Art Surgery with Barry Whitehouse of the Artery in Banbury

A Brush with Letters If you want to create interesting envelopes and learn a new take on an age-old career, then try your hand at brush lettering. Calligraphy is...

A Brush with Letters

If you want to create interesting envelopes and learn a new take on an age-old career, then try your hand at brush lettering.

Calligraphy is almost as old as time itself and is taken from the Greek words Kallos, and Graphe, simply meaning ‘beautiful writing’. Many have taken up this skilful art as a hobby over the decades, from the Italic style of the papal chancellors, to every child being taught to write in a specific style in the Victorian age in what then became Copperplate.

Recently though, as with many traditional crafts, there has been a resurgence in calligraphy, with the younger generations fed up with doing everything digitally and turning to handcrafted ways. ‘Modern Calligraphy’ is a blend of brush lettering, typography, signwriting, and traditional calligraphy. Classes are springing up all over the world, and people are beginning to write letters to each other with beautifully illustrated and handwritten envelopes.

There are many different items you can use to create calligraphy but focusing on brush lettering can making learning it more fun- because of its loose and informal style. Loops, swirls, flicks, flourishes, and an abundance of colour, makes brush lettering a fun pastime for any age. It is ideal for scrapbooking, bullet journaling, or writing quotes and inspirational messages for your home.

What you’ll Need:

  • A selection of brush pens
  • A 2B pencil
  • A putty eraser
  • Practice paper (printer paper works well enough)

In learning how to use the brush pens, it’s all a matter of pressure. For the thicker down strokes you need to add more pressure, and hardly any pressure at all for the thinner upward or joining strokes. Fluidity is key, which takes a lot of practice and stops tArt he letters looking jerky or angular. Look for brush pens that have a flexible fibre tip, as that will help with the thin and thick strokes. Brands such as Ecoline, Posca, and Kuretake have such pens.

Remember too, that the thicker brush pens won’t work as well for smaller lettering and are perfect for posters and signs. For smaller letters, place settings, and envelopes, UniPin have just brought out a much finer brush pen which is light, fast, pigmented and permanent.

If it helps, sketch out what you want to write with a 2B pencil. When you are happy with it, dab gently with a putty eraser so that it lifts off the excess graphite and leaves you with a very faint outline to pen over the top. Try to keep your lettering smooth and fluid, and in no time at all you will be creating wonderful things!