The art of calligraphy part 9
By: Lady T Powers & JetPens
Now For the letter H
Many posts ago we started you out with some practice sheets so you can start getting the feel of playing with lettering. You will also be able to print those sheets out as many times as you like to have extra space to practice the above lesson. You can get them here: Practice Sheets. You can also see the previous posts you missed starting with the Letter A here : Lesson A Get the rest of the letter lesson print outs here: Letter printouts.
Want to share these with someone else? We ask that you do not share our files, instead share our link above to this post. Thanks. Be sure to read all previous lesson posts for letters as it will have some important hints to help you along with the rest of these lessons.
Lets Move on to to the letter H.
Following the instructions laid out in our previous posts be sure to print out your letter H files to follow along. The Letter H Lesson will be available free until May 13th 2019, at which point it will then become a $1 to help support the site. Hurry get it now.
All lessons in this blog are for letter formation and tips for learning Hand lettering and may apply indirectly towards the kit you are working on. However these lessons should assist in most if not all cases in developing your lettering skills with these lessons. We will assume you now have read the posts on the letters plus have printed out your H files and practice sheets, and are ready to work!
Today we are going to talk about the best pointed pen calligraphy supplies for beginners.
If you frequent social media chances are you’ve seen how beautiful calligraphy can be. You may have even watched some videos, or seen books on it at the supermarket check out. If you’ve ever wanted to learn calligraphy yourself, this article is for you. We will go over some of the basic calligraphy tools you’ll need to get started and show you how to use them.
There are several ways to make calligraphy, but we will focus on pointed pen calligraphy. This uses a pen with a pointed tip which makes both thick and thin lines by flexing, or bending open, as you press it onto the paper.
CALLIGRAPHY SUPPLIES FOR BEGINNERS.
Most pointed pen calligraphy is done with dip pens, which consist of a metal nib, or tip, which is attached to a handle called a nib holder. Dip pens do not hold ink; instead, you dip them into a container of ink, or use watercolors, acrylic paint and more as you write. I like using the DR. PH Martin's and lately I have been looking into creating my own watercolor dip inks...sorry I regress. Anyway, pointed metal nibs for dip ink are typically more flexible than fountain pens, which allows them to achieve greater line variation. They are also able to handle more kinds of ink, since they have no inner workings to clog or corrode.
To get started, you will need:
Lets look at the Nikko G Nib
Its relative firmness makes it easier to manage than most nibs but it still produces nice thin lines and is capable of a satisfying amount of flex to make thicker lines. I know what you are thinking...this pointy nib can make wide strokes? YES!
Nib holders come in two styles: straight and oblique. Straight nib holders are better for upright calligraphy styles and oblique nib holders make it easier to work with more slanted styles. The Speedball Oblique Pen Nib Holder, ( I personally use this one) is a solid, reasonably priced starter oblique pen holder and the straight Tachikawa Comic Pen Nib Holder for Various Pen Nib - Model 25 is a good choice because it secures nibs more firmly than some other inexpensive holders.
I prefer to switch between them depending on what style of calligraphy I am working with. Experiment with both to find your preference.
We have discussed paper types in the past articles to assist you in the choice for all types of hand lettering. However let's touch on it briefly for using dip pens. Ordinary printer paper is not suitable for calligraphy because it is too rough. The nib is likely to catch on the rough paper fibers, causing frustrating ink splatters. Printer paper is also more absorbent, which encourages the ink to spread out along the paper’s fibers. This is called “feathering” and prevents the smooth lines calligraphers aim for.
To make your practice as enjoyable and effective as possible, use paper that is suitable for fountain pens. I recommend Rhodia. It is a high quality, smooth paper that is available lined, blank, or with a dot grid. Parchment paper is also a good choice. and can give your project a vintage flair.
Ink type for beginning
Dip pens can handle many kinds of ink and I mentioned some above, but all you need to start out is a good, black ink. I personally recommend Speedball Super Black India Ink. It is reasonably priced, waterproof, and very dark, so your calligraphy will look crisp and clear. I started out with this ink in my high school art classes. I use this ink for illustration and water coloring as well due to it's waterproof capabilities. Note: laying it on thick can leave it open for smudging, ensure it is completely dry before using watercolor methods.
Find a place to write
A pleasant workspace with all of your supplies conveniently placed allows you to relax and focus during your calligraphy practice. Choose a place where you can sit comfortably with your feet flat on the floor. It should be clean and uncluttered so that your arm can move freely. Place a writing board or five to six sheets of scrap paper under the paper you will be writing on. A soft surface like this lets you write more smoothly and naturally than a hard tabletop. It’s better to write on loose sheets of paper because a notepad would prevent your hand from lying flat and interfere with its movement.
Set up your tools
Place a cup of water and a non-linty towel nearby to periodically clean your nib. You can use a paper towel, but fibers may snag on your nib and cause ink splatters. I tend to wet my paper towel to avoid this, or I use an eye glass cleaning micro cloth and lightly dampen it. If the mouth of your ink bottle is too narrow to dip your nib without touching the sides, pour some ink into a wide-mouth jar to give yourself more space. Save small jelly or spice jars for this purpose. It’s easy to spill both your ink and water, so find a spot where you won’t knock them over. If there is a mess to be made, I have done it! Make sure they are still within easy reach, though - you will be using them a lot. A good place might be above your paper. You can also place them inside a tape roll or tape them down for added security, this is what I do. Finally, install your nib in your nib holder. Grasp your nib near the base and push it into the outer ring on the end of your nib holder. Try not to grab the nib by the tip, as you could bend it out of shape.
Dipping your pen
To get started, dip your nib into the ink until it covers the hole on the nib’s back, called the “breather hole.” Wipe any excess off on the sides of the bottle and you’re ready to write.
Once you have gotten the hang of these basic strokes, use them to make letters. Write the alphabet, your name, or anything you like. Imitate scripts you admire and use printable practice sheets for more guidance. Just be sure to print them on suggested papers to avoid splatters.
Next time we will continue this post with advanced strokes and equipment. We will also be presenting you with the letter I "i" practice kit for free!
Will you Share your work with us? We would love to feature you. Contact us with what you have done so far and submit your images to us as well as any tips or hints you have found so far in your journey with us. We would love to share to help everyone!
I hope I have given you some additional insight into developing your hand-lettering skills and are enjoying your journey with me. Have fun working with the Letter H practice sheets. I highly suggest printing them on to HP Printer Paper, Premium 32 especially to practice what we talked about above. Until next time, "I" will be seeing you! lol
Need Additional Space to practice? Don't forget your calligraphy practice sheets, now featuring an extra bonus, that track the pen type you use and has six brackets set up for practicing whole lines or single letters. See you next time!
Thanks! ~ Lady T
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