How Dani Is Living a Creative Life of Her Own Design

Katelyn shared about her passion for photography Tuesday and today I am going to tell you a little about my journey into calligraphy. I have this thing for letters. They can be so beautiful- the way they swoop down and connect together, the way they can make a simple sentence have deeper meaning because of their shape and layout, the way a letter can remind you of a different era or the modern age. Sometimes when I’m bored, watching television or zoning out, I will just write words and letters over and over again. I’ve found old school notebooks covered in lettering. I can fill pages upon pages. Which is good I guess, because when I finally decided to try calligraphy, after years of wishing I could do it, I read everywhere that you have to practice your letters ALL. THE. TIME. I’ve known two people who can do calligraphy but seen dozens, if not more, on the ever motivating Pinterest. I longed to be able to do it but never believed I was capable or talented. But the thought and desire came back to me every time I was on the website, or went into a cute local shop with cards, or doodled letters for hours. I wanted it so badly. But my fear always outweighed that desire. Until one day it didn’t. I was talking with Katelyn and I said something to the effect of, “If I can’t stop thinking about it, it must mean I should do it.” I told my my mom the same thing, only with an expletive- “Eff it- I’m doing this!” So I bought a starter calligraphy kit. And for the last month or so, I have been playing around with nibs and ink, reading about calligraphy, looking up different calligraphers and watching videos. It has been a blast to start the learning process! In addition to practicing holding and using a calligraphy pen, I’ve been practicing my lettering on different surfaces. This week I updated the chalkboard sign over my bar cart for the Thanksgiving season. While this isn’t technically calligraphy, you can create fake calligraphy letters with the chalk pen.

I want this blog to be real- to show you what my life looks like in every area, even learning a new creative outlet. I am not going to post a finished print with a beautiful quote that took me hours to create yet appears effortless. This calligraphy stuff is hard. Really hard. It’s difficult to re-learn how to write and hold a pen. And I continually walk away with my hands covered in ink. I want to share all of that process with you, even the ugly side filled with dripping paint, ink splotches, and not-so-pretty letters. So- here’s a peak at what I’ve been doing recently: 

These were my first attempts at using a calligraphy pen. I was getting used to how to hold the pen, how hard to press down on the paper, what the ink flow looked like for each size nib, etc. As you can see- I have a long way to go. These were my first few tries and it was even more difficult than I expected!

I also like to practice different styles of lettering and just doodle sometimes!

Materials: chalkboard sign, bistro chalk marker, magic eraser, cup of water, paper towels, q-tips.

A magic eraser is perfect for removing old chalkboard messages or mistakes as you work. I also use q-tips if I mess up a small portion but don’t want to start over. 

 I messed up a couple times drawing the circles but I am really happy with the finished product!

to make “fake” calligraphy letters, write out your word and then go back through and thicken every downstroke.

This has been so much fun thus far and I can’t wait to see where it leads me. Let me know if you have any questions or want to be my calligraphy guinea pig- I have to start making cards and prints at some point, right??