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First steps… or rather, first strokes!

This week I started figuring out where to begin my lettering journey. Or, as Jaquie called it, Clark’s Calligraphy. I went online and bought some beginner pens, soon to be delivered a couple of days later. 

As I waited for the pens to arrive I went down a lettering TikTok hole and learned a lot. First, there are a number of different kinds of lettering styles and pens – really, too many to list. When I thought about doing this, I just kind of have “fancy writing” in my head, done with a fancy slanted pen. And, as it turns out, that might not be too far off a definition. Loveleigh Loops defines calligraphy as “Calligraphy, or the art of beautiful handwriting, is a very broad term that encompasses what can only be described as a global tradition.  With the earliest examples of calligraphy going back thousands of years, the art of writing texts that are written beautifully and arranged according to ideals of harmony has been around for a long time. Calligraphy is not only an ancient artistic expression, it’s also an art form that has been practiced all around the world.” So really… fancy writing.

I used this same calligraphy website to get a concise overview of the different types of calligraphy in order to decide what it was that I really wanted to learn. After reading about Western, Eastern, and Arabic calligraphy, I read up on the different styles of Western calligraphy. I realized that the traditional calligraphy, the kind I was so interested in when I was young, was not as appealing to me now as a more modern style of brush calligraphy. See the difference in this pic from Loveleighloops:

After reading this I took a look at some videos comparing the types of calligraphy; I wanted to make sure I knew what I wanted. And, I wanted to look at some of the language and terminology used so I knew what else to search for when I wanted to watch more videos. Here’s a pretty good example of the difference between the classic style and a more modern style:

I also liked this video in that it showed the similarities between the two styles a little more clearly:

After my pens arrived, I realized that I needed to buy some sort of device to film my learning process. So, I watched a bunch of videos on tripods and iphone devices, then read a bunch of reviews on Amazaon, and then got overwhelmed and just texted my techy friend Will, and he sent me a link to this tripod set up

It came a couple of days later, and I was now ready to actually start trying out my new hobby. After googling how to set up the tripod and getting it ready to go, I decided to try out my new pens. The set came with 8 pens for beginner calligraphy, and I didn’t know what these different pens did. So, I tried them out, writing my name. I recognized the difference in pen purpose from my learning about the different styles of calligraphy. Some of these pens are for modern, brush lettering style of calligraphy, and others are for the more traditional style. You can see them in the video I made below. 

Side note: the longest part of this process today was actually learning how to edit the video I took, and then uploading it to YouTube so I could use it for my blog. I use CapCut to edit, and then I had to figure out how to rotate the video. I used this YouTube vid to teach me this.

And then somehow it made it really small, and I realized I could just do this right on my photos in iphone 😣. Anyway, I re-imported the vid into CapCut and learned how to speed it up. No one wants to watch 2 minutes of slow uncapping, writing, and capping. So, I found another YouTube video that showed me how to do that:

Then, as I watched it back, I realized the background noise was terrible, so I figured out how to silence that, and then I wondered how to put in some music. As I was doing that, I noticed a voice over button, so I tried that out, and that’s what I ended up using. I think that feature will serve me well in making my own learning story at the end of the class.  

Up next: practicing the basic elements of calligraphy! Details to come next week…


Author: Janeen Clark

I am a teacher with Regina Public Schools in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. Primarily I teach ELA and Fine Arts, and I am a part of Balfour Arts Collective.

4 thoughts on “First steps… or rather, first strokes!”

  1. Calligraphy is so satisfying to watch! I follow calligraphy/lettering artist @seblester on Instagram and there is some GORGEOUS stuff there! Looking forward to seeing your final product in this journey!


  2. Thanks, Janeen for sharing your first step towards your major learning project. As a teacher, it seems to be very important inside the classroom to teach about calligraphy and it also helps improve the students’ handwriting and writing skills. Thus, the videos you have shared are awesome. I want to learn more about it.


  3. This is such a neat idea! I have always taken for granted the beautiful calligraphy that people are able to do, I had no idea so much work goes into learning it. I have tried fancy script writing with painting, but I have never quite been able to make it look right so I always give up and use a stencil.

    I am really excited to see your progression!


  4. Thanks for sharing not only your first steps to learning calligraphy but also the tips on how to edit the videos to make them more appealing. I have always enjoyed watching and seeing people do calligraphy. I look forward to seeing what you are able to do at the end of the course.


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