Understanding calligraphy: 3 exercises for more beautiful results

Understanding Calligraphy – Claudia writes 
Calligraphy is like dancing or playing an instrument. Of course, first and foremost, you need a certain love for   aesthetics and an artistic spirit to master it. But the  second most important things are the right “instruments”  and: practice. Yes, a lot of practice. It’s the art of  movement on a delicate surface. Our founder and c reative director Claudia, first a calligrapher (and dancer) and then a papermaker, will be sharing everything she knows and learnt in this blog series. From great nibs and inks to techniques and general thoughts. So in the end the dance on paper will become so much easier for you! 


Calligraphy is a craft. Something you do with your hand and thus something that needs to be trained to become like second nature. That’s why today I’ll show you my most important exercises that helped me a lot in the beginning, especially with handmade paper.

1st exercise: Upstrokes.

Perform many many upstrokes without pressure. I also vary the tempo and with this exercise I can quickly determine whether the nib I write with is suitable for handmade paper or not.

2nd exercise: Oval Drills.

I’m a little out of practice on this one (even as a more seasoned calligraphy that happens). When I did calligraphy regularly for a living, I did the exercises every day until my hand was loosened and the movement was right. Especially the clockwise loop is difficult for me as you can see in the picture. And yet it is the best exercise to perfect calligraphy. Depending on which style I chose, I practised with pressure on the downstrokes or without pressure at all.

3rd exercise: S-Shape Drills - lying and standing figure eights.

As the final unit, lying and standing figure eights with a lot of momentum. Here I put the focus on creating a beautiful shape and I experimented with different curves. 


I think that with handmade paper, the right nib and the pressure applied to the nib are what creates a beautiful result – or not. For the best tools, we can recommend the following nibs. Try and experiment with different ones to find the perfect one for you. These are just as individual to you like sports equipment.

Let us know in the comments where you're having trouble calligraphing on handmade paper and we'll see where we can help.

Have fun trying it out. 

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published