Practice Makes Perfect

I was really excited to get my networked learning project going.  After reviewing my resources, I decided to make a shopping list of supplies based on what the bloggers and artists recommended.  I took notes on which brand to buy and which not to buy.  As a young teacher, I also didn’t want to break the bank and spend a ton of money on supplies.  I kept the price in mind in addition to the quality.  I wanted to have some great tools that would last.  Once I had my plan, I headed out to Michaels and Jo-Ann Fabrics in high spirits.  My first stop was Jo-Ann’s and I was surprised with what I found:

At home, I was overwhelmed with the variety of tools and did not know what to even put on my list.  At both stores, I was unimpressed with the selection of calligraphy supplies.   I spent some time reading the packages and looking around other parts of the store to make sure I didn’t miss anything.  For future reference, Michael’s has them in two different sections, on opposite sides of the store.  From Jo-Ann’s (where I had more coupons) I bought:

From Michaels I bought:

Photo Jul 07, 3 01 43 PM

The first two blogs, By Dawn Nicole and Boxwood Avenue, provided me with some information to get started.  However, the “free” worksheets were not free or led me to other blog sites where I found some other resources.  Katrina Alana had some great basic calligraphy guide line practice worksheets that I slid under the paper I was writing on.  The guide lines are very important because your letters should make a 55 degree slant.  The lines also help make sure your sizes are accurate.  Since no worksheets had letters, I needed to look up images and videos before beginning as I am a very visual learner.

Here are some awesome resources I found:

Calligraphy for Beginners gives very important basic information on fountain pens.  The artist explains how to put the pen together and how to hold it (60 degrees with the paper and light pressure).  I never knew that all of these little details were so important to calligraphy until I started practicing.  They can make a huge difference in your strokes.

Jordan Moran’s Copperplate Calligraphy Basics teaches copperplate calligraphy in easy to follow steps.  I learned that there are seven basic calligraphy strokes in this traditional style of calligraphy as demonstrated in this short video.

Lessons that I learned while practicing calligraphy:

  1. Open up the container of ink carefully. It could splatter all over your hands or your dining room table, leading me to my next lesson.
  2. Have paper towel available! You will need it.
  3. Nibs are more than just my favorite Twizzlers candy. They are the tip of the calligraphy pen and vary in size depending on how thick you want your lines to be.
  4. It takes time!  You have to be REALLY patient and not get frustrated when you write.  Ink will splatter, paper may get stuck in the tip of your pen, and you will have to keep refilling your pen with ink.  Take your time and enjoy the ride.
  5. Parchment paper is much easier to write on compared to printer paper. Printer paper can rip with some down strokes and mess up the flow of the pen.
  6. Learning the basic strokes will help you form letters. Those seven basic strokes are a part of every lowercase letter in the alphabet.
  7. Just because something looks easy doesn’t mean it is. I thought that having good handwriting meant that calligraphy would come natural to me, however just like everything else, it takes practice.

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The next step in my calligraphy journey will be continuing to practice my letters.  Once I am more comfortable with the lower and uppercase letters, I will move on to experimenting with some of the other writing utensils.  I am very curious to see how the Sharpies write!  Stay tuned!


3 thoughts on “Practice Makes Perfect

  1. johnhowellblog says:

    Great blog post, I would have never know how much work it takes to do Calligraphy. I also found with my NLP project that keeping supplies and tool prices in check, while still trying to do a good job can be a challenge. The numbered lessons learned is a great way to separate the information you learned. As a mechanic, most of the technical service information I read is designed this way. I have found over the years that my students seem to comprehend information better with that design. I know it sounds simple, but it seems to work.

    You have found some good resources as well, trying to find good information online can be hard. There is a lot of information out there, the hard part is figuring out the good, bad, and redundant. It seems to take more time sifting through the data than to actually learn about the project. I have found for each good resource you find there are at least five that are useless.

    The pictures of the supplies at the stores showed just how much stuff is out there for Calligraphy. It looked like you had a lot of choices to decide from. I liked how the pictures of your practice strokes flipped through as I read the post. It drew my attention to your pictures as I read the post and made me stop to watch as they flipped through. We all like action, even with something as simple as pictures cycling through draws us to watch. Great post, I can’t wait to see how the Calligraphy turns out.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Katie Dahmer says:

    I love your lessons learned section. Your thoughts are concise, but provide important insight into what you are learning, but also add in a bit of humor.

    Also, I never would have thought that Michael’s would have two different sections for your supplies. Seems a little odd?

    Liked by 1 person

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