Traditional Before Modern

calligraphy, thoughts

I was first attracted to the world of calligraphy when I saw bunches of charming, carefree-looking modern calligraphy around the web – this was last year. They seem so pretty and doable, very different from traditional calligraphy, which seemed difficult and rigid. I always think of myself as a chameleon handwriter, having no single adhering style. Naturally I thought this could very easily be something I would be good at very quickly.

How wrong I was.

It may be possible to imitate someone’s hand by looking, but I’ve since learned that there’s an art to looking alone, not to mention learning and practising to imitate it.

I joined the Flourish Forum looking to learn more about modern calligraphy, but by the forum’s mere topic division I was educated about the many different kinds of calligraphy. For me, traditional calligraphy was copperplate, mainly, and modern calligraphy is all those new things I saw on the internet. And then I read this blog post.

To be honest, I felt chastised and a little bit confused, even deterred from learning calligraphy further. Because what first attracted me was the (seemly) ease of it, but now I’m told it’s much harder that I thought. It’s like being attracted to a comic book, then told to memorise the encyclopaedia.

I mulled on this for some time, and came across an article which said that some people say it takes seven years before one can be called a ‘calligrapher’ (before that you are a ‘letterer’). Now a whole set of encyclopaedias is unveiled.

I can’t tell you how, but, somewhere along the way, a resolution hit home that if anyone should learn any thing the hard way, by the canon, it should be me. I love everything by the book. I believe that one should have a strong foundation before attempting any endeavour seriously, or at least have the inclination to establish it. I know I am a good learner, yearning to prove to myself that this is something I will attain.

I haven’t become and extreme traditionalist at this point on my calligraphic journey (and I hope I won’t be). I still find ‘modern calligraphy’ very appealing, and plant to do myself justice. I only hope that by learning the old ropes, it would tremendously help me on the new boat.


2 thoughts on “Traditional Before Modern

  1. Never let the snobs steal your joy. The field of calligraphy is so vast, and there is room for all. Also, no matter how much you study, your own hand and spirit will ultimately be your best guides. Welcome to calligraphy😃


    1. Hi Jacqueline! I was pretty put off, I’ll say that again. But in the end it aroused my curiosity and willingness to learn the traditional styles, so I guess that blog post did its job. And how true about my own hand and spirit being my best guide, thank you! 😉

      Liked by 2 people

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