Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Left Handed Calligraphy

Uncial Letterforms
If you would like to learn calligraphy and you are left handed, you can be at a disadvantage before you start because it is a right-handed world.  However there are ways that you can learn and master this art quite easily.  The best calligraphers were left handed such as Gaynor Goffe.

You can buy special calligraphy pens for left handed people that have a left oblique nib, which is not square.  The left-handed nibs are shaped at an opposite angle to right handed nibs so the nib glides smoothly across the paper.  If you try to write with a right-handed calligraphy pen, the edge of the nib will drag across the paper and tear. 

Hold your wrist to the left to get the correct angle.  Use blotting paper and put some layout paper on top to cushion the surface and try to practice.  Find the most comfortable way to hold the board although many find the best way is to hold the paper straight.

Letter heights should be in proportion to the size of the nib you are using.  The capital letters of the basic calligraphy such as Roman style, for example should be about 7 to 8 nibs high.

When using and mixing colors to your design, add water to the paint and not the other way round. 

Some good ideas when using color are to use a large nib and draw some faint guidelines.  You can use any colored ink as required.

Thick and thin stokes

Any letter of the alphabet has thick and thin strokes.  The thick stroke is pulling the full edge of the nib onto the paper.  The thin stroke is putting the nib at a right angle, or using the nib’s edge on the paper.  The thin stroke of the nib is a 90-degree angle, or using the nib on its side.  The pen angle must be kept consistent depending on the style of calligraphy you are writing. 

The best way to start practicing writing calligraphy is to use graph paper so you can keep an eye on the angles of you pen nib and the straight lines of the letter forms. 

You can usually find great leaflets and books about how to write calligraphy if you are left handed and they usually provided information about good penmanship and writing manuscripts in calligraphy.

A good way to start is to practice a basic calligraphy style, such as the Foundation, Roman style or French calligraphy.

Another idea to watch video demonstrations showing left handed calligraphers and how they hold the pen and paper.