Friday, 15 September 2017

Artline Monday - Hand lettering and calligraphy

Earlier in the year I was bitten by the lettering bug and ever since then I have been trying to improve my writing and learn how to do calligraphy again.  I used to be quite good at it when I was younger, I had a set with different colour inks and assorted nibs but I got out of the habit and I'd forgotten the basics so I had to start again from the beginning.  I would definitely say that I am still a novice but I do have some tips for you today if you fancy giving it a go.

Created using Artline calligraphy pens, calligraphy markers,
brush markers and drawing pens

Look online

If you don't know where to start then the internet holds the answers!  I have found lots of help and ideas for hand lettering by simply Googling it and searching Pinterest.  There are worksheets you can print off and use or you can find interesting fonts to copy freehand.  There are also hours and hours of video on YouTube with lessons on how to do calligraphy and lettering for beginners.  Grab yourself some paper, a pen or brush marker, fire up the videos and start learning!

Take your time and don't forget to breathe

A good piece of advice I was given by a calligraphy expert is to go slowly and take your time.  There's no rush and the longer you take on each letter or word the more control you will have over your pen. 

It is really easy to sit and hold your breath while you are writing because you are concentrating so hard, don't forget to breathe!  

Have fun

There's no point in learning a new skill if you don't enjoy it!

Mix fonts and pens

Try mixing fonts and different kinds of pens to create a fun look.  In the spread above I used some Stix drawing pens which have a really fine tip and then paired that with brush markers which are much broader and great for any type of flowing/cursive writing.


Spend a little time on your writing each day, you will soon see an improvement!

I am using these Artline calligraphy pens to practice the alphabet at the moment, they are available in four different widths, 1mm through to 4mm and come in a range of colours.  What I especially like about these pens is that the ink doesn't bleed through the pages of my notebooks so I can use both sides of the paper and not waste any space.  They are also smudge resistant so there's less chance I will ruin my work with a stray finger!  

Depending on how much spare time I have, I try to do a page or two of practice a day.  I want to get to the point where it becomes second nature for me to write letters this way instead of my regular handwriting!  When you are trying to do calligraphy remember that your down strokes should be harder making them thicker and the up strokes lighter and thinner.  

I also have a few calligraphy markers in my collection, these are permanent markers and are great for crafts like card making because they write on coated papers that are nice and glossy.

My calligraphy practice using a 1mm pen in sepia


Sometimes I sketch out the word I want to write in pencil before going over it in pen.  It gives me a chance to work on how it looks before I commit to doing it in ink and I can play around with the thickness and adding little flourishes to the letters.  

It doesn't have to be perfect

It is okay to make mistakes, you can either try to correct them or start again.

Try different pens

Try different pens to see which work best for you.  I have a calligraphy pen that you have to dip into the ink to use but I find it much easier to use a regular pen that has a calligraphy style tip.  This means I don't have to stop every minute to reload my ink or worry about knocking the bottle over when I am trying to work on my letter formations.    

Pen test - calligraphy pens and Stix brush markers

If you are learning calligraphy or lettering at the moment or if you have already mastered the skills do you have any hints or tips I have missed out?  Please share them with us!


  1. Hi Amanda,

    I see you seem to be using Artline Calligraphy Pens in different colours. I'm wondering where you got these from as i've looked everywhere and can't find them.


    1. Hi Sean,

      I got mine directly from Artline but I’ve found some online here
      I hope that helps?

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