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Calligraphy for beginners involves practice, and lots of it. Try practicing with a broad or double pencil before progressing to a pen. A pencil is easier to use initially, and certainly less messy.

Choose two pencils of the same hardness. The hardness is a matter of taste, though generally range from B to 2H depending on the type of calligraphy. HB (American 2) is a good starting point.

They are easier to use if short so you can cut a standard pencil length in half for your two pencils. Tape them together so that their points are no more than 1 inch (20 mm) apart.

You can either use plain paper or, for a beginner at calligraphy, draw a straight line across the paper with normal pencil. Hold the double pencil at 30 degrees to the line, and try a few normal letters to get used to the pencil arrangement. It is important that the angle remains constant. If not, your writing will not look good. A protractor can be used for this.

It should be easy for you notice, and see why, that pen strokes in some directions are thicker than in others. This is one reason why calligraphy can be so beautiful: this constant angular change of line thickness which enhances the definition between letter patterns.

Once you are confident in writing lovely italic lettering with the pencils, try a pen. Calligraphy fountain pens are not used by the better calligraphers, and an old style pen with the separate nib is best. These can have an integral reservoir or separate one, and separate is best. Choose a good ink – preferably light fast and waterproof, but not Indian ink. This contains a pigment that can clog up the split in the nib. Choose a broad straight nib, unless you are left handed, in which case a diagonal nib is better.

If you are trying to learn calligraphy, and are taking a calligraphy for beginners course, either online or at a school or wherever, a calligraphy fountain pen could be a good starting implement.  Once you have mastered the strokes you could then go on to a proper calligraphy pen.

To fill the nib, do not dip it into the ink as with conventional pens. Use a brush to fill the reservoir, or you could use two drops from an eye dropper. This prevents too much ink causing blots. Then practice. It took me weeks of practice of about an hour a day to get good results, but the experts need many years to reach a professional standard.

Beginner's calligraphy paper should not be too thin, and 90 gram paper is the minimum. You could also use vellum, though this is expensive and not really for beginners. If you are of a good standard a sheet about 7 x 5 inches is around $12 upwards. You use the rougher hair side (without the hair of course – this has been smoothed for you).

Calligraphy for beginners courses can be very rewarding, and your invitations and greetings cards will look more than a touch better than the normal when you write them in your own beautiful calligraphic style. Anybody can do it – it just takes the decision to start then a bit of practice; no, a lot of practice.  But it's worth it!

Now let's have a look at a few Calligraphy Examples


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