By Kristen Ashley
There are many benefits to writing by hand, one of which is the uniqueness of the end result. Whereas on the typed page every “a” looks the same, on a handwritten note each letter is different. Each is influenced by the letters before and after it. In older styles of calligraphy, this uniqueness was often kept to a minimum, with letters uniformly aligned and spaced. However, in modern calligraphy, we are more free to stretch the letterforms, creating style and adding emphasis. As long as the words can be read, your personal style can flourish.
Another benefit to learning modern calligraphy is getting to play with all the fun materials like papers, pens, inks and paints. There are so many ways to put your words on paper – not to mention on chalkboards, glassware, fabric, etc. As owner of the Artist Shop, I’m lucky to have been able to try out many of these materials and I’ll share my favorites with you over the course of this column.
For beginners to calligraphy, I recommend two things: First, come to one of our modern calligraphy classes and learn how to use the pointed dip pen. It’s a great way to add elegance to your writing. Second, I recommend picking up a couple of brush pens to use to practice your letterforms. Brush pens have a tapered, flexible tip which allows you to create strokes of various widths depending on the pressure that you use. They’re a great tool for more casual styles. We have tons of beautiful materials at the shop and we’d love to help you pick the ones that suit your taste.
Kristen Ashley is a visual artist living in Athens, Georgia. She loves owning her downtown shop where she stocks colorful art supplies, displays the work of local artists, and helps people express themselves creatively with modern calligraphy classes.