The Cambridge dictionary defines calligraphy as "the art of producing beautiful writing, often created with a special pen or brush". People who practice calligraphy would likely add that it uses specific, basic strokes.
There're many different font styles and influences worldwide, including Old English, Latin, Gothic, Chinese and Islamic, among others. This method of writing declined in popularity from the 15th century onward, after the invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg. However, its popularity was revived at the end of the 19th century due to William Morris and the Arts & Crafts movement.
How do fountain and calligraphy pens differ? Fountain pens that use extra-fine (EF) through broad (B) nibs create lines of consistent width, sometimes called 'monoline'. Calligraphy pens use flexible nibs with a wider tip, which allows for different pressures to create thin and thick lines with the same writing instrument.
Calligraphers may use fountain pens with specific nibs designed for calligraphy, such as italic or stub nibs. Stub nibs are usually denoted by their width (e.g. 1.1mm) and may come in different sizes. Other options include felt tip marker pens with brush tips and dip pens. All these allow for basic strokes to be drawn with both thick and thin lines.
Calligraphy is typically much slower than writing cursive, which is generally a faster way of writing than printing. Once the basic strokes are learned, many find calligraphy to be meditative and calming. It's certainly a very personal and creative way of handwriting. You can express yourself with your choice of font style and size, pen and nib types, and ink.
A Rhodia Dotpad is the perfect place to practice your calligraphy. This Rhodia notepad is staple bound and folds over very cleanly; there are horizontal fold lines embossed into the front cover. Dot grid, 80 fountain-pen friendly acid-free micro-perforated sheets for easy removal.
Dingbats* Ātopen brush markers work beautifully for calligraphy practice. Each marker pen is double-ended. One end has a tapered brush that is ideal for calligraphy and the other end is fine-tipped. Therefore, it's like having 12 pens that only take up the space of six in your pencil case!
Whether you chose to write in cursive or try your hand at calligraphy, one thing you'll need for sure is ink. There's a whole world of ink out there! More to discover next week, in our sixth and final newsletter in our six week special series on writing instruments.