Important Terms of Calligraphy

What is calligraphy

  • Calligraphy is a visual art related to writing. It is the design and execution of lettering with a using various instruments. A contemporary calligraphic practice can be defined as "the art of giving form to signs in an expressive, harmonious, and skillful manner. In simple words it’s a form of decorative handwriting or lettering. It’s a handwritten art where your creative skills are explored to the ‘T’. It’s different from just beautiful handwriting or ornate lettering.
  • First, the 'official' dictionary definitions:
  • 1. Beautiful handwriting; elegant penmanship. (Early seventeenth century.)
  • 2. Style of handwriting, penmanship generally. (Mid-seventeenth century.)
  • 3. In painting etc.: beauty of line; (elegant) brushwork. (Early twentieth century.)

History of calligraphy

  • "The term may derive from the Greek words for “beauty” (kallos) and “to write” (graphein). It implies a sure knowledge of the correct form of letters—i.e., the conventional signs by which language can be communicated—and the skill to make them with such ordering of the various parts and harmony of proportions that the experienced, knowledgeable eye will recognize such composition as a work of art. Calligraphic work, as art, need not be legible in the usual sense of the word. “Calligraphy is just any fancy font."

Calligraphy Tools

  • Calligraphy is a craft which requires few tools – the writing instrument, the ink and the writing surfaces are the only essentials. The art of calligraphy depends on the scribe having an understanding of the proper use of all three, on his knowledge of letterforms and on his skill and freedom in their use."`Heather Child, 'Pens in Perspective', ‘The Calligrapher's Handbook’."
  • The principal tools for a calligrapher are the pen and the brush. Calligraphy pens write with nibs that may be flat, round, or pointed. For some decorative purposes, multi-nibbed pens—steel brushes—can be used. However, works have also been created with felt-tip and ballpoint pens, although these works do not employ angled lines. There are some styles of calligraphy, such as Gothic script, that require a stub nib pen.
  • Writing ink is usually water-based and is much less viscous than the oil-based inks used in printing. High quality paper, which has good consistency of absorption,[clarification needed]enables cleaner lines, although parchment or vellum is often used, as a knife can be used to erase imperfections and a light-box is not needed to allow lines to pass through it. Normally, light boxes and templates are used to achieve straight lines without pencil markings detracting from the work. Ruled paper, either for a light box or direct use, is most often ruled every quarter or half inch, although inch spaces are occasionally used. This is the case with litterea uncials (hence the name), and college-ruled paper often acts as a guideline well.
  • Common calligraphy pens and brushes are:
  • Quill
  • Dip pen
  • Ink brush
  • Qalam
  • Fountain pen
  • Forms of calligraphy in modern times vary from Arabic, Chinese, Georgian, Indian, Filipino, Islamic, Japanese, Korean, Mongolian, Persian, Tibetan, Western and so on.

Art of calligraphy

  • Calligraphy is not just a font or a typeface.
  • Fonts are the styles of lettering used in machines and printing-presses. Yes, machine letters are a vital aspect of lettering and yes, beautiful fonts and typefaces are often designed by calligraphers. Calligraphers even use software to arrange pieces and create or adjust letter-forms. But the individual ‘stamp’ of the calligrapher’s personality on the work is ultimately what makes calligraphy an art form. The individual 'fire' or 'soul' which is unique to one piece doesn't translate into letter-forms that have been standardized for machine use.
  • While the computer is widely used in letterform design, it is simply another tool, like the pencil, pen and brush, in the hands of the designer. Letterforms are still conceived by humans, using the mind, the heart and the hand. As Paul Standard said, "Geometry can produce legible letters, but art alone makes them beautiful. Art begins where geometry ends, and imparts to letters a character transcending mere measurement

Importance of calligraphy

  • There are actually very practical reasons to learn calligraphy.
  • 1. It’s Good for Your Mental Health
  • In a world where we are bombarded daily with information and distractions {emails, texts, phone calls, advertisements, appointments, news etc.}, it’s nice to block that all out and just have “me time”. It’s almost therapeutic to leisurely make your way through a calligraphy worksheet while a good movie {or your favorite music} is playing, and snacks or a nice drink can supplement the experience. The more pleasant you make the set-up, the more joy you will get out of your practice {and the faster you’ll improve}. Improvement, however, takes a back seat to enjoyment. I am a firm believer in making life as pleasant as possible, and if writing in calligraphy/exploring creativity helps you to achieve that {as it does for me}, then you’re really doing something amazing
  • 2. Age Isn’t a Factor
  • Calligraphy is also something you can learn at any age. I know you might be scoffing, “Okay, easy for you to say; you’re 26 years old,” but I strongly believe age is not a factor. For a long time, we have been told that learning is impaired by age … but that’s not true. Neuroplasticity {changing of the brain} occurs whenever you learn and memorize something new — no matter what age you are. I can certainly understand, of course, a physical handicap that prevents a person from mastering the art of calligraphy {e.g. arthritis, severe shaking}; but if mere age is holding you back, reconsider! Anytime you learn something new, you’re broadening your horizons and being good to your brain.
  • 3. You’ll Impress People Who Can Help You
  • Another real-world benefit of learning calligraphy is being able to send beautiful greetings. Attractive handwriting and a stunning envelope presentation sends a message beyond what you actually write in the note. It says you are particular; you pay attention to detail, and you aim to impress — both future clients and future colleagues.
  • 4. You Can Forge a Unique Business Identity
  • You may have noticed that more and more businesses are embracing calligraphy as part of their identity. Beyond being nice to look at, calligraphy sends a couple of crucial messages {especially for boutique-type businesses}. It says, first of all, that a business is willing to take a bit more time to go the extra mile. I mean, of course, calligraphy is more time-consuming to use in a logo, on a business card, as part of a website, etc., than a computer font is. It also reflects a human touch, which I think is becoming more and more appealing as we make a shift into many things being created by machine.