When I first started learning how to use a pointed pen, the idea of calligraphy drills seemed impossibly boring! I wanted to make beautiful flourishes and letters, but all of the drills I saw looked tedious. So, for the first few years of my calligraphy career, I simply didn’t do any drills. Then, I slowly began to incorporate them into my practice, and I watched my skills blossom. In this article, I’m here help you embrace drills, too, with six reasons to add them to your practice sessions:
1. Calligraphy Drills Help You Master the Basics
If you’re new to calligraphy, drills will teach you the foundational strokes of calligraphy. They help you to master these strokes with plenty of repetition and simplicity.
Oftentimes, a beginner’s biggest weakness is hesitancy. If you aren’t confident about making certain strokes, those strokes will likely look shaky and misshapen. Drills essentially help you to build up your skills in a judgment-free zone. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how that translates into good-looking alphabet characters later!
2. Drills Provide an Excellent Warm Up
I’m guessing that when you sit down to create calligraphy, you want to start creating beautiful things immediately. (At least, that’s how I feel!) If you haven’t used your hand to write yet today, though, your pen probably won’t do what you want it to. Drills help you ease in to creating polished, non-shaky calligraphy.
You don’t have to do mountains of drills before taking on your main calligraphy project for the day. Just a few lines of squiggles or a couple of drills from a printout like this one will help to prepare your writing arm!
3. Drills Switch Things Up
Variety is the best gift that you can give yourself when it comes to practicing calligraphy. That applies to any skill level! Only doing one thing — whether that’s writing out alphabet exemplars or addressing envelopes — will get really old, really fast. When you notice that one component of your practice is getting stale, try doing some drills.
4. Drills are Relaxing
The modern world can feel overwhelming with all its emails, social media notifications, and text messages. Most of us are doing some sort of juggling act that is practically unachievable without taking some downtime to recenter! That’s where calligraphy drills come in.
To me, the best medicine for a stressful day is the repetition of drills. I like to listen to a great audiobook, dip my pen in ink, and take it from there. I always emerge from my practice session feeling calm and capable!
5. Drills Help to Acquaint You with New Tools
There are so many different pens, inks, and nibs available, and all of them have their own quirks. The best way to familiarize yourself with those quirks is to use your new supplies to make drills! That way, if you’re not quite getting along with the nib you ordered, you can freely experiment until it starts to work for you.
6. Drills Aren’t Just for Practice
Intricate drills are great for practice and projects. For example, I used the flourished seahorse motif from the Seahorse-Themed Calligraphy Drills to make the simple card below. Calligraphy medallions are also fantastic for projects, whether that’s making a card or adding interest to the back of an envelope.
TPK Favorite Calligraphy Drills Sheets
There are several fabulous drills sheets on TPK! The 11 Calming Calligraphy Drills printable and the “Not Your Average Calligraphy Drills” are the two most-downloaded of all the free drills. (You can find a list of all of TPK’s freebie drills here.)
I’ve also got three themed drills sheets that are several pages long, plus two calligraphy medallions worksheets. You can find those in the TPK Catalog for $5 apiece. My favorites are the Dancing Pen Calligraphy Medallions Worksheet and the Not Your Average Calligraphy Drills: Fairytale Edition. They’re just so imaginative and fun! But, really, you can’t go wrong with any of them.
Now Available: Procreate Calligraphy Drills
If you prefer to practice your calligraphy on the iPad, I’ve got good news: as of yesterday, all TPK drills are available in a Procreate-friendly format. Just download the file, import the page of your choice into Procreate, then practice with with “Brush Pen” brush (under “Calligraphy Brushes”) at size 4% in a new layer. Enjoy!
I hope that this article inspires you to get your drills on. Thanks so much for reading, and happy writing!