• 7 Secrets to Staying in Love with Calligraphy

    There have been some hobbies I’ve tried to take on (knitting comes to mind) where I’ve crashed and burned prolifically. But calligraphy has always been easy to stick to for me! In this article, I’ll share seven ways that I stay in love with the fabulous and satisfying art.

    7 Secrets to Staying in Love with Calligraphy

    Like a lot of skills or hobbies, it’s easy to abandon your calligraphy endeavors if you don’t keep things fresh. After over a decade of creating pointed pen calligraphy, though, I still get excited about making calligraphy projects! Today, I’m sharing my seven secrets keeping the calligraphy magic alive.

    1. Vary the Types of Calligraphy Projects That You Make

    Tasteful Twist-Out Tree Holiday Card Tutorial
    This twist-out tree card is basically one big, beautiful calligraphy drill. (I also have a Valentine’s Day variation.)

    If you don’t give yourself some variety in the projects that you take on, calligraphy can get pretty boring. That’s why I use my pointed pen skills for all sorts of things! If you’re looking for some cool projects to take on, you can find a list of unique calligraphy project tutorials here.


    2. Make Calligraphy for Other People

    Flourished Calligraphy Country or State Art Tutorial
    I made this artwork for my Ecuadorian friend, who was absolutely delighted to receive it. It is currently hanging on his wall in California. I loved making it, and he loves seeing it every day — talk about a win-win!

    When I pick up my pen with the intention of creating something for someone else, the project takes on a kind of magic. I feel excited the entire time I’m making it! It’s a mix of continually seeing the project through someone else’s eyes, and also just feeling anticipation about the moment my recipient sees the project. If you can, make things for others! You could contribute to More Love Letters, write a note to a neighbor to check up on them, or make a more formal project for someone (like a calligraphy ampersand or a flourished country).

    3. Avoid Centering When Possible

    Nebraska Wedding Invitations
    These Janet Style wedding invitation envelopes have a left justification. That made them easy and enjoyable to address!

    I’m not a “math person”, so my least favorite part of calligraphy is coming up with calculations to center my words. I use a centering method described in the Intermediate Modern Calligraphy Online Course that involves making a “cheat sheet” of different word lengths, measuring them, and adding them together to come up with calligraphy line widths. If I can avoid centering my calligraphy, however, I absolutely will! There’s always an elegant way to avoid all that math. You can justify your words to the left or write on a wavy guideline, for example. You also might consider letting another design element determine your words’ positions, like in this flourished swan mail art.

    4. Try New Ink and Paper Combinations

    How to Write Calligraphy With Coffee
    I used a strong brew of coffee to write on this envelope (learn how to write pointed pen calligraphy with coffee here).

    If you’re always using the same tools, your calligraphy creation can get pretty stale. That’s why I’m always trying out different ink and paper combinations! No need to buy anything new: you can vary your supplies economically. For example, try making your own stationery out of an interesting paper, which you can write on directly with ink. You can also consider using non-traditional liquids as ink, like strongly-brewed coffee or tea.

    5. If You Don’t Feel Like Making Calligraphy, Don’t Force It

    Remy Hiking
    There are times when I’d rather go out hiking with my family than flex my calligraphy muscle … and that’s perfectly okay!

    Calligraphy should be a fun and relaxing activity, not something that you don’t look forward to or resent. To that end, you shouldn’t force yourself to write if you’re not feeling it. If you’d rather spend your free time on a particular day getting out in nature, trying out a recipe, or reading a book, do it! Balancing activities will make your time with your pointed pen that much sweeter when you can get back to it.

    6. Make a Pleasant Environment

    Writing Calligraphy
    Try to make sure that your desk space is clean and clear! It’s a bit easier to think — and write — when you don’t have to deal with clutter.

    To me, calligraphy offers a welcome retreat from the demands of everyday life, so I try to craft an environment that complements that. I always wear comfortable clothing, have a cup of herbal tea at hand, and an audiobook or podcast playing in the background. Your ideal environment might be different from mine, so do what works for you to make your creation space feel good.

    7. Vary the Calligraphy Styles that You Use

    Mail Art
    These envelopes celebrate a range of different calligraphy styles. Some are neat and orderly, while others feel a bit more wild and organic!

    I sometimes feel like Zoolander talking about his new “Blue Steel” look when I launch into calligraphy style talk. But, honestly: writing in the same style over and over can get boring, which is why I suspect that modern calligraphy has risen in popularity. There are days where you’ll feel like writing elegant, traditional words, and you should give in to that! Other days, you might want to write something that looks a little less structured, and that’s perfect, too. After all, calligraphy is just another art form that provides a way to express yourself!

    How TPK Can Help

    So much of this website is dedicated to supporting your pointed pen calligraphy endeavors. Even blog posts that aren’t calligraphy-related endeavor to keep things fresh by exploring other ways to channel your creativity. My philosophy? Flex your creative muscle in general, and you’ll see an improvement in your calligraphy!

    Ink on the "perfect summer day" sketchbook page
    I love to incorporate calligraphy into my sketchbooking projects. This particular page features a lot of fun modern script!

    When I’m not writing tutorials that aim to inspire, I’m developing worksheets or video courses to educate and inspire. Try any of the Not Your Average Calligraphy Drills, especially the calligraphy medallions. The Intermediate Modern Calligraphy Online Course is also excellent for those who want a creativity-boosting pointed pen challenge. I love grading the homework in that course because people always come up with cool concepts for the “Cafe Carlos” menu assignment!

    These are two students’ takes on a calligraphy menu design project from the Intermediate Modern Calligraphy Online Course.

    If you like watercolor, too, consider learning how to make a watercolor illustrated map. That project concept marries lettering and calligraphy skills with illustration and watercolor in order to make eye-catching personalized maps. Or, for straightforward practice, try taking on a simple calligraphy worksheet. As long as a certain form of pointed pen calligraphy practice (or a project) appeals to you, you can’t go wrong.

    It’s important to remember that, just like any skill or hobby, calligraphy isn’t perfect all the time. Not every project you make will be fantastic, and that’s alright. It’s all part of evolving your personal style and adding enjoyment to your life! Thanks very much for reading, and I hope that this article brings some inspiration to your calligraphy creation.


    Lindsey's Signature | The Postman's Knock