Instructions for Italic Calligraphy

Written by mike marcoe
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Instructions for Italic Calligraphy
Italic is a stylised writing form (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Calligraphy is a form of handwriting that focuses on lines, angles, letter spacing, and dimensions. Calligraphy is most often recognised as an artistic form of stylised and italicised handwriting. Italic calligraphy does not involve the more-traditional "monoline" alphabet styles. Today, rather than learning the handwritten art of italicised calligraphy, many people have simplified the fancy italicised calligraphy writing process by simply using fonts available on their home computer. However, a certificate, invitation, greeting card, "thank you" card or other personal note can be enhanced with old-fashioned, hand-drawn calligraphy.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Drawing board
  • Calligraphy practice sheets for foundational hand and uncial alphabets
  • Stack of old newspapers for padding
  • Large paper clips
  • Calligraphy markers (2.0mm, 3.5mm, 5.0mm)
  • Protractor & T ruler with cork

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  1. 1

    Position your drawing board at chest level and angle it toward you at a comfortable position for writing. Make sure you are not leaning on it when writing calligraphy, but that it is comfortable for you to position your hands at different angles. If you do not have a drawing board, many arts and craft supply stores have them, and some bookstores too.

  2. 2

    Print out some enlarged copies of the foundational hand alphabet italicised calligraphy practice sheets.

  3. 3

    Set a stack of old newspapers on the drawing board, and position the first foundational hand italicised alphabet calligraphy practice sheet on top of the newspaper stack, and clip all of it to the drawing board securely with the large paper clips.

    Calligraphic Writing

  1. 1

    Starting with the 5.0mm black wide marker, make basic letter line strokes on the practice sheet of paper for the foundational hand italicised calligraphy alphabet. Hold the marker firmly. Notice that at the bottom of each foundational hand italicised letter you will have to change the angle of the calligraphy marker and your hand to correctly make each alphabet letter shape. Foundational hand calligraphy letters are also angled inward slightly to produce the italicised form of them. Practice drawing the shapes of the foundational hand italicised alphabet on the practice sheet of paper all of the way through each letter.

  2. 2

    Using the T ruler and protractor, go back and check the height and spacing between the foundational hand italicised calligraphy alphabet characters that you finished drawing in calligraphy. Each should be about the same exact height. There should be an even spacing between the characters, which you can measure with the ruler. Once you master the italicised foundational hand calligraphy alphabet characters, you can work on connecting the characters to make cursive foundational hand italic calligraphy.

  3. 3

    Make notes on the calligraphy practice sheet foundational hand alphabet paper to indicate where you goofed up and should have used more patience in forming the alphabet characters the same height and space.

  4. 4

    Set up and practice the uncial italic calligraphy alphabets next. You will need to start using the 3.5mm marker and 2.0mm markers in each when thinner lines are necessary. After finishing each of the calligraphy alphabet styles, make notes using the ruler and protractor about the height and spacing of the alphabet characters so that you learn where you need to improve.

Tips and warnings

  • Practice calligraphy frequently. Copy or download additional alphabet styles and practice sheets that are offered for free online. Make enlargements, and continue to practice the italic calligraphy writing that you have learnt. Purchase additional markers with different tips and edges and colours if desired.
  • Consider purchasing a calligraphy instruction kit that comes with special markers and special practice sheets for tracing letter strokes.
  • With so many products on the market, make sure that calligraphy is a hobby that you are really going to use frequently before spending a lot of money on special brushes, pens, nibs, inks, markers, and special papers. Also, practice first before writing on any expensive specialised paper styles.

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