What is Calligraphy and why you should learn this beautiful art?
Calligraphy is the art of beautiful handwriting. It is often presumed to be the neat or fancy handwriting found on invitation cards or certificates. For most calligraphers, however, it is a serious study of historical letterforms and the personal development of those scripts. It is a craft that requires practice, patience and perseverance.
The heart of calligraphy is an artful expression, a meditation of strokes, a careful manipulation of ink, and above all, the enjoyment of simple task of writing. Calligraphy is about discovering the pleasure of watching pigments in water meet, fall in love, and create new colors on paper. It is not so much about losing yourself in the moment as finding yourself in a desirable state of flow, where the journey is as nourishing as the undoubtedly gratifying destination.
Calligraphy differs from regular handwriting because its purpose is both aesthetic and functional. Writing’s primary purpose is to communicate – its beauty is irrelevant or secondary. Calligraphy, on the other hand is practiced for its beauty and rhythm. A great deal of attention is paid to details like – letter formation using different strokes; stroke order; letter proportions and rhythm; spacing between letters and words; choice of pens, tools and paper etc.
However, unlike most arts and crafts in calligraphy there’s no long tedious delay while you learn a series of complex skills. You can start right away; after all you already know how to write. The art of calligraphy is all about honing the handwriting skills you already possess until you can produce truly stunning pieces of text and art. It is a relaxing, enjoyable, and practical activity. It can become a full-time profession, a high-priority interest, a hobby, or just an opportunity to relax and focus on something apart from work or family.
Everyone develops their skill sets at different rates, and this is influenced by many factors. Previous drawing experience is an advantage, as is any activity requiring good hand-eye coordination. Regardless of your level of experience or interest, a systematic approach to calligraphy practice is necessary to make progress. Some sources claim that to become a good calligrapher, you must work at it for three years. Some say seven to ten years. For most people, such amounts of time are arbitrary; everyone who takes up calligraphy has their own motivations, expectations, and priorities. The most important thing is to enjoy the process of learning and to celebrate your moments of success.
Bearing this in mind, be patient with yourself. Many beginner calligraphers experience frustration and impatience when their first few efforts are not identical to that of their teacher. This may be due to the fact that we exist in a culture that demands instant results, promotes a competitive attitude, and encourages unrealistic expectations. With calligraphy – as with any activity that requires mastering new skills – the only way to achieve satisfactory results is to practice.
May calligraphy spark joy in your life and may your relationship with this beautiful art be long, happy and fulfilling.