Typography, calligraphy and my new hobby

So, I am a little bit in love with my new hobby. Well, actually, it is a rekindled hobby which has given me a fire in my belly to learn more. A feeling I have not had for long enough due to young kids and generally a lack of time and brain space.

Twenty five ish years ago, when I was around 14, a love of typography and writing (not of the writing a story kind of writing - I am rubbish at that) but just putting pen to paper kind of writing and making pretty words, took me to a Calligraphy course where I learnt all about the old letter form. I was the youngest there by a million years but I learnt so much and totally loved the creativity of it. It was something I was hooked on for quite some time until it fell by the wayside when I left home to go to college.

For the last six months or so I have been thinking of taking it up again and tried to find a local course which proved pretty hard around my area. I then spotted that this beautiful little shop called Quill in East London held Modern Calligraphy classes for beginners. Perfect. It was exactly what I was looking for. The modern calligraphy style is very up my street, more so than the slightly more formal traditional calligraphy. More flowy and allows you to express yourself in a different way.

The course definitely didn’t disappoint. I am a teeny tiny bit of a stationery lover so Just sitting in the beautiful shop surrounded by gorgeous coloured inks, washi tape and pretty notebooks and cards made me smile. In front of me was my gorgeous little pack of practice papers, a letter guide to help with formation of the letters, a pot of ink, a pen holder and a nib.

calligraphy start up pack of nib, ink and letter formation sheet

The course was split into 3 mini sessions. First of all we were taught how to make marks with the pen – how to make fine lines on the up stroke and thicker lines on the down stroke. We progressed then onto forming letters – both capital and small letters. This was done by first of all tracing each letter and then copying them. We spent a long time on this to ensure we were creating the correct shapes. 

tracing calligraphy letters

The final part was trying to create a word and then playing around with the layout of it and adding in extra flourishes. I chose the word 'wonderful' as this is now part of our new strapline and  I thought it would be nice to see how it could turn out.I practised the letters individually which you can see at the top of the photo below and then went on to join them together with deliberate wide spacing.

 a wee bit of wonderful

Everything about putting this sort of pen and ink to paper feels good. I found my old style of calligraphy was creeping through a little so I think lots of practice to try to shake off that more formal way of writing is required.

It was a super enjoyable evening and it really has made me come away wanting to practice and learn more. I immediately bought the newly released book Nib + Ink by Chiara Perano to help me continue to make time for this. I am hoping to be able to go to the Intermediate class at some point soon too.

I would love to be good enough to create and make beautiful words into cards or prints to add to Scamp’s product range so watch this space. In the meantime, I have come up with these typographic pictures which still allow me the chance to play with the layout and flourishes albeit in a more digital way. Indeed, let this adventure begin. These typographic pictures are yet to be photographed properly but as soon as they are and are up on the website I will add a link here for you.


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