As a creative company, us at Bigger Dot love what Skillshare is doing so when we saw our friends at Design Taxi did a write up on them we had to share! 

The best thing about calligraphed and hand-lettered notes is knowing that they were not simply generated by a computer. Every phrase inspires a personal feeling that brings to mind the process, effort, and care behind each product. 

If calligraphy or hand-lettering is a skill that you are looking to pick up in the new year, look no further! Skillshare has a wide range of classes with step-by-step instructions to get you started. Taught by skilled calligraphers and expert hand-lettering artists, these videos are full of tips and tricks that will make your learning process a breeze. Read on for five useful tips to creating beautiful lettered pieces. 


1. Get Acquainted With Your Materials. 

Calligrapher Bryn Chernoff show off a pointed nib

Calligrapher Bryn Chernoff show off a pointed nib

Designer Martina Flor displays the basic tools of calligraphy: translation tools with a broad or chiseled nib, and expansion tools with pointed nibs   

Designer Martina Flor displays the basic tools of calligraphy: translation tools with a broad or chiseled nib, and expansion tools with pointed nibs 

 

It’s easy for a first timer to feel a bit overwhelmed by the many materials available — from ink and paper to a wide variety of pens and nibs — but these classes make smart recommendations. In her class titled ‘Calligraphy I: Writing in Classic Modern Script’, Bryn Chernoff (of modern calligraphy studio Paperfinger) breaks down the two main types of nibs that you can use for modern calligraphy: pointed or chiseled. She also suggests using layout paper, which provides a smooth and slightly translucent surface for your work, so that you will not need to invest in a lightbox to review your handiwork. With nearly 2 hours of video lessons, her Skillshare class offers insights on how to use and clean pointed nibs, provides downloadable practice sheets for specific strokes, and offers a troubleshooting section to help you through common problems as you get used to your new materials. 

2. Practice Makes Perfect. 

Chernoff suggests practicing lines and shapes before building letters 

Chernoff suggests practicing lines and shapes before building letters 

Practicing the same stroke over again will help you get used to your tools 

Practicing the same stroke over again will help you get used to your tools 

As with any other skill, mastery comes with many hours of practice. Be patient with yourself. Even Chernoff mentions that her best work comes in the middle of her work day, once she’s had sufficient time to warm up her muscles. On top of practicing individual letters, strive towards creating a cohesive look by practicing a consistent slant, shape, and spacing between letters. The more you practice, the more confidence you will have to write in your chosen style. 

3. Train Your Typographic Eye. 

Observe your surroundings, and discover found typography in daily life 

Observe your surroundings, and discover found typography in daily life 

Letterer and designer Martina Flor suggests taking a walk around your city to observe and be inspired by the many existing examples of typography around you. In her class titled ‘The Golden Secrets of Hand-Lettering’, Flor provides valuable tips on analyzing the relationships between letters. By looking at various typographic examples — from signs on the street to street art — she shows how the design of one letter can inform how you draw the letters that follow. She also gives an in-depth look at letter design and the three basic shapes — rectangles, triangles, and circular shapes — that inform letterform design. 

4. Do Not Get Too Caught Up With Matching Styles Perfectly. 

Every piece of work can turn out different 

Every piece of work can turn out different 

The same tool can be used to create different styles 

The same tool can be used to create different styles 

As you begin practicing, you might be concerned that your letters should look exactly like those provided to you as examples, but it’s important to find your own style! Throughout her videos, Chernoff constantly speaks about how calligraphy and hand-lettering differs from individual to individual. Classes like ‘Calligraphy for Beginners’ by Jackson Alves and ‘Fundamentals for Drawing Letters’ by Andrea Campos are great to help beginners get started with fundamentals, but you should also remember to have fun and be spontaneous.

5. Do Not Be Afraid To Break The Rules And Go Beyond The Page. 

You can apply your lettering skills to spruce up everyday items 

You can apply your lettering skills to spruce up everyday items 

Joseph Alessio’s class project is to turn an everyday object into a piece of hand-lettered art 

Joseph Alessio’s class project is to turn an everyday object into a piece of hand-lettered art 

Let your imagination run wild and go beyond practicing on paper! Try your hand at lettering on other objects and media. Typographic illustrator Joseph Alessio offers a Skillshare class that shows how you can use type and lettering to create a strong visual impact on multiple levels and products. His class ‘Drawing Letters, Making Art’ will inspire you as you learn how to create letterforms from scratch, opening yourself up to endless possibilities and experimentation. 

As an online learning community of over a million creatives worldwide, Skillshare offers a catalog of thousands of courses on a wide range of topics, including design, photography, and business. The team believes that “the future belongs to the curious”, and their classes and videos are a great way for you to get started on learning a skill from the comfort of your own home. 

By becoming a member of Skillshare, you gain access to more than 2,000 classes, tutorials, and workshops as well as an engaged community of learners and teachers from all around the world. 

 

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