Father's Day golf poem with a foresome of friend golfers
Calligraphy Services

Fathers Day Calligraphy Gift

Love poem for father

The Perfect Gift for Your Father

It's not easy to pick a Father's Day gift as it is for Mother's Day. For her, there's always flowers and chocolate, perfume.. There always seem to be more things you can figure out for her. But for Father's Day it won't work that way for your dad. So you have to be more creative.

Gifts For Your Father

In fact, buying something for your father for his birthday can even be difficult. I remember when I had a party for my father turning 65 years old. We had all his friends over and a big celebration. The funniest part was when he was opening his gifts. EVERY GIFT was a shirt! My father had a great sense of humor and made a joke out of every box he opened! 

My father had a lot of interests, so it was easier to find something for him. He was also a violinist and a wood-worker. One year I found him a little kit to assemble a miniature violin. He enjoyed doing that so much. And I'm so glad that I was able to have that party for him because he passed away not too long afterwards. I miss him so much!

Father's Day golf poem with a foresome of friend golfers
Golf quote by Mark Twain written in a calligraphy style

Your Father's Hobbies

Is your father is a sports fan? Maybe he's a golfer, or tennis player? That makes it easier. You can find great quotes about their sport and combine it with a photo of your dad.

Your Father's Occupation

Your father's occupation can be a source to consider to find  many good quotes: doctor's, lawyers, entrepreneurs, carpenters, etc.. are just some. The quotes can also be funny.

Famous Quote from T Roosevelt of entrepreneurship written in calligraphy
If your father loves music, plays an instrument, or is a musician, or if he has a favorite song, that can also make a unique gift that he will appreciate.
love of music quote in calligraphy
quotes about music and lyrics

Military Father

Maybe you have a dad who is serves in the military. The poem, Invictus tells of the bravery needed to follow this path.

Invictus Poem on American Flag with soldier for Military Gift

Religious Scripture

Perhaps your father is a religious person who has a psalm or religious scripture he loves.

Rick Warren's quote: Praise God in calligraphy

Creative Unique Gifts for Dad

The point is, your father is an original and a unique father. Get him a unique gift that shows your knowledge, and appreciation of him, Think of what words will move him. Consider is occupation, his hobbies, his interests, his loves. There are words about each of these aspects that will make a wonderful, memorable gift for your father this Father's Day (and even on his birthday!). Don't get him another shirt! Get him something that he will really appreciate and treasure because it shows how you know him!  Write to me to get started on your father's favorite gift ever! 

Celtic calligraphy Father's Day quote with family  photo
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Memorial Poem- When Tomorrow Comes Without Me written in calligraphy on golden sky background
Calligraphy Services, Memorial

Memorials Expressing Sympathy

Memorial Poem- When Tomorrow Comes Without Me written in calligraphy on golden sky background

Memorials and Sympathy Poems

Unfortunately, the Coronavirus, Covid-19 is making us focus on memorials for those who have died. Hundreds of thousands of people are dying suddenly. This pandemic is even killing younger people now. It's a very stressful and sad time in our lives. You see memorials all over the news for people who have died from this terrible virus.

Coronavirus-Memorial in calligraphy

It's hard to know what to say to someone who has lost a loved one. It's said that "holding space" which essentially means just sitting with another person silently is often enough to offer your true sympathy. When you know the person who has passed, writing a sympathy card or a memorial poem can help people go through their grief.

Grief is love that has nowhere to go...

A Calligraphy memorial is always sad work, especially when it's a memorial for a young person or a child. When you have your own child you don't even want to imagine the pain these poor parents are going through. I've had to write through tears when writing this sad song for a newborn who left his family way too early. Writing and designing calligraphy is generally for commemorating special happy occasions.

memorial poem for baby who passed away written in calligraphy with baby's photo
father's memorial for young daughter who passed away with her photo

But calligraphy services also includes writing memorials allows someone to look at their photo and feel that love again. Although I think it takes time for the sad feelings to soften. Those feelings don't ever go away - especially when you are writing a memorial to someone you dearly loved.

Do Not Stand By My Grave and Weep

Do not stand at my grave and weep, Indian memorial poem in calligraphy

Memorial For A Beloved Mother

It took a long time for me to be able to look at photos of my mom, Adele without bursting into tears. Even now, many years later, I'm tearing up as I'm writing this. But I love looking at photographs of my mom with the family, and with me. Everyone said we looked a lot alike. My mom was an incredible woman: kind, funny, intelligent, accomplished and so loving.

memorial- Love poem for Mother with personalization and photo

Memorial For Favorite Relatives

memorial of mother's sayings in calligraphy
Memorial - complete quote when tomorrow comes without me personalized with calligraphy and photo
memorial for beloved related in calligraphy with her photo

Memorials from Co-workers and Businesses 

This is a memorial that was written by a company where this lovely woman volunteered her time. This calligraphy memorial was also sent to her husband as a gift.

REmembrance memorial for co-worker in calligraphy with her photo

Gone From My Site

The "Parable of Immortality" is also known as "Gone From My Sight". It was written by Henry van Dyke, Jr.  It is a very moving poem that I gave to my dear friend when her 20 year old son passed away  from cancer. She brought it to her grief group and the other parents there felt great comfort from reading it.

gone from my sight memorial in calligraphy

 Gone From My Sight

I am standing upon the seashore. A ship, at my side,
spreads her white sails to the moving breeze and starts
for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength.
I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck
of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

Then, someone at my side says, "There, she is gone."

Gone where?

Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast,
hull and spar as she was when she left my side.
And, she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.

Her diminished size is in me -- not in her.

And, just at the moment when someone says, "There, she is gone,"
there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices
ready to take up the glad shout, "Here she comes!"

It's really lovely to read something that shows the person who passed has touched many lives. Writing good memories of the person brings them back - maybe you can hear their voice, their laugh, or their special touch when you read about them.

Memorial Poems and Stories

I went through a terrible time in my life when my children were teenagers. They had friends who had passed away from cancer or from a terrible accident. I was so depressed that it was very hard to get through the day. Two of these young people were the first born of very good friends of mine.

It is so hard to find the words to say when someone loses a child. But I wrote out this beautiful story for her. She said just reading it made her feel a lot better. Click on it so you can read it.

How To Help Someone Who Is Grieving

My daughter was a hospice social worker. She told me that Hospice offers grief groups at no charge. These social workers are the best at helping you through a hard time when you lose someone you care about. There are Hospice services all over the country. Don't let the grief get the best of you- do avail yourself of the free services of hospice.

A Sympathy Book To Help Dealing With Loss

My dear friend and fellow calligrapher, Joanne Fink wrote a beautiful book in calligraphy after the sudden and totally unexpected loss of her husband. I have been giving her beautiful book, "When You Lose Someone You Love" to my closest friends after their loss. She sent me this book when my younger brother died. It really helped me feel not so alone and "lost". It taught me that my feelings were normal and not that different from everyone else who loses someone they loved.

This is what my friend wrote to me after I gave her this sympathy book:

Lianda, Joanne's book tells about the complexity of grief and how totally disorienting it is.  So many of the pages describe just what I've experienced.  The combination of heartfelt emotions with gorgeous art is healing.

It is comforting to me to know that Joanne has turned her sorrow into help for other people.  I want to be like her, and how I hope that my grandchildren can use their grief as productively as Joanne's son and daughter have.   

I know that I will re read this beautiful book again and again, and I will loan it to Mark, my grandchildren, and my daughter Karen too.  Thank you so much for bringing it to me, Lianda, and for the meaningful bookmark as well.  You really have helped me.


Most people will lose someone they love, or even a beloved pet, at some point in their life. Offering your silence, a moving poem or a sympathy statement from your heart can be the thing that helps people begin the long journey of healing. 

Pet memorial in calligraphy with dog's photo superimposed under the rainbow bridge
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Adobe watercolor background
Calligraphy Services, Custom Calligraphy

Directions for Choosing Adobe Background

Finding Adobe Stock Photos and Illustrations

Use these directions on how to use filters when you're looking for photos or illustrations for the background for your calligraphy poem or text on Adobe Stock. Otherwise you can spend weeks looking through images and still not finding the right type. Yes, it's fun looking through all those gorgeous images and you can get lost easily! 

Using Keywords

Using keywords or words that describe what you're looking for will help focus the search for your background image. That means if you're looking for a sky background, put in whether it's a day, night, cloudy, sunset, etc. 

Using Filters Properly

It's easy! Just follow the directions. Look at the red circles below. Just check the icon for filters, and a window will pop open. Then you'll see how to do the adjustments that will save you time. Remember to consider whether I've told you to look for horizontal or vertical layout. Remember, your text has a "shape". If you have a long narrow text you want to find a photo or illustration that will widen the art and balance it. One of the filters will show whether you'd prefer to have people in the photos or not. 

directions for using filters in Adobe stock

Finding similar background choices

Here's another important direction to simplify and make the search faster. Once you find a photo or illustration that you like, but you're not 100 percent certain that it's perfect, you can find similar pictures by clicking this link. 

SAVE the Images You Like

This is probably the most important thing: if you don't save the image you like it can be very difficult to find it again! So make sure you click the heart which will save your images to a library that you can find later. 

Send Me The ID#s

You can then send me the ID numbers or downloads of previews of the photos and I can make recommendations about which ones will work best. 

When we collaborate and work together to find the perfect Adobe photo or illustration your calligraphy will be even more meaningful. That's because you'll have beautiful artwork combined with beautiful calligraphy to see every time you look at your finished product! 

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Calligraphy must fit a space-like cinderella's shoe
Calligraphy Services, Photography, Photoshop Magic & calligraphy

How To Choose the Perfect Background For Custom Calligraphy

sunset photograph artwork combines perfectly with calligraphy poems

Choosing the Perfect Background

Choosing the perfect background for your handwritten calligraphy makes your finished custom calligraphy text even more appealing because there's also a beautiful background. This is the only site online that I've found where you can add the artwork of your choice, including your own photographs to the handwritten calligraphy to create a one of a kind personalized gift! Check out all of the ideas that you've probably never even thought about! 

I always feel like an image enhances and elevates a quote. It also makes it more memorable because you have that visual that reflects the meaning you imagine in the text- the reason it's meaningful to you! It captures your attention when you walk past it. It creates a visual memory that goes with the words.

Think about it.  I bet you’ve never seen an advertisement that is just text on a parchment or plain color background! And those artists make tons of money for their exciting and motivating designs!

If you have looked around my site, you’ll notice that 99% of my pieces have some decorative background- it can be a personal photograph, or the perfect background that graphically reflects your text. I STRONGLY encourage you to stretch out of your comfort zone and not choose a “parchment” or plain background. Art combined with your custom calligraphy text will really make it special and unique and add to your enjoyment of the piece every time you look at it!

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone - Neale Donald Walsch

How To Find The Perfect Photograph or Image for Calligraphy

Close your eyes and think about your text. What do you see in “your mind’s eye”?

reading a book and imagining images from the text

I may be ruining your ability to read by telling you this, but here goes: when you read anything you are running a silent video with pictures and images in your head. You’re probably not aware of it, but we think in pictures. All you have to do it pay attention to what you’re “seeing” in your head to get a great idea for a background image for your calligraphy text!

Calligraphy Text Determines Your Background

How to choose the right background image for your calligraphy depends on many factors. It's a different kind of art than others because you need to fit the "shape" of your text into a background. So just finding a pretty background is probably not always going to work! You need to look at your text and see, not the words, but the shape of the words. I know, it's confusing! But I'm here to help you.

The Size of Calligraphy

It's also important to figure out the approximate size that you prefer. Are you going to hang the calligraphy on the wall centered over a large object (such as your couch or bed) or put it on a bookshelf. You want to have balance, so you don't have a custom piece of calligraphy art the size of computer paper centered over your couch! It would be lost!

A good way to figure out what the final size should be is to take some tape and put it up on the wall where you want to hang your calligraphy poem or text. Or you can also cut up some cardboard to approximate the size that you like. That gives you a feel for what it will look like.

The Shape of Your Calligraphy Text Determines How To Choose the Perfect Background

shape of calligraphy to choose background

Your text has a shape that's determined by how long each line is, (that's the width) and how many lines of writing there are (that's how tall it will be).

If you have a poem with specific line breaks and number of lines, your text will decide the best final dimensions of your final piece of artwork. 

The width of the finished piece depends upon how many words are on each line. The height depends upon how long (how many lines or paragraphs) are in the text.

It's important to leave borders around the writing in the artwork, and they generally should be equal on both sides, top and bottom.  So now you see that calligraphy has to find it's own size. I can shrink the size of the entire piece, but it must keep its proportions, or the calligraphy will be either stretched or compressed!    

You may think: make it larger- but when the size of the letters are bigger, they get wider as well.

Even if you have a plain background such as "parchment" you see that the piece looks empty and unbalanced because there's too much space on the sides! 

Standard Size for Framing

There are certain sizes that are standard for framing. If you are going to have your piece professionally framed you don't need a stand size frame.   Check out the terrific options I have at Beautiful Calligraphy for different styles of framing) But you still want balance of borders in the calligraphy and background.

If you have a more "free style" text where line breaks are not important, such as a personal letter, you still want to take into account "orphan" words. I never like leaving one or two words on a line by themselves. While it's easy to do this with a computer and adjust the size of the font, it's not the same with writing hand calligraphy! I have to set up each line manually. It's hard to read very long lines of text. Your eye actually gets tired. So I work to keep the maximum number of words per line to about 14-16 words.

In fact, you  probably do this automatically when you are reading text on the computer. You can make the window larger or smaller and that adjusts both the size of the font and how many words are on a line.

I know, it's a bit confusing. I'm sure if someone was great at math they'd be able to figure out a way to do it. But I'm just a creative type and I have to "see" what the line looks like. AND, I have to figure out where to break lines so it makes sense. 

Balance The Look of Calligraphy With Decoration

I make sure that your calligraphy looks beautiful with using decoration to balance the sides. This poem was long and narrow.  This is a poem written by the famous author Charlies Baudelaire entitled "Always Be Drunk". Luckily I found the perfect picture which was also long and narrow of someone pouring from a wine bottle and missing the glass. I guess the drinker already had enough wine in them while pouring! 

You can see how that balanced the shape of the calligraphy and elevated the look of the calligraphy to make it look really great! This is one of my favorite calligraphy pieces. 

Narrow shape of calligraphy balanced with decoration

Don't Buy A Frame Before Your Calligraphy is Completed

It's  best practice not to buy a frame before you have your custom hand calligraphy finished. The colors on your mat may be different from what you expect and may clash. And making the calligraphy fit a frame can end up with an unbalanced finished size of what the calligraphy should be. It will be just like trying to fit Cinderella's shoe on a large foot! 

I have lots of great alternatives to framing that come ready to hang. See below for examples and read more about the options. 

Below are examples of calligraphy lettering artwork that were improved by adding some decorative element on either one side or both. You may just want "dark writing on parchment paper" but it won't look good when you see it if the text is not wide enough to fit a pre-determined space. I know it's confusing,  but I hope I've explained it so you understand. If you have questions, just write and we'll come up with the combination of the perfect size and decoration for your needs.

God's name in many different religions written in calligraphy superimposed on background of a Christian Cross in sunset
Shakepeare long text written in calligraphy
long narrow poem in calligraphy with background that balances the space
Birthday calligraphy gift poem for mother-

Where to Find Great Photographs

For free photos go to www.Pixabay.com, and www.unsplash.com, and enter search terms or keywords. If you haven't found any there, the best place with a huge variety is https://stock.adobe.com. The adobe photos cost about $10-$15  but they have the most choices and are really wonderful photos with TONS of options including borders and original watercolors. Make sure to save the pictures you like in a “lightbox” or save the ID numbers and send them to me. Click here to see how to use the filters to speed up your search. Make sure there’s a place in the photo where I can place the calligraphy. Choose keywords so you don’t have to look through millions of photos!

Finding the perfect photograph for your calligraphy gift 

You may find lots of pictures you love, but it still may not work with the calligraphy. You may love a particular photo but  you have to consider how it will work with the calligraphy text. Here’s the thing I look for- where am I going to be able to put the text?

A photo like the one below has that dark rock right in the middle- and I’d have to write on right side- but it would look unbalanced.

perfect background with space for calligraphy on the side

A Perfect Background Has A Place For Calligraphy

One of the reasons the photo above is perfect is there’s not a lot of contrast with dark vs. light in the area where the text will be- so the calligraphy  is clear and legible from top to bottom.

That would be the problem with the photo below- light on the top (great for black writing), but dark on the bottom, and harder to see the black writing… So what color can the text be that will stand out in both sections? RED? You probably don't want that!

Background for calligraphy has too much contrast


Photograph With No Space for Calligraphy can only be boxed

Oftentimes a photograph you want to use cannot be used for an entire background, but can be part of the calligraphy design. I can't write over the photo or you won't see the picture! If you look the beautiful photograph of the young and old hand, you’ll see that there’s no place for calligraphy to fit on that photograph. In that case, a parchment paper background, or a color background can pull the calligraphy art piece “together”.
The poem, Her Hands written in calligraphy with a personal photo of a mother and daughter's hands. This calligraphy artwork is personalized.

Creating More Background With Photoshop

In order to write calligraphy marriage vows, photoshop magic extended the background of the ocean.

Photographers Don't Leave Background for Calligraphy

Sometimes I have to use photoshop “magic” to extend the beach or a background. You can see that in the original little photograph example, the couple was centered on the with the ocean background. I had to move the couple to the side and extend the beach on one side to superimpose the caligraphy text. And it’s not even possible. It takes me extra time to do that, and ends up costing you more.

If you are planning on using your wedding photo for calligraphy make sure to speak to your photographer ahead of time and tell him or her not to center all of the photos and leave space for calligraphy.

How To Take A Great Photograph

If you are going to take a picture to include in your calligraphy order, I have written a blog about 7 tips to make sure your picture comes out great.

If you’re taking a digital photograph of another paper photograph, it’s particularly difficult to get it in great focus. If you have a printer/scanner that would probably give you the best results. Set the scanner to 300 dpi to get the sharpest results for printing.

And if you’re going to take a picture make sure to take a bunch of them so you can choose the best one! Even professional photographers take multiples of any shot – just to make sure they get the results they want. And since we don’t use film any more, it’s practically free to take thousands of photographs!

Now you know how to pick the perfect background image for your calligraphy! Believe me, you will be happy you put in this effort when you see the final result. Just contact me to get started with an inquiry.


Alternatives toTraditional Framing 

Framing your calligraphy poem or text takes time and additional money. Sure there are standard size frames. There are times when your finished calligraphy on paper doesn't come out to a standard size. And the choices for ready-made framing are generally not so great. 

In fact, my customers used to complain that the frame cost more than the artwork! Glass over framed calligraphy can change your ability to read because of the reflection. The option is non-glare glass with your frame. The non-glare glass is absolutely invisible is even more expensive than regular glass! If you do traditional framing over paper, you will need to protect your calligraphy artwork (except oil and acrylic paintings) with glass. That's not necessary anymore! 

At Beautiful Calligraphy, I have many options so that you won't have to go shopping and spend a fortune on traditional framing for your calligraphy poem and artwork.

Framing With Glass

One of the things that I love so much about the metal, wood, canvas and other wraps is that you are not separated from the artwork with glass. There's no distortion or reflection with many of the surfaces - unless you choose to have it glossy and reflective (like acrylic). But that even has its charm because you see the artwork through the sides! 

Some of the many different framing options are below, and there are even more!  You may surprise yourself and find something that you will really treasure! AND if you have a smaller piece you can also get a tabletop version with a built in stand! Now curved metal that stand on their own are available as well. Perfect for your fireplace mantle or desktop.

S T R E T C H out of your comfort zone and you may surprise yourself with something you love!

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Calligraphy Blog, Calligraphy Services, Custom Calligraphy, Gift Ideas, Love Poems

Custom Design

Husband wrote this poem and wife had it written in calligraphy with original background image

Designing Custom Calligraphy

A custom design of an image to go with a poem takes a lot of thought and planning. It’s almost like a puzzle. I have to figure out how to bring out the meaning and combine the text design with a background that reflects that meaning visually. Custom design definitely takes time and experience.

This wife had a vision for a poem her husband wrote. We talked about it for a while trying to come up with a plan. Unfortunately there was no stock photography or even hand drawn images that fit what she envisioned.  Luckily, I was able to come up with a design that combined a few different photographs and combine them with Photoshop Magic. Yes, designing custom calligraphy backgrounds can take a lot of time, and therefore they tend to be expensive.

Sometimes I’m only adding a moon and stars to a dark sky, or doing slight changes that don’t take too much time. I really enjoy creating custom background designs for calligraphy. 

BIble verse in calligraphy for anniversary gift on gorgeous background from Barbados


Using Your Imagination for Calligraphy Design

Custom calligraphy designs take time, and even using your imagination to come up with the perfect design. My client said he wanted an “elegant” border design drawn around the love poem he wanted written out in beautiful calligraphy. Then he used the term “gothic”. But because “elegant” and even “gothic” can mean different things to everyone, I asked him to give me an example, either in my calligraphy gallery, or by visiting sites for photographs and designs. Then I was able to do a good search with keywords, for the type of flowers, colors, designs he preferred, and either a photo or a vector design (drawn by hand or computer) will appear to give you lots of choices.

watercolor border design with love letter anniversary gift in calligraphy

Personally, I wouldn’t have described this as “elegant” or gothic – but he was happy. And most important his WIFE was thrilled! I’m so happy when people write back to me to let me know that the custom design I came up with for them made their recipient happy. That’s one of the best parts of doing calligraphy. 

Once we have an agreement on an elegant border design, then I can start laying out the calligraphy design. I can also customize the border design, whether it is a vector or a hand drawn design. I can draw the type of flowers (or objects) you prefer and adjust the colors, size, etc.

Another wonderful option is using your own photography. However, make sure that you are taking pictures with the highest resolution in order to get a sharp print. Although the picture looks great on your computer or phone screen, it won’t look good when it’s printed unless the resolution is set to HIGH, and you have good lighting and a steady hand!

Not Creative?

Many people say they are not creative; but you still know what you like, and what you don’t like! I like to work with my clients to collaborate on the perfect gift. Remember also: when you are getting a gift for someone, it’s THEIR taste that’s important. You can think about how they dress, what colors they wear, the flowers or even season they prefer to help you come up with a design that reflects their taste.

Don’t give up because it’s not going fast enough! I’ll help you through the process, and then you’ll have a wonderful art piece of beautiful calligraphy, or any other type of personalized unique gift  that will always please you every time you see it!

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framed calligraphy poem
Calligraphy Services, Custom Calligraphy, Framed Calligraphy

Traditional Framed Calligraphy

framed calligraphy

Traditional Framing

Framing calligraphy can be quite expensive. In fact, traditional framed calligraphy art can end up costing more than the actual artwork than you are ordering! 

Example of Framed Calligraphy

This is a particularly well done traditional framed calligraphy piece. Notice how there's a double mat. The inside very tiny mat picks up the burgundy color in the leading letters in the calligraphy writing. Then the outer mat reflects the colors in the parchment background. Finally the wood frame is beveled and matches the color of the Zen circle. I'd give this traditional framing of calligraphy a 100% rating! 

Couple Opening Wedding gift of  framed calligraphy
Award inscribed with recipients names in framed calligraphy
framed calligraphy famous poem written in calligraphy with personal photo

Alternatives To Traditional Framing

In my calligraphy services I can offer some really nice alternatives to the type of traditional framing that you would do for a paper print (with glass) that you see above. And they can be less costly than traditional framing. But if your style of decorating is more traditional, you may prefer glass and a frame.

ps- If you are going to spend the money on having your calligraphy piece framed, make sure you use these tips for taking really good photographs! 

No Glass Necessary

These options have a fresh contemporary approach to printing/framing that you might really like. When you have a paper print you will need some way of protecting it, and glass is the most common method.

Typical glass in a frame is mostly reflective, unless you opt for non-glare glass. That type of glass is very expensive, but in my opinion it is completely worth the expensive. It's almost like there's no glass at all! I had to touch the example to realize that there was actually glass in front of the artwork!

contemporary way to frame calligraphy by printing on metal with stand built into your calligraphy art perfect for a desk

One of the nice things about alternative print/frame is that there is no glass necessary. The printing process includes a coating that protects the calligraphy and artwork so that it won't fade or degrade. And it arrives completely finished and ready to hang, or place on a table with a few different options for stands. And you don’t have to spend time and more money to shop for a frame. The price depends on what surface you choose, and the final size of the art piece.

Custom Choices for Calligraphy

The bottom line is, you have choices when ordering my custom calligraphy services. Let's work together to create YOUR perfect style of calligraphy art. Just click to contact me.

Below is the Google review of the author from the beautiful framed poem at the top of this post.

Google Review from happy customer
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Calligraphy Prints, Calligraphy Services

Leading Letters

Modern-leading letter

Decorating Letters to make Calligraphy even more beautiful

When writing hand calligraphy, there are many ways to make a text special. Using "leading letters" at the beginning on a text or paragraph is a way to bring a beautiful decorative element to hand written calligraphy. When you are requesting calligraphy services this is something you can ask the calligrapher for in your art piece.

Contemporary leading letter W with gold background

I love doing contemporary leading letters. They can be put into a box with color behind the letter and even adding a little image from the border into the box. I wrote out the song lyrics in calligraphy from Phantom of the Opera  which had a special meaning for this couple, but wanted to make it even prettier. So I did some extra flourishing on the couple's names to make them stand out. This beach scene with the couple walking in the sunset had special meaning for them. With the addition of color in the box behind the leading letters, it really made the piece special. It's going to be printed in the newest  contemporary look with acrylic face which will make it really gorgeous!


Leading Letters Have Different Styles

Leading letters were used in Biblical text. Monks worked long and hard to create gorgeous decorated letters. They are known as "illumination" because of the use of gold. The gold would light up the text, and thus the word "illumination". I was surprised when I first learned that. 

Another way that leading letters were made to stand out from the text is using a color. Red is a common color to make the first letter not just larger, but bolder. You can even do that on your computer. You would just look for the way to enlarge the letter and "drop" it so it goes into the next line. You still see book chapters where the first letter in the chapter is "dropped" or larger than all the other letters in the text. 

Red, bold leading letter can be done in calligraphy or on your computer to make the first letter stand out
Contemporary look with Gold Leaf Leading letter in business award
Leading letters are decorated first initials for business award

White Vine Illumination

Many years ago I took a class in "white vine illumination". When you look at the letter you understand why it's called "white vine". There's a drawing of the vine surrounded, typically by "jewel colors" to look like a stained glass window. It takes a LONG time to design and then illuminate these letters. So they are VERY expensive to have designed in calligraphy! 

white vine illumination done with gold paint, not gesso

Contemporary or Traditional Leading Letters

Make sure you let me know whether your taste goes towards traditional or contemporary if I'm going to be adding leading letters. Also, let me know about your color preferences - or even better, the color preference of the person who will be receiving your calligraphy gift.

Business proclamation award in handwritten calligraphy

Decorating Letters

Letters can be made to stand out by putting color behind them, flourishes and other treatment. It's time consuming but fun for me to do! Here's a special treatment of capital letters with color to make the text really stand out. This was a gift to Senator Barbara Boxer from California to thank her for standing up in the Senate and demanding a true, transparent, verifiable election.

Decorated letters to Senator Barbara Boxer's gift

Decorated Border Designs With Calligraphy

If your taste goes more towards a painted or hand drawn border design I have many choices for you. Here's a delicate beautiful colorful traditional border design used with a wedding/marriage certificate. 

Wedding certificate decorated with a traditional border
decorated colorful letters in headings in calligraphy
historical colorful border design

When you order your custom calligraphy make sure to let me know what style of calligraphy you prefer so you can get something that is really perfect for you or the recipient.  Let's get started on YOUR perfect calligraphy artwork!

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Acrostic Love Poem for Rachel in calligraphy with beautiful leading letters
Calligraphy Services, Custom Calligraphy, Love Poems, Photoshop Magic & calligraphy, Unique Gift Ideas

Acrostic Poem

Acrostic Love Poem for Rachel in calligraphy with beautiful leading letters

Writing An Acrostic Name Poem

An Acrostic poem is a great technique to write a short, and meaningful poem about a person using their name. For those of us not as skilled as poets this technique uses the first letter of the person's name to write a short, and concise description of that person!  There are even great sites that will help you generate the verse or description using each letter! 

Using Leading Letters in a Name Poem

I love creating leading letters!  They are the first letter in your text. Oftentimes you'll see a "dropped capital" letter in the beginning of a chapter in a book. It gives the opportunity to add a design aspect and color to your calligraphy poem. My calligraphy services allow you to decide whether the  Leading letters will be designed as contemporary with an updated modern look or very traditional. 

Contemporary leading letter W with gold background
Modern-leading letter

Finding Descriptions for Name Poems

There are websites that can help you come up with positive and fun words to fill in for each letter. Your acrostic poem can be sentimental, inspirational, religious, funny, or even sexy! It's up to you to be the creative writer. That site has lists of positive words for each letter of the alphabet, and that can make it fun for you to come up with a phrase for each letter. Of course the entire line doesn't have to have each word that fits the first letter. Only the first letter and word need to match up.

Acronyms of a Name

Another technique known as an acronym is to create a phrase that jumbles or even reverses the letters in a name to come up with a description. That is not easy for me to do, and luckily, Dr. Google has plenty of places online where you can get assistance. It's going to be hard with short names. But longer names may come out to be something funny! 

Name Definition

Then there are also name definitions. Many names are Biblical or religious and have great stories associated with them. 

Help Writing Your Own Poem

The important point is, there are lots of ways to be creative with writing your own poem. Picking using one of your own photos or a selfie can really add to the final affect by personalizing it!  And no, it's not cheating if you let Dr. Google assist you with word or name definitions! It's a fun and easy was to write your own poem for someone who will really enjoy it! 

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First anniversary love letter with selfie of the couple superimposed on photo background from Hawaii less expensive option computer font with calligraphy
Calligraphy Blog, Calligraphy Services

Less Expensive Calligraphy

Robert Frost poem with hand calligraphy & computer font less expensive option

Why Is Calligraphy Expensive?

Yes, most people know how to write with a pen, so why is calligraphy expensive?  Many people say their handwriting is terrible (unless you went to Catholic school where the Nuns taught handwriting!). But 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 design a layout, draw lines for lettering, plan and write out text.

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. I don't. And I realize that they want a lower cost alternative instead of paying for a more expensive piece of actual calligraphy art.

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").  And I want you to understand why it does take time to both learn and write out your text in calligraphy which you can learn all about by reading here. 

Photoshop Makes A Less Expensive Option Available

One of the ways that I'm able to have options for you to save money on the cost of calligraphy is because I have learned how to use Photoshop. It has literally taken me years to learn this program and I'd still say I have a lot more to learn! But using Photoshop has given me the ability to combine your photographs or selfies, or images that you love with calligraphy.The hand calligraphy I write is then superimposed on whatever background images you like, and printed with a giclee printer. AND, it also gives me the opportunity for another less expensive option! 

An Even Lower Cost Option to Save on 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? I don't want to turn them away, but it still takes me a long time to create a beautiful custom piece of calligraphy for you. 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!

These pieces can be printed like my other entirely hand-calligraphed calligraphy pieces on a variety of surfaces. It gives them a totally custom look- especially when the titles are made to stand out with flourishing. 

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 still does take time, but it will cost a lot less than having your entire text written out in hand calligraphy!


Song lyrics from favorite music in calligraphy and computer font with graphic microphone
1st Anniversary marriage vows written in calligraphy combined with computer calligraphywith selfie of the couple in Hawaii
Best man's speech in calligraphy and computer font to save cost
couple's photo with hand calligraphy combined with computer text saves time and lowers the cost for first anniversary gift
Musical quotes with calligraphy & computer font saves time and cost
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Calligraphy Blog, Calligraphy Services, Custom Calligraphy

Calligraphy Takes Time

The Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr written in calligraphy on a background of 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. 
Spilled ink, splatters and mistakes are easily corrected in modern calligraphic technology

How Long Does Calligraphy Take To Write?

pointed pen nib used for copperplate and modern calligraphy
various calligraphy pen points are called nibs

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. 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. 🤣

calligraphy takes time to practice

(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!

Song lyrics from favorite music in calligraphy and computer font with graphic microphone
1st Anniversary marriage vows written in calligraphy combined with computer calligraphywith selfie of the couple in Hawaii
Best man's speech in calligraphy and computer font to save cost
Musical quotes with calligraphy & computer font saves time and cost

Read More