In the last couple of months calligraphy has become much more important to Forever Heyday. It began as service we only offered to friends, however, we are now frequently being asked to address our clients invitations! It is a great honor to get to add this very personal touch to each invitation. We have been given many compliments and quite a few style points, but these haven’t come easily. It took quite a bit of research, a few lessons and lots of practice to get the results. With that being said, it is time to take some of the mystery away and give you some tips on where to start if you are interested in giving calligraphy a whirl.
We would like to start off by saying, our style of calligraphy is not classic, it is very stylized. Although, we am capable of producing the popular Copperplate and many others. Copperplate is actually the first script we learned. Not knowing exactly where to start, we contacted professional calligrapher, Melissa Titone of Words of a Feather for a lesson. She is based out of Santa Rosa, California, but occasionally teaches classes in the Bay Area. The first lesson was an hour long and covered tools, how to hold a pen, applying proper pressure and the structure to letter forms. Creating completing complete letters, let alone string them together to make a word was not an option in the first lesson. Melissa really stressed the importance of a good foundation before moving on to the alphabet.
A lesson or set of lessons is highly recommend as a starting point, but if you are brave enough to teach yourself I recommend find a copy of Mastering Copperplate Calligraphy: A Step by Step Manual. It will help you with the basics and then you choose where to from there. Think you are ready to give calligraphy a try? Read below for our suggestions for tools, with a few tips and things to know. If you have any questions, please feel free to email us, hello [at] foreverheyday.com or comment! We are happy to help, since we know we started from scratch just like you might be.
Tools (all items are pictured above):
- Oblique Nib Holder
- Nibs: Gillot 303 (blue, pictured on right) or current favorite, Hunt 512 (silver, pictured left)
- Black India Ink to start. Looking to get fancy, any Dr. Ph. Martin’s calligraphy ink.
- Slanted calligraphy practice pad
- Mastering Copperplate Calligraphy: A Step by Step Manual
- Don’t with your legs crossed. Have your fit firmly on the floor. Posture is important!
- Pressure should only be applied on your down stroke
- Put a slanted practice sheet under your paper on top of a light box to practice
- Practice the forms pictured above. Notice how the tops and bottoms are squared off for Copperplate!
Things to know:
- Don’t assume you will master letters in your first lesson
- Be prepared to be frustrated
- Practice constantly
Check back next week for a review on our favorite calligraphy inks!