This calligraphy art was inspired by a bathroom remodel that helped to modernize our midcentury ranch house. As we closed in on the remodel finish line, I began to think about what sort of art to display. Works by Elisa Ancori and Sister Golden caught my eye, but I wanted to make my own art for the space. In considering what to create, I came up with this concept: tiny calligraphy that creates the outline of a woman’s back. I think it’s the perfect artwork for a bathroom, and I kept track of my progress to write this tutorial! Read on to discover how you can make it, too.
1. Gather Your Supplies
First, download the Woman’s Silhouette Outline Template (it’s free!) by clicking here. Then, print it on any piece of paper.
Next, cut a piece of drawing paper to 8″ x 10″ (20.3 cm x 25.4 cm). I like to use Strathmore 70 or 80 lb. drawing paper because it’s got a nice, toothy texture and a pretty off-white color to it.
A successful piece of calligraphy artwork always begins with a helpful draft. Start by placing your 8″ x 10″ piece of drawing paper over the Woman’s Silhouette Outline Template. The edges of the drawing paper should line up with the rectangle containing the silhouette. Then, put both the template and the drawing paper over a light box or against a bright window. Once you can see the template through the drawing paper, use your pencil to trace over it.
Once you’re finished, your drawing paper should look something like this:
3. Add Calligraphy
Now, it’s just a matter of going over your pencil draft lines with teeny-tiny words. First, choose a text to use … that way, you won’t have to rack your brain for words as you move forward. I chose Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (just because I like that play). Use the tip of your Nikko G nib and very little pressure to pen the words along your pencil guidelines.
Continue to write over your pencil guidelines. Don’t pay a ton of attention to legibility or word logic; sometimes, you’ll need to stop and start sentences in strange places.
When you reach the woman’s hair, circle around and around with your words to fill it in. This will require rotating your paper a fair amount.
Below, you’ll find some guidance on what the hair should look like. Notice that I did one circle pattern for the hair on her head and a separate circle pattern for the bun. This helps to make the calligraphy artwork look a bit more professional.
Keep on writing! It might take you a few hours, but it’s a relaxing and worthy project.
Once you finish tracing over your pencil guidelines, use a good eraser — and a lot of caution — to erase the pencil marks. It is very important to give your piece the utmost TLC here! One wrong move, and you can wrinkle your artwork, which feels devastating when you have hours of work invested into it.
5. Display Your Calligraphy Artwork
Once you can’t see any pencil guidelines, your calligraphy artwork is finished! You can now frame, display, and impress.
Celebrating Readers’ Creativity
This tutorial was first published three years ago, which means that TPK readers have had time to play with the concept to make some really neat things. I love seeing this tutorial out in the wild, whether in its original form or with an eye-catching twist! When I took to Instagram, here’s what I saw:
If you choose to take on a different subject than the woman shown in today’s tutorial, make sure it has a lot of contrast. Better yet, use an imaging program to convert any photo into two tone art. (Note, however, that if your subject doesn’t look great as a two tone piece, it won’t work for this tutorial.) It’s a good idea to make this tutorial first as written, then take it from there! I think that this calligraphy artwork is absolutely perfect for a bathroom, bedroom, or a fairly feminine living room. It represents a celebration of the human body and throws a nod to classic literature.
I hope that you enjoyed today’s tutorial; it was a really fun one to create and write about. Thanks very much for reading TPK, and have a wonderful weekend!