The Importance of Good (Organised) Practice


If you haven’t started on your calligraphic journey, now is the perfect time to be conscious of your upcoming practices. But wherever you are on your study, now is a good time as any.

An organised practice has double, equally important meanings. The first is that a practice should have a curriculum (almost). Whether you are learning calligraphy formally or self-studying, we can benefit from a conscientious approach. When practising calligraphy, you should:

  1. Have a guide to follow

Whether learning in a class, online or from a book: choose an exemplar and follow through. Everybody has different ways of teaching the same thing – I don’t recommend looking at more than one guide at the same time (it’ll just confuse you). When you have finished learning from a single guide, you may check out a different one for comparison. I used to try and learn just by randomly copying what letterforms I can see. This might work better for lettering, but it’s more difficult for calligraphy. In any case, learning with a guide will help you reach your goal more rapidly.

  1. Set yourself a goal(s)

Describe what you wish to attain. By being clear about what you want, you make it real for yourself and you goal feels much more achievable. You can give yourself a deadline if you want, but I prefer to build a timeline and focus on the mini tasks (‘Master Copperplate’ by ‘practising 3 times a week’ rather than ‘in x months’).

  1. Stick to your schedule

Once you have a goal statement, break it down into a list of practice sessions. Go to the details until you can see what you need to do to reach your goal.

An organised practice is not only about setting a goal with clear missions. To better your practice’s efficiency, also keep tidy:

  1. Your tools

Always clean your calligraphy tools after each session and put them back organised, preferably where you can see them on your desk. When it’s not a hassle to start practising, you are more likely to do so.

  1. Your practice papers

I sort them with folded colour papers with headings written on them (orange for blank and blue for archive) and put them in a plastic folder. Sort your guide once you print them out and after you’ve practised. This way you can focus on your calligraphy rather than be hindered by so many sheets of unorganised paper.

Keep your practice papers!

This is also useful when you wish to bind your practice paper together to see how you’ve progressed. Opt to use the same size of paper from the start so it will be easier (and tidier) to put together. Aside for your own personal reflection, fellow learners may also benefit to see what it takes to attain a certain level.

It doesn’t stop here!

Once your basic training is completed, aside from rewarding personal projects, remember to explore historical scripts for your enjoyment and studying purposes. For further practising, you might note where you feel your strokes are weak and retrain them until you feel reasonably pleased.


Learning Roman Calligraphy

Warm up before and review after each session!

  1. Skeleton Roman (with pencil)
  • O group (10 sets, 3 lines each letter)
  • H Group (10 sets, 3 lines each letter)
  • B Group (10 sets, 2 lines each letter)
  • M Group (10 sets, 2 lines each letter)
  1. Stroke Exercises (with nib)
  2. Roman Capitals (with nib)
  • O group ( 1 set with skeleton guide preceding 5 sets)
  • H group ( 1 set with skeleton guide preceding 5 sets)
  • B group ( 1 set with skeleton guide preceding 5 sets)
  • M group ( 1 set with skeleton guide preceding 5 sets)
  1. Words (isolated group words preceding 5 lists of A-to-Z words)
  2. Pangrams (5 pangram sentences)

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