Hey there! This post is super sweet because I am collaborating with a Calligrafriend to give you a list of 8 common hand lettering/brush calligraphy mistakes! What makes the post extra special is that Toni is from the Philippines!!! How cool is that?!?! My hand lettering journey has allowed me to connect with people I would have otherwise never connected with…which results in having friend all over the world with a shared passion.
Here a brief intro on Toni:
Hi guys! I’m Toni. I’m a self-taught calligrapher from the Philippines. I do both Brush and Pointed Pen Calligraphy and I blog and share my tips on Calligraphy, and sometimes post about my lifestyle on my blog. I’m happy to be here and to collaborate with Robyn. This is actually my very first Blog Collaboration and I’m glad that it’s with my Calligrafriend, Robyn. We both came up with our ideas and shared our mistakes that we’ve both done in our calligraphy experience. Yes, we’ve been there, done that hahaha 🙂 and we hope this would help you guys out.
Here’s our list of Hand Lettering/Brush Calligraphy mistakes that we’ve both done and experienced and we hope that this could help you out on your hand lettering/calligraphy journey. 🙂
1) Holding The Brush Pen in an Upright Position
Brush pens should be held in a slant position or in angle that will let the brush pen rest on your hand. Not only will this let you create better thin and thick lines, but also will maintain your brush pen to last longer,avoiding the brush to fray.We all know once the brush has frayed, it won’t be good enough to use in brush calligraphy. 🙁
2) Not Doing Drills
I totally missed this step in the beginning of my hand lettering journey. I skipped the drills and went straight to words. Big mistake! Drills are an essential step in mastering hand lettering. Drills allow you to build your muscle memory which ensures that your muscles work together to form perfect letters.
3) All Brush Pens are Expensive
Yes, brush pens are quite pricey than regular colored markers. The price of a set of colored markers is almost equal to the price a single brush pen BUT not all brush pens are expensive! There are great brush pens that are in an affordable price. Just like the Kuretake, Artline, and Faber Castell brush pens. They are cheaper than other brush pens but they have really good quality and unique colors. I definitely recommend you guys to try these markers!
4) Using The Wrong Paper
This is one of the most important tips I can share with you. Paper is important!!! When I was starting out in calligraphy, I usually write on any kind of paper that I want but I’ve learned that there’s a specific kind of paper that is needed in calligraphy. Make sure your paper is 200 gsm or more so that it could support the ink of your brush pen. You can check the gsm# on the packaging. Also, make sure it’s smooth. Using the right paper avoids your brush pen to fray.
There are only a few types of paper that you can use that won’t destroy your brush pens. I would suggest practicing drills on HP Premium Choice Laserjet paper and using the pricey paper for projects (Rhodia pads, Bristol Smooth, Market paper, etc.) Vellum boards and watercolor paper are great as well.
5) Rushing/ Writing Fast
Not taking your time. If you have watched any hand lettering artists’ videos on Instagram or their YouTube channels, you may have noticed that they aren’t rushing through their project. They are taking their time. Hand lettering is like art. you want to take your time to form the letterforms.
However, TAKE NOTE: some videos are edited times faster. I sometimes post videos on Instagram that are edited as well. Be careful, make sure you add more pressure as you make downstrokes and less with upstrokes. Take your time and be patient. Continue practicing and enjoy. 🙂
6) Comparing Your Lettering To Others
When you first start lettering; especially if your first time seeing lettering was on Instagram, your initial instinct is to try to letter like that artist. While it is a good start to there for inspiration maybe…you don’t want to compare your lettering. Remember that we are all unique, therefore I lettering styles and journeys are unique. Don’t compare your lettering to anyone else.
7) Not Creating Your Own Lettering Style/Mimicking Others’ Style
Once you really get into the groove of lettering, you’ll realize that you want your lettering to stand out. So much so that people will recognize your lettering just by looking at it. There is nothing wrong with admiring the style of others’, but you want to your lettering to be your own.
8) Giving Up Easily
Not everyone writes perfectly on their first try. Learning calligraphy is like learning how to write all over again when we were toddlers. I once gave up and became inpatient in calligraphy. I know calligraphy requires time and patience but I really wanna learn this kind of art. I never stop practicing; until now, I still do. I practice every spare time I have. Make sure you love and enjoy what you’re doing and keep on practicing. Also, keep your old works and you’ll see your improvement. Hard work always pays off! 🙂
Keep on Writing!
xoxo Robyn and Toni
My Calligrafriend Toni 🙂