2017 was a fun and artistic year for this website (and, in effect, for me)! Creative calligraphy drills came on the scene, we explored calligraphy medallions, and children’s broad-tipped markers found a new use. Don’t remember some of those posts? No worries! A vast amount of articles live here on the TPK blog, and it’s inevitable that you may have missed a few. If that’s the case, I’ve got a summary of the top 10 blog posts of 2017 for you. Let’s start at 10 and work our way down!
We typically think of people who have sketchbooks as highly artistic types who ooze talent. However, keeping a sketchbook journal can benefit virtually anyone! A sketchbook journal can be whatever you want it to be — a workbook to practice your lettering, a place to explore your feelings, and/or a scrapbook to collect memories in.
In the “How to Make a Sketchbook Journal (And Why You Should!)” post, you’ll find detailed instructions for starting your own sketchbook. The post includes reasons to give sketchbooking a try, as well as a few book recommendations for additional inspiration.
The “Am I Into Calligraphy” worksheet was created for people who like the idea of calligraphy, but aren’t sure whether it’s an activity they would enjoy in reality. For a modest investment of a calligraphy pen, a nib, and ink, you can play around with the worksheet to get a soft introduction to the art.
The point of the printable is to test out whether calligraphy is a good fit for you or not. Is it a skill that you would enjoy devoting time to developing? If so, then the post suggests resources to explore after filling out the worksheet, from drill sheets to detailed calligraphy worksheets.
The idea behind the Six Free Printables That Will Improve Your Calligraphy This Month post is consistency. Carve out time in the next four weeks to fill out the printables outlined in the post, and you will notice an improvement in your dip pen skills!
While the printables are free, you should make sure you have the proper paper to print them on. I always use this exact 32# laserjet paper. (Note that you don’t need a laserjet printer to print on laserjet paper; any printer will work!)
Calligraphy makes for a satisfying and fulfilling hobby — and one that you can easily monetize! The How to Make Extra Income Selling Calligraphy post details some tips and tricks for using your skills to add some cushion to your cashflow.
As the post details, Etsy is going to be your secret weapon, especially as you’re just starting out. I always liked selling on Etsy because clients would choose me solely based on the photos they saw there. Effectively, I didn’t have to do any work for family and friends, which I think is preferable when you’re just starting out (you can learn why in the 8 Tips for Starting a Calligraphy Business post).
Every year, my goal is to improve the resources offered to you on this site. The Flourish Formal Worksheet Set was the first printable calligraphy worksheet set that I ever made, and it was lacking in quality compared to the others because of its age. The end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017 was dedicated to creating a new Flourish Formal Worksheet Set, and this post announced its arrival with details over how to effectively use the new and improved worksheet.
This year, I’m also working to develop improvements to the Kaitlin Style and the Amy Style worksheet sets. Re-vamping worksheets takes a lot of time and thought, but it’s work that makes me happy. After all, I want to make sure that I put out resources that are as fun, encouraging, and helpful as they can possibly be!
Part of the appeal of dip pen calligraphy lies in its versatility. You can write with any color of ink … or watercolor! The Creating Gold Calligraphy: How to Use the Finetec Palette post teaches you how to use metallic watercolors to make shimmering, opaque gold calligraphy.
While I generally use the Finetec palette to create gold calligraphy, other good options include gold sumi ink and Kuretake Starry Colors. The technique is exactly the same, and the results are every bit as gorgeous!
Humans are impatient creatures, and when we decide we want to pick up a new skill, we want to be good at it — and fast! The reality of calligraphy is that you can get the basics down in a day; but it’s continued practice that will lead to an elegant technique. The How to Learn Calligraphy in Two Months post doesn’t presume to turn you into an expert overnight, but it does make suggestions for a two month curriculum to vastly improve your skill set during that time.
Frustration is your main enemy when learning calligraphy. When you don’t see improvement, the instinct is to blame a lack of talent. Try to resist that, and have patience! If you don’t see improvement by the end of two months, then it’s fair to put your pen in storage. However, I have a strong suspicion that if you follow the timeline and suggestions in the post, your pen won’t go into retirement anytime soon.
Relaxation is the number one reason that people seem to gravitate toward creating calligraphy. The slow, intentional motions can really help to take the edge off of a less-than-awesome day, or help to make an already great day better. The 11 Calming Calligraphy Drills printable provides simple, soothing calligraphy exercises to improve your skills and help you to zone out.
As with all other calligraphy drills, you can fill out the Calming Calligraphy Drills sheet with an oblique or a straight pen. Whichever nib and pen combination you feel most comfortable with is perfect!
As it turns out, your kids’ favorite broad-tipped markers can come in handy outside of the coloring book! You can use markers to create professional-looking brush calligraphy, and the How to Write Crayola Calligraphy post will teach you how.
I enjoy creating calligraphy with markers when I want my work to have a playful look. To me, dip pen calligraphy is elegant and a bit nostalgic (in a good way!). Marker and/or brush pen calligraphy is thick, vibrant, and modern. Still, the two types of calligraphy are linked in that the more you practice one, the better you’ll get at the other, and vice-versa. “Crayola” calligraphy can help you to memorize letterforms and create more confident strokes, among other benefits!
While dip pen calligraphy is gorgeous/cool/unique, it is difficult to use in the “real world”. Ink isn’t exactly portable, for one, and dip pen calligraphy takes time to make. That said, your writing can say a lot about you, especially when it counts (like in a thank you card after a job interview). With that in mind, I wrote the Eight Tips to Improve Your Handwriting post, and I created a free worksheet to go along with it.
The secret to nice handwriting is to slow down. You don’t have to write at a snail’s pace, but deliberate and thoughtful hand movements will reflect in your penmanship. Note that though the free worksheet in the post focuses on cursive, you can still have pretty print writing! Just take it one (un-rushed) letter at a time, and whatever you write will look great.
So, there you have it — the top 10 TPK posts for 2017! The Beginner’s Guide to Modern Calligraphy still sits in the #1 all-time spot, but these posts are just as educational, entertaining, and inspirational. If you have a favorite, I’m curious to hear what it is! What kind of posts do you like seeing from TPK? I would love to take your preferences and feedback into consideration as I continue to write throughout this year. 🙂
Thanks very much for reading, and have a fantastic week!