Sitting comfortably? Good lighting and plenty of elbow space is a great starting point - possibly a warming drink close by and some music playing melodically in the background. When getting starting, have a good vantage point of the paper - making it all the more easier on yourself:) Begin to steady our breathe, gradually slowing us down to a consistent and calming rhythm. We always letter better when we’re calmer, no winner for finishing first here!
2. Plan your goals
It sounds incredibly zen and mindful to begin with nothing; a blank piece of paper and inspiriting plucked from the sky. However, all in reality it can be a little difficult - so we simply have a couple of phrases or ideas already noted down. No need to load any pressure on ourselves - especially if you’ve seen something online which you’re fond of! With some ideas already whirling around, we’ll start with a plank clean piece of paper, pen in hand and a rough sketch of the layout so then we only need to concentrate on the lettering itself rather than the whole design all at once:)
3. In the now
Be in the now - take in your surroundings and simply enjoy the simple act of taking time for you. Taking yourself out of your usual routine and making time for you then doing something rather pleasant. If you find your mind wandering - bring yourself back to the now. A small nudge to bring you back. When we’re in this calm mindset, we can plan ahead - plan what we we’re thinking of lettering up next, how we can incorporate different styles - simply feeling happily engrossed in the activity.
4. Confidence + challenges
Begin to create your own designs - pushing the boat out. If you have elements you’re interested in - just go for it. Introduce colour, illustration - don’t be afraid of it looking different to what you may have imagined - calligraphy is completely hand rendered, it’s all personal. As with most things, practice brings confidence and this open mindset brings the willingness to try new techniques and styles. Picking up your dip pen more often in the week, you’re accuracy and precision will organically improve without worrying about that shaky hand on those light upstrokes. As one of the ways of practicing mindfulness; challenging oneself. Seeing yourself achieve a challenge you’ve set yourself - that self-satisfaction.
5. Core technique
Whilst relishing in the present moment - if you find the pen ‘not working’, simply keep a check on your technique - angle of the pen, paper etc. Then in itself, perhaps the more tedious act of learning something new and checking our technique can become part of the process and mindful practice. Simply draw light upstrokes gradually curving and applying more pressure to visibly see the tynes open.
We are incredibly excited to be heading back to Lancaster next month for our very first Calligraphy workshop at The Sun Hotel & Bar (part of Lancaster Brewery) at 63-65 Church St, Lancaster LA1 1ET.
Join us for an evening of Calligraphy and a tipple on Wednesday February 12th! We'll be getting started just before 6:30pm - delving straight in with learning the shapes of the letters along with pressure strokes all in pencil to ease us into the world of lettering. From here, we pick up our dip pens - we start with lettering out more letters of the all-important script style alphabet which leads us nicely onto joining up then onto design templates incorporating decorative ornaments plus some Valentines Day stationery ideas. Midway through, we'll have a short break to give our minds a rest, a tipple of something (or tea/ coffee of course) and then we're back at it till 9pm!