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What Is Calligraphy And How To Master It?

What Is Calligraphy And How To Master It?

The art of calligraphy is more than just fancy lettering. With an abundance of computers and creative typographies, many people dismiss calligraphy with other arts and crafts.

However, calligraphy is a beautiful writing style. Definitions of calligraphy are hard to refine. As it is such an ancient and global art form, many different rules are rooted in Western, Asian, and Islamic traditions. Calligraphy is a centuries-old tradition of writing.

However, modern calligraphy follows a specific structure that inherits from its traditional counterparts. With the rise of social media and the ability to share art, calligraphy is increasing in popularity.

If you want to master calligraphy, follow our guide to the different styles, what pens to use and where to learn. We'll share the differences between hand lettering and calligraphy and how to begin practicing yourself. Plus, offer tips as to how to launch a business out of your newfound skills. 

What is calligraphy?

Calligraphy is the art of writing. A calligraphy definition from the dictionary suggests that it is no more than skilled handwriting.

Calligraphy styles follow the basic principles of instilling integrity, harmony, ancestry, and rhythm within the letters. 

Integrity follows the correct proportions and structure on the page. 

Harmony is the space between — the satisfying relationship between shapes, thick lines, and a thin line. 

Ancestry refers to calligraphy's deep history and the attempt of calligraphy scripts to preserve this culture. Rhythm is the feeling of pattern throughout the writing. However, the most basic definition of calligraphy is that it is a form of art. 

Calligraphy, like any painting, drawing, or sculpture, should invoke a feeling within the viewer. Calligraphy is often confused with hand lettering or typography. 

While lettering and calligraphy are both art forms, the main differences between hand lettering and calligraphy are that the former creates each letter individually. Calligraphy writes words and letters in one smooth motion; lettering draws each letter.

Typography is the digital creation of fonts. We do not call different styles a calligraphy font but a calligraphy script or style. Different types of calligraphy include: 

  • Western. 

  • Eastern Asian. 

  • Southern Asian. 

  • Islamic. Modern. 

Modern calligraphy, rediscovered with the help of Graily Hewitt, pays its respect to the history of calligraphy but flexes more creativity.

Western calligraphy

Western calligraphy dates back to the 10th century, with medieval monks writing books with this lettering style. The writing style is recognizable by its strict lines and geometric patterns, and Western calligraphy uses specific tools and precise measurements. 

Western calligraphy is best known for the italic script, gothic script, and rustic capitals. Based on Latin alphabets, it is the most influential of the traditional styles on modern scripts.

Western calligraphy uses specific lines and strokes that make up each letter. Upper case letters tend to be more vivid than lowercase letters but still stick to a strict, uniform style. 

Eastern Asian calligraphy 

Originating in East Asia, this encompasses Chinese calligraphy, Japanese calligraphy, and Korean. Writing calligraphy in an East Asian style is different. Each character represents an entire word, rather than letters making up a word. Eastern manuscripts tend to be a lot shorter. 

Held in high esteem and rich in history, East Asian calligraphers are dedicated to preserving their culture's art forms and techniques. Unique to East Asia, calligraphers use paperweights and desk pads to assist their writing. 

East Asian styles include seal script, clerical script, cursive script, Edmoji, Munjado, Kao, and unique paper made from rice, bamboo, and hemp. 

Southern Asian calligraphy

This form of calligraphy consists of writing styles from India, Nepal, and Tibet. With roots in Buddhism, South Asian and Indian calligraphy holds some of the most ancient manuscripts in the world.

Indian calligraphy has a history of using experimental methods and materials to create individual letters. These include burnt mud, palm leaves, copper, and birch barks.

Islamic calligraphy

Islamic calligraphy is the highest form of Arabic art as it is a means of communicating with the spirit world. Arabic calligraphy is deeply rooted in culture and religion. Using the Arabic alphabet, it includes Arabic, Persian, Ottoman, and Urdu styles.

Islamic calligraphy derives from the universal base of lettering from the Qur'an. Most Islamic calligraphy has developed from two variations: Kufic and Naskh and are influential in modern art. 

A bamboo or reed pen, called the Kalam, is typically used — as is a bold color palette with colorful and vibrant inks.

Modern calligraphy

Since the 15th century, the production of illuminated manuscripts declined. However, while calligraphy faded from mainstream popularity, modern calligraphy has taken up the mantle. 

Modern calligraphy, like its predecessors, follows strict rules. However, there is more creative freedom and flexibility allowed.

There are still rules and proportions to follow when creating thick and thin lines for all capital letters. The lowercase alphabet is often more stylized in modern calligraphy. Whereas traditional calligraphy had to be readable, contemporary calligraphers have abandoned that concept. 

With this newfound freedom, creativity and art govern writing styles, leading to far more unique calligraphy. 

Take an online course if you want to learn how to be a modern calligrapher or develop your traditional techniques. Training programs supply you with all the skills and knowledge you need to be a master calligrapher. 

How to write calligraphy?

Calligraphy skills take time and practice. Learning how to write calligraphy requires patience. To begin this art form, learn the basic calligraphy strokes. These include thick strokes on the downward strokes and thin lines upwards.


To practice calligraphy, try creating these strokes up and down before attempting any letters, as this will help you get used to different techniques and holding the pen. Go through as many practicable sheets as you want until you feel comfortable.

Calligraphy strokes require keeping all vertical strokes in a parallel line, creating visual harmony between the lines and shapes. The basic strokes include:

  • Downstroke.

  • Underturn stroke.

  • Overturn stroke.

  • Compound curve.

  • Ascending loop

  • Descending loop.

  • Oval stroke. 

When you have practiced each letter, use writing prompts to get used to writing whole words. Once you're adept at calligraphy, why not consider launching a business out of it? Beautiful writing is in demand in many industries, from event planners to small businesses. 

How to use a calligraphy pen?

To master your beautiful handwriting, learning how to use calligraphy pens is a must. The central pens calligraphy users should possess are:

  • Brush pen, such as Crayola markers.

  • Dip pen.

  • Regular pen.

  • Pencil.

Brush lettering is the most integral part of calligraphy practice, and this writing utensil is crucial for forming letters and words. 

To become a master at different writing styles, practice how to hold your pen at a 45-degree angle. Understanding your equipment is the best way to learn and improve.

How do you learn to do calligraphy?

Learning calligraphy is a great life skill. From creating a lovely mother's day card to a piece of art, it can be a great business opportunity. To learn the calligraphy alphabet, sign up for an online course to learn the art. 

At Courses for Success, we offer a Calligraphy Online Certificate Course. Calligraphy for beginners involves learning the basics of calligraphy letters. The course teaches you the foundational hand, roman script, italic script, and gothic script. 

You will learn the origins of each script and how to practice modern calligraphy. The course will also teach you how to use your skills and set up your own calligraphy business. 

Muscle memory stores the letters by hand, and calligraphy will come naturally and quickly to you. Why not start your journey to becoming a professional calligrapher today?

Why Courses for Success?

Courses for Success offers over 10,000 online courses, all of which aim to help you in your personal development and career progression. Not only that, but you can also study them anywhere and at any time, and take them at your own pace, too.

You don't need career diplomas or specific experience to get started. From our coding courses and trading courses to design courses and developer courses, every course we offer will help boost your prospects, no matter who you are.

Beyond just the education itself, students will be issued a certificate online after completing each of the learning courses they do. Our online calligraphy courses are no exception and are recognized by industry leaders. You could make a name for yourself by signing up for a Courses for Success short course today.

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