Playing with Brush Lettering & Modern Calligraphy

I just joined Instagram recently, and immediately, my feeds have been flooded with videos of watercolor brush lettering and calligraphy scripts. In the States, brush lettering and modern calligraphy have been making a comeback in the craft world. It is mesmerizing watching people create these beautiful and elegant artwork. These artists make the process look so easy.  However, as I quickly found out, the basic strokes may look simple, but mastering them takes patience and practice.

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One of the keys for lettering practice is to write slowly in order to pay attention to each stroke and placement. After a few practice sessions, it surprised me how peaceful and calm I felt afterwards.  There’s something about the slow and repetitive movements that calmed down this anxious heart.  I picked up this hobby when I felt burnt out a few months ago.  I had just received a rejection from an art show, and was also overworked.  Practicing the drills helped me let go of the need to create something original.  And concentrating on each stroke distracted my mind and channeled my anguish into something constructive.   With each stroke, my frustrations waned, and I felt more at peace.  My recovery didn’t happen over night.  Even when I didn’t feel motivated, I continued to process my feelings through prayer, walks, journals, and lettering. Eventually, I was able to make peace with the feeling of rejection and overcome the fear of failure.

Now, I have incorporated modern calligraphy in many of my regular spiritual exercises.  In addition to the basic drills, I started to use dip pen calligraphy when I journal. Using dip pen slows down my writing speed and allows me to ponder over my words. I’ve also started using watercolor brush lettering while I meditate. Doing brush lettering helps me express visually what I’m sensing in my heart.

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It is very easy to start learning modern calligraphy, and it’s a skill that both men and women can enjoy and master. There are plenty of free resources and drill sheets available on the web.  Some exercises can be done with a simple ball point pen or Crayola markers.  With back-to-school sales around the corner, it’s the perfect time to pick up some crayola markers and try some drills for yourself.  I’m not very consistent in practicing the drills.  As a result, my works are more whimsical rather than masterful. However, these skills have become a creative way to help me work out cluttered emotions and are now my favorite techniques for devotional and processing time.  I hope you will give it a try and let me know how and if you enjoy this process.

The Postman’s Knock is a great website for beginners. The site offers many free versions of exercises and lessons to get you started. The drill sheets shown in the first picture are also from here:  Brush Pens Drill Sheet, Calming Calligraphy Drills. Please note I’m not affiliated with the site, and the terms of the offerings may change without notice.

There are much more great resources out there on learning modern calligraphy.  Enjoy looking up some beautiful handiwork.  If you find any useful resources, please feel free to share them with us in the comments.

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