How to do calligraphy

Lettering artist and web designer Nicole Mauloni has been working hard over the past few months to put together some really great Copperplate calligraphy guides. A little while ago I featured a fantastic iPad Lettering site and at the time it was really the only resource available to learn how to letter on the iPad. Since then, Nicole’s iPad Calligraphy site has become a wonderful new addition to the resources available to you. It is definitely a resource to be aware of if you want to master the art of calligraphy, especially on the iPad Pro.

Nicole began by teaching herself Copperplate calligraphy on her iPad Pro using the Apple Pencil and the Procreate app. She has built and refined her skills, and can now create very beautiful lettering by applying the techniques she has developed.

Calligraphy Nicole Mauloni - Lettering TutorialImage © Nicole Mauloni

Copperplate Calligraphy on the iPad with Procreate Guide

On Nicole’s iPad Calligraphy site you can get access to a full guide which is made up of a series of worksheet modules, each of which break down learning Copperplate calligraphy into manageable steps. The modules take you through setting up the Procreate app, learning basic strokes, lowercase letters, uppercase letters along with letter connection and spacing. It doesn’t just stop there either, this downloadable guide also comes with practice sheets, a Copperplate brush to use in the Procreate app, and a grid brush so you can easily set up guidelines anytime within Procreate.

iPad Calligraphy Connections Nicole Mauloni - Lettering TutorialImage © Nicole Mauloni

At the time of writing this article you can buy this amazing full guide for $23.00, which is a brilliant price considering the amount that it covers and the hard work that has gone into it.

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Free Course

If you would like to try out some of Nicole’s calligraphy modules before buying the full guide you can sign up to a free email course on iPad Calligraphy. The course will teach you basic strokes and how to produce lowercase letters.

Free Guides

Through her blog, Nicole also offers free word practice guides. They are designed to help you apply and practice the techniques that you will learn from her premium full downloadable guide, and reinforce your skills. She really has thought of everything!

Word Practice Guide Issue 1

Word Practice Guide Issue 2

Requirements

It is important to note that to work with Nicole’s guides and course you will need an iPad Pro. This is because the iPad Pro has a pressure sensitive screen. You will also need the Procreate app, this is compatible with all iPads that are able to run iOS 10.0 or later. Due to the lack of a pressure sensitive screen in any iPad other than the iPad Pro, you will not be able to achieve thick and thin strokes in the same way. It is therefore essential that you do have the Pro model of the iPad. The Apple Pencil partners up with the iPad Pro and is designed to work with the pressure sensitive screen. There are alternatives to the Apple pencil, but they may not provide quite the same level of precision.

Wrapping Up

Whether you are learning calligraphy from scratch, or whether you want to just master the techniques on the iPad, Nicole’s guides will be helpful! I would also keep a close eye on the iPad Calligraphy site as I know Nicole is currently working on some new brushes, and I’m sure the resources and content she offers will only continue to grow.

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Materials Needed for Hand Lettering

You’ll need the right tools to get started. Here is a list of materials we recommend for hand lettering for beginners.

  • Paper – A paper pad specifically designed for markers is a great way to start. The smooth surface of the paper allows for the optimal fluidity of strokes.
  • Ruler – Mastering the basics is all about consistency. A ruler will help you establish straight lines to practice on.
  • Pencil – You’ll need a pencil to establish your baselines, x-lines, and cap-heights to guide your first few words.
  • Brush pen – A brush pen with a medium-length brush tip, such as the Kuretake Cocoiro pen, is ideal for beginners. The length is long enough to create flowy strokes and short enough to maintain control.
  • Stationery card – By the end of this tutorial, you’ll be able to write your very own hand lettered message to give someone special. Check out our free printable card here.

Basic Hand Lettering Terminology

Before you start putting pen to paper, there are few words we’ll be referencing in our video tutorial that you should become familiar with:

  • Cap line – The guiding line that establishes the height for all capital letters.
  • X-line – The guiding line that establishes the height for all lowercase letters.
  • Baseline – The guiding line upon which the entire word or phrase sits on.
  • Flourish – Flourishes are decorative strokes that can be added to letters to provide movement. It’s easy to go overboard with flourishes, so the key is to maintain balance in order to create an elegant look. Flourishes include loops and swirls.
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Hand Lettering Alphabet

The key to mastering the art of hand lettering is practice. Use our downloadable reference guide, which includes all the letters of the alphabet, to help you hone your hand lettering skills.

To recap, here are a few pointers to keep in mind while you practice your hand lettering skills:

  • Establish a cap-line, x-line and baseline to guide your first few letters.
  • Release pressure on upstrokes to create thin lines.
  • Apply pressure on downstrokes to create thick lines.
  • Stray outside of the guiding lines to achieve a more dynamic look.
  • Play with loops and flourishes once you’ve mastered the basics.

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