Lettering and Calligraphy Drills

Lettering-and-Calligraphy-DrillsArtboard-1.jpg

Just like doing sporting activities, a warm up before starting lettering or calligraphy, is highly recommended. Loosening up your muscles will help you become relaxed. Doing some drills will help a lot to make your strokes smoother and have more conviction.

Here are some drills that you can do. For the following examples, I used a Sharpie pen. You can also use a pencil or any pen with free-flowing ink (could be fountain pens or gel pens but not ballpoint pens).

To start with, just do random strokes that suit what you feel. It can be squiggly lines, rough scratches or circles. Don't worry about how it will look. It does not matter if it looks like chicken scratch or a child's crayon marks on the wall. Just go where the flow takes you. The goal is just to start the rhythm. When you are feeling in the zone, you can start doing more deliberate practice drills.

Smooth circular strokes

Hold the pen lightly and at an angle. Use your arms to pull the strokes and push the strokes away from you. Think: gently rotating a hand grinder. This helps you use your arms more.

Calligraphy Drills - Smooth Circles
Calligraphy Drills - Smooth Circles

Straight lines

Make some straight lines from top to bottom, at an angle, or horizontally. Focus on making them straight. Don't forget to use your arms as you glide the pen. You can also introduce contrast to the lines. Make thick lines first by putting weight on your grip, and afterward, make thin and controlled lines.

Calligraphy Drills - Straight Lines
Calligraphy Drills - Straight Lines

O's

Focus on making the O's oval and consistently at a 60 or 45-degree angle. Imagine that the O is a planet revolving on an axis, or a fish or a squid ball on a stick (if you are Asian and hungry like me).

Calligraphy Drills - O
Calligraphy Drills - O

U's and inverted U's

Like the O's, focus on making the U's consistently at an angle, and the left and right sides of similar volume.

Calligraphy Drills - U
Calligraphy Drills - U

Compound U's

A wavy line consisting of upright and inverted U's focuses on the consistency of the angle and the spacing in between the lines.

Calligraphy Drills - Compound U
Calligraphy Drills - Compound U

Loops

Make loops like the cursive letter L or an inverted L. The goal is to make the loops consistent.

Calligraphy Drills - Loops
Calligraphy Drills - Loops

Chains

Draw a series of springy ovals overlapping each other. The focus on this is to have control and try to make the size of the ovals and the spaces in between the ovals consistent. You can also chain the other shapes together.

Calligraphy Drills - Chains
Calligraphy Drills - Chains

These are some drills that I recommend to help you practice. What are other drills that you do? Share them with me in the comments.