Getting Started with Calligraphy

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Mastering the art of Calligraphy has been long over due on my bucket list. I was first introduced to Calligraphy when I was 15, my best bud Sneha Nair, filled the back of her note books with beautiful cursive typography. Since then I’ve been a fan of this ancient art. But as you grow up, hobbies phase out and you only end up learning what will help you get a job.

As a UX Designer, I’ve always given a special attention to typography, because of it’s sheer importance to make a digital product as usable as possible. As I explored fonts, the scripts re-introduced the art of cursives and calligraphy strokes.

My friend being 5000 miles away, I have no choice but to self-learn. I looked at a few tutorials on YouTube, but they seemed a bit advanced. I went over to the Amazon Kindle store and bought the First Steps Calligraphy by Don Marsh. If you want to read this book for free, sign up for a 30 day trail for Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited Subscription.  This book has EVERYTHING you need. The authors introduces you to the tool box, concepts and has lots of samples and valuable tips to get you started with calligraphy. I read through this mini book of great insights and towards the end of it, I could not wait to dig in.

What Do You Need to Get Started with Calligraphy?

I was going to buy for the 6 Nibs Calligraphy Letting Set, which has one pen holder and nibs c1, c2, c3, c4, 100 and 152. But I also needed a bottle of ink and an ink cleaner. But the bottle of India Black Ink (which is highly popular and recommended in the community) was out of stock at that time. But, thanks to the Behance community, I was quite familiar with the pros of the Parallel Pen. and I came across the Pilot Parallel Pen with a 2.4mm Nib, inks, a holder and a cleaner, all for around $9. I got the 2.4mm because I read in several blogs that it’s a good nib size for beginners. The width is just right to get medium sized strokes for small lettering. The larger sizes are great for poster artwork and the smaller nibs are perfect for crisp, thin lettering.

I also ordered the Calligraphy pad and stopped by the store to pick up a few thick markers. You’ll also need to dig up common stationary like a ruler, few light pencils, a sharper, and an eraser that doesn’t leave marks. Find a steady surface or clear up your table to find enough of room to rest your elbows and place the pad. Also have a paper towel on the side for spills and cleaning.

6 Tips to Start Learning Calligraphy on your own:

Image Credit: Pinterest

Outlines to Get Started with Calligraphy
  1. Read books or watch videos like the First Steps Calligraphy (mentioned above) to get a clear understanding of techniques and tips.
  2. The most important and frustrating part is to set the right pressure, where the ink flows and distributes evenly. You may apply too much pressure to one side or apply too much overall and break the nib. All you have to do is let your hand loose but firm on the pen and without applying too much pressure, keep your hand steady and let your hand glide.
  3. If you are having difficulty to let your hand loose, use the thick markers and practice cursive writing first before you big using the nib.
  4. Print out or order a few blank pages with the outlines. These lines will help you make clean, precise strokes. Write on them or use them to place behind your page.
  5. Download, browse through as many calligraphy stroke guides as you can. I love these. They make life so much easier. As a newbie, I couldn’t stop curling the nib and ended up with really bad letters. These guides accelerated my progress.
  6. Practice at least for an hour everyday. Write a few alphabets over and over again (like we did in school) and then graduate to words, sentences, and advance calligraphy. Read about different scripts and their history. Other than cursives, also take a look at Chinese and Arabic Calligraphy styles too.
    Get Started with Calligraphy Stroke Guides

Follow these artists for some great Calligraphy tips and inspiration


Hey Crays! This week’s challenge is all about your favorite Christmas Character from a book and/or movie. I started a hashtag last year on my business account @tierneystudio called #Christmas_Characters (feel free to check out the few lettering posts from me) and I thought it would be a fun Crayligraphy challenge. It’s a play on the word ‘characters’ to represent both the people in a novel, play, or movie and letterforms. If you happen to celebrate a different holiday with famous relative characters, please share! • Watchable Marker goes to @klarge1986 • To participate: 1. Calligraph or letter your favorite Christmas Character by using any @crayola marker as your instrument. 2. Post a photo of your work and include the following hashtags: #Crayligraphy_ChristmasCharacters #Crayligraphy 3. Browse the hashtag, check out the work of others, say hi, leave a comment, and meet fellow Crayligraphers! All are welcome to join no matter your skill level. • Let’s get Cray! • • • • • • • • #craymunity #calligraphy #lettering #handlettering #christmas

A photo posted by Crazy Crayola Calligraphy (@crayligraphy) on

A video posted by Nessah (@nes.sketch) on



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