The art of beautiful writing
The word ‘calligraphy comes’ from the Greek word ‘Kalligrophos’ meaning “person who writes beautifully”. Calligraphy is as old as writing itself; it has its roots in ancient rock paintings, pictographs and Egyptian hieroglyphs.
Today’s calligraphy is a form of self-expression in which words and thoughts come alive in a beautiful finished way. They are most common in the form of wedding and event invitations, font design and typography, original hand-lettered logo design, birth certificates, memorial documents and stone inscriptions.
There are three types of calligraphy:
- Western or Roman
- Chinese or Oriental
The first 24 letter Greek alphabet evolved from phonetic writing or ‘sound writing’. It took several centuries of development for the alphabet to appear as we know it today. Western Calligraphy is recognizable by the use of the Latin script which appeared around 600BC.
The development of Arabic calligraphy is strongly tied to the Qur’an (the Muslim holy book). Proverbs and passages from the Qur’an are still the sources for Islamic calligraphy and it appears in prominent global brand logos such as Emirates.
Chinese characters can be retraced to 4000 BC and are used throughout Asia in the form of five main styles.
To letter beautifully takes practice; essential skills you first need to master are pen position, angles and strokes and to understand the basic form of calligraphic letters.
Handwriting has a specific style where letters are formed according to the positions of the head, body and tail (remember Handwriting lessons during Primary School ). Likewise in Calligraphy there is specific letter formation that needs to be followed each letter must be stroked in a certain direction and must follow the ascender, body and descender rule.
Inserting the ink cartridge
- Step 1: To insert your ink cartridge, gently unscrew the black nib of the calligraphy pen and put the cartridge (smaller opening end first) into the opening.
- Step 2: Hold the inserted ink cartridge against a strong surface, such as a tabletop, and press down firmly on the pen to force the cartridge to click into place. You will hear a click when the back of the pen nib pierces the cartridge.
- Step 3: Screw the nib back onto the pen and place the calligraphy pen upright for a minute or two, prior to use. Then gently press it onto a scrap piece of paper to start the ink flow (it should only take a couple of strokes for the ink to start flowing). You’re now ready to start writing!
Alphabet Stroke and Formation
After inserting your ink cartridge practice a few strokes on your sketchpad.
Study the letter formation method on the right by following the steps of 1, 2, 3 & 4 and practice forming the letters on your sketchpad.
Practice your calligraphy
Practice your Calligraphy with Calligraphy Exercise Booklet
Practice more stroking and letter formation by writing out your favourite quotes or sayings of influential people. Remember that calligraphy is an art that takes a lot of practice and as the ancient adage goes, ‘practice makes perfect’ (try that for a quote).
Utilise the Mont Marte Exercise Book to hone your angles as the lines are drawn beautifully to accommodate for perfect letter formation.
Try out different colours, nibs and decorate your quotes with the magic colour change markers or felt tip markers included in your kit!
Tips for Beginners
The Right Angle:
Calligraphy pens aren’t designed to be used the same way as regular pens. To keep the ink flowing smoothly, hold your pen so that the nib is angled between 30 and 45 degrees to the paper. Feel free to experiment with your angle so that you can learn what works best for the style of calligraphy you want to create!
Spacing between Letters
When it comes to spacing, a great tip is to lightly rule up a series of boxes along the baseline using a pencil. Make sure they’re spaced evenly and write your letters inside the boxes as you go.
Caring for your Calligraphy Pens
- To keep your nibs in good condition, always clean and return them to the box after each session.
- Wash the nib under lukewarm water after extended use and dry carefully with a soft cloth. Do not allow ink to dry on the nib as this will stop it from flowing. Once clean and dry, replace the cap.
- Carry and store your pen upright (nib upright) to prevent leakage.