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Writing with your handwriting.

First of all, Happy Handwriting Day! I think it’s the best day to get back to blogging about writing, don’t you think? And yes, that title up there may sound odd and redundant (it honestly made sense in my head), but do allow me to explain.

A lot of people tell me that they’re afraid (as in with fear and worry in their eyes) of going into calligraphy and lettering because of their handwriting. I would always say that you shouldn’t care. If you want to try out calligraphy or lettering, then by golly just do it.

When I teach my class, I allow my students to create their own style – their own movements. I could be strict about it but writing is like using a pen to sing. We each have our own rhythms, pitches, and melodies. Yes? So why be scared about your own handwriting?

EMBRACE YOUR WRITING, WHATEVER IT IS.

Let’s use your usual hand for practice today, shall we? It may be script, print or chicken scratch. Let’s not care. It’s the most natural way your hand moves. So it’ll be perfect if you want your calligraphy or lettering style to have a personality that’s clearly you and only you.

Step 1: Pick a word or two. Write it repeatedly the way you’d normally write. I picked the word “light” and used an ordinary felt tip pen. Just move it and don’t think.

Writing-Calligraphy

So this is how I normally write. Upright, loopy and not in a straight line. Sometimes the letters are scrunched up together, sometimes they choose to spread out. I know what you’re beginning to think - but my handwriting doesn’t look anything as that! Well, it’s not supposed to. Because it’s your handwriting. Embrace it.

Step 2: Be mindful of the movements you made while writing the word. How your hand flew across the page, how effortless it was. Now pick up a different pen – here I’m using a flexible dip pen (Tachikawa G) – and fuse the writing with the rhythm of calligraphy. Light on the upstrokes, with weight on the downstrokes.

The flow will change slightly because unlike a pen, you’ll need to take breaks to dip in ink. However, you’ll notice that things like how you connect letters and how letters loop remain (somewhat) intact.

Writing-Calligraphy-nib

I’ve actually developed this to become that flowy freehand style I write with. I just added more swashes and exaggerated some strokes. You can do the same with your handwriting-based calligraphy. It took me a while to get that style down to my liking and this would be a good jump-off point for you too, if you’d like to develop more of a you-style than an other-people-style.

Step 3: Pick up another kind of pen. For this one, I tried a Pentel brush pen. I hold it differently from a regular pen and a dip pen (almost at a 90-degree angle from the paper) so it was kind of tricky at first. Just keep in mind that you’re doing the same movement as in Step 1. Don’t be afraid to repeat to death.

Writing-Calligraphy-Brush

For some reason my hand doesn’t like looping the t’s so big when I’m using a dip pen or the brush (where it tends to not loop at all), but that’s okay. Maybe that’s really how my hand wants it to go. The word turned out to be more condensed too.

So dear loves, I hope you celebrate handwriting day by appreciating your own. Fall in love or back in love or out of hate with it. Write words, love letters, notes. Use what you have to make a song that’s all your own.

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7 Responses to Writing with your handwriting.

  1. I love this post! Thanks for not taking everything calligraphy so seriously! What a breath of fresh air from the hours of strict practice. I’m off to play with my OWN handwriting!

  2. I love this! Brilliant post! I’ve tried to do classic brush pen writing but have abandoned it to pursue my one style for now. Thanks for the encouragement! Hope you are well. x

    • I tried that classic approach too but found it so hard. I’m far much more comfortable with my wonky letters. Hehe. Enjoy experimenting!

  3. Sorry I meant “own style” not “one style”!

  4. I am lost for words while reading your blog. I am in great awe! :) I can never be more thankful for your generosity in sharing your insights about calligraphy. I hope to participate in your upcoming workshops as soon as you are able. May you be blessed more!

    P.S. Praying for your safe delivery on the 4th of May. :)

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