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Article: 10 Tips To Practice Modern Calligraphy

10 Tips To Practice Modern Calligraphy

Created by jyangmong.calli  -

It is fun to say that the worlds of lettering will never be buried or left behind. The use of calligraphy has been there for such a long time. So, it is appropriate to say that this kind of design focus might have been evolving times and times. You can see the proof from the endless ranges of styles and designs on lettering.

During these crazes' era over the lettering, the name of modern calligraphy has been surfacing quite a lot. What is it? What makes it very popular to date? You can find the answer and learn how to work around it in this article. Some brief explanations about the term and how to practice modern calligraphy are here to guide you from the bottom to up.  


About The Calligraphy 

Let's start with the term explanation. Since you are here, it means you have an interest in trying out calligraphy. But what makes it a modern option? Surprisingly, the name of modern calligraphy refers to a style that does not follow fundamental rules. In this case, the rules are some of the traditional calligraphy scripts.  

In other words, the modern term of lettering is mostly creating a new style that takes some hint from the older ones yet does not follow it. It provides you with more freedom during the creation of your fancy lettering. Thus, it fits well with the more leeway mindset of the young and free generation.  

However, you also need to underline that the practice of modern calligraphy also relies on certain principles of the traditional ones. It means you are not creating a 100% new design. But enhance and develop it into visually fitting or appealing lettering. So, you still need to know about blackletter, italic, Spencerian, copperplate, or many more traditional styles.  

Created by apnirwana


What Makes It Different With The Traditional One? 

So, what makes modern calligraphy dissimilar from traditional ones? You can certainly see the use of 45-degree angles in the new style, just like blackletter. It makes them look similar or even the same. However, there is a big difference between the two types of style. The traditional and modern have a huge opposite in their principles. 

When you are working with traditional calligraphy, you will need to follow stricter rules. You got to make every individual stroke, structure, specifics, and detail. You can say that it needs the same design over and over again. Thus, creating a uniform look. And to achieve that idea, you will need specific tools that help create consistent angles or height. 

You can take a look at the Spencerian script that looks beautiful with its consistent design or styling. The swash and the curve are bound into one rule, which later creates its own identity. Meanwhile, you can practice modern calligraphy that has more freedom. It takes some of the older points and makes it work. But again, it still needs the practice to ensure it is not a mere scribble. 

You got some of the basic rules that are needed for lettering. Whether it is modern or not, you cannot scribble anything and call it done. You need to stick to the basic rules such as consistency, spacing, fundamental shapes, and focus. Thus, you do not have too much freedom to make such messy handwriting and call it calligraphy.  

Created by abiligraphy


The Right Tools 

Probably one of the biggest differences between modern and traditional calligraphy is the tools. In this modern lettering, you got a range of tools to create the writing. You got the chance to experiment with more daring ideas. For example, by using markers, crayons, highlighters, etc. If you are just starting to practice modern calligraphy, here are some of the basic ones. 

1. Pencils 

As a beginner tool, the pencil is your best friend in practicing modern calligraphy. It is also essential for supporting your calligraphy drawing. The idea is that you will use it for sketching or practicing the basics. Don't forget to bring some rulers to help create pencil guidelines. Thus, you can erase it upon completion.  

2. Brush Pens 

With sketch on the go and guidelines ready, you can work with brush pens. It is the modern calligraphy easiest tool to practice. It also has a very flexible tip that helps create thick and thin lines. For this lettering, you are free to work with whatever you are comfortable using. A sharpie or markers are also fine options to use. 

3. Dip Pens

If you are up for the challenge and ready for aesthetical design, go with the traditional dip pens. It has a separate nib that you can change depending on your needs. It also comes in different shapes and styles, such as straight or oblique holders. It is a harder option and needs longer practice. But surely, the result is one thing you will be satisfied with within the long run. 

One of the reasons why you need a longer practice of modern calligraphy with dip pens is the nib will need proper usage. You got to hold it at a certain angle. Thus you got a good-looking line. While it does have a harder challenge, starting with dip pens can help you learn the hard way. But again, you are free to choose since the modern style is very free.

Created by jyangmong.calli


The 3 Popular Styles 

To help you get to know better, try to learn at least one of the three most popular modern lettering calligraphy styles. Each of them has a different identity that is explained by the names. Learning the style will help you stay in the basic rules and avoid getting overboard. It is also widely known, so your design will not go unrecognized. 

1. Faux Calligraphy 

The faux style is probably one of the designs that have more freedom. It works with any kind of writing tool, and it is also easy to learn. Using any kind of tool allows you to make your style in any kind of material. It is also very simple, which tolerates any kind of quirk you have. It also works to practice modern calligraphy before using a dip pen.   

2. Bounce Design

Suppose you don't have any guidelines; bounce lettering is a great style to try. The point goes to its up and down aesthetic. So, each of the characters has a different height. It is a perfect example of modern calligraphy that prefers freedom and inimitable style over strict rules. One thing for sure is that you need to control the bounce. So it looks natural.  

3. Distant Calligraphy 

Just like its name, the distant style has a larger kerning between each character. The distance itself is one of the ways to make the lettering easier to read or create. It has a similar drawing technique with the bounce design, which has a flowy natural feeling in it. It is also better to use guidelines, so you can make a consistent distance between the words. 

Created by flourishprintco


Tips And Tricks 

1. Learning How To Make Strokes 

The start of every practice of modern calligraphy is your strokes. Since calligraphy has its styles and model, the best basic rule is the angled pen position. Just like the traditional calligraphy, using an approximately 45 degrees angle allows you to make a unique stroke. It is a thicker downstroke and thinner upstroke. 

In other words, when you are working with a calligraphy angled pen, you get to know how to apply pressure. Pressure is the primary key to creating a thick or thin stroke. Even though modern writing has more freedom, you cannot avoid this two-basic rule. How to make different stroke widths? The answer is your hand pressure. 

Lesser or no pressure is meant for the upstroke. It will help you create a clean thin line. However, for the downstroke, you will need to add pressure. The key to this practice is to get used to your tool. It is preferably using a brush pen. Thus, you can learn about the pressures. After you get comfortable, try to experiment and practice more. 

2. Practice The Fundamental Strokes Models 

After you learn about how to apply pressure on your pen and create strokes, try to learn about seven basic types of strokes. So, calligraphy is made of at least seven different stroke models. You got the downstroke, descending loop, ascending loop, overturn, under turn, compound curve, and oval stroke. 

You got some other things that you need to pay attention to as you practice modern calligraphy. Some of them are the angle line, descender line, baseline, ascender line, and mean line. All of them go to the guideline that aids you in creating a constant and event calligraphy. The use of basic strokes also helps you go through the most grounding practice. 

After you learn how to create basic strokes, it will help you, later on, create ranges of letters. One of the best examples is combining the ascending loop with the compound curve. The two combinations will create the letter h. There are also some other basic strokes, such as an oval stroke and an under-turn stroke. It is the basic move to create calligraphy lowercase A letter. 

To help you practice modern calligraphy and get clear guidance on how to combine them, use different colors for every stroke. When you are combining some to make a letter, you will see clearly how the basic strokes work together. The point is that it will help you learn how to write each letter in calligraphy style, which is not a simple thing to do.  

Created by _smitcalligraphy_


3. Use Guidelines To Practice An Even Angle And Height 

As said in the previous point, you have to use guidelines to practice modern calligraphy. In this case, using a pencil as a guideline helps you delete it upon completion. It is also easier working with the ruler, so you know how much height and angle to apply. While it is vital to apply or use guidelines, you are completely free to determine the height or angle. 

Most of the time, you can use a proportional X-height design. It means the shape of the ascender, descender, and body are the same. This kind of variation tends to have a very soft slant on its design. However, you can also make some changes. Having a bigger or longer ascender and descender with a more slanted position will make you fancier calligraphy. 

Working with guidelines also helps you stay consistent on its position. Thus, you have an even calligraphy body which helps create tidy lettering. If you are trying to create a bounce style, the guideline also helps you create a smooth up and down wave. Not only that, but you can also emphasize a uniformed slant for the lettering. 

4. Mind The Space

Since the essence of modern calligraphy is fancy lettering with swooshes and details, it is fair to say that you will need clear kerning. Kerning or spacing between one letter to another will help increase your calligraphy readability. In this case, using guidelines will be the best helper. You will know how much the space and the size to make for every letter. 

Created by artbyabhishek1


5. Keep It Consistent

When you want to practice modern calligraphy, the key is consistency. The modern design does have a bunch of leeways, but messy handwriting is harder to read. Thus, try to write down a guideline to ensure every size, weight, height, space, and descent are uniform. So, your lettering will have a visually appealing look.  

6. Practice The 5 Different Letter Groups 

Due to the fancy, fun, and freedom intake, you can use many kinds of different letter groups. What is it? You got a capital or lowercase letter. So, you also got ranges of structure for calligraphy. The letter groups are made of five different models, straight, branching, reverse branching, oval, and diagonal letters. 

Each of the category names does explain its member. The oval letters are the o, c, and e. the diagonals are the s, v, w, x, z, and y. the straight one is the I, l, t, f, and j. the branching letters are the n, m, h, b, p, k, and r. And lastly, the reverse branching calligraphy letters are u, y, a, d, g, and q. Confused yet? Try to go back on the basic stroke combination idea. 

Created by leuke.letters


7. Pay Attention To Your Tools (The Pen Nib)

If you are working with a dip ink pen, it is the best time to pay attention to its nib. This kind of calligraphy tool requires attention, starting from preparing the nib. You need to clean it thoroughly to remove excess oils. After that, ensure the nib is applied correctly and fastened. Try it on different paper as a warm-up and start your practice of modern calligraphy. 

Some problems might happen due to the careless use of drip pen nib. If you find it catches on paper or has irregular ink flow, try holding it with a more slanted angle. It is also necessary to prepare everything without water. If you use water to clean up, it will make your nib rust. And it will make the ink blotched or erratic. 

8. Practice Daily With Drills 

Regular practice is a perfect teacher. In this case, no matter when and how you will start to work with modern calligraphy, ensure you warm up your hand muscles. The thing is, you need constant movement with low and high pressure. If your hand is shaking, the result will have an unfavorable visual. After some warm-up and practice, your muscle memory will do its job.  

It also means a lot for newbies or learners to keep doing regular practice. You can try a daily practice of modern calligraphy for around 15 to 20 minutes. It does not require a longer time to spend during the day, but regular practice helps you get used to the styling, tools, or models. During this time, you can also try or experience different styles to make your innovation. 

Created by apnirwana


9. Keep Creating Innovations 

The point of this lettering style lay in its freedom of creativity. So, take this chance to make your innovation during or after learning the basics. The point is to stick to the fundamentals and make some changes. You can see many inspirations or ideas on the internet to help to brainstorm. After that, make yours and be original. 

10. Stay Focus And Stick To The Basic

No matter what kind of style, writing, or innovation you are trying to achieve, the key point is to focus and stick to the basics. Start by using guidelines when practicing modern calligraphy. Avoid inconsistency, excessive effect, multiple words, and focus on your fundamentals.

Created by apnirwana



Working with modern lettering might not be far different from the traditional one. The newer calligraphy has more leeway, but it still holds the significance of basic lettering. The biggest point is that modern calligraphy has more freedom in shape, aesthetic value, and styles. If you want to master it, the primary key is to keep on practicing and stay to the basics.

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