As a calligraphy beginner, you probably have an idea of the calligraphy style you’d like to be able to make. Sometimes, though, you don’t have a name for it — which can make it hard to move forward! In this article, we’ll examine five common types of western calligraphy. The article concludes with a quiz to help you decide which of them to pursue!
1. Modern Pointed Pen Calligraphy
Modern pointed pen calligraphy dominates the TPK website because it’s my personal favorite out of all the different types of calligraphy. (This style of calligraphy is what I think of when I hear “modern calligraphy”, so that’s how I refer to it throughout the site.) You create this calligraphy style with a pointed pen nib, which is simply a nib with a pointed tip. If you’re interested in this calligraphy style, you can read about how to move forward with it in this article.
2. Brush Pen Calligraphy
Brush pen calligraphy is calligraphy that’s made with pens that have long, tapered tips and a consistent ink flow. The technique for using brush pens echoes the technique used for pointed pens: you apply pressure to make thick strokes, and you let up on pressure to make thin strokes. Brush pen calligraphy only requires two supplies (a brush pen and paper), and it’s a fun and approachable way to get started with any type of calligraphy. You can learn more about brush pen calligraphy — and find free brush pen worksheets — in this article. (If you like the idea of using brush pens, “Crayola calligraphy” and paintbrush lettering may also be of interest to you!)
3. Faux Calligraphy
Faux calligraphy is calligraphy created with any standard writing instrument like a ballpoint pen, chalk, or a marker. To make it, you start off by writing a word in a cursive/calligraphy style. Then, you use the same instrument to go through and thicken any downstrokes in the word. You can use faux calligraphy for almost any project, but I particularly love it for big projects like murals and chalkboards. It’s also great for writing on surfaces that aren’t suitable for the pointed pen! You can learn more about faux calligraphy (and find a free printable) in this article.
4. Traditional Pointed Pen Calligraphy
Traditional pointed pen calligraphy styles like Spencerian and Copperplate have been around for years, and you create them with particular strokes and formations. You have some room to be creative, but you don’t have a lot of freedom compared to modern calligraphy. For a comparison of modern and traditional pointed pen calligraphy styles plus resources to learn traditional calligraphy, see this article.
5. Broad Edge Calligraphy
You create broad edge calligraphy with nibs that have a flat tip. Instead of varying your pressure in order to make different stroke widths, you reposition the nib. Thick strokes are the result of allowing the entire nib to meet the paper. You create thin strokes with the nib’s edge. While there are both modern and traditional styles of broad edge calligraphy, I have to admit that my knowledge of them is limited. To learn more, I highly recommend visiting Jake Rainis’s website.
“Which Type of Calligraphy is Right for You?” Quiz
People often ask me what type of calligraphy they should start out with, so I decided to make a quiz to help you make that decision! You can click the button below to complete a short questionnaire that will lead you to the calligraphy type of your dreams:
I hope that this article helps you gain some clarity on which type of calligraphy to tackle! Remember that you don’t have to relegate yourself to only one kind of writing. Most calligraphers dabble in more than one of the types of calligraphy listed above — and some do all of them! I encourage you to try all of the calligraphy tools and styles that appeal to you, which will keep things fresh and fun.