How I create your custom calligraphy poem

You may be wondering how I'm able to create your custom calligraphy poem and artwork with your photos.  First I write your original custom calligraphy order by hand. I don't use a computer font called "calligraphy" (like I've seen others do). It is handwritten calligraphy. Custom calligraphy written by hand has an elegant look. It cannot be replicated by a computer font.

handwritten calligraphy and tools

Handwritten Calligraphy Process for Printing

The process I follow is a bit different from other professional calligraphers. And, I want you to understand exactly what I’m doing. First I write your original custom calligraphy order by hand. I do NOT use a computer font, it is handwritten calligraphy.

It's actually a long process to make your piece perfect. It takes time! First I complete the hand lettering as you see in the example above. That's what the first step looks like. As you can see, it's far from perfect at this point. 

Even though I've been a calligrapher for a long time, I still have ink splatters, less than perfect letters that I don’t like, and flourishes that bump into other lines. But thankfully, I also have learned to use Photoshop! This enables me to create a perfect piece of calligraphy art for you. And I can incorporate background photographs and other artwork that could not be done without the use of this brilliant program, Photoshop. Another benefit is that the calligraphy and artwork can be printed on an array of wonderful surfaces such as metal, wood, canvas, glass and of course, paper. 

The Process of Creating Your Calligraphy Artwork

After I write the text in calligraphy I take the entire piece of plain paper the calligraphy is it written on, and scan it at a very high resolution into my computer to get it ready for editing and then printing. 

Customizing Your Calligraphy

When I use Photoshop with my handwritten calligraphy I can remove and replace letters that I don’t like, fix mistakes, center perfectly, match any colors you want, and perfect the calligraphy. Mostly, I can resize it by the tiniest amount to make it fit any photograph or size that you need. This is impossible to do with standard size calligraphy pen nibs. Then once I’m satisfied, the custom calligraphy lettering is superimposed on a background of your choice. But even that takes time. Very often I have to use photoshop to blur areas on a photograph where the image makes it hard to read the custom calligraphy text. 

Thank Goodness- An Easy To Fix Mistakes!

calligraphy piece ruined by spilled ink and splatter mistakes

In the case of writing an original, a mistake such as an ink splatter, a letter that is not perfect, a line that isn’t centered properly, results in needing to do a complete redo of an original. That take a LOT of extra time! And you can imagine the stress of having to be perfect each time I bring pen to paper!

I’m really thankful that when I make a mistake, or spill paint or catch the tip of my calligraphy nib in the paper and splatter it’s much more easily corrected with Photoshop. If I was writing on an original if I misspell or leave out a word I would  have to redo the entire piece!!  Scratching off the paint and trying not to damage the paper is nearly impossible. 

Lianda's memoji head exploding

OH NO!!!!!

I can remember a time when I was working on a very long text on my drawing table. I love to listen to books and music when I’m painting or writing. But this one particular time, (it was back when telephones had wires and were connected to the wall) I wasn’t paying enough attention. And I didn’t cover all of the surface of the paper that had been completed. The phone rang and I reached for the receiver (do you even know what that is?! LOL). My arm hit the black ink, which turned over and spilled over the entire surface that I had just spent HOURS lining, and writing! I just looked with my eyes wide open realizing what I had done! Well, all I can say is: the worse the mistake you make, the less likely you are to ever repeat it! I am SO THANKFUL to be able to work with Photoshop and giclee printing now!

Printing Your Calligraphy Poem

After your calligraphy text is written and incorporated with the photo you’ve chosen I’ll send it off to you for the first look. Most often my customers are thrilled at this point (see the Rave Reviews), however, sometimes small changes have to be made. Moving the title, changing the size of the text, adjusting the color, or oops! fixing an error in spelling I’ve made, adding a word or leaving one out – now is the time when I correct any errors until you are completed satisfied and the calligraphy is ready to print.

But please remember- I remind you to carefully look over your text.  Make sure you consider the personalization before I start writing. (I remind you right at the beginning). Any additions in text after I’ve started writing the calligraphy will result in an extra fee. It takes me a lot of time to add additional text because it has to all be resized. (and btw, caligraphy has 2 "L's")


Because of advances in technology I can now incorporate your own pictures or stock photography, company logos and other artwork with the text you want written. Even a short while back that would have be so expensive to do that it wouldn't have been worth it unless you were printing hundreds of copies.

Calligraphy is Artwork combined with a Background Image

When people think of having their poem written many people limit their choices and just want black writing on "parchment" or cream color paper. But I'm really encouraging you to expand and consider other possibilities. You have a world of gorgeous backgrounds and images available to you that can enhance your calligraphy and make it doubly beautiful and enjoyable. And there are many styles of calligraphy lettering. 

example of deckle edge finish on paper

Even IF you decide you want to stick to a parchment background, this will still be a print on your choice of a particular parchment. There are so many choices! 

Phenomenal-Women in calligraphy-watercolor with personal photo

Your photography with my calligraphy

In order to use your photograph with my calligraphy it is only possible to do this because of programs like Photoshop. Photoshop is a very impressive and expensive software program that took me YEARS to learn. I can't even begin to tell you how frustrating and time consuming it was to learn! Even now I find myself spending time having to learn more about how to use photoshop to it fullest potential, and I'm still far off!

Writing Calligraphy on Heavy Weight Paper - NOT A PRINT

Many people ask for original handwritten custom calligraphy to frame and put on their walls. But consider how many pieces of original artwork you actually own that are not prints! Original hand created art is EXPENSIVE! And calligraphy takes more steps than many other types of art.

example of Lianda's bad handwriting

I sometimes get people writing and asking for me to "just do nice handwriting." I actually have pretty bad handwriting and sometimes I can't even read what I wrote! 

Yes, everyone knows how to write, but calligraphy is very different than simply writing out your poem with my handwriting. There are so many things you have to do to write out an original piece of calligraphy. It take a LOT of time. 

That's why I have perfected this way of making long texts custom looking by combining computer fonts (there are SO MANY to choose from with Photoshop!) with titles and personalization in beautiful calligraphy. And it generally costs even less than half the price of handwriting original calligraphy. And the best thing is that it still looks like custom, personalized calligraphy because of the process of printing with giclee. And you have a choice of printing on amazing surfaces. People LOVE how it looks! 

Creating an Original Calligraphy Art Piece

These are some of the steps I have to do to write out one original custom calligraphy art piece:

  • find and purchase heavy-weight archival paper that you prefer
  • draw lines on the first copy of paper for the rough lettering
  • determine the spacing so it fits in the size requested- including the longest line, and the shortest
  • write out the text and proof to make sure it's 100% correct
  • let it dry 100%
  • put it on a light-box the proper size for the text.
  • tape the good paper on top
  • put on gloves to prevent oil from my hands disturbing the paper
  • carefully and very lightly draw lines
  • carefully place paper over all but the one line where I'll be doing the lettering
  • start doing the new hand lettering
  • PRAY that my pen doesn't catch any fiber on the good paper and spit ink!
  • allow it to dry for a day
  • carefully erase all lines and hope there's no smearing of ink/paint
  • trim the paper very carefully
  • buy heavyweight cardboard and shrink wrap to assure the piece won't get damaged
  • AND- if you want a border, I have to then pencil draw it and paint! 
  • PRAY I don't make any mistakes!!

So now you may understand why doing one piece is more costly than using my process. And I can add your photos, drawings, background, logos and other artwork to your actual printed calligraphy at such an affordable price. Yes, it is handwritten calligraphy! 

The-Kiss-Artwork with calligraphy inserted frame

Framed Photos within Mat Board

You can get an idea what I had to do in the past before photoshop and technology advanced. These two gift items had a personal photograph or a piece of artwork. There was no way to combine the calligraphy with the original photo except for cutting a space in the mat board and putting a tiny frame around the images! Then I had to write calligraphy and do the painting and artwork directly on the mat! You can't image how careful I had to be to make sure there were o mistakes or dripping paint! Talk about stress! AND it took so much longer to do it that way.

Your photograph and the calligraphy would have to be framed separately, or cut into a mat alongside the calligraphy text. This is an old school approach. As you can see above and below. 

Saving Money With Prints

Memorial for Hawiian Surfer

One commissioned calligraphy job I had was to write a memorial for this young surfer with his photo and bio. But 12 people wanted a copy. This was before giclee printers existed. I had to do the same calligraphy and treatment like the above example on mat board with tiny frames twelve times! And it was EXPENSIVE!

But it would have cost even more to do a color print for justs 12 copies back then! Now I can combine the photo (digital photo) with the calligraphy and have it printed on a high quality giclee printer on archival paper or other surfaces for a FRACTION of the cost!

Business Logos Combined with Hand Calligraphy

Now that calligraphy can be scanned and printed in a “short run” it is possible to incorporate your company logo include in business certificates. You can choose from a universe of amazing stock photographs to visually elevate the calligraphy art. In the "olden days" it was cost prohibitive to print one or a a few of the same prints.

Award for Election Integrity combining calligraphy with computer font and a logo

Parchment "Paper"

Even if you choose “parchment”, 
this is a high resolution photograph
of a piece of original parchment.

(Parchment is actually animal skin– very expensive and difficult to prepare for writing). The paper you choose is an archival, heavy weight paper that has texture that can be similar to parchment, but it’s not animal skin, or vegetable parchment.

All calligraphy jobs are PRINTS. Your text is handwritten (not a computer font) but it is used to create a giclee printThere are many styles of paper that printers carry, but they are all white paper with varying textures and weight. Now papers come from different sources including bamboo, hemp, cotton and other fibers.

Author's own love poem
using photoshop with caligraphy to extend background to add text

Photoshop for Your Photos

In order to put calligraphy on your photograph there has to be a place for the text. Photographers most often center their subjects right in the middle of their shot. But there's no place to write! In some cases I just "box" the photograph on the side of the design. But sometimes I can extend the background and make a place for the writing. 

In this wedding photo I had to use Photoshop Magic to extend the ocean and make space for the calligraphy. Editing with photoshop does take time, but it’s worth the effort!

Photo Bombs

Sometimes your personal photographs include "photo bombs" that you don’t want included in your calligraphy piece. That’s when Photoshop Magic comes into play. I’ve removed overflowing garbage cans next to grandma and other busy backgrounds like wires in a sunset or extra people who were in the background to make your photo really nice. I can lighten or darken the background, remove blemishes on people’s faces and get rid of red eyes.

Here are some tips for how to take excellent photographs that won't need retouching with Photoshop (which adds expense to your job). 

Choice of Printing Surfaces

If you want traditional framing with glass over the paper, your custom calligraphy is then printed on heavy weight archival paper, with your choice of textured surface. (once the original is done, printing additional copies in paper is also a low cost option)

Now it's possible to choose from many surfaces to print your calligraphy and they don't even need additional framing or even glass protection! You may prefer a smooth surface or a paper with heavy texture. However, all paper prints are made with a high resolution giclee printer.

By writing custom calligraphy in this manner, each print will last longer than an original, and it looks virtually the same as an original, except it is perfect. It can also keep the cost down, because writing an original will cost about 150% more than using this process.

I Promise You Will Love Your Calligraphy

If you read my “rave reviews” you’ll see that people are completed satisfied with the quality of the print –  I also have a bunch of 5 star reviews on Google!

Your Calligraphy Gift – Uniquely Printed and Framed and Ready to Hang

Your calligraphy art piece can be printed on a variety of amazing surfaces that will not need additional traditional framing – and it comes ready to hang, right out of the box! Imagine how great your calligraphy piece will look printed on canvas, metal, wood, glass or acrylic! Let's get started now- just contact me and we'll create something beautiful together. 

Thanks for coming by- and I look forward to creating a great gift item for you!