When we spend so much of our time online, we’re bound to learn something while clicking and scrolling. Discover something new with Mashable’s series I learned it on the internet.
Calligraphy may make you think of parchment scrolls and feather quills, but it’s also a popular modern art and crafts activity that millions of people around the world study and practice. This visual art can be a very rewarding hobby, offering a relaxing, almost meditative creative exercise.
A few hours practice a week should give you some decent basic calligraphy skills within a matter of months. (Some talented calligraphers even turn their hobby into a profitable sideline by designing invitations, posters, flyers, and the like.)
It’s also an easy hobby to get started with, and it’s affordable, too. “You don’t need any fancy expensive tools,” says Helene Thion, an artist who runs calligraphy courses when she’s not making bespoke wedding invitations for her Smitten With Ink stationery business.
“A straight penholder, a nib, and some ink will do just fine for starting, which is around a £10 ($14) investment. Or a brush pen if you want to learn brush lettering, or even a simple pencil — 2B, 3B, and 4B are great to mimic calligraphy,” Thion says.
While taking a course in real-life (look for listings in local papers, magazines, and on community websites) is a great way to begin your calligraphy adventure, it’s also possible to learn calligraphy using digital resources and materials once you get your calligraphy pens and ink.
Read on for the best online sources for calligraphy tutorials, classes, tips, tricks, and inspiration. Thion has important advice for anyone starting out on their calligraphy journey: “Go slow! Calligraphy is a mindful activity and takes time to hone but also is slow in practice.”
YouTube is an obvious place to start if you’re looking for calligraphy videos, but it can be a challenge to find quality content. Not to worry, we’ve found them for you: five YouTube channels that feature calligraphy-themed content we recommend.
The Calligraphy Masters YouTube channel offers a plethora of video content pertaining to calligraphy, hand lettering, and sign painting. You can watch different calligraphy styles, both traditional and modern, as well as calligraphers, calligraphy art, tutorials, interviews, and tips and tricks — such as how to fix mistakes and how to create special 3D effects. This popular channel has racked up over 27,500,000 views since 2014.
How to Hand Letter is a bright and friendly YouTube channel run by Suzy, an artist who has helped over 300,000 creatives learn how to create beautiful and modern calligraphy and hand lettering through video tutorials, online courses, and printable lettering worksheets, available on her website. As far as those video tutorials go, How to Hand Letter offers modern calligraphy and hand-lettering lessons that are easy to follow, easy to listen to, and give you lots of positive encouragement. This channel is highly recommended for absolute beginners.
We’re huge fans of this calligraphy channel, which has notched up over five million views since 2015. It was created by Mücahit Aydınhan, a talented calligraphy artist based in İstanbul, Turkey. Aydinhan offers a large number of video tutorials designed to teach calligraphy to absolute beginners, as well as some more inspirational videos featuring advanced techniques, such as using unusual objects like credit cards and plastic forks to create calligraphy art. In addition to traditional italic calligraphy, this channel also brings you some more contemporary hand lettering.
Paul Antonio Scribe is a London-based studio of calligraphers, hand-lettering artists, and graphic designers working with the lettering arts in both a traditional and contemporary context. This, the firm’s official YouTube channel, offers a fascinating look at its actual commercial work, video recordings of calligraphy workshops, and a large selection of calligraphy demonstrations to try to emulate.
Pieces Calligraphy is where to head if you want to learn brush calligraphy — a more modern style that uses brush pens, which you can buy from all good stationery stores from around the $10 mark — rather than a traditional dip pen and ink set-up. This channel is run by brush calligraphy artist and tutor Sharisse. Browse the videos for a wealth of fascinating tutorials, including a set of videos that show you how to write every letter of the alphabet.
As a visual social media platform, Instagram is a good bet for all things arty. Calligraphy is no exception. There are hundreds of accounts from calligraphy and hand-lettering Insta-artists to browse. This is by no means a complete list, but here are some we recommend following.
This wittily named account is the Instagram presence of John Stevens, an internationally known lettering artist-calligrapher. This is a great account to follow if you want to see some deceptively simple calligraphy quotes, phrases, and designs, many with a liberal political bent.
This Instagram account is run by the brilliant Shinah, who in her own words is a “lawyer turned sweary calligrapher” (a lot of her designs feature curse words) with a mission to make calligraphy fun and help newbies find their own style. As well as sharing examples of Shinah’s work, this account will give you a “Friday Practice Prompt” to help encourage you to get lettering.
TheHappyEverCrafter is a Canadian artist and tutor called Becca Courtice. Her YouTube channel was a strong contender for our YouTube list above, but we wanted to showcase her Instagram instead. It’s a visual delight of calligraphy and watercolor art.
Kestrel is the Bay Area teacher turned calligrapher behind Ink Me This, a calligraphy teaching and pen-making business that specializes in pointed pen calligraphy and engraving. Her feed is a fascinating mix of her work and demonstrations of how she creates it.
Laura Hooper is a talented calligrapher of bespoke designs and a calligraphy tutor offering online courses and some free resources. Her Instagram is a great destination if you’re looking for pointed pen calligraphy inspiration and demonstrations.
Loveleigh Loops is the Instagram account for sisters Jillian and Jordan. Their calligraphy teaching business “helps aspiring calligraphers master the basics, find their unique style, and create work that they’re proud to share.” Their Instagram account reflects this, with informational and inspirational content.
As the name would suggest, this is a contemporary calligraphy-themed account covering all things calligraphy, including lessons, inspiration, online tutorials, and ideas. This account is especially good at offering seasonally themed ideas and inspirations.
To date, Lindsey Bugbee’s Instagram account has provided its many fans with over 750 free calligraphy tutorials and hundreds of free worksheets. It will give you a daily dose of calligraphy-inspired encouragement and inspiration.
The Instagram account of Helene Thion, this feed will give you plenty of calligraphy inspo, an occasional calligraphy demo, and an insight into the life of a professional calligraphy artist.
StartLetters is the Instagram account for StartLettering.com, a Russian site that specializes in gothic calligraphy lettering and tutorials. There are some more contemporary posts, too.
Stefan Kunz is a Zurich-based hand-lettering artist with plenty of fun, colorful, and fresh posts, many of which are stop-motion videos showing how he has created his brilliant word-based illustrations. Kunz also offers really useful little slide shows demonstrating certain lettering techniques.
Online calligraphy courses
Many of the excellent calligraphers we’ve featured in our YouTube and Instagram lists offer online courses, so if you like what you see from their images and videos, click through to their websites to see what kind of online learning they might offer you. There are also online learning platforms that provide calligraphy courses for a fee, for instance…
Creative Bug is a subscription-based website that gives you unlimited access to thousands of award-winning arts and crafts classes, from sewing, quilting, and knitting to jewelry-making and leatherwork. Among those many courses are some calligraphy, hand lettering, and brush lettering options. Monthly subscriptions start from $8.
Creative Live has a tidy selection of calligraphy-themed courses. You can study brush lettering basics, hand lettering 101, calligraphy for addressing envelopes, and more. Buy individual classes priced from $17, or get a Creator Pass, priced from $13 a month to access all the calligraphy courses, as well as any others that interest you on the platform.
Most of the online course options we’re highlighting are pre-recorded videos you can watch in your own time, but if you’d prefer something a little more realtime, check out the live calligraphy lessons and tutorials available on Eventbrite. In many cases, the cost of these live digital classes includes a basic calligraphy kit that will be sent to you ahead of time, so they also make great gifts.
Skillshare has a great number of calligraphy classes available on its online learning community platform. The great thing about the Skillshare lessons is that they are often broken down into manageable chunks of mini-lessons, so you can dip in and out of the sessions as suits you. There are lots of options for beginners, as well as more advanced tutorials.
There are over 300 pay-as-you-go calligraphy-related courses on the Udemy platform available across the globe, including Arabic, Chinese, and Japanese options. Prices range from $13 to $200, and the courses range from absolute beginner level to more advanced studies and cover different styles, too. There’s everything from proper pointed pen calligraphy to lessons on how to learn calligraphy using Crayola markers.
Calligraphy, here you come.