If you’re new to using a dip pen, calligraphy drills can help a lot! Drills give you a nice opportunity to practice fluidity and pressure exertion without having to worry about letterforms. That said, I’ve always found drills a little bit drab and dry … until today.
This morning, I decided to make a calligraphy drills sheet for you that is actually fun to use. It’s compatible with any pen and nib combination, especially if you print it out on 32# laserjet paper. Regardless of your skill level, you can use this sheet for a number of applications, including:
- General practice – If you’re a beginner, doing these calligraphy drills will help you to gain better control over your dip pen.
- Warmup – If you need a couple of minutes of writing before you delve into a project, this is a great resource to help get your hand acclimated to calligraphy for the day!
- Creative inspiration – You can incorporate any and all of these drills into mail art and project designs.
How to Use this Calligraphy Drills Sheet
First, download and print the calligraphy drills sheet by clicking here (it’s free!).
Now, take a moment to look at the sheet. You’ll notice that on the far left, you have squares with designs that are pure black. These are exemplars to show you what you ideally want the drills that you write to look like. The second box on the left has dots and arrows to show you how to form the drills. Each drill starts with a dot, and goes from there with arrows. The next two boxes have light gray impressions of the drill for you to trace over. Go ahead and trace over the gray impressions on the “swirl” drill to get started! Be mindful, of course, of exerting pressure on your nib for downstrokes and maintaining a soft touch on the upstrokes and the horizontal strokes.
Once you’ve traced over the gray impressions, it’s time for you to try writing the “swirl” drill yourself. Try writing the drill four times, and feel free to look at the box with arrows if you get confused about formation!
Continue to fill out all the light gray and blank boxes for the rest of the calligraphy drills until you don’t have any boxes left. If you mess up, do not berate yourself! I read a great quote by Malcolm Gladwell (via @komal.and.color on Instagram) the other day: “Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.” It’s important to understand that this is only practice, and as such, it shouldn’t look perfect.
Why This Calligraphy Drills Sheet is Unique
I researched several calligraphy drills before making this sheet for you, and there are a couple of notable things that set it apart from the rest. First of all, I included quite a few designs that don’t appear on other drill sheets — like “tsunami”, “geometry”, “fingerprint”, and “fish scales”. These are all fun drills that teach you how to regulate the pressure on your pen!
Secondly, if you own any Learn Calligraphy worksheets, you know that I believe in showing you exactly how to make characters and providing you with “training wheels”. You don’t go into these calligraphy drills cold. Instead, you can observe the arrows to see how these forms are made. Tracing over gray impressions of the forms gets you acclimated to them. Then, you’re ready to try making them on your own!
I especially encourage you to try these drills if you’re just learning calligraphy! Doing these drills will give you a break from writing the alphabet and provide you with valuable pressure exertion practice. You’ll also get more comfortable with making circular motions with your pen! If you enjoy filling out this free drills sheet, you will also love the Not Your Average Calligraphy Drills: Under the Sea Edition ($5.00). It includes 16 pages of artistic marine-themed drills and projects to keep you challenged and entertained!
Again, you can download the free calligraphy drills sheet by clicking here. I hope you like it, and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments — I’m always glad to answer! Thanks very much for reading today’s short and sweet post, and enjoy the rest of your day!