Origins of Calligraphy
The world looks like a much better place when you stand in environments with beautiful interiors, well-articulated themes and especially, serene calligraphy. The word "calligraphy" itself is derived from the Greek words meaning "beauty" and "writing".
Samples of calligraphy date as far back as 200 BC, and this art form continues to be practiced in various parts of the world. Being a unique skill, it pays off to learn how to write calligraphy.
Different styles of calligraphy originate from diverse cultures. Whether its old English calligraphy alphabet or Arabic calligraphy alphabet, its important to have historical perspective when learning how to write calligraphy.
Western calligraphy is recognizable by the use of the Roman alphabet, which evolved from the Phoenician, Greek, and Etruscan alphabets. The first Roman alphabet appeared about 600 BC, in Rome, and by the first century developed into Roman imperial capitals carved on stones, Rustic capitals painted on walls, and Roman cursive for daily use.
Islamic has evolved alongside the religion of Islam and the Arabic language. It is a broad spectrum that comprises all works of calligraphy by the Muslim calligraphers from Morocco to China, and is associated with geometric Islamic art (arabesque) on the walls and ceilings of mosques as well as on the page.
In many parts of ancient India, inscriptions were carried out in smoke-treated palm leaves. This tradition dates back to over two thousand years. Even after the Indian languages were put on paper in the 13th century, palm leaves where considered a preferred medium of writing owing to its longevity.
From ancient China, the oldest Chinese characters still existent are Jiǎgǔwén characters carved on ox scapula and tortoise plastrons, because the imperials of the Shang Dynasty carved pits on such animals bones and then baked them to gain auspice of military affairs, agricultural harvest, or even procreating and weather etc. Other scripts include the Jīnwén (Bronzeware) and Dàzhuàn (Large Seal).
Surprisingly, Japanese calligraphy has its roots in Chinese, dating back to the 28th century BCE to a time when pictographs were inscribed on bone for religious purposes. When this writing developed into an instrument of administration for the state, the need for a uniform script was felt and hence a prime minister in the Chinese dynasty of Qin, Li Si, standardized a script and its way of being written.
Instruments of Calligraphy
The following are some instruments commonly used in calligraphy, and their derivative usage.
- Felt tips pens: convenient, disposable, they do not leak and they do not need to be dipped.
- Fountain pens: refillable, long-lasting if properly maintained (see Warnings below)
- Steel-point pens: ink must be fed with a dropper or a brush, capable of creating fine detail and hard edges, but it is inconvenient to change tips frequently.
- A quill pen: leave a duck or turkey feather to dry in the sun, cut at an angle with a pen knife.
- Pencil – use fine grit sand paper on one side of a soft pencil (#2, HB, B) against a flat surface, then turn and flatten the other side to create a "chisel" tip, sharpen as need while writing.
Instructions on How to Write Calligraphy
Although calligraphy is a diverse field and depending on what type of calligraphy you decide to practice, some key instructions are common to all language and art-forms in the world of calligraphy.
1) Loosen the grip and letting the pen flow
Before you begin actually learning how to write calligraphy, you need to get used to using the instrument. Scrawl designs across a rough page and get acquainted to writing with it. Play with different angles and note how it affects the width of the mark on the page. Practice with diverse designs as much as you can.
2) Hold the instrument correctly
Hold the pen lightly with the tip hitting the paper at a 45 degree angle, and practice simple strokes such as a line straight up, or lines angling left and right, and curvy lines. Note the way the different lines are thick or thin depending on the way the pen hits them, but be cautious about keeping the tip at a 45 degree angle.
3) Write naturally
After you’re completely familiar and comfortable with handling the instrument, start writing in your own handwriting for further acquaintance. All of this should be done with the tip at the 45 degree angle.
4) Find new patterns
As you get better and more confident, you can create new patterns and integrate basic concepts of calligraphy into your everyday handwriting, which will eventually make the style more natural.