Serenity Prayer in calligraphy on red rose petals

How Much Time to Write Your Text In Calligraphy ~

Some people think that it takes the same amount of time to write calligraphy like you would write a sentence in a notebook. That may lead someone to think that they're paying a lot of money for something that takes me no time at all. "I just want nice writing on a cream colored piece of paper", they say. When I hear that I realize that people think that I have nice handwriting and it doesn't take time to do calligraphy. I don't have nice handwriting and it take time to do professional calligraphy! That's why it seems costly.

How Long Does It Take To Learn Calligraphy?

It's taken me many years of study, learning and practice to get to a point where I can write something that I call "calligraphy". (some people mis-spell it as "caligraphy'. It has 2 "L's"). When I took my first calligraphy class I was really excited to learn how to write those beautiful swirly fancy letters. Little did I understand that calligraphy isn't just about learning how to write individual letters!

First you have to find a really skilled calligrapher. A calligrapher is also known as a scribe. They also need to be a patient and caring teacher who is willing to tell you the entire recipe. What I mean by that is: I've had teachers who leave out the most important ingredients to make really beautiful letter forms.

You need not only learn how to write letter forms

  • you need to learn about 
  • what kind of pen,
  • nibs (the tips of pens) 
  • ink (I use paint called gouache),
  • paper,
  • letter spacing,
  • how to draw lines,
  • how to erase lines,
  • how to correct mistakes (next to impossible without ruining the paper)
  • and so much more!

What Does A Calligrapher Need To Learn?

When I took my first calligraphy class back in 1979 (OMG!!) I was given a list of items to purchase. I needed special paper, a T square, pencil, special calligraphy pen. a variety of size nibs, and ink. Besides that it was helpful to have paper towels and wear an apron! I quickly learned that writing calligraphy took time. 

How Long Does Calligraphy Take To Write?

pointed pen nib used for copperplate and modern calligraphy

Calligraphy done well takes time! It takes years of practice to be able to pick up this weird shaped pen and write a consistent and beautiful line of writing! The pen I use to do most of my work is a "dip pen" that has a nib with a square cut across the top. When someone sees this pen and tries to write with it they have a lot of difficulty making the paint flow!  You can't press too hard or the ink won't flow

You have to learn to hold the pen at an angle between 35-45 degrees. That's what make the thin parts of the letters, called "hairlines". And holding that same angle also creates thick parts of the lines. It gives the flowing beauty of the letters that almost look like a ribbon. There are very few harsh straight lines in most calligraphic hands. The serifs are delicate and organic. And it takes a lot of time to practice and learn.

This is an exemplar of how to form italic calligraphy letters. It takes time not just to learn what they look like, but to be able to form these letters consistently!

Practice Doesn't Make Perfect

Many people use the phrase practice makes perfect. But that's not actually true. You need to have a great example to copy when you are practicing. And there are many styles of calligraphy! Getting feedback from a master calligrapher who can look at your letterforms, and spacing critically and get you feedback is essential. That of course, is how you learn to make beautiful and perfect letters as much of the time as possible. Calligraphers are not computers that reproduce the same exact letter every time, but we sure do strive for that perfection. 

Look at this example below to get an idea of what a professional calligrapher does to learn and practice writing calligraphy. 🤣

(this is an example of the calligraphy "hand" called gothicized italic. It's called that because the arch of at the top of the letters mimics gothic church windows of that time.)

Why Is Calligraphy Expensive

Yes, most people know how to write with a pen. Many people say their handwriting is terrible. But now you've learned that calligraphy is not "handwriting". There are rules and skills which take years to learn. Even a master penman (I don't like using sexist terms, but there is not other one to use at this time) has to take time to plan and write.

Options to Save on the Cost of Calligraphy

Many people have very long texts and not big budgets. Are you looking for a less expensive alternative to hand calligraphy that still looks great? That's why I've come up with a great alternative that has some hand calligraphy for headings, personalization and other parts, but has the longest parts of the text in a beautiful computer font. And I can still include your own photograph. It's a great option, and people love it!

Write to me and let's get a great design from a real professional calligrapher with design skills that will make YOUR calligraphy a favorite gift for someone you care about or for yourself. It does take time!