Beginner’s Guide to Modern Calligraphy

Beginner's Guide to Modern Calligraphy you’re just starting in Calligraphy this is a great place to be! After you’ve tried my Beginner’s Guide to Modern Calligraphy and you feel like trying a new style, I also have another beginners guide to Brush Script here.

The terminology in the Calligraphy & Lettering world is sometimes different from artist to artist, I will try an explain how I see Brush Script vs Modern Calligraphy. Brush Script is a casual connecting script that looks hand written while Modern Calligraphy is based on a traditional style called Copperplate, however Modern Calligraphy has more flexibility and is more contemporary.  This modern style really allows the writer to express themselves freely. With traditional styles like Copperplate, there is a definite right and wrong way to do things however with Modern Calligraphy there isn’t. As long as the lettering is balanced and appealing to the eye you’ve done a good job.

Beginner's Guide to Modern Calligraphy

I’m going to talk about 2 different ways to achieve the ‘Modern Calligraphy’ style. The first is with a traditional nib pen and ink, the second is with a brush pen. The brush pen example is slightly different than the Brush Pen guide I provided in an earlier post, for this we want a smaller and stiffer pen. You want to get the same look as the nib + ink but with a pen.

Møre drills, this time with a pointed pen! #llshowmeyourdrills @letteringleague @thehappyevercrafter

A post shared by Sarah Letterer//Designer (@sarahtypes) on


First you need some tools. I’m going to list the absolute basics, I’m a huge believer in keeping your new hobby minimal until you know it’s something you want to pursue and know what you like and dislike. I’m listing exactly what I’ve used, I use a straight pen (oblique is another option but for starters, try straight). For the brush pen, the tombow is amazing! It’s a favourite in the Calligraphy community, just look up a few instagram posts. It’s smaller and stiffer than the dual tombow. In the link below it comes with the hard and soft so you’ll be able to play around with both and see what works!

Nib + Ink:

Wooden Pointed Pen Holder:

Nibs: (Brause 66 EF) (Nikko G)

Speedball India Ink:

Brush Pen:

Tombow Fudenosuke:

Pentel Fude Touch:

Practice Sheets:

Start with Drills & Strokes (free download):

Download my lowercase & uppercase lettering practice sheets here:

Download Dawn’s practice sheets here:

Postman’s Knock calligraphy sheets:

Piece’s Calligraphy Guide:

Happy Ever Crafter’s Drills (shown in the instagram post above):


Premium Laser Jet Paper (either):

Strathmore Calligraphy Paper (nib & ink):

Canson Marker Paper (brush pen):

Tracing Paper (brush pen):


Ok, you’ve purchased all the tools and they just arrived! Now what? There are a few things you need to remember when using the nib pen or the brush pen:

  1. Don’t hold the pen like a regular ball point pen, you want to hold it at an angle
  2. Relax your grip! (This is supposed to be a relaxing hobby, so release that pen a little bit!)
  3. Movement should come from the arm, not the fingers or wrist
  4. Hold the pen closer to the nib
  5. Apply more pressure on your down strokes
  6. Apply little to barely any pressure on your upstrokes
  7. Practice some strokes first then move on to the practice sheets. (there is a free download for strokes in the second youtube video below)

I’d suggest watching a couple videos to see how people use these pens. This is a great video on the pointed pen from Jet Pens:

This is a video I put together on using the Tombow Fudenosuke and my practice sheets:

Consider this post a quick start guide. I encourage you do do some googling or check out these resources: (I’ll try to add to this list in the future)

The Beginner’s Guide to Modern Calligraphy

Five Modern Calligraphy FAQs


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.