Winsor & Newton Complete Calligraphy Set Part 2
Welcome back to Blog 2 on the Winsor & Newton, Beginners Calligraphy Set.
If you are thinking of purchasing this set or you have recently purchased it then congratulations, because Calligraphy is an art form that you can make into your own personal style.
Whether you are a traditionalist, and love the old style calligraphy, or you are keen to embrace modern calligraphy - there is no limit to what you can do.
I prefer Modern Calligraphy as it doesn’t adhere to traditional rules, which is perfect for those people who find the traditional calligraphy rules a little stifling. However for those of you who love the traditional lettering styles, there are so many resources out there that will explain how to create each stroke. In the Beginners Set you get one style guide included, which starts you off.
What is important is practice. Calligraphy takes practice and you need to build up the muscle memory in your hands, that will result in improved and consistent calligraphy.
How much should you practice? How do you know if you are improving?
Firstly, you need to enjoy practicing and focus on the basic shapes first. There are plenty of free resources you can download that will cover the basic strokes and mastering the basic strokes makes the rest of it so much easier. I would also recommend printing off guidelines that will keep your calligraphy at the right slant and level. You can put these guidelines under other paper, providing the paper has some translucent quality.
The other essential component is photographing your work. Take photos of your work as a total beginner. Then as you play around, learn the strokes and letters of your choice, and practice, then your calligraphy style will improve and comparing before and after photos is the best motivator to keep going!!
Most of all - keep your nibs clean and dry. Clean them in water, and dry them with a non-fibrous cloth or paper towel every time. You can store them separately in a little container or keep them on pen holders, upright in a container. Most importantly, ensure they are dry, to avoid rusting.
One of the topics I also want to cover in this blog is the paper to use. The Beginners Set comes with a small pad of paper, suitable for your calligraphy pen. If you want to look at other papers, then the Canson XL Marker pad is ideal as it is more translucent and perfect for practicing, and you can easily use a printed guideline underneath. If you want to print out practice sheets, and write directly on top, then I would suggest something like HP Colour Laser 120gsm paper as your standard printer paper will bleed more and it’s also not kind on your nibs due to being more fibrous.
You will see in the photos some of the variations - for example the small thin alphabet using the thinnest nib, and using the Deep Red ink that comes with the set, is a perfect size for flourishing styles and more cursive writing than the more traditional calligraphy, because you don’t get the size fluctuations.
The Gold ink that also comes with the set I found to be more problematic, in that you need to ensure you shake it well because it separates. Also, because gold can be quite a light colour you need a lot of ink if you are doing thicker lettering. For me, the gold would be perfect for adding embellishments to your writing.
I also tried out Winsor & Newton Indian Red (in the Plum Jam example), and love the variations in the colour, which I think adds to the art form. I also used Winsor & Newton Green for the Open Garden calligraphy. That was made using the thinnest nib and a style called ‘faux calligraphy’ where you draw in the thickness. But by using this style, you can embellish inside the letters and around the letters - you are only limited by your imagination. You may not be able to see, but the dots on the embellishments are made with the Indian Red, but as it wasn’t completely dry when I photographed the piece, it wasn’t clear.
The most important thing is to give it a go - if you have someone with a birthday coming up, anniversary or special occasion, start writing and practising the main words such as ‘Congratulations’ or ‘Happy Birthday’ and then create a card for that special occasion - people love it!!
I will be trying out other colours and sharing my findings with you as we play around more with the Beginners Set.