How To Create Amazing Calligraphy Pieces With A Calligraphy Pen

Italic calligraphy art piece by Henry Wong done with calligraphy pen

Italic calligraphy is one of my favourite looks and is the font that I have been using for all of my personal calligraphy art pieces lately. Why do I love it? Firstly, it is really simple to create, which means I can sketch out a beautiful art piece in just over 15 minutes. Secondly, it is a neat and elegant font that's really pleasing to the eyes. Lastly, it is very versatile - the Italic script allows me to choose between various styles - I can opt for a more classic look, or choose a more modern one.

Despite how easy it looks, I'm sure beginners would appreciate some sort of guidance, so here's a pictorial guide on how you could create your own personal calligraphy art pieces!

Here's what you need to get started:

 

Tools: calligraphy pen, pencil, ruler

You don't need fancy or any expensive supplies as usual; all you will need is:

  1. Paper (preferably sketchbook paper or thicker paper)
  2. 1 x Pencil
  3. 1 x Ruler
  4. 1 x Broad-nib Calligraphy Pen (either a Dip Pen or Cartridge-loaded one. I am using a 2.4mm Pilot Parallel Pen here and I highly recommend one!)

Next, create a mock-up of what you want your final piece to look like:

Preparing a mock-up

Use pencil to create the mock-up because in most of cases you will be making changes to the arrangement and positioning of various words. It’s not unusual to create an entire mock-up / draft, then realise that some letters should’ve been closer to each other or realising that a word should be higher or lower. It’s also quite common to create a full draft, then overhauling the entire layout of it!

Moreoever, creating in pencil gives you the latitude to experiment with different layouts and be creative!

A few tips here though:

  • Guidelines may be helpful here in keeping your words generally nice and orderly and straight. If you are planning to angle your calligraphy piece at a certain degree (as with what I’ve done in this piece, where I’ve sloped my calligraphy 30 degrees to the right), it will keep your words nice and parallel to each other and retain the aesthetic integrity of your art piece.
  • If you don’t know how to structure the layout of your words, keeping lines of words parallel to each other is a safe choice. As you progress in expertise and experience, you might want to try more quirky, advanced layouts like curving lines of words etc. but for now, keeping your lines parallel to each other is a safe choice.

Next, trace the letters you’ve’ outlined. Do it slowly and steadily.

Trace in with a calligraphy pen

Trace the pencil marks with your calligraphy pen. If at any point in time you feel like deviating from the pencil markings in the natural course of writing, just feel free to do so.

As you can see in the picture below, I did not completely align my calligraphy pen with the pencil markings on the “S”.

When you’re done, let the ink dry for a couple of minutes. Then, erase the pencil markings and guidelines. You will get a nice calligraphy piece written in Italic calligraphy, just with a calligraphy pen. (Pilot Parallel Pen in this case)

Now, this is what you will get so far, a nice-looking, decent calligraphy art piece:

Completed with calligraphy pen

While for most, this may be satisfying enough, I tend to take it one step further.

A calligraphy piece can be significantly beautified by adding depth, texture and some “personality” to the words.

In this case, you would need just an extra tool - a pen with a sharp tip. I would recommend normal ink pens that you use normally for writing (you can get these for a buck or two at a local stationery store; an example would be the Pilot G2 Pen).

In this case, I am using a Sakura Micron 0.1mm pen because I love its archival ink and how fine the nib is, which pretty much allows me to do more intricate detailing while fatter nibs won’t. (Did I mention that it’s really affordable too?)


Taking it a step further with calligraphy

And so I start working on my calligraphy to add more depth by creating an extra dimension to it and basically turning it 3-D.

Calligraphy pen with Micron

After the 3D-ing the font, the blank spaces seemed a little to bland for my liking, so I decided to fill them in with something. 😛

You could fill them in with patterns (stripes, polka dots, etc.) for a weightier feel or leave them blank as they are for a cleaner, lighter feel.

In this case, I chose to add a grainy texture to the font so that it would look kind of metallic.

And this is the end result:

Finished art piece done with calligraphy pen

 

And... just the final touches:

Italic calligraphy art piece by Henry Wong

 

Now, it’s your turn to try it out!

Let me know what you think or if you have any questions in the comments section below!

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About Henry Wong

A calligraphy-lover who defied the odds and finally managed to write calligraphy, he now teaches beginners how they too can write beautiful calligraphy in the fastest and easiest way possible. You can read more about him here: www.howtodocalligraphy.com/about or drop him a message to tell him how awesome he is at henry@howtodocalligraphy.com

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