Modern Calligraphy 1 | Skillshare Projects

Nancy Herrmann

Creative Director and Packaging Designer



Modern Calligraphy 1

This is my very first attempt at calligraphy. I started Molly's class over the New Year's holiday and have been practicing for a few weeks now. Its part of an effort to expand my typography skills for work as an art/creative director. I thought it would be nice to do some exploration off the computer and work with my hands. 

BTW, I've posted in reverse order so the most recent is on top. Head to the bottom and scroll up to see the progression.

Thanks for looking. I welcome your likes, comments and feedback.


More phrases and style

I'd like to see more messiness to a few of the words, so I've added a couple of ink drops to them. I think several of the lyrics and phrases just scream-out for a little randomness and grunge. It's a nice contrast to the swirly old-school copperplate handwriting. I need to find more techniques to achieve this effect. I tried smudging a bit with a paper towel but that just created a mess. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this or any of the work so far.


Combining words

Ok, now we're getting somewhere. I've started combining words and short phrases. I'm not much of an sweet affirmation kinda girl, so I turned to song titles, lyrics and smart-ass phrases that I like. 

I've been lightly sketching out the words before putting ink to paper to work out the composition. I've left the pencil marks in the drawings for my own reference and as a little notation on my thought process.


Numbers, symbols and names

Yeah, I've moved on to writing my name and combining short word phrases. I've also been studying some Palace Style Copperplate. I found a nice piece on the history of the copperplate from the Victorian Coleraine Museum, along with a couple of alphabets for these styles. You can see I've copied the letters on the top of this page with the ABC. They're quite lovely, although I can't figure out how they got some of the thicks and thins without turning the page.

I've also discovered that my name isn't that great for calligraphy. My last name "Herrmann," has too many of the same letterforms and creates kind of a bland repetition with all x-height letters. My mom's has a different last name, so I've had more success with hers. I also played around with two of my friends' names. They're getting married next year and after seeing rough examples of my work, they've already asked me to do their invitations. I'm not sure if they really like the work or if they think as a friend, they'll get a better deal. In any case, it will motivate me to practice and get better in the coming months.


Developing a style

I continue to practice the alphabet, including lots of repetition with the same letterform. Now, I'm starting to play around with the style of the alphabet as Molly has illustrated. This goes from condensed and upright to oblique and spaced out. By now, I'm finding that I'm sad when I have to clean my tools and pack up for the morning. Is anyone else feeling like this?


Uppercase alphabet

I continue to practice the basic strokes and lowercase letters and have added the uppercase. Definitely a greater challenge with these. I find it harder to keep a straight line with the uppercase since they're not connected. 


Day 1: Strokes and lowercase alphabet

I started this calligraphy class over the New Year's holiday and have been practicing for a few weeks now. Its part of an effort to expand my typography skills for work as an creative/art director. I thought it would be nice to take the exploration off the computer and work with my hands. Not only is it relaxing but getting that intimate with the letterforms is very educational. 

I've set aside 1-2 hours each morning to practice. It's slow work but very rewarding. Here's my work to date. I've been slow to post, but am sure to be more motivated now that I've got this part started.

I also should note that I've been working with the Speedball 99 nib. Despite living in NYC, I have combed several art stores and have come up empty-handed in trying to track down the Nikko G nibs. I order them online when I started from Paper and Ink Arts, but my two-day priority mail from the post office has now turned into a three-week missing package fiasco. In the meantime, I've placed another order and hope to have my Nikko nibs soon. I've tried a couple other Speedball nibs (finer and fatter), but found the S99 gave me a moderate range of thicks and thins to practice with. I, too, have discovered the catching and uncontrolled flowing of ink as others have mentioned. Usually by that time, I'm ready to clean my tools and get ready for work. I guess it's advisable to have a couple of pens & nibs ready to continue on.


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