How I create your 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

This calligraphy style called copperplate was chosen by a new father for a letter he wrote for his newborn baby boy.


Calligraphy is the ancient art of “beautiful writing”. But because of advances in technology and Photoshop, the process to create your custom calligraphy I can now incorporate your own pictures or stock photography, company logos and other artwork with the text you want written. Just 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. 

How Do I Write Your Text in Calligraphy on a Background?

The process I follow is a very different from most other professional calligrapher. 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. Believe me, it's long from perfect at this point.  Just look at the photo at the top of the page. That's what the first step looks like.

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!  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. What a relief! 

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!

Customizing Your Calligraphy

Using Photoshop 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 takes a lot of time. Then once I’m satisfied, the custom calligraphy lettering is superimposed on a background of your choice. This is how I can incorporate your personal photographs, or pick a beautiful graphic background that fits so well with the text you are having written in calligraphy.

If there wasn't a way to do a quality giclee print I wouldn’t be able to superimpose the calligraphy lettering on your photographs.  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 below. 

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. 

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.

Business Logo with hand calligraphy award

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.

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.

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 look over your text that you want printed and make sure you have given me all the personalization you want to add. 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")

Choice of Printing Surfaces

Your custom calligraphy is then printed on heavy weight archival paper, if that’s your choice. Advancements in technology have made it possible to choose from many surfaces to print your calligraphy, that won’t even need additional framing! 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 100% more than using this process.

Printing on ANYTHING! 

I am an environmentalist, and had an idea about printing on organic, cotton fair trade bags made in the U.S. And indeed I did start a business where I was selling these shopping bags. I encourage everyone to bring their own bag and NEVER use plastic whenever possible. 

If you would like one of these bags, some are still available, or I can do a custom design or saying on a bag for you!

Wouldn't it be nice to carry your own statement about using your own bag and protecting the earth? Contact me if you're interested. 

Also consider doing a custom apron design, or water bottle. Check out Cafe Press and see what item you like. Then I can customize a calligraphy design for you. 

Easy To Fix 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 technology. When working on an original, and I leave out a word, it would mean having to redo the entire piece, unless I could scratch off the paint and not damage the paper I was working on! 

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!

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 – and you also have an "option to print on a different surface.  I also have 5 star reviews on Google!

(ps- once the original is done, printing additional copies in paper is also a low cost option)

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!