Have you ever been so close to something — a hobby or activity, for example — that you have trouble seeing it how those who aren’t familiar with it might? I do that with this website. I’m so familiar with its in and outs that sometimes I forget that new visitors to the site may not understand things that I’m treating as obvious! Today, I’m taking a step back and explaining one of the most popular TPK calligraphy styles from an outsider point of view: Kaitlin Style calligraphy. I’ll talk about what it is, how it was developed, and the pros and cons of using it!
What is Kaitlin Style Calligraphy?
Before I begin, I should explain that the calligraphy styles on the TPK website are not universal calligraphy styles. Instead, they are all modern calligraphy styles that I developed. So: if you say “Kaitlin Style calligraphy” to a calligrapher out in the wild, they will probably give you a blank stare! In contrast, if you mention “Copperplate” or “Spencerian”, they’ll know what you’re talking about because those are universal, traditional calligraphy styles.
Kaitlin Style calligraphy is a whimsical and artistic calligraphy style. I like it because it reminds me of the ocean: there’s movement and a rhythm to it. The calligraphy is informal, but not in a goofy way … in fact, the informality gives it an artistic and distinctly bohemian feel. You can completely ignore uppercase letters with this calligraphy style, and it looks natural! I don’t think you could do that with a more traditional calligraphy style (like the Janet).
How Kaitlin Style Came to Be
When I first started TPK, I envisioned it as a service-based business. I loved designing invitations and calligraphing envelopes for events! As an artist and calligrapher, I’m pretty flexible and willing to try anything. So, when a client named Kaitlin from North Carolina came to me and described what she wanted, I tinkered until I came up with this calligraphy style. Kaitlin and I worked together to develop her wedding suite, which included foil-stamped invitations and RSVP cards.
After I finished Kaitlin’s project, I thought that other clients might also like materials using the same calligraphy style. I needed a name for it, and “Kaitlin Style” came to mind. So, that’s what I called it. And I was right! Other clients were interested, including a high-profile Hollywood couple. They also opted for a “Kaitlin Style” wedding suite! Here’s what their hand-written invitation suites looked like:
After a while, the TPK website grew to the point where I had to choose between offering custom calligraphy services or teaching calligraphy. I loved the creative challenge of working with clients, but teaching gives me a unique satisfaction and helps me to touch more lives! So, my choice was to continue using the Kaitlin and the other TPK calligraphy styles — but with a focus on teaching. So, now I have a Kaitlin Style Calligraphy Worksheet and an optional video course!
Pros of Using Kaitlin Style Calligraphy
Kaitlin Style calligraphy has my heart for a few reasons. First of all, its flexibility is freeing! The fact that letters dip up and down makes it easy to create curved or contoured lettering. The letter dips also mean that you have the opportunity to correct the course of your calligraphy if you find that it’s slanting too far upward or too downward! That means that pencil calligraphy guidelines are optional, which can save you a ton of time.
I like the bohemian look of the Kaitlin. I don’t think it’s for everyone, but to me, it’s pretty. The lettering serves as a reminder that some imperfection and inconsistency can be beautiful! This calligraphy style basks in both. No two letters look exactly the same, and character baselines change on a whim!
Cons of Using Kaitlin Style Calligraphy
As I mentioned, Kaitlin calligraphy is flexible. That means that there aren’t many rules when it comes to connecting letters. If you’re a fairly experienced calligrapher, that won’t be scary. But, if you’re a beginner, the lack of rules can be overwhelming! For years, I tried to make rules about the letter dips in various versions of the Kaitlin Style worksheet. Finally, I realized: assigning specific patterns to the letter dips doesn’t work.
My philosophy now is to provide plenty of word practice for Kaitlin Style calligraphy learners to fill out. The idea is that learners will develop a feel for the rhythm and go on to be adventurous with writing their own words! It’s not a perfect philosophy for everyone, but I’m convinced that it’s the best one for most people.
The second somewhat-con is that you’ve still got to be mindful of letter slant. In order for Kaitlin Style calligraphy to look elegant, all of the letters must follow the same slant. Otherwise, the calligraphy starts to look a bit too juvenile (for my taste, at least). If you have trouble with slant, you can always draw a few quick calligraphy slant lines before putting pen to paper!
Kaitlin Style Out in the Wild
TPK learners have put their own twists on Kaitlin Style calligraphy, and they’ve used it for some really cool things! This is a taste of what I’ve seen on Instagram:
How to Learn Kaitlin Style Calligraphy
If you like this calligraphy style and you’re not familiar with how to create dip pen calligraphy, take the Beginner’s Modern Calligraphy Online Course. In the course, you’ll practice a few Kaitlin Style letters! Once you complete the course, you’ll understand how to use a dip pen, and you can move on to filling out the Kaitlin Style Worksheet Set.
If you feel at home using a dip pen, you can jump straight into the Kaitlin Style Worksheet Set! Consider taking the video course if you’d like some guided practice through the worksheet. The course also teaches you how to make ombré faux Kaitlin Style calligraphy and how to address centered Kaitlin Style envelopes!
If you like the idea of Kaitlin Style calligraphy, but you don’t want to use a dip pen to create it, use a brush pen instead! The Kaitlin Style Brush Pen Calligraphy Worksheet will teach you how. And yes! Letter formation for Kaitlin Style brush pen letters and Kaitlin Style dip pen letters is quite different. Different enough that I felt compelled to release a worksheet specifically formulated for brush pens!
Minimalist At Heart?
If all you need is a simple exemplar to learn this calligraphy style, you can find a free one by clicking here. It doesn’t have any instructional bells and whistles, but that may be just fine for your learning style!
I hope that this article serves to clear up any questions that you might have had about this calligraphy style! If anything isn’t clear or you have thoughts, please feel free to contribute to the Comments! It’s always great to hear from you.
Thanks very much for reading TPK; it’s always a pleasure to have you here! Gear up for a birthday card tutorial this weekend!