You don’t actually need any reasons to learn calligraphy besides “because I want to”. But, for those who are searching for additional motivation to pick up a dip pen, this article happily exists. If you already enjoy creating calligraphy, you might find new ideas for how to apply your skills!
When I first picked up a dip pen, my reasons to learn calligraphy were as follows: first, I wanted to try something new. Second, I had just moved to Colorado, and I wanted to send my friends in my home state (Kansas) beautiful correspondence. Finally, I hoped to make a little bit of money on the side! Now, with several years of teaching calligraphy under my belt, I’ve found that people have all sorts of motivations for learning calligraphy. This article is a compilation of my seven favorites!
1. Mental Health
Throughout the course of writing this blog, I’ve received countless emails detailing how calligraphy got someone through a tough time. Calligraphy provides an ideal outlet when things feel out of control because it forces you to slow down, focus, and breathe. Whenever you feel frustrated or overwhelmed, try reaching for your dip pen and do some drills! While calligraphy isn’t a cure, it can help you to feel a whole lot better.
Like any activity, you can throw as much money at calligraphy supplies as you want to. But, in order to create calligraphy, you really only need a pen, a nib, ink, and paper. If you’re on a budget, I recommend buying a straight pen, a Nikko G nib, India or sumi ink, and a ream of 32# laserjet paper (which will sustain you for a year or two of practice). Then, browse through the TPK blog for information, instructions, and free printables!
While most TPK readers create calligraphy for the sheer joy of it, there are some who have used their skills to save or make money. Calligraphy is an art that takes time and practice, which means that it can cost a pretty penny to have someone create calligraphy for you. If you create calligraphy yourself, you’ll save money on things like event announcements (e.g. wedding invitations) and custom-designed paper goods. Additionally, you can offer your calligraphy services to others to make a little bit of extra jingle on the side!
One of the coolest reasons to learn calligraphy is the fact that you can use it to up the hygge factor in your home. I’ve used calligraphy to create a lot of home décor … general art, labels (see my mom’s pantry!), wifi signs, you name it! There are a lot of calligraphy-based projects that you can make that will help to personalize your space and make it feel more homey.
5. Calligraphy Adds Beauty to Sketchbooks and Bullet Journals
If you’re an avid sketchbooker or you love working in a bullet journal, you can use your calligraphy to enhance pages! I love using calligraphy to add information to my sketchbook pages. I think that the extra bit of written communication really helps to preserve memories and emotions — all while increasing the aesthetic value of the page.
As I was brainstorming this blog post with my assistant, Geni, she suggested that calligraphed cards mean a lot to her. “I’ve never thrown away a handmade card,” she told me. I agree! Investing the time and energy to make a calligraphed card and/or envelope shows love for the recipient in a subtle and elegant way.
At university, my friends used to have me write out notes after job interviews to help them stand out. I always did the same after my own job interviews with fantastic results! Beautiful handwriting and a stunning envelope presentation convey a message beyond what you actually write in the note. It says you are fastidious, you pay attention to detail, and you aim to impress. On another note, when we lived in an apartment, I always sent beautifully calligraphed “rent check envelopes” to our property manager. He was devastated when we moved out, and he wanted to help us in any way that he could as we transitioned into homeownership! In five years of living in our apartment, I never met the property manager face to face, but my envelopes helped us stand out to him.
I hope that you enjoyed reading through these reasons to learn calligraphy! If you’d like to share why you decided to learn calligraphy, I’d love to read your story in the comments section. 🙂 Note that this article was originally written in March of 2015. I gave it a much-needed update today to reflect what I’ve learned about learners’ motivations over the years. Thanks very much for reading, and happy writing!