. I'm not sure I love that, but it's just practice and warm up, so I don't have to worry about it too much. There's a queue, and if you are really big, a short stem on the are. Yes, I tend to not change up. My ass is too much when a connecting flow so I can see that my ventures filled. But it's not flowing. It might need a bit of water. Let me show you how to crack that. Okay, So back when I was a makeup artist used to mix my own airbrush foundations and contours. Eso this. I just have a water dropper, and I'm dropping just a little bit of water into the ink. So if you're finding that you're ink isn't flowing, it may mean that it's just a bit too thick to get through the name so very carefully. I'm just mixing that quash and that See if that's helped you go you. So again, if you need to create a little bit more liquidity flu to your thanks, any mediums just add a few drops of water. So that's going great. Really nice express cross on her chief Here we go us to you. Fee to thank you. X, the tail. Why and then going right in touristy. I'm going back to cross my ex. Okay, So, again, what makes this alphabet modern is the bounce, the flow and the inconsistencies. Okay, so you don't want things to be perfect. The inconsistencies of that upper swell and in comparison to a smaller, um, under turn, as in the f there, you want to make sure that all of your lines are Slowey and bouncy. So that again you create that modern click Murphy style lettering. 6. Oblique pen and watercolor: Okay, So what I want to show you is working with the oblique pen. Um, and how you can create a really nice lamp with your lettering. I thought I would work on the same sheet so that you can see again how I'm going to vary my alphabet case a go ahead dipping. So when I realized that working with nobly pen it's a bit wider than with a straight pen. So some of the containers will be harder to get your nip into so that you can think them. So this I should show you which one advising is Thea Doctor Ph Martin's radiant concentrated watercolor. So that's what we're working with next. So just naturally, I feel like I want to create a little bit more of a slanted coming. Not gonna go ahead and fill that in, You know, you can easily, maybe it will go ahead a little about me. Okay, so here's our e, uh, even changing that tail a slight bit. I'll give you some variation with G. So I crossed them on purpose. So as you start lettering words, you can see what looks good on what you like in terms of crossing letters and how they connect to one another. So I really created more of a less rounded joint there for the age and then even up from the eye, you can see I did a low tail. Whereas here I went high and instead of connecting my J so that sort of connecting my J so that the downward stroke covers that tail actually started my J where the tail is there place. If you can see that variation, I feel like I am getting a little bit bigger than what I started, but switched lines here a little bit. So there is a K. There's no so, yes, you have to region often, depending on the medium and how thick it is. See what kind of them did I create there? So let's do a small so a large one and we'll do the same. The end nice and large. So again, I feel like I'm getting much bigger. Yes, with a small P. Q. Let's go ahead and cross these here, So when you cross letters at different points, it actually connects your words when we start working on words. Um, maybe on a quote, if you're working on. Go ahead and try to cross the letters cause again it connects them and it creates a little bit of interest. It was a different s there for you and it decided to do a shorter tea and again more of an angular versus the rounded, um, connection that we have there. This one is more angular pay so that connect to my feet, you be W's next. So instead of having a long under turn there, I'll do a short one and create a long one here. Taste. Let me go ahead and cross this cheap, you know? What better that IHS We'll go next as t o I did it. W I always do that. That's so funny. So let's go back and fix that. So as to you, I should have instead of you. Oh, my gosh. See, that happens Talking and lettering Not always easy thing. Let's do that whole life. Get us t you great a higher then my talk with you can see him running out of think my dentist nearly empty should across that you may be able to you just a small pecs. Exaggerate that. Why? Maybe my eyes even even connect. So that's using an oblique pen again. I find that I can create more of an angled style alphabet compared to one that's a bit more rounded, depending on which pen and nip that I use. And you can see again how thick downward strokes of the Nico G compared to the thick downward strokes of the nip that I used last. You compare them action. So candy in the last video. So here is the thick downward stroke. Come on, think downward stroke of this snip. See how nice and think I could get and then no pressure at all compared to they are weak, Koji, that's pretty much as thick as I go with this one. Those are fine chips. So again, play around with different Dempsey. You can decide what it is that you like to work best with. And then you may have some projects where you want Ah, finer lettering style or some projects where you need a little bit more bold statement. Look 7. Fun project: So what I thought I would show you for this. Part of the class is using a darker card stock. This is Liquid Tex Inc again and titanium white. I've got that mixed in a little vintage jar here on card stop. So thinking about how to use liger feet in your everyday practice, perhaps you wanted to make some name cards If you're entertaining and wanted to write of someone's name. That's, um think of a name of what we do. Emma leaks. I think that would be interesting. So again, just using my knee. Koji, Maybe what I'll do is I like to always use lower case letters. It's just me. So I'm taking my time. I'm not using any lines. I just wanted to be fun and flowy. Do not think about it being perfect. One reason why I love modern calligraphy so you can see I just took my time. The E connects directly into that first downward stroke of the M, and then I can lift my pen and connect the M to the I. That's what that would look like. You know, you another one. I do, John So again, taking my time when I'm connecting my letters. There's a nice, big expressive J No, I have to connect that gentle words. Stroke of Theo. I'm gonna go right into the H in the out there. Gives me an opportunity to reload with that overturned of the H. And I know that the end is gonna look very similar to the age because consists of a downward stroke on an overturned. So what I did was I create an expressive tail there of my age and then go ahead and I created a bit of a smaller overturned on my and there and then dot the I. John, Let's go ahead and just want more go ahead and letter than men to remember. Your downward stroke should be nice and thick. Awkward, stroke thin. Create a little bit of interest. Salmon. It's, um, stupidity, maybe potatoes all right into It's where you Here we have a spring. We go. So so you just really simple pretty. I didn't put any lines down. You can if you want to using a pencil. But maybe Emily and John are coming over, and we're gonna have just a really simple, yummy meal 8. Closing: we've had some great practice and hopefully you've learned a lot. What I want to do is talk to you a little bit about how I use modern clicker feet in my business. So I do create designs that I upload to sites like Society six and red bubble in case defy and earn a residual income from them. I do create local designs, tattoo art, Um, and as well as I use a lot of my lettering skills in my daily social media posts and things like that. So I just want to inspire you to maybe start using your hand lettering a little bit more. If you're anything like me, I totally rely on my technology. Can't live without it, but I just I have this sense where I need to connect with a pen and paper daily, if possible. So again, here's some ideas that you can maybe used to incorporate into your everyday life style or maybe into your own creative businesses. Well, so I hope that these projects will inspire you. I hope that this class is taught you a lot about modern clicker fee creating a bouncy flowing alphabet. Had a joint letters together and then had incorporated into your everyday practice. If you've like this class, please give it a thumbs up. It helps inspire me and motivate me so I can get on to the next class so I can share some more of my tools and tricks and tips with you, Um, for your project, I'd love to see, even if it's just a word. Maybe something that you've posted for your instagram feet. Maybe it's just a name. Some name tags for an upcoming dinner that you have. I'd love to see how you've now incorporated your advanced skills into your everyday practice. Okay, so go ahead and letter your name. A power word, maybe, Maybe a quote and uploaded to the project gallery. Okay. Thank you again. I hope you enjoy this class, and we'll see you again soon. Just to give you a little sneak peek. I think we're gonna work with watercolor and brush lettering. Okay. Thank you again