If you’re looking for ways to add a little bit of zing to your lettering, then you’ll enjoy the artistic calligraphy variations outlined in this post! All four of the variations are easily-implemented, small tricks that you can apply to any piece of calligraphy to lend personality and visual interest.
1. Write using only lowercase letters.
Writing using only lowercase letters has gained popularity over the past few years, and not only in the calligraphy community! Many companies — from West Elm to Macy’s — use all-lowercase logos, ostensibly to exude a more approachable, casual vibe. Writing in lowercase letters can help your calligraphy to achieve the same informal feel!
If you take a calligraphy style like the Janet — which is elegant and dignified — and only use lowercase letters, the lettering suddenly takes on a playful air. Omitting capital letters lends a delightful whimsy to pieces, perhaps because the calligraphy doesn’t conform to conventional rules.
While I have shown Janet Style calligraphy in this example, you can successfully apply the all-lowercase principle to any calligraphy or lettering style! The result will always be charmingly approachable.
2. Connect all of the letters and words.
Calligraphy is all about connecting letters to make words, but rarely do we connect words to each other! Adding connections between words — and the edges of the paper — can render unique artistic calligraphy that is a joy to create!
Your one goal when implementing this suggestion is to find a way to connect every single letter and number. If a connection location isn’t obvious, you can always draw a connecting line under the character. For example, the “6” and the “8” below connect to each other and to the “S” of “Sycamore” with low connecting lines.
If you’ve never tried this connecting technique before, I suggest using it first on an upright calligraphy style. Amy Style calligraphy (shown above) lends itself naturally to this technique; the long curved lines between letters look very natural, and it’s easy to tell where one word ends and another begins!
3. Use unconventional inks.
As a general rule, if a liquid can stain paper, then it can be used as an ink! From watercolor paints to wine, you can utilize many different substances to write with. The Kaitlin Style example shown features coffee; I love the way coffee interacts with the paper because it has a nice, earthy feel! You can also see that the letters are naturally dark around the edges, which lends the calligraphy such a neat effect.
If you choose to write with an unconventional medium, especially beverages, you may find the liquid to be too watery. If that’s the case, you can always mix in a little bit of gum arabic to make the makeshift “ink” thicker and more user-friendly!
4. Elongate crosses and the beginning/ends of letters.
This artistic calligraphy suggestion is best implemented on Kaitlin Style calligraphy. That’s because Kaitlin lends itself well to swooping lines and lingering crosses on letters like “t” and “f”!
When you begin writing a word with this artistic calligraphy modification in mind, start the first letter with a big, extravagant upstroke. Then, end the last letter of the word with another lingering upstroke. If you encounter any letters within the word like “t”, “f”, or “x” — letters that require a cross-stroke — make that cross with gusto and let it go on for miles!
This last calligraphy variation is perhaps my favorite because it flows so well. When you first glance at a piece made using this technique, you don’t see individual words at first: instead, you see a sea of lettering that almost looks like ocean waves!
I hope that you enjoyed reading these four suggestions for creating artistic calligraphy! You can implement them in any endeavor that requires creative lettering, from mail art to place cards to wedding invitations. For example, imagine Kaitlin Style elongated calligraphy on a letterpress invitation: that would be gorgeous!
If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to contribute them in the comments! Otherwise, have a fantastic weekend, and thanks very, very much for reading TPK!