Introduction to Modern Script Calligraphy | Bryn Chernoff | Skillshare

Playback Speed

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

Introduction to Modern Script Calligraphy

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.

      Warm Up


    • 3.



    • 4.

      Goals and Methods


    • 5.

      Calligraphy Tools


    • 6.



    • 7.

      Using a Nib


    • 8.

      Using a Nib (Part 2)


    • 9.



    • 10.



    • 11.

      Chiseled Nib


    • 12.

      How to Clean a Nib


    • 13.

      Constructing Letterforms


    • 14.

      How to Write Script


    • 15.

      Practicing Script


    • 16.

      Class Project


    • 17.

      The Finished Piece


    • 18.

      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

Curious about calligraphy? Join Paperfinger founder Bryn Chernoff for a warm and inviting introductory class on the tools, techniques, and best practices to transform your handwriting into beautiful calligraphy script!

Always welcoming and encouraging, Bryn covers all the details aspiring calligraphers need to get started. From materials and setting up a workspace to basic shapes, line widths, movement, and connecting individual letters, this class is a comprehensive and thoroughly enjoyable guide.

Plus, with 7 Skillshare-exclusive practice pages, a guide for straight lines, and countless inspiration photos, there’s no clearer introduction to the world of nibs, ink, and beautiful writing.

By the end, you'll write a meaningful name, quotation, or passage in a simple calligraphy script. This enjoyable project is a perfect way to spend time with words you love, grow your calligraphy skills, and practice making artistic decisions in pursuit of beautiful handwriting.


Class Outline

  • Introduction. Writing in calligraphy script is a timeless art that imbues even the simplest writing with an air of sophistication. This course by celebrated calligrapher Bryn Chernoff can help you learn calligraphy at your own pace and create beautiful works of typographic art with little more than ink and paper. She will also provide you with links to download handy worksheets that can help you develop your style and technique.
  • Warm Up. Dive right in on scraps of paper with a few exercises designed to help you relax, as well as teach you about how to approach lettering art. You’ll learn how to express emotions, not just through the words themselves, but also through the shape those words take. Different lettering styles can evoke different reactions in the reader, such as “whimsical,” “rustic,” or “shy,” and Bryn demonstrates her own techniques for finding the right form for your project.
  • Welcome! Bryn talks a little bit about her background, her love of calligraphy, and why she chose to pursue this career after studying computer science.
  • Goals and Methods. The world of typography is as varied as the printed word itself, but in calligraphic terms, there are two main approaches: modern and traditional. Bryn gives a brief history of both and their differences so that you can decide on which style suits you best.
  • Calligraphy Tools. In her “essentials kit,” Bryn demonstrates and describes the basic tools and equipment that you need to get started. Here she shows you the two main nib types as well as how to use them to create different strokes. She also covers ink and paper types as well as a few tips on how to use these tools.
  • Workspace. A clean, uncluttered workspace is essential, but there are other aspects to consider, as well. Bryn goes over the need for “vertical space” at your desk and demonstrates how angling your body can affect your calligraphy.
  • Using a Nib. Before you begin, you will need to know how to properly load your nib with ink while avoiding messes. After a few tips, Bryn demonstrates how to make straight lines so you can see how the nib reacts to changes in pressure and direction.
  • Using a Nib (Part 2). Now you will begin practicing loops, which require skill and a delicate touch to execute properly.
  • Troubleshooting. If you’re having problems, Bryn demonstrates a few techniques for common issues suffered by many beginning calligraphy students. She’ll show you how to avoid scraping or tearing the paper, how to address the ink not flowing, and how to achieve proper line thickness. Such frustrations are quite easy to fix once you know how.
  • Shapes. Calligraphic letters are constructed of shapes, and with a new worksheet, you will begin working towards a consistent letter form to keep your typographic art clean and beautiful.
  • Chiseled Nib. Switching from the pointed nib to a chiseled nib requires a few adjustments, but the resulting letters have a more structured feel. Bryn demonstrates how to create the “two stroke” O letter, as well as some other considerations to keep in mind when using the chiseled nib.
  • How to Clean a Nib. Even if you only pause for a few minutes, keeping your nib in working order requires just a bit of care. Bryn demonstrates how to clean and dry your nib so that it maintains consistency as you practice.
  • Constructing Letterforms. On another worksheet, you will practice the most useful shapes that apply to most letterforms. This will help your calligraphy look and flow better, no matter what words or letters are used.
  • How to Write Script. Bryn gives some insight on developing your own distinct style of calligraphy. She also demonstrates her own classic script to help get you started.
  • Practicing Script. Writing a pangram (a sentence in which every letter of the alphabet is used) is one of the best ways to practice writing in script, and Bryn gives prompts so that you can dive into your own practicing.
  • Class Project. Putting all of the preceding lessons into practice, you will create a lovely keepsake to frame or give to friends. Choose whether you want to write a quote or song lyric and Bryn’s teaching will help your project come out beautifully.
  • The Finished Piece. Calligraphy art is treasured for its personal, handmade touch. Bryn shows you her final project and goes over a few stylistic differences she made while creating the same piece that give them each a unique finish.  

Curious about calligraphy? Be sure to explore the other classes in this series!



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

Level: Beginner

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. Introduction: Hi, I'm Bryn Chernoff of paper finger calligraphy and it is a calligraphy and hand-drawn design studio. You're going to learn about the key tools and instruments of calligraphy, how to use them, and some practice around manipulating them and making them work. I will present to you one of my styles, a classic paper finger script that's really useful and applicable in a lot of contexts, and you'll learn how to write that particular style. Then we'll move into composing something of your own, writing a passage, or a poem, or making a piece with your name. Anything you want that you can then have as a keep sake from the class and share with us online as well and I'm really all about making it an enjoyable fun process. So I hope that that's how it feels. 2. Warm Up: So, I want to start off just getting you into it right from the get-go, and just grab any old pen, pencil, whatever you have handy. This is super low stress like the rest of the class will be, but just even like a scrap of printer paper, it doesn't matter. So, just take something and I just want you to start writing because I like to start all my classes with just some writing right away, get you into it, and warmed up and relaxed. You're going to write "Welcome to Calligraphy" six different ways. Don't spend much time on this, couple of minutes tops. I'm going to read these adjectives to you and you're going to write "Welcome to Calligraphy" in these six different ways. Whatever that means to you, whatever. So, the first one, whimsical. Write "Welcome to Calligraphy" whimsically however that looks in your mind. So, take a minute, write that out. Next, you're going to write elegantly. So, write "Welcome to Calligraphy" in an elegant style. Then, relaxed, rustic, shy, and modern. So, you've got these six different ways of writing "Welcome to Calligraphy". I just want you to write them once on the page, don't think too hard about it, just start playing with it and see how different these styles might look to you, how can you express these different moods. Okay. Once you've written these six phrases, I want you to just take a look, step back, see what choices did I make that made these different moods apparent. So, I did the exercise too and I wanted to tell you about why I made the choices I did and see maybe we made similar choices, maybe we made totally different choices. The idea of doing this is really just to get you thinking about when you're writing, what can you communicate through the way that you shape your letters or the way you draw your lines. I just want you to start realizing that there's so many different options for how a mood and an aesthetic is created with just lettering. It's relevant because it ties into everything that we're going to be doing in this class and talking about in calligraphy, but it really applies in my work life every day because I have clients come to me and they're saying, "I'm having this really romantic, rustic but pretty urban." Like, they're throwing all these different adjectives at me and they're asking for a style that would fit with it or would speak to the kind of mood that they're creating. So, this exercise is actually a really legitimate for the kind of work that I find myself doing a lot. Something that comes to mind off the bat with whimsy is like this bouncing, dancing letters, and so that's what I went with with this one, and kind of loopy and fun and it doesn't feel very stiff. They kind of dance up and down, there's these crazy loops, the shapes of the letters are very elegant. I wanted it to be really scripty. I did these nicer flourishes here on the G and just tried to convey some kind of elegance with the script, and it's a little bit more orderly. Those were things that came to mind for this sample. Next, we have relaxed. This one I wanted it to just feel like handwriting. It's like you can tell somebody just quickly sat down. It was written nicely, but it has this sort of relaxed feel about it, nothing too stuffy, nothing too laborious. So, that's what went into mind. One of the coolest things about calligraphy is that you can tell that a person was behind it. So, when you get a letter in the mail, when you get an invitation that's been printed with calligraphy on it. You're brought to the process somehow. You can picture that there was somebody behind it sitting and writing. You can tell it didn't just get generated by a computer or it has that personal feel, and sometimes that comes through in inconsistencies or mistakes and that's what makes it appealing, that's what draws you in. You feel like there's a human behind it, there's a real personal hand at work. So, next, we have rustic. This one is tricky. I don't know, I was thinking of wood and sort of nobby branches. So, I went with that. Maybe this could be like it could be carved into something. You could imagine that it has this unsteady but neat touch. This is literally what's going on in my mind. I would love to know what was going on in your mind for the different exercises. Shy, simply, I just made it small and spacious. It seems quiet and private, but it's still sweet. Lastly, modern. This one I just played with the spacing. I went with all caps, it just felt kind of bold, and simple and clean. There's really no strict rules applied in terms of this shape and the size of the letters, the width of the letters themselves. So, you can see there's a big mix of things. I'm sure you got a good mix of stuff out of your exercise. I hope it just got you warmed up and excited to really dive in. Next, we'll be able to use real calligraphy tools, which will open up a whole new world of possibilities. 3. Welcome!: So, welcome to the first class, Paperfinger Calligraphy on Skillshare. I'm really happy to be here to teach you today. I am a calligrapher owner of Paperfinger, a small studio based in Brooklyn, for the last five years. I really came to calligraphy just out of pure love for writing. I was the kid who wanted to fill out forms, whatever they were, from Parade Magazine to filling out my sister's college applications. It's just because I loved writing by hand. So, I was just always interested and enjoyed writing so much, like writing different ways and coming up with different ideas and writing as neatly, or as beautifully, or as finally as possible. So, that was just always true, and I never really took it seriously. I was like, "Well, I should make a profession out of this." I went a totally different track and was in Computer Science and Technology, out of college, took a traditional job route. So, behind the scenes or along the sidelines of my career, I was doing this kind of work just for myself, purely for fun, for gifts or projects for myself, and just thought it was this thing that was my little hobby to enjoy in the evenings or weekends. I think about a turning point for myself and launching a career as a real calligrapher. In my late 20s, I made some invitations that I sent out as a birthday party invitation for my own birthday to all my friends. These are them, actually the originals that have. They're on little dinner napkins. It was just one of those projects I like, I pulled myself into. Here I've a good demanding job, was working long hours in a nonprofit, but it was getting so much pleasure and just taking so much joy from making this project. My friends got it, and they loved it. It coincided with that time when everyone in your life gets married and there was eight weddings that summer. They all asked me, ''Bran, we didn't know that you did this. Would you do calligraphy for our weddings?'' I spent a summer doing all this calligraphy work for friends just for free, for total fun. I was so thrilled that anyone wanted to ask me to write stuff that I was just like, I said yes to it all, would do it at night at the end of a long workday, so happily, so happily that I really took notice. At the end of that summer, I had done all this great work and was so excited about the feedback that I realized I should really pay attention to what was happening. Here was something I love doing for free in a busy work life, and that this had potential to be something I can get paid for. The second piece that was so exciting to realize was, I was doing what I was calling modern calligraphy. I didn't take classes. I actually really purposefully didn't take classes. I wanted to just express writing and calligraphy in the ways that made sense to me and captured the aesthetic I was going for, and it felt like this little market research tasks to do it for all these different friends because they were so excited about it and they liked it, they really were pleased to find something that didn't look like one your old-school grandmother calligraphy. So, I soon after, built a portfolio, mostly of made-up work. I literally just created tons and tons of work that I just wished I was doing. I created all the work that I wished I was getting hired for, shot it, made a portfolio website and pretty soon, got the site out there and really started to get lots of work in and grew the business from there. I now do for invitation suites. I manage the printing process. I make products, stamps, wrapping paper, gift cards, anything. I've written on chalkboards and surfboards. I've written on wood and every kind of paper you can imagine, and it's really been so fun to just see where it all goes. I continue to love it, which is the key. 4. Goals and Methods: My story reveals a bit of this, but basically, the approach that I bring to my calligraphy is directly related to my approach to teaching it. It's really about understanding how to use the tools. The tools are very traditional instruments, nibs and bottles of ink, and different kinds of papers. The same kinds of tools you might use in a traditional calligraphy class. But, sort of what happens from there is what's different. The way I look at it is if you learn to use the tools, you understand how to manipulate them, and then you think about some of the key concepts that help you produce beautiful writing. Calligraphy, really that's what it means. It comes from the Greek Kallos Beauty and Graphein or something close to that for writing, and so, it's beautiful writing. That's really what it boils down to. That's kind of my bottom line. If you think it looks beautiful and it somehow you like the way it looks like, then you're doing calligraphy. It doesn't mean that you need to learn particular hands or particular scripts to say you're an official calligrapher. The other thing you might notice about my technique with modern calligraphy versus traditional calligraphy, is also a lot of traditional calligraphy centers around stroke by stroke creating a letter, and you're really kind of drawing this letter form. But, I do a lot more of continuous writing. So, you're picking up your pen and you're putting it down, but it's a little bit more free flowing, which I just enjoy. I find, I produce better work that way. I like the process. It feels a little less laborious to me. So, that's one thing you might notice as a contrast in case you studied or in the future, if you study more traditional calligraphy. The other thing to just keep in mind is we're not used to writing by hand anymore. I mean, it's very different than it was, even maybe when I was in elementary school, learning calligraphy or penmanship, that they don't even really teach cursive anymore in schools. So, we're out of practice. Bottom line, we're just out of practice. So, you might feel really rusty, or you might sort of look at handwriting as a chore, or you might feel like, "Oh, it's going to hurt my arm so much." Actually, one thing is for sure, you're just going to improve the more you do it. It's so practice based. Like, literally, my handwriting and my calligraphy skills have changed tremendously over the last five years of working full-time on it. But, even within a single day, like when I start writing in the morning, I feel a little bit rusty. Then by the afternoon, my work is like 10 times better. So, even if I'm working on an envelope job for a client, it's the wedding, she sent me a wedding list of all of her dearest family and friends. A lot of people put their closest relatives at the top, like parents of the bride and groom, and like the key people are at the top. Often, I'll start at the bottom of a list because I know that my work within that one day gets so much better that I want to do the the most important people last, because I'll be warmed up. It's literally a muscular thing. So, just relax into knowing that, that you're just going to improve, you're going to get more comfortable. Just keep practicing. 5. Calligraphy Tools: I have started you off with the essential kit that you need in order to get started. And this could serve you for a really long time of practice. There's not that much to it. The key components are, first and foremost, nibs. And nibs come in a million different varieties. There's two main categories that you can separate them by and that's pointed and chiseled, also known as broad edge. And they're very obviously different looking. One has a pointed, it comes to a sharp point and the other has a flat edge. So, they achieve very different results. We're going to focus a lot with the pointed nib since that's what I do most of my work in and that's what most modern calligraphy is done with. But there's lots of fun things you can do with the chiseled nib as well. We'll get into that later. Then, within these two categories, there's a million varieties as well. And you might find that you want to try a bunch of different nibs out. I've started you off with one that's really popular with tried and true calligraphers, who're working on stuff every day. To beginners, it's a really great nib for all-purpose work. I use it all the time. So, the Nikko G is your starter. But you'll notice that if you do get yourself a variety of nibs to try from the beginning, one of the main differences you'll notice is the flexibility. So, what makes a pointed nib special is that it splits in down the center when you apply pressure. Some nibs are really flexible, so they'll split really wide with just a little bit of pressure. Some are super rigid and they stay close together no matter how much pressure you apply. So that's one key difference. There's also different sort of degrees of sharpness on the point. So, in terms of getting a very fine line or getting a thicker line or maybe a softer rounded line, those are different things that you might start to notice when you experiment. Overall, I think nibs are really personal preference. So, every calligrapher that you meet probably has their favorite, and they buy them by the 50 or the 100 because you do go through them. They don't last forever. It depends how much you're using them, what kind of surface you're working on in terms of how long they last, but just try a few out. If this first one isn't like your dream nib, they're not expensive, maybe it's like $2 to $3 per nib. So, you can get a few different ones, test them out, see which ones are working for you. I go through phases. Like, for six months I might be in love with this one nib I found on eBay and I try to find it on antique shops online or then I'm back at the Nikko G again. So it's really just a personal preference. So the basic thing about how a nib works, you place it into a penholder. I use, they're are the cheapest penholders out there but they're my favorite. So, you can use any kind that feels comfortable to you. What happens with the nib is once you've placed it in so that you can write with it, you dip it into ink, and right down in the center, you'll see there's a hole. The actual specifics of a nib, they'll look a little bit different, nib to nib, but it has a reservoir down the center line here and it holds ink. It doesn't hold endless amounts of ink, but it holds enough to write a good line of calligraphy. So, this is what makes it very different from a pen that you're used to, which just write endlessly. With a nib, you do have to dip it in repeatedly. But they work really well, they hold it on, they don't drip it off, sort of wildly and loosely all over the page. Every supply that I'm recommending is what I use every day. So I'm just speaking from my experience. But similarly with ink, you might find a personal preference for a different kind. Sumi ink is my favorite because it flows really well, it's easy to use, works on a lot of different papers, easy to clean, but it's also archival and it leaves a nice little texture once the ink dries, which also dries super quick. So, this is what I use most of the time, especially when I'm writing work that I'm going to scan, I just need a nice, clean, black line. But every project calls for a different kind of ink. So, as you practice more, you'll want to try out some different inks. They're made up of different materials, from walnut ink to water-based ink to the acrylics, as I mentioned. A lot of calligraphers also use gouache, which can be mixed with water to create a nice ink as well, and that gives you a lot of variety with color options to. So when you're mixing colors, you can get to a really specific hue using the gouache. Some people swear by gouache. I find it can be a little bit hard to work with. But that's just me. So, it's really going to be fun for you to try out a different ink for different project. It has a lot to do with the kind of paper or surface you're working on, because some inks take really well to one paper and to another paper they may bleed all over it, and you don't like what you're going to get from it. So that is a big thing. I might get a client who says, "Oh we need Navy ink on these envelopes". I'm not going to know for sure which Navy ink is going to work best until I have the paper in front of me, and I can really test it out. So, back to the Sumi. The reason I use it is that, it works for me like 90% of the time. But there are times when you have ink that bleeds and there's little tricks so we'll get to about how to make it work for your different services. Related to ink, I also like to keep water on the table. This is just a handy dropper because some things are really thick, and you want to water them down a little bit to get them to flow and to write more easily. Some sort of glob onto the nib. You find like it's not coming off easily. Water can sometimes really just a couple of drops makes a difference. Also, I've included these- they're called Dinky Dips, which like just feels kind of like a dorky name. But they're awesome. I've included this in your kit because I find them so indispensable. They're really handy when you're on the go, but also just at your desk. Adding ink to one of these makes for a really easy and neat work area. Because for one, you can't knock these over. If you haven't opened big bottle, it's really easy to just, as you're moving around on the desk, to knock over and spill on everything. These don't knock over because they fit nicely in, but also they're perfect-sized for dipping. You don't want excess ink, you don't want to be staring down into a dark ink bottle that you can't find exactly like where the line is. So, it just makes life easy. They're also great for mixing colors in, because a lot of times if you're trying to create a really special custom color, you have to do some blending. For paper. Certainly, when you're working on a specific project, or if you're addressing envelopes, or you're making a special card for someone you might pick a really special kind of paper. But the paper I'm wanting to recommend for you today is really about how to practice, as well as how to write stuff that you could then scan. So, it's not as much about producing things for presentation. This layout paper is what I'm recommending for your practice throughout the classes and there's two main reasons. One, it's easy to write on, because the nib flows really well on the surface, so it's not too bumpy, the ink won't bleed. It just works well. The other thing is that it's slightly transparent. That is going to help you because you can put anything underneath it, like a lined guide sheet, and you'll be able to see the lines. So, you don't need a light box so you don't need anything in order to write in straight lines, which is one of the key tricks for writing nice calligraphy. You'll use the guide sheets for a lot of your practice. Another thing you can keep in mind is, as you work with the various worksheets that are downloadable throughout the class, you can always try tracing. If you're just trying to get a feel, like muscularly for any of the shapes or the lettering samples that I provide, you can always take your layout paper and place it right on top of the worksheet, and trace the calligraphy that I've given you two demo. That'll also really be a helpful way to get a hang of writing and trying to achieve the same effects. So, this paper this will be your most useful paper throughout the class. This is the particular brand that I use but a lot of the layout translucent bond paper in general will work for you. Similarly, this can be found at most art supply stores. The second paper that I recommend, but this is more if you have a light box because it's not transparent. But it's even smoother. With a light box you can see guidelines through this paper and i like it because it's a little thicker, a little bit sturdier, and even smoother for writing on. So, this is what I do all my work on that I then scan for use in printer digital projects. So, those are really the essentials. Like I've said with all of the materials, try some different things out, see what you like, test, "Oh! This paper works so great with the ink I have, and I just for some reason love writing on it". I think you'll get similarly different answers from all different calligraphers, who say, "Oh, I always work on this paper or that paper". It's really going to be about like finding what's good for you. But I think you'll find these are great ones to start on. 6. Workspace: Okay, the last thing to think about is really just the desk and workspace that you create for yourself. I think for me, the most important thing it's not about having a super wide desk or a giant space, but it's about having some vertical room. Because you really don't want to find yourself writing in a tiny corner like up here into your ribs, because your elbow, your arm movement is going to be really restricted, and I write horribly when I get tight in here. In fact, like writing at the top of a page is always where I get the best work done. That's really just because I can extend my arm, I can rest the whole thing on the table if I want, I can slide and move easily, and I just have the most flexible movement space in this area. So, if you can, clear the way and give yourself some nice vertical room to move. Other things are like play with the position. Often, I mean some people, everybody writes differently and this ties into like maybe you're using the oblique nib or maybe using the straight, but to get a good angle, I really like writing this way versus like writing straight ahead of me. So, I'll sometimes sit sideways at the table and write like this, and then I have plenty of room as well for my arm and elbow to move. Just be comfortable. I think you'll find that calligraphy is really comfortable. It's not about cramping up and feeling like a lot of pain. That's probably one of the number one questions I get, is like, "Oh, do you have a lot of pain every day?" I get way more pain from sitting and typing at a computer all day, or writing with a ballpoint pen for a long time than I do with calligraphy. Because calligraphy you can really stretch out, you can stay relaxed, the ink is going to flow, you can move smoothly across the page. It's not about gripping, it's not about clenching any of your muscles. So, just set yourself up to be as comfortable as possible. Keep an eye on hunching over and all of that because that just feels crappy at the end of the day. The other thing you'll want at the table is, this is just a cup full of water as well as paper towel, and these are useful for cleaning the nib. As you work, you might notice that the ink is starting to dry up a little bit on the nib if you've been writing for a while, and so having water handy that you can rinse it off and then just wipe it clean with a paper towel. I do that throughout the day, it just keeps the nib functioning even better. It also is going to help your nibs last longer if you're keeping them clean throughout the day. At the end of each work session, you want to wash and dry your nibs off so that they don't sit and get all rusty. So, those are the key things to have at the table. There's a few other supplies that I usually keep at the ready, some removable tape which helps hold things in place, pencil, eraser, some extra nibs, all the inks I need. Then, you're good to go. 7. Using a Nib: We're going to dive right in and get you inked up and ready to go. The first thing that you need to know about a new nib though is that it comes with this oily residue from manufacturing and that makes it hard for the ink to it adhere. So, it's not a dainty process but spit a little bit of saliva into your paper towel and then just wipe it. Wipe it clean. Nibs are really tough so don't feel like you need to be super dainty with it, they can take a lot of pressure and grappling, they'll be fine they're not going to break. You would have to go nuts with it to break it. After a year working with it and still feeling like you see the ink beating up then you know you didn't really wipe it off well enough and you can always clean it and do it again. Okay. So, in theory, this is better now. All washed off. So, simply I filled up my little dinky dip here with some sumi ink and I just want to tell you about dipping to start. Basically, you want to dip pass the reservoir. So, like I said, the reservoir is that little hole right in the top center. You want to make sure you go past that point but you don't want to dip as far as the handle because then it'll just get messy because it'll be all over your hand. You're going to dip to about this point. So, it's as simple as going in. You'll see it's beating a little bit because it's still new. Nibs are a little bit better after the first hour. But it'll be fine. It's still holding onto the nib as you can tell. One thing is a filled mine my dinky-dip little bit high. One thing I do and I'll demonstrate it on an empty one, I do this almost every time I dip, you'll see where I've dipped to here. I just hold it to the edge, just pressing it applying it to the edge. If this is your bottle of ink and you just tap it slightly on this side, you'll see the excess ink runoff. Because while you want to make sure you do have plenty of ink, you don't want it to feel like it's about to just drop off in bigs splotches because that's what will happen on the page. Okay. So, now we're ready to write and this is really about showing you how the nibs works. Were not composing some masterful document right now. Just get yourself setup. So you've got your transparent paper and I recommend just starting with the straight line guide, the other guide sheet has the parallel slant lines but we really don't need that now. So, just set yourself up here if it helps you want to tape your paper down onto the desk, that can be nice in terms of keeping you in one place. So, I'm going to have you start by drawing a line with a nibin. What you can think about is the nib is like a finger tip. So, when you write with a normal pen you could write like this, you could write with a pencil like this, straight up and down. But you want to think about writing as though it was a fingertip like you're writing on the pad the bottom pad. Not the tip of the fingernail, not the point of the finger, but the pad of the finger tip. This is the way the nib is, the curve is rounded towards the top and you'll keep it that way all the time. You don't want to be writing on the curb side, that'll prove itself pretty obvious as you start. Now, you can begin by referencing the first worksheet that I have for you and it's going to help you with what these first lines and shapes can look like. I really just want you to start by writing a straight line, drawing a straight line down on the page. You're thinking about the fingertips. So, that means your pen looks like this on the page. It's angled here, spout 45 degrees from the surface of the page, and that's helping me keep writing on the finger pad. So, drawing straight lines and I what I want you to experiment with is applying pressure. So, I'm just basically writing the number one over and over again, straight line down. But each time I write, I'm applying some pressure, a lot of pressure and you see that you can get a very thin line when you write or if you apply a ton of pressure, you have a thick line. What's happening is the nib is going like this every time you apply pressure on the page, it's spreading and that's what's going to give you thick and if you don't apply pressure, you'll have a nice thin line. After a certain point you'll see the ink is not coming out or maybe it took a few tries to get it to start flowing and that's totally normal. After you've written those straight lines down, I want you to experiment with what happens based on where you're pointing the nib on the page. So that's what this first little exercise demonstrates. Is that, the only way to get that thick line, like I said, where it splits the nib apart is when you're going on a downstroke. There's no other way to get the nib to spread, it's basic physics of the nib. If you're pushing down here, it's going to spread out easily. If you're moving sideways, if you're moving upwards, any of those movements there's no way to apply pressure to get it to split. So the only time you get those thick lines is when you are going down ways, like a downward stroke, that's what will get the nib to split. So those are the basics to get you familiar with how the nib operates. Your nib is pointing at the very top noon of your page, you're on the finger pad and you do a downstroke, and you got that nice thick line. If you went sideways from there to draw an L, you'll see you get the nice thin hairline. So you could draw the L a few times and just start to see how big of a contrast you can get. Maybe you apply a ton of pressure coming down, barely any pressure moving sideways. You don't need to apply any pressure in order to get ink to flow, it will just come off of the nib as long as there's enough there. So the only time you're really pushing down is when you want that thick downstroke. Where you get it will depend on which way you're pointing. So as you can see, this series of L's that go from sleepy to lying down, and now I'm pointing the nib at 11:00 o'clock here, that's where the downstrokes going to be. I can't exactly achieve the same L on the first one if my nib is pointing that way because now my downstroke is happening in a different angle. So just simply put, a downstroke going straight up and down versus a downstroke going from 11 to five, then winding around you'll see that's just wanting you to get familiar with how to achieve that thick line really depends on where you're pointing on the page because it's only going to happen in the downstroke. So you can practice these shapes. You could do the L over and over again, and this is going to get really comfortable with experiencing the difference between applying pressure on a downstroke to moving sideways and getting that thin hairline. The hairline is what we call any of those thin lines. I want you to get a feel for how much pressure the nib can take. You'll see in my demos, I'm really pushing down really hard and it's absolutely fine. The nib, that's what it's built to do, so don't feel hesitant like you can't really create that thick, thick line and then you'll get these nice contrast which is what makes the writing process with nib so fun is, you really get these thicks and thins and it's something you can't achieve with a regular pen. So, you want to start getting comfortable. So just keep practicing that for awhile. Keep practicing it until it feels good, you're starting to understand the mechanics of an a nib and you feel you're comfortable. The next series with the O's is illustrating the same concept. So, all you're changing is where the nib is pointing on the page like I said, at noon or it it at one or is it at 11, and you can see that I'm just moving my arm, I'm not changing anything else. You could move the page too if you didn't want to move your arm, it's another thing. But you'll see that in this example, I've got this series of Os, what exactly is different about these four, it's where the thick line shows up. That is affected purely by which way you're pointing your nib because that determines where the downstroke happens. So you're making the same exact shape each time but you've turn where the nib is pointing on the page, and that's what's going to give you, you can see it, it moves from being completely on the left, almost on the vertical, to dropping around down to the bottom. That's the same thing that happened with the Ls. 8. Using a Nib (Part 2): So, you've had some practice just getting and understanding for how this nib is working, and those thicks and thins. I just want you to keep doing that, but now we're just expanding the ways in which you're moving the nib on the page. Because that's one thing to start getting a handle on. You're not writing with the pen, so just remember that you don't need to feel like this is familiar, or, "Oh, this is just like it is when I'm writing a note to somebody." You're operating something new and different. So, just be patient with yourself as you get used to it, because that's really what it's all about. It's just getting used to it. You will be more used to it at the end of this class than you feel right now, so just be nice to yourself. So, the next exercise on the page are these loops. So, one of the things is the nib likes to go to the side, it likes to go down like we showed in the first part, it likes to go either direction to the side. It doesn't like to drive forward. So, the one thing that you will find is just going straight up on the nib. It's going to be hard to get the ink to flow, and that's the way that the nib is made. So, anytime you need to do a sort of upwards movement of any kind, you want to think about almost going a little bit to the side on the nib, not going straight forward in the direction of the point. You'll just find it's finicky, it'll skip, it'll bump, ink won't flow. There's no incentive for trying to get it to go in that direction because it'll just look crappy. So, that's one of the things to be thinking about is the directions that the nib likes to go. So, I just want you to play around with these loops. So, you're coming up and then you're pulling down the downstroke to get that nice thick line. As you go up on these loops, think about it's not that you're going up in the direction of the point, you're still actually moving sideways on the nib. So, if you just watch the way it's moving, at this moment right now, you can see the nib is pointing this way, I'm not driving forward on the nib. Even though I'm going up on the page, I'm still moving to the side on the nib. I could do the same to the left as I do to the right, but since we write left to right, it's mostly applicable to go this way. So, just do this, get into a nice rhythm with these loops. You'll see I've done a few different versions, some are really spacious, some are really compressed. I just want you to do this line after line until it really starts to feel good, you feel like you're getting a nice flow. You might notice you can play with, when the ink runs out. So, let's say I'm writing here and I run out of ink, you can always re-ink and pick back up where you left off and no one will ever know. That's another wonderful trick about writing with wet ink using calligraphy, is that you can pick up and put down and start again in the middle of a letter, and as long as you do it strategically, no one will be able to see that you picked up and put down in that spot. It's invisible to somebody just looking at your work. That's one of the great features is that you can then compose a letter or do some cool tricks. It maybe took you three different moves in order to get that accomplished, but it will look as though it was done in one go. Because when you start and you pick up again, it helps to stop in a thick spot, in one of your downstrokes. Then you can always join backend, and you see it's seamless with the wet ink. That's something you can't do with a regular pen, so that's a good feature. The next line, just continue the same practice, and you're just doing loops in the other direction. So, this is really just to get you muscularly comfortable with writing with the nib, and also just continuing your comfort level with how the nib works. The last exercise on this practice sheet is similar. I want you just to do several lines of this until it feels comfortable. You'll see I'm demonstrating what the nib likes to do, and how it wants to get those downstrokes. So, the first line, I'm doing in one gesture. So, I'm going to the side with the thin hair line, and then I'm going downstroke to get that thick. So, it's like a super wide seven, but doesn't really matter what it is. I'm just creating this shape over and over again, and I can do it in one move. Like I was saying before, you can always pick up and put down, make it look like it was one move even if it wasn't. So, just do rows of that and then in comparison, if I'm trying to make this the second shape, which resembles nothing, but it has the reverse, so these hair lines at the bottom. Then, if I want that thick line. I'm here, I've just done this first stroke. There's no way I could get a thick line if I went straight up from here without picking up my pen. The only way to get a thick line, like I've been saying, is the downstroke. So, either way, I have to get up here and then go down. So, I'm going to do it in two gestures. But, similarly, if you looked at this after, anyone looking at this isn't thinking like, "Wow! This took two strokes." They just see the shape you created, and it's just understanding that in order to make these shapes, it really matters which way you're going on the page. So, that's why this is a two-step process. One last thing I'll just say now, we'll revisit this in the context of writing, is that unlike cursive, unlike writing with a regular pen, in calligraphy you don't want to be retracing lines, because you're drawing over again on wet ink. It tends to drag it around and it also just looks bad. So, most of the time, you will never retrace a line, you won't come back and go back over it like you would maybe with old school cursive or something. So, just always think that each line that's drawn is individual, it's not looping back over itself because that will just lead to messy looking work as well as some big sloppy ink messes. So, that's just something to keep in mind. But, just keep up this practice, get into it, and hopefully at the end of the worksheet you're feeling a little bit more at ease with how the nib operates. 9. Troubleshooting: So maybe you're having a tough time. Maybe there's some trouble coming up along the way. I want to go over the most common troubleshooting issues that arise for any new calligrapher. The first is if you're finding it's just the ink is not flowing like you're watching what's happening on camera and it's not happening on your page, one thing could be what I call rolling. So like I said you're thinking of this near like a fingertip. You're writing and where the contact in the past with the page is this bottom pad. What you don't want to do is find yourself writing over here. Kind of like where your finger now edge meets the skin. You don't want this sidelining happening because then you're not accessing the flow of ink, and so it's not going to come out. It's just going to scrape along the page. It's not going to be smooth. You just literally won't get it coming off other than just what happens to be sitting there. So, here I am writing on the pad of the finger tip. It's working so nicely but rolling might look like this and all you're going to see is it's literally the spin of the pen in your hand. So, it might not be visible. You might look like you're writing the same exact way as I am. But if it rolls, you can already hear it scrapping and actually nothing is coming out. Well, now we go a little bit, but oh I can't get any downstroke, I'm on the side and I go down, but nothing thick is happening and that's because I'm writing literally like this. So there's no way and if I make my fingers into a nib here. From writing like this there's no way I can get these to spread out and to do that nice downstroke for the thick lines. So you could be rolling in either direction and having this problem. So keep an eye on that and oftentimes with new students I come around and I have to do a lot of turning of that nib in their hand because I watch and they're kind of starting to go like this and I don't know if it's just what you think of when you're writing with a regular pen or whatever it is. It's a very common kind of habit that people find themselves doing over and over again and you'll find calligraphy very frustrating if you are rolling while you write. So, just keep that finger pad as your guideline and you're going to get much better results. It won't scrape as much on the page. You'll hear some sound when you're writing on paper. That's pretty normal. But if it's like an ugly scraping that feels bad. You're probably rolling. So be really diligent just watching it trying to turn it in your hand, and with a little bit of time that'll start to be automatic. So, what feels a little awkward right now will get more comfortable. So the other thing that might be coming up is that you're going upwards on the pen like I said if you're driving forwards. You can hear some scraping you might find you actually even like tear into the paper a little or your skipping or jumping. That means you're literally going this way on the nib. So that's just the one thing you want to avoid. Like if you need to go up turn your pen a little bit and just write up the side and then you'll get a nice flow or turn it this way. Like if you're trying to achieve something and you have no way of knowing how to get there without going forward, you can pick up and move your arm. You can adjust your page. You're not supposed to nail everything that you're writing like so freely without having to ever adjust. Like I'm constantly adjusting my hand a little bit or, oh, for this letter I always turn my arm a little bit. Like those things will start to come more naturally you don't have to limit yourself with movement, so continue to give yourself enough space and really keep an eye on which way you're moving the nib on the page, because that's really going to help you create smoother results. Otherwise simply you might find that you're running out of ink often like maybe you didn't clean the nib very well. Maybe the ink is not adhering so you're having trouble maybe as you write. Oh, I don't know perhaps like the line feels very faint or as you pull down on the downstroke it gives you those border edges, but it's not filled in in the middle which is kind of a cool look actually. But what you can do first of all is make sure are you really inking past the reservoir point? Like you don't want to just ink the tip. It's sort of like you might think that's where the ink lives on, but it lives up here in the center and the reservoir and that's what's going to keep it there for you to access while you write. So make sure you're going far enough. Make sure you really have spit enough to clean off your nib well, and if you do run out of ink, which will just happen because that's what happens all day to pay. You just apply more. You can always go back and fill in like if you were in a downstroke and all you got were those outer lines, you can just go back and fill it in. It's all wet, it's really easy to just sort of fill that spot and then keep going you haven't lost your work there you haven't ruined anything at all. So that makes it easy too. And then the last things that might be coming out for you are the angle we talked about on the page. So if you're having trouble with the downstroke, just make sure you're really actually. You're applying the pressure on a true downstroke. If you're applying pressure and you're moving to the side, you've got your pen turned in a different way, it's going to affect your ability to get those thick lines. So you can always go back to that L exercise that we did where it really demonstrates depending on where you're pointing the pen is what will influence where you get those thick lines. Lastly you could have a bum nib or somehow the nib is just like not meant to be yours, and every once in a while I try a new one and I just can't get it to work right. I feel like it's not taking the ink and it won't flow on the page and I can't get it to do what I usually like to do. In those cases maybe that's just not the nib for me, and that's not usually like an individual name. It might just be that that kind, that style, that cut. Is just not for me, and I have plenty of nibs that I bought where I just like I can't get this to work right. I don't like it. It just sucks. I don't think you'll have that trouble when you're just starting with the Nikko G since it's pretty reliable and pretty user friendly. But if you've tried a different one or something's up with it, maybe the point is a little bit damaged, which can happen over time is that. You like that nice sharp point because then you get the thin fine hairline. But with lots and lots of use or if it got busted ever and this point is sort of dulled down, you'll find you can't really get a nice thin hairline and maybe it's a little bit thicker than you'd like. Or sometimes if it got really damaged then this sort of sprouted nib it might sort of permanently stay spread and you can see that like it's not closing shut and that's not going to work well. You should just toss it. So, if all else fails, it could just be the nib and you should just try a different one. Additionally, if you're finding you can't get matching results to the samples I've given or the demos that I'm doing here, you may just be like being too nice to this nib because it's really up for. As I said it's so tough that if you're hesitant about applying pressure, you're just not going to get as thick a line. So just like go for it. I'm applying a serious amount of pressure, like no holds barred. So I just really go down like give it the pressure it can handle and don't worry about breaking it, because that would just be shocking if you did. 10. Shapes: So, now that you've gotten a little bit more of a sense of how the networks and you've been practicing your thicks and thins, the next worksheet, we'll show you how to start making more of the shapes and movements that will then create letter forms more naturally. So, this is really just to guide you through some practice. It's not about making it look exactly like it does on my sheet, but I think it's going to help you really get a sense of how to flow, and also really it's a part of your warm up. You can think about warm up as part of your daily practice or whenever you're writing calligraphy that you'll need some kind of warm up. Like I said, I improved throughout the day every single day when I'm working. So, a lot of that is just about getting my hand and my muscles kind of in gear. So, I want you to just fill your sheet, fill line after line with these movements, and you can use this practice sheet as your guide to follow along. It's pretty simple. So you're to get some accessing guide. This first one, we're just making these kind of little hills here. I just want you to practice with that on the sort of sideways movement up. You're not applying any pressure. I'm really not pressing down at all. I'm literally just sliding along and then I apply pressure on the downstroke. Like you were doing before, you want to keep these going, practicing making as much contrast as possible. So, don't worry if it's not a perfect shape or you don't love exactly how it looks. It's just getting you comfortable. So, you can do a few of these. You'll see I've tried different movements. These ones kind of deep down. The second set is kind of more U-shaped. So, it's less of a curve up front, just kind of smooth slope up. Hopefully, it's starting to feel good to do this. I kind of just want to do this forever. It's just I find generally calligraphy is really meditative and relaxing. These movements should start feeling really good and just kind of zone out and doing for as long as you want until you're feeling good. After you've done a few rows like that with the separated shapes, try doing it interconnected form. You can play with kind of how quickly you move, how slowly. The other thing you'll start noticing, and this is going to contribute to writing beautifully in your calligraphy ongoing, is that I'm trying to create some parallel lines here. So, the slant of my slopes are all along the same parallel axes. You can tell kind of where that's happening here. Those downstrokes are parallel which just makes things look good. So, in general, you can always think whenever you're drawing down is it parallel to the last time you did a downstroke, and then you're going to have a nice parallel slant to your writing. So, just keep that up. You can see on this middle exercise it's the same movement. But each time I went on the downstroke for them, I applied more and more pressure, and this was just to test my ability to create more and more contrast. So, the first time, I went up and I barely applied pressure on the downstroke. The second time, played a little bit more. Third time, even more. Fourth time, more. Then another time, as much as I could. So, you can see I've done the same exact movement but just by changing the amount of pressure applied each of these times. I got a thicker and thicker line, and so just shows you what you can do. Just practice those. Continue practicing the use. Like I said, just fill lines and lines of this until it's feeling good and comfortable to use. I'm doing a downstroke right from the beginning. You'll find to go upwards. You have to remember the directional. So, you're not driving forward on them, kind of going sideways in order to go up. There's use. C is is going to be this similar curve here but getting that downstroke on the left side of the C, so, just coming around. Just keep practicing that. But if you're having trouble, refer to the troubleshooting lists, because it's probably just one of those issues that you're encountering. Otherwise, just keep practicing and I promise it'll feel easier each time. The last shape is the O, and for that, I've done it in two strokes. So, there's a couple of ways you can write a circle or an O. One is this two-stroke method, which gives you a parallel look because you'll get a thick on both the left and the right side. If you were to never pick up your pen and just come around, you could only achieve a thick line on one of the downstrokes, but then since you're coming up and around, it'd stay thin on the right side. So, sometimes, I write an O without picking up, but if you want it to be perfectly symmetrical, then you'll do it in two. So, that's why I've demonstrated that, and that's just a good way to practice your shapes and that might come in handy for trying zeros or writing, and it's just understanding kind of how you can start shaping letters. Lastly, I have an exercise here of just the U and L, and it's the same shapes you've been making all along but practicing them continuously as well as with variety. So, we're doing a U and then an L and kind of starting to switch up the shapes so you're not just doing the same exact thing over and over. So, to achieve this UL, you can see I'm applying pressure on this first downstroke and then up, and then second downstroke and then up, and then third for the L, and that's how I'm getting my thick lines. So, practice that continuous exercise of connected shapes the U and L like you have with all these others. Do it until it's feeling comfortable, until you're achieving a look in a result that's kind of like what you see around the worksheet. Like I said, you can always trace this. If for some reason, it's feeling stressful or you kind of want a little more guidance with the shapes, you'll notice that you can put your transparent paper over the worksheet itself, and then you're ready to go. Move through the paper as much as you need. Don't feel like you need to cram for a whole page. Start fresh whenever you need to. You'll notice that the Sumi Ink dries pretty quickly, but it's going to stay wet for maybe five minutes. So, set it aside carefully. If you want to save it for later, don't put it face down on your valuable belongings. Great. 11. Chiseled Nib: We're going to do a brief section on the chiseled nib, which I talked about initially. The difference is that it has a flat edge at the top, whereas the pointed comes to a sharp point even if it looks like different shapes, it always comes to a point. The key difference other than appearance is that with the chiseled nib, it's not about the pressure. Whereas you need the pressure in order to create your thicks and thins with a pointed nib, the chisel, it automatically gives you the contrast because it's built into the structure of how it's made. So, I've loaded a chisel nib here that we're going to try out. They load and you'll sort of write in the same position as you would with a pointed nib, but you'll learn quickly that it behaves differently. I like to use chisel nibs to create certain styles. You'll still get contrasting thicks and thins. I've chosen a few different samples to show the kind of effect that you can get with a chiseled nib. But these are some samples of my work and you can tell basically, the end points at the terminal ends of each letter where with a pointed nib would be a fine line most of the time, with the chiseled nib, it comes to sort of a flat edge. So, I get some sort of more structured looks. This just has a different feel and it's achieved through the chiseled nib. This as well has this kind of flat edges that are the endpoints of each of these letters. I like to use it for crisp modern, a little bit more block lettering sometimes, and I think there's a lot of ways that you can do it that feel interesting and fresh and it's contemporary. It'll be a matter of preference. Some people really enjoy writing with a chiseled nib because it takes a little less of that manipulation. If you're left-handed and struggling at all with your position in writing, it often can be easier with the chiseled nib. So, it might be a good way to start. This is an example of a invitation suite that I designed that has chiseled nib calligraphy. It tends to have a little less of the overt contrasts between thicks and thins, less hairline, and I'll demonstrate now how it works. Your worksheet here, practice with a chiseled nib. This exercise sheet, it's the same kind of idea as the practice sheet for the pointed nib. It's really just getting familiar with how it moves on the page. So, you can take your layout paper and replicate these shapes using a chiseled nib, and this will start to introduce you to how it works. So, I'm going to get the ink flowing here. So, you'll see right off the bat with this first zigzag exercise, it's about the sideways movement and the chiseled edge is where you get your thin line. Pulling straight down on the flat edge, is where you're going to get your thick. But you don't have to apply any pressure in order to get that thick and thin. It's literally just the way the pen is built, so often, you basically want to think about the angle of the flat edge. So, if my angle is about 45 degrees, that means that drawing up on the 45 is going to be thin like I have on that first line, and then drawing down will be thick. So, you can get that nice contrast. Just see how it's a little more structured. It's a little more angular than what you achieve with a pointed nib. But I still want you to get a sense of how it works. So, you can try these different angles. Similar practice with the O shape like we are doing with the pointed nib. To make a parallel O, you have to do it in two strokes so that, to make a symmetrical O, you have to do it in two strokes. But it's physically going to feel different because it's not about pressing down on the page, it's really just about which direction you're moving on the nib and that's going to give you the effects. So, continue with these exercises. This one here we have straight line into the symmetrical O, and you can see I'm picking up. I'm doing this in a three stroke. I do the straight line up, with two strokes for the O, straight line up, two strokes for the O. So, practice this continuously and copy these movements to replicate where the thicks and thins fall, and you'll start to get a handle on how the chiseled nib works. Once you feel comfortable with using it and you've replicated these movements, you can try writing with it as well and see what shapes you achieve, what you like. I'll demonstrate each of these here. All same things apply that you learned with your pointed nib like, oh, I'm running out of ink. Just reapply, or if the ink is not flowing, maybe you're rolling onto the corners or maybe you're trying to drive forward. So, all the same troubleshooting tips will help you with the chiseled nib. It's just a matter of basically understanding how to achieve thicks and thins using this in a different way than you do with the pointed. One nice thing about chiseled nibs too, is that they come in a wide range of sizes. So, I've picked a starter size for you that is a good manageable size, but you can get them really wide so they're sometimes really helpful for making larger format signs. If you're making a big welcome sign for an event or something, or table signs, anything larger scale, sometimes they're really helpful because they can fill in more space or you can write larger. One thing to consider when you're writing with a chiseled nib is that the scale of your writing should match the size of your nib. So, if you use a really fat, a really wide chisel, but you're trying to write really small, you're not going to be able to fit that all into that little space. It'll start to get all muddled and you won't be able to see the contrast of thicks and thins. So, there is one little rule you can consider, which is, they say that the height of your lowercase letter which is known as the x-height, should be five times the width of your chiseled nib. So, I wouldn't worry about that very strictly, but it's a useful rule and what people do is they draw these little five widths worth here, to find out what their height should be based on the nib. So, that means that when I'm writing A, B, C, my lowercase height is matching five times the width of this. So, it's just to explain further that the scale should match the size of your writing to the size of your nib, and that's significant when you're using a chisel. So, practice all these exercises and you'll probably feel more comfortable and confident using the chisel nib, and then you can try it out with your writing, or drawing, or any calligraphy you want to do. 12. How to Clean a Nib: So anytime you're going to take a break, you want to wash your nib and dry it off. So, even if you're pausing your work for a few minutes or you're ending for the day. They sell all sorts of nib cleaners, but for Sumi ink, certainly it really only takes water as long as you're washing them regularly. I just, I literally dip it in, get it wet, take my paper towel, and wipe it completely clean which is easy to see since it's this nice Chrome here. And you want to make sure that you do fully take it out when you're cleaning it, because ink gets down here, it drips down the nib into the pen holder. So, I rinse that and sort of stamp it out here on the paper towel and then you don't have any crusty ink drying up in there which then makes these impossible to use if they get all clogged up. I'm just drying them well so they don't get rusty. 13. Constructing Letterforms: So, now that you're warmed up and you've done a lot of these shapes and movements with the nib, we're going to start applying those two letters and it's not a big departure from what you've been doing. So, you're probably really here at this find to actually write real things since this is calligraphy. But I wanted to get you comfortable with just the general movements. So, your next worksheet is really to help you get started on writing actual letters, letter forms, and it's just going to feel like the same thing you've been doing which is practicing making different shapes and movements on the page except now we're actually constructing letters. So, the o we talked about in the last exercise, but in my example you'll see I am giving you an example of a continuous o rather than the two stroke which gave you the symmetrical, but so either one is fine. As I was saying about my approach, I really like to write continuously and not have to compose each letter, tons and tons of different strokes picking them up and putting down, I like to move a little more quickly. So, that's why I've included those that are done in a single stroke, I think they look nice too. So, I just want you to continue with each of these letter examples just practicing it. Write out a whole line, do multiple lines until it's starting to feel good. I've given you some of the more useful letters in that creating these letter shapes will help you compose all letters of the alphabet. Composing these letter forms will give you the tools and the shapes you need to create all letters in the alphabet. So, I'm just going to keep writing over and over again. You're still thinking about the parallel downstroke which is something I'm going to keep bringing out because it's key to making your lettering look really nice and beautiful. So, even after you do the n, the movement for the h should feel very similar. Another thing you'll start noticing and you'll see this as you observe me right is that even though I may not think of my writing as lots of picking up and lots of putting down and tons of composition on each letter, I do pick up very slightly on a really regular basis and the basic rule I'm applying is that idea of not wanting to drag over a place where I've already written. So, the h is a good example because I come down the down stroke and lift in the slightest bit and pick up again. So I just play with, sometimes it's not going to be a very dramatic lift, but more a subtle. It's basically just releasing your name from that big pool of ink. So, we just continue the A's. These are not really stylize at all, it should feel like old school penmanship practice. It's like you're filling the chalkboard with whatever you did wrong, but by focusing on creating those parallel down strokes and working on the shapes, you're just getting better and better at using the nib to write letters. You'll see that a feels really similar to the d if you do it in two strokes. Use your both the a and the d are good examples of not retracing any of your steps. So, if we were doing old school cursive on the d, we might come up and go down again, but instead I'm going to do it in two separate. It's just going to be much neater. Also we're not drawing upwards which is tricky. So, those were examples of what not to do. The e shouldn't feel too different from the movements you've been doing, we did a lot of those loops. You could do this in two parts or one. So, if I'm writing continuously I might just do it in one single stroke. I've also shown you an example of an e where we get a little bit more of the symmetrical thick on both sides. Stylistically, that will be up to you as you write on how much composition you want to get into or how much flow. I've given you a full alphabet example so you can practice all of these letters and you're really just trying to match those thicks and thins. So you can trace, you can just reference and look and practice each of these letters and you'll start to feel more comfortable writing within it. We'll get into connective letters next. One thing I like to think about which is actually a principle of type design, but it ties back in and it's about creating a cohesive look to your writing is that all your letters and the letter forms themselves should really back to each other. One cool trick is to think about, if you started with an o you want your n, your a, your h, all of them basically to perfectly overlap with that o, and that's going to take up the same space, it's going to be on the same slant, it's going to have a similar shape. So, to test that idea you could basically write directly on top of your a, each of your letters and they'd fit. This is where you start to get a sense of your slant, keeping a consistent look and these are things that we'll be thinking about when we really talk about style and how to achieve beautiful writing. So, the last step is in this worksheet is really showing you how simple it can be to create connected lettering, doing just the kind of examples we've done so far. So, I started this pen ground pack my box, I think it's with five dozen liquor jugs and that means that every letters in that sentence like, "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog." But instead, I started the sentence pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs, that's what you can make. You'll see I demonstrated the before and after, but I've written each letter and at the end of each letter I have this upstroke here and that's the style I'm going with. But if you just wrote them close together, it's start to look connected. So, this can be one of your first styles of calligraphy that will achieve a nice connected look and not every single letter is connected as you can tell, but most of them, any of them that come with that little upstroke, if you stitch them together on the page, you're not having to write cursive, but you're writing, it's like a form of metallic, but it's a good way to get started and it's a nice simple way to do some neat lettering. So, practice that and practice the word minimum is on there because it's a frequent one and calligraphy instruction to practice all the different shapes you're doing and starting to think about spelling and composing the letter, the word well, as well as, keeping in mind those parallel down strokes to keep a nice consistent slant. 14. How to Write Script: You'll see I also provided a handy vocabulary sheet for you which is really just to help brief you on some of the key terms that I find useful. You can call things whatever you want, but you might find references to this in other calligraphy instruction or materials, and it just helps to think about the different components. We will get into these more later. So, just keep this out as a handy reference for the class. We're going to dive into writing one of my scripts. It's my classic calligraphy script. I call it my classic because it's my go-to. It's one that I love and just enjoy writing with. I feel like it applies to a lot of different settings and scenarios, and it just encompasses my version of a modern calligraphy script. It feels like essentially a paper finger aesthetic and I think you'll find that it's really useful and it's a great way to practice and get comfortable with writing yourself. So, I have a few things that you're going to use as you practice it, and the main thing is you don't have to match my writing perfectly. One of the nice and most interesting things about calligraphy is that it's so clearly personal and it's so distinct from individual to individual. So, even if you do practice my script, it's going to become your own because you can always tell, I mean there's handwriting interpretation for a reason. Everybody is just somehow a little bit distinct even if they're basing it on the same styles. So, don't cling too tightly to my work as exactly what yours should look like and the distinctiveness that you express will be awesome and great. So, go with that. This section you might want to start using or trying out the second guide sheet which has the slanted parallel lines here to help you keep on a consistent slant in your writing. I don't ever write with this kind of guide sheet, I really prefer just the straight across horizontal lines. For me, that feels like a cleaner, simpler backdrop to work on, but some people love having the guidelines that give you your slant. So, if that's comforting and useful, by all means, use it. In general, whatever tools you want to use that make your work better or make you enjoy your process more are all allowed, they're all legit. There's no like hardcore calligraphy, you don't use any tools. That's nonsense. So, whatever tricks you have or that you come up with that makes the work look better, awesome, do it. So, the main thing you'll be practicing is the lowercase and the capital alphabet and this sheet is your guide. You can just keep it out and write and practice on your page from here or you're welcome to try tracing it and seeing how to achieve those results. So, what I would do if I were you is take your translucent paper. I'll demonstrate how to use the slanted guide sheet so that you can understand how that works. Now, this slant should be pretty much the same exact slant as I've demonstrated here. You can get guide sheets and we have links for you for all the different possible varieties of guide sheets that you can download. There's websites with tons of different options and they have all these different degrees of slant. There's certain traditional forms of calligraphy that swear by certain slants and this is the degree you should always write out or whatever it is. So, you can find tons of options. This is just one that will match this style in particular. So, even if you held up your guide sheet to the light underneath this practice sheet, you'll see that the down strokes are going to match the slant lines and that's really all it's about. So, what you can do is just start writing the alphabet. Practice each of these letters. Practice them multiple times, don't worry about, you're not creating something that you need to present to anybody. What you're looking for is you're watching these diagonal slant lines and that's where you want your down stroke. So, there's things that are consistent within the script other than just slant. There's the shape of the letters. So that same principle that we applied before where if we overlapped any of these, would they fit well in one spot? Yes, they would because they're all taking up about the same space, they're on the same slant. Then there's other little features like with this style, I always do a really long T crossbar. I just like how it looks and so that's one commitment I make. So, there's a couple different things that I've thought about that inform what this style looks like. Similarly, with the capitals, you can see there's a couple stylistic rules. The A's come up in a loop in the same way that the M and the N, the W even though it's going in the opposite direction. The V even has that same loop beginning, the H. So, those are the kinds of things you can start looking for to keep consistent and all of these add up together to form a style. You want to stay true to a couple of key features so that it has a cohesive look. So, just continue practicing the alphabet and try out each of those letters and you'll start to get a feel for what those consistent characteristics are, and the more you practice these, then the more confidently you can write whatever you want in this style. 15. Practicing Script: The second sheet of your script practice is a full sentence. It's another pangram, one you might be more familiar with. So, it covers all the letters in the alphabet, and it's just another example. You could write any sentence you want, but you'll see it demonstrated both in its finished form and the second section here, this bottom part, just demonstrates where I'm picking up and putting down, so you can get a sense. I also don't follow any of my own rules too strictly. So, if you see some variation or a little inconsistency in my approach from what I'm saying, that's kind of just how I roll, and you should feel comfortable improvising yourself. So, that's basically the speed I normally write and a good demo of this style. I'm sure we could critique it in detail but if we like how it looks, that's cool. So, keep trying that out with your own sentences, and then, in the final project, we'll get to actually write something you want to write, you might keep or frame or give as a gift. 16. Class Project: I've been giving you lots of ideas of structured content to be writing or particular words and letters to practice, but you should by all means feel free to have been writing whatever you want. If you are trying to write your name, you want to start practicing the phrases that you're writing for a project you have in mind, you should totally feel free. There's no point where it's like you're not allowed to be free and write whatever you want. I think, all that build up is just to help make you feel more comfortable with the materials and the tools, so, you should feel free to go for it. In our final project, we really want to get to go for it and write whatever you want. I've taught classes where people practice for an hour with shapes and movements and then they're writing letters to people. So there's no certification point that means that you're free to actually write calligraphy. You can call yourself a calligrapher from the minute you start and I certainly believe that because it's just going to be an ongoing practice, so there's no actual starting point that makes you legit. For the project, I think you can write on anything you want, it be fun if it's something that you want to hang up or frame or you have a card that you want to give to somebody. So, if you have some materials at home, you've got some fun paper you should get some of it out or you pick some up at the store, it's good to have extras of everything. So, any project I'm doing especially if I'm only making one of it, I get lots of backup copies of that same paper so that I can test it first, I can try stuff out if I splatter ink everywhere, I've got plenty of materials to keep going. So, for today, I picked just some nice plain five by seven paper because it makes for easy framing and I have a few extra so that I can work with some scraps and I recommend - so first just decide what you want to write, maybe you're just going to write your name, you can write it on the paper that we've been practicing on, you can take this as far as you'd like. Maybe you have a favorite poem or song lyric or maybe there's a special date and you just want to write that date beautifully to frame because it has special meaning to you or you could write someone's full name out, people love seeing their name written in calligraphy, whether it's your own or it's just pleasing. I'm always amazed by how people just want to take plays cards home because it's exciting. So, you really can't go wrong, you could write thank you, you could write love, you could write whatever the hell you want write. So, I chose a quote that I liked and so I'm going to walk you through the basic process. What I do recommend is that you start with pencil because why not? You can space it out you can figure out what you want to write where and it gives you just a little guidance that can then be easily erased after the ink dries. So, erasing over sumi-e ink and erasing over almost every ink is no problem, it won't smudge as long as you've let it fully dry and calligraphers pencil things in advance all the time. If I'm working on dark envelopes, I draw pencil lines on them so that I can see what I'm doing. I would say metallic inks tend to smudge a little bit more because the sort of gold flakes can spread but test it out and it's probably fine. You might want to use a ruler if you can't see through your paper you're working on, is then you can draw your own minds to keep a nice straight line to your writing. I'm going to draw the pencil as light as possible because then it will erase a little bit better and I'm trying to keep those lines spaced pretty evenly. So, that's set and now I'm just going to pencil my quote in place so that I have it figured out. You don't want to start writing and then find you've run out of room on that line. I'm writing really loosely because it's not so much about me copying the exact lines I've written but it's giving me my spacing. It also helps me figure out a few things in advance like maybe I have some descenders that might overlap with the line below it and you want to make sure you're sizing, you're writing so that it's going to fit together. I know I want this G to do a nice big sweep and I'm going to have to make sure and leave room for that or if I do have an overlapping, that it's still going to be legible. So, with a pencil we can test it all out and sort of get a sense and then when I proceed with income and I feel a lot more confident, it's always a little scary to just write something and try to make it an actual keepsache or a finished piece in one go. So, as much as you can do to set yourself up to enjoy it and not stress throughout it, the better. You might write it and hold it back from you a bit and get a sense, does it feel like it's placed well on the page, does decentering look good, or you not centering anything, so just whatever you're deciding, just test it out with pencil first. The quote is, "Let us go on singing as far as we go the road will be less tedious by virtual." So, I just like that one. So, now I'm going to write over my work, so you can use your pencil guide and remember that if you mess up you're just starting over again, it's not a big deal. So, I'm just going to let it dry and after about five minutes, you'll be able to tell with sumi-e ink if it still looks really shiny like in the thick parts, you can look at it from the side if what you see sort of glistening pools then you know it's still wet. So, it never hurts to be really sure and just let it dry for 10 minutes but I would say typically around five minutes and it's probably dry. Once it is, you can erase it and you got eraser, I always like these white ones and the clear off your pencil and you have a finished piece. 17. The Finished Piece: So, my finished piece here. This is my like, the Martha Stewart finished pie that I wrote before. It's interesting because I used the same nib but you can tell there's some differences. So it's worth just looking at. Maybe if you do a few versions of your own project, you'll notice some differences. So, one thing I would say right off the bat is this kind of looks heavier, like the ink looks thicker. I'd say that's probably because I had more ink on this nib and that it was, maybe I could have even cleaned it to get a little bit more of the hairline that we got in this first one. The nib was also maybe really new so it kind of had this sharpness to it, and whereas this one was a little bit more used and a little worn down at the point. Other things, obviously the sizing. The layout in general is pretty much the same. You can see I did my line breaks in the same places and even these shapes of the letters, and the different strokes that I did, a lot of them are the same. I entered the w in very similar way, this crossbar on the t is really similar. I did slightly different sizing here on my gs and that's just one of the things I love about calligraphy, and especially the way I approach it is, it's spontaneous for me. So, I won't write things the same time and time again on purpose because I like to just see what comes to mind. I don't like to be too slow or too concerned about, exactly what choices am I making, I'm kind of letting it fly. You can see I exited less kind of just in this neat compact little downturn here whereas on this version, I just did. I came up in like a playful upstroke similar to the we even on, they both came up tedious, that stroke came up. So, those are stylistic decisions I just made on the fly and that's what I like about it. I did a neat little crossbar here but instead did the nice sweeping stroke there. So, this gets a little bit fuller. Maybe you prefer one over the other. I don't feel like, "Oh, I really nailed it on this one or the other one." It's a little different each time. You can see I lettered these caps for Virgil differently each time. This one I really tried to create as much contrast as possible. It would be interesting too if I washed the nib but wrote it in the exact same sizing and really tried to get another crisp line, maybe I could get a little bit more of a sharper contrast on some of this. But, this has a nice lushness to it as well, which is fun. So, we've come to the end of the calligraphy class number one, and I'm so glad that you joined for it and hope you're feeling a lot better with calligraphy and feeling like you've got a sense of things now. What we've covered basically, by now you should feel pretty good about the basic tools, nibs and pens and how to apply ink and to write on the page. You've learned a bit of my own style, this calligraphy script I introduced to you. So, hopefully you got a handle for how you can create that effect. Then, you've written something of your own and have a finished piece that you can take with you as well as give to somebody. You've really been introduced to the fundamentals of calligraphy. So, now you could do, if you repeated and practiced everything we've done today, you'd be in great shape. You could just see where this takes you and see what develops. Where I'll take you next in the calligraphy class number two is really taking what we've learned so far in terms of the beginning stages of creating a style, and seeing how can we expand that. So, I'll present some other styles that I do so you can experiment with contrast. We'll get a little bit into flourishing, which is some more decorative ornamentation for your lettering, and we'll also talk about more in depth around materials. So, when you're really facing a project and you need to decide about inks and papers and how to approach it, we'll get into the nitty-gritty a bit more as well. So, I hope you'll join for the second class and I look forward to seeing your work. 18. More Creative Classes on Skillshare: