Learning Lettering: Skillshare Modern Calligraphy
Y’all know I have been obsessing with modern calligraphy for the longest time.
I bought some pens, nibs and inks, I spent hours looking lovingly at hand lettering on Pinterest and even longer (if you can believe that) practising lettering for myself. The trouble is, with so many things, is that Pinterest makes it look super easy. Like all yo need is a pot of ink a fancy looking dip pen and, boom, you are suddenly a calligraphy legend. Sadly, I’m going to have to tell you, this is not the case. Calligraphy and elegant penmanship takes lots of practice – even longer it seams if your usual handwriting is super scruffy (like mine!)
When you want to learn something new, you’ve given it a go for yourself and find that things aren’t working out it is all to easy to just want to ditch the whole thing as a bad idea. But, this is usually the time when you need the help of an expert. I’m a fan to attending classes, courses and workshops – getting expert tuition is a brilliant way to learn something new, build existing skills or, if you’re already experienced, unleash a whole new potential.
As soon as I realised that simply looking at pictures of pretty handwriting wasn’t the key to mastering this art I decided it was time to take a course. Getting to a regular class is tricky for me with my working schedule, and I wasn’t able to find anything that really took my fancy that was local. All was not lost, however, Skillshare had the perfect answer for me.
I have been crushing on Molly Jacques and her hand lettering after stumbling upon her work on Instagram
– and to my utter delight, I discovered that she offers a course, Introduction to the Art of Modern Calligraphy on Skillshare.
Online learning is a go to for me – I have taken many courses, workshops and classes through a whole host of different learning platforms and websites. These work for me. I can fit them in around my work and home life, I can binge learn and work on the next session in the course when I’m on a roll and I can even keep up-to-date when I’m on the road. Genius!
The Introduction to Modern Calligraphy course is just exactly that, it starts out with the very basics, from picking out nibs, holding your pen (and, yes, I was doing it wrong!), t0 shaping basic letterforms and includes a selection of practice alphabet exemplars.
Molly not only has wonderful penman shills, she is also a fantastic teacher – in many cases point out the common problems and mistakes of beginners clearly and guiding you on how to avoid them, leaving me with a clear understanding and very little technical questions throughout the course.
The experience of Molly really shines through and makes this course a must-do for any aspiring calligraphers, not only with sharing how to start writing with a pointed pen following her stunning (and actually completely achievable) alphabet guides, but also with guidance on composition, design and flourishes that will give you the fuel you need to go on and continue to create your own wonderful works.
If we’re going to call this a course review, I think that it is pretty clear that I found this course extremely enjoyable and valuable. Whatsmore, although Molly does offer a schedule of workshops, the chances of me being able to be in the right place at the right time to attend one are pretty slim, this is a great way to connect and learn from someone that you find truly inspiring – and what better way to learn that that?
So, did I learn the Art of Modern Calligraphy from taking the course? Well, I’d love to say that I completed the class and now have the most striking and elegant pen skills known to man. I don’t. Not yet. I did learn a huge about about the basics, the foundations that I had missed by simply looking at pictures and trying to copy what I could see (remember I said, I was holding my pen wrong), leaning how to shape letters, control the ink flow and working with spacing and layout are skills that will only come with practice. So, in this sense I have learnt a great deal about the Art of Modern Calligraphy, most importantly that this is an art form that requires lots of dedication and practice – but you know what, I don’t mind that in the least! Over the duration of the course, I was able to see real improvements in my own work, the way in which techniques were explained we’re so clear and well presented that I am able to identify my mistakes…so even though I think I’ll be making lots of mistakes with my lettering, the fact that I can identify where I’m going wrong and what needs work is all the encouragement I need to keep on working at it!
Membership to Skillshare operates in two ways – you can create a free account with a limit to 1hr of video classes per month, or you can select a premium membership for $9.95 (£6.25 at the current rates) per month and have unlimited access to the full-screen video content, no adverts and a community badge – so, theres a package that’ll be just right for you!
Have you taken Molly’s class – or any of the other courses offered on Skillshare – do share your experiences and course recommendations, I’d love to hear them!