The Joy of Hand Lettering: A Guide to Modern Calligraphy

Hand lettering, sometimes referred to as modern calligraphy, is an artistic form of writing that has gained a lot of attention in recent years. By following a few simple techniques and tools, anyone can learn the art of hand lettering and create beautiful and personalized pieces.

With this guide, we’ll explore the basics of hand lettering and modern calligraphy, explain the tools needed, provide practice exercises, and give tips on how to develop your personal style. By the end, you’ll discover your unbridled passion for modern calligraphy and explore the endless opportunities that come with it.

Understanding hand lettering

Hand lettering is the process of creating a unique piece of writing using pens, markers, and other tools completely by hand. Unlike typography, hand lettering is created for a specific project and is entirely customizable to the writer’s preference.

Modern calligraphy takes a more relaxed approach than classic calligraphy, allowing for a more creative form of writing through the development of different forms of lettering styles. There is no right or wrong way to develop a personalized writing style, and the more you explore and practice, the more confidence you gain in creating new and unique pieces.

Basic tools and materials needed

To start your hand lettering journey, all you need are the right tools and materials, including pens and markers that are designed for calligraphy or brush lettering, tracing paper, and a ruler. You can use either traditional calligraphy nibs with an inkwell, or a more modern brush pen for modern calligraphy.

The type of paper you choose should be durable, smooth, and high-quality to ensure the ink does not bleed. You can use sketch paper, marker paper, or tracing paper – or anything else that can absorb ink without tearing or smudging.

Understanding the basics of calligraphy

At the heart of calligraphy are letterforms and strokes that create the shapes and flourishes that make up a piece of artwork. With modern calligraphy, the writer’s personality is very present as each piece is unique and intentional. There are many styles of calligraphy, such as Traditional Copperplate, Gothic, Blackletter, and Modern and depending on the style, a different tool is used to create the perfect swashes and strokes.

Before diving into specific styles of calligraphy, we encourage beginners to start with learning basic strokes and shapes. These shapes will then help to form more complex letters down the road. It’s essential to remember that while there are rules to follow, the art of calligraphy is all about being creative and expressing your personal style.

Mastering modern calligraphy

Modern calligraphy is all about creating a modern twist on traditional calligraphy. Once you’ve mastered the basic strokes, you can start to develop a personal style. You can use modern calligraphy on different creative projects such as bullet journaling, wedding invitations, and art prints. With modern calligraphy, the possibilities are limitless!

To develop your personal style, start identifying letters you want to work on, and then practice them individually. Once you master a letter, you can move on to the next until you create a consistent hand lettering style.

Resources for learning hand lettering

After learning the basics of hand lettering, there’s a lot more to explore. You can find an endless stream of inspiration on Instagram, Pinterest, and other social media. You can also invest in recommended calligraphy and typography books to help master advanced techniques and styles. Online courses, both free and paid, are also available to provide more insight into different lettering styles, process, and inspiration.

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