Calligraphy is one of the biggest trends, with new workshops and groups popping up all over the country. As well as a free calligraphy download from London-based professional calligraphist Chiara Perano, we sat down with her to ask all the tricks of the trade when it comes to gorgeous script. Here are ten top tips to mastering your new favourite font!
1. PICK UP A PENCIL
"Start with just a pencil or pen - the beginning is about learning the letter shapes. This is especially important if you’re out of practise with handwriting. As you improve, you’ll need a penholder, nibs, ink, and good quality paper to practise on."
2. DON'T WORRY
"Don’t be a perfectionist to begin with - just concentrate on getting creative and you’ll soon see results."
3. RELAX AND WRITE
"Remember to relax when writing; your shoulders, arm and wrist all have an effect on how your letterforms turn out."
4. DEVELOP EACH DAY
"Practise your alphabet regularly! This will help to develop your own style of writing. Traditionally, well executed calligraphy is created from the correct pressure, angle, shapes and movements - something which is developed over time by revision."
5. TEACH OTHERS
"I began teaching beginner modern calligraphy workshops in London, so I gained a good understanding of how to help people who are learning calligraphy. I think my editors saw this in me, and last year a division of Penguin Random House approached me to pen a guide to modern calligraphy."
6. HAVE A MISSION STATEMENT
"When I to put the book together, my aim was just to help people start handwriting again with a focus on developing their own style of modern calligraphy. I wanted to include fun projects to make it entertaining as well as educational!"
7. BE VERSATILE
"Since 2012 when I started Lamplighter London [her East London design studio and workshop], no two days are the same for me; I paint signs, line envelopes, assemble invitations, illustrate maps, tie labels, make bespoke wax seals, address hundreds of envelopes...I’m very lucky to say I enjoy it so it doesn’t feel like work."
8. BE INSPIRED
"My parents are both self starters, entrepreneurs and hard working, and they’re a massive inspiration to me. My partner Michael also very supportive of everything I do, and he’s quietly involved in Lamplighter from the sidelines. The book is dedicated to them all."
9. LASTLY, REMEMBER TO APPRECIATE THE HISTORY...
"The word 'calligraphy' actually derives from the greek words 'kallos' (beauty) and 'graphe' (writing). There were distinct ornate styles, uniform scripts and rules, with a distinction from normal handwriting. It’s incredible to think that books, documents and manuscripts were all written in this way pre-printing!"
10. ...BUT THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX
"The new 'modern' wave of calligraphy is more of an amalgamation of handwriting, calligraphy and design. There are less rules and more expression, and this is what has caused such an amazing resurgence in people’s interest in picking up the pen once again."
Nib + Ink by Chiara Perano (£12.99, Virgin Books) is on sale now. Try her beginner calligraphy exercises here.