Page 1

MADE WITH

Get started in nib calligraphy

LOVE

&brush lettering

BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO

8 FREEE PULL-OUT

ARTCARDS ARTCARD INSIDE

PEN TO PAPER

Get started with practice sheets & guides

WEDDINGS HOME DÉCOR GREETINGS CARDS Simple projects to try today!

EXPERTISE&INSPIRATION

From Kirsten Burke • Betty Soldi • Quill London • Lauren Cooper & more

Essential know-how

Easy craft ideas

Expert techniques

MADE WITH LOVE 04 PRINTED IN THE UK. £9.99 PART OF A VALUE PACK, NOT FOR RESALE

Mindful calligraphy


PHOTO: Unsplash, Alexandra Gorn


BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO

Calligraphy consultant KIRSTEN BURKE @kirstenburkedesigns Kirsten Burke is one of the UK’s leading modern calligraphers. She shares her expertise throughout the magazine with a range of in-depth tutorials for both nib and brush, as well as ideas for simple projects to show off your new skills. Read more about Kirsten on page 12.

EDITOR’S LETTER Modern calligraphy is an exciting way to bring beauty to the everyday act of handwriting, with a new generation of creative calligraphers spreading their love of lettering and its infinite creative possibilities. Anyone can give it a go, and just a few hours of practice will reap massive rewards. We’ll take you through the basics, looking at both nib and brush styles, and providing tutorials and projects to help you develop your lettering to create unique cards, home décor and more. We also talk to some of the biggest names in modern calligraphy, take a look at the workshops available and examine the link between calligraphy and mindfulness – it not only improves your creativity but your wellbeing too! Enjoy... Vicki Atkinson

More contributors

BETTY SOLDI @bettysoldi Florence-based Betty runs her creative studio as well as two quirky B&Bs. Read our interview with her about the link between calligraphy and mindfulness on page 99.

LAUREN COOPER @ohwondercalligraphy The London-based calligrapher behind studio Oh Wonder shows you how to create beautiful hand-lettered envelopes and talks about her work on page 49.

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BECKI CLARK @becki_clark_ Brush lettering artist Becki discusses creativity and her love of nature over on page 82, and has also created three exclusive brush lettering projects for us, starting from page 84.


BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO

72

46

30 features

Sit back and have a read about this inspirational skill

Cover calligraphy by Kirsten Burke

nib

Dip your pen into the world of creating beautiful inked letter forms

08 PUTTING PEN TO PAPER An introduction to modern calligraphy

20 PRODUCT GUIDE The materials you need to get started

16 ANATOMY OF AN ALPHABET The main principles of lettering

22 NIB CALLIGRAPHY BASICS How to start using a dip pen

54 SHOPPING GALLERY Home décor inspired by calligraphy

30 CONNECTING LETTERS Tips on sizing and shaping letters

56 LEARNING CURVE The benefits of taking a workshop

38 INK WASHES Combining calligraphy with colour

96 INSTAGRAM GALLERY Calligraphers sharing their work online

42 CREATING BOUNCE Creating interest and movement

99 IT’S ALL IN THE MIND Betty Soldi – calligraphy as mindfulness

46 GIFT WRAPPING PROJECT A stylish way to present your presents! 49 FANCY ENVELOPES Mail with the wow factor

8 FREEE

52 MONOGRAM LOCKET Craft a heritage piece of jewellery

PULL-OUT ARTCARDS PAGE 98

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WIN!

Turn to page 59 to win a Manuscript modern calligraphy bundle

CONTENTS

PRIZES WORTH

£400!

64

90

89 brush

Whether you choose a pen or a brush, learn the basics of this lettering style 62 PRODUCT GUIDE What you need to get started 64 BRUSH CALLIGRAPHY BASICS How to start using a brush 71 WRAPPING PAPER Turn your drills into gorgeous gift wrap 72 ALPHABET SHAPES Changing the look of your letters 77 BLENDING COLOURS Creating multi-hued lettering 84 WEDDING TABLE NUMBERS Three looks with large-scale numerals 89 BRUSH BANNER Create a funky piece of wall art 90 WATERCOLOUR ART Combining lettering with painting 93 FAUX CALLIGRAPHY Fake it ‘til you can make it!

profiles

99

We talk to three inspiring modern calligraphers 12 KIRSTEN BURKE In high demand for personal artwork, branding and merchandise, Kirsten shares her story of becoming a professional calligrapher 44 LUCY EDMONDS Read how the owner of stationery boutique and iconic studio Quill London helped popularise modern calligraphy in the UK 82 BECKI CLARK Brush lettering artist Becki reveals how nature inspires her work, and describes her journey from greetings card designer to freelance artist

COPYRIGHT The copyright of the artwork in this magazine remains with the individual artists. You are welcome to photocopy the practice pages for your own use, but please do not create artwork to sell or for other commercial uses that is based on artwork in the magazine. Thank you.

Betty Soldi shares ways to get creative with your writing and develop your own style of calligraphy

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FE ATURE

Putting pen to paper Not only does learning calligraphy unlock the ability to create beautiful pieces of art, but Katie Antoniou finds this traditional skill can lead to a myriad of other benefits... 8


MODERN CALLIGRAPHY

The handwritten word is once again being embraced, and in the age of computers and the internet, what we’re learning to value most is what sets us apart from machines. Handwritten words take time and effort; they’re unique, they’re imperfect and you can hold them in your hands. A new generation of calligraphers such as Kirsten Burke and Alice Gabb are encouraging people to put pen to paper again. There’s never been a better time to master this skill.

Alice Gabb is one of the new generation of calligraphers sharing her skills

Creating in the digital age “There’s a real understanding and appreciation of fine lettering amongst the general public that never existed before,” explains Kirsten. “Social media platforms, such as Pinterest with its beautiful images and Facebook with people sharing their favourite motivational mantras, mean that people have a real awareness of lettering and design.” As a result, more and more people want to learn how to create this beautiful lettering for themselves. Alice Gabb is a calligrapher based in East London, who teaches workshops and who has worked for Harrods, Selfridges and Barbour. “Most people who come to my classes don’t have creative jobs, but they feel

Modern calligraphy encompasses brush lettering too

like they are creative souls and so they are coming to feed that streak,” she explains. “It takes a high level of focus and patience to recreate the lettering correctly with a nib – you can’t really be thinking about anything else. This sounds stressful but most people say how therapeutic and mindful it is to not be able to worry about anything else.” This desire to create feeds into a much wider trend for spending time and money on experiences rather than objects. Research into what

makes people the happiest shows that ‘learning something new’ ranks very highly. And, of course, we’re not learning to write from scratch; the beauty of modern calligraphy is that it is a development of your existing skills which can also embrace imperfections. “Modern calligraphy and brush lettering are much less formal and more playful than the Copperplate calligraphy script,” says Alice. “It celebrates the perfectly imperfect. Copperplate takes years to master, whereas modern calligraphy can be learnt in considerably less time – with the right amount of practice, around six to twelve months.” Once you’ve got to grips with the basics of modern calligraphy, it can be used in so many ways – see Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls’ gift wrap on page 46 or Kathy Glynn’s locket on page 52. You’ll also start finding inspiration for your calligraphy in all sorts of places. “I’m obsessed with packaging,” says Maybelle. “If I’m at a grocery store, especially in foreign countries, I meander down the aisles looking at the packages of tea, chocolate and jam!”

Better health with writing Taking a break from screen time and the fast pace of modern life, writing by hand mightt fe feel good for the soul,


MODERN CALLIGRAPHY

INTRO

Get started in modern calligraphy Whether you’re aiming to start with a nib or a brush pen, there are some guidelines that apply to both styles Stroke order

P ractice

Calligraphy can be very different to normal handwriting. The techniques required for beautiful lettering take some getting used to, until you don’t even think about it anymore. Even just 10 minutes a day of drills and word formations will help you improve as well as provide a relaxing, mindful activity. Keep a pad and pen to hand for when you have time to spare.

Some beginner alphabets will use numbered arrows to show which way to write your strokes, which is really helpful. The general rule of thumb is to start from the left or top of a letter to create the base shape, with the crosses or tails added last, such as the cross of a capital A and the tail of a Q. Turn to page 25 for a lovely beginner alphabet to try in both lower and upper case.

Families

Thickness

There are many alphabet styles you can follow to create your calligraphy and, of course, you can create your own. Where an alphabet holds its family roots is in the shape of the ‘o’ – the height and angle of this one character is replicated throughout many of the other letters. Keeping this consistent means your letterforms will look cohesive and professional. See pages 33 and 73 for more of an overview.

Whichever pen you’re holding, the premise is the same – apply pressure on the downstroke for a thick line and release it as you head back on the upstroke for a thinner line. With practise you’ll get an idea of how much to push down for your preferred thickness – don’t worry, the nib or tip can take it! Flicks and flourishes need a lighter touch, and you’ll get used to that with practice too.

“Keep your practice sheets and look back to see how far you’ve come!” BECKI CLARK

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MODERN CALLIGRAPHY

INTRO

Anatomy of a word

Relax! Hold the pen with a gentle grip and let the movements come from your arm, not the wrist. Turn the paper to get the right angle and position, rather than your arm

Here are some basic terms you’ll read about in your calligraphy journey Ascender Upstroke

Waistline

Downstroke

Descender

Going digital Technology loves lettering too As well as scanning in your calligraphy and editing it to suit your project, lettering can also be created digitally using an iPad and stylus or a graphics tablet – featured here is Peggy Dean’s (@thepigeonletters) gorgeous lettering on a Wacom tablet. Apps such as ProCreate offer a range of creative editing functions as well as the opportunity to practise your letter forms and shapes.

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Flourish

Calligraphy lettering by Betty Soldi

Baseline


MODERN CALLIGRAPHY

BRUSH

Materials & tools for brush calligraphy There’s a lot of choice when it comes to brush lettering, so here are the basics that you need to get started

BRUSH PENS

Ecoline Brush Pens are waterbased and great for beginners

Many brush calligraphers choose to create their lettering with a readymade brush pen. These are similar to standard felt-tips but with a longer, flexible tip, so the lines change between thick and thin, depending on the pressure applied or the angle used. Felt-tip brush pens are a great place to start as they make consistent marks and are easy to control, such as Kirsten Burke's dual-tipped brush pen (above). Fibre-tips feel more like a paintbrush, with bristles that spread when pressure is applied. There are many brands to choose from, but also look out for Ecoline or Manuscript.

WAT E R B R U S H P E N S

WAT E R C O LO U R O R PERMANENT

Brush pens come with a choice of permanent or water-based ink, which is something you need to consider, depending on what you’re planning to do with your lettering. Water-based pens, such as the Manuscript Aquabrush pen (above), are great for colour blending, as they can be mixed with other pens or be dipped in water to dilute the colours and achieve gradient effects. However, if water is spilled on the lettering, it will run. Permanent ink obviously won’t run, but won’t blend either. It’s great for writing on acetate, glass or porcelain.

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Widely available at craft stores, these pens have a flexible brush tip with a liquid cartridge attached – you can simply fill the cartridge with ink for continuous flow, or fill with water and dip into inks or paints for some creative colour blending. These usually come in multi-packs, so you can have multiple pens for different colours without the hassle of having to clean them out each time.


MODERN CALLIGRAPHY

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BRUSH

Turn to page 59 to win a Manuscript modern calligraphy bundle

PRIZES WORTH

PHOTO: Unsplash, Niketh Vellanki

£400!

Brush calligraphy has its origins in the far east, with beautiful handdrawn characters

PA I N T B R U S H E S

Historically, beautiful Japanese lettering was created with a paintbrush and many modern calligraphers enjoy the natural feel of a simple brush. Sizes range from very thin to super-size, so they’re great for a wide range of projects. As they’re easy to wash, paintbrushes can be used over and over with watercolours, metallic paints and all kinds of ink.

PA PER

I N K S A N D PA I N T S

When working with brush pens, you can mix the colours with other water-based pens or inks to create beautiful blends. A quick rinse will get rid of the excess colour. For paintbrushes, the possibilities are extensive – you can use watercolours, gouache and all types of ink. For wall art, choose archival or lightfast inks and for shiny surfaces such as mirrors or candle holders, choose acrylic paints as they dry opaque and permanent.

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Using fibrous or even printer paper can damage the tips of brush pens over time, so choose smooth papers such as the Rhodia practice pads or good quality watercolour papers from your local art store. As tracing paper isn’t porous, it’s no use for brush work, but Kirsten Burke recommends layout paper which is smooth and semi-transparent and readily available at a reasonably low cost.


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Leading calligraphers share their insight and techniques for both nib & brush lettering ORDER YOUR COPY TODAY!

ORDER ONLINE www.buysubscriptions.com/calligraphy OR CALL 03330 162 138 and quote ‘Beginner’s Guide to Modern Calligraphy Print 1’ UK calls will cost the same as other standard fixed line numbers (starting 01 or 02) and are included as part of any inclusive or free minutes allowances (if offered by your phone tariff). Outside of free call packages call charges from mobile phones will cost between 3p and 55p per minute. Lines are open Mon – Fri 8am-6pm and Saturday 9am-1pm for orders only. Overseas please call +44 (0)1604 973 746. Price applies to UK orders only. EUR price £11.99, ROW price £12.99. All prices include P&P. Please allow up to 28 days for delivery.

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Beginner's Guide to Modern Calligraphy  

Enter the wonderful world of modern calligraphy with this inspirational magazine. You'll find tutorials and projects for both nib and brush...

Beginner's Guide to Modern Calligraphy  

Enter the wonderful world of modern calligraphy with this inspirational magazine. You'll find tutorials and projects for both nib and brush...