Calligraphy & Lettering: Walk Before You Run

I have always called myself an eternal student. Having gotten my never-quenchable thirst of acquiring new skills and knowledge from my Dad, I'm the type of person that tends to prefer receiving things like classes and experiences for gifts rather than material items. 

I can also be a bit obnoxious and prefer an accelerated pace of learning when it comes to a learning a skill. Usually, this works out for me as I learn best from being thrown right into the deep end of a pool, but this was NOT the case with certain skills. Like any hand-eye coordinated ball sports. Or in this case, learning calligraphy and lettering.

My sister and I have pretty decent "hand skills," as my mom likes to call it. We have pretty decent precision with crafty things like cutting, drawing, sewing, sculpture, etc. So when my sister had all these felt-tip calligraphy markers when she was back in high school, I'd steal them and try to draw all that fancy calligraphy I saw her practice. 

That didn't work out so well, as I was bewildered at why I couldn't write these wedding-invite ready quality words right off the bat, especially as I had a good handle on general handwriting styling. My stubborn ego was bruised and made me abandon those markers pretty quickly (I was 8 years old and didn't really have a handle on that kind of maturity yet, clearly). 

As modern-style calligraphy started to re-emerge in popularity a few years ago, with handwritten style cards popping up at Papyrus and Paper Source, my interest in learning calligraphy resurfaced. Along with my ego, apparently. I grabbed a calligraphy pen and tried for full words right off the bat. Ensue ink splatters everywhere (forehead included) and a lot of frustration. 

Lately, I've been a bit more stressed than usual, and had had been using my phone and social media as a mood pacifier/distractor. Which, is obviously a terrible idea, because we all know where THAT goes.

I thought about what skills I've been talking about learning for forever but haven't actually gotten into: getting better at Korean, getting better at photoshop/illustrator, learning that calligraphy thing. Deciding I wanted to keep my hands busy, I settled on tackling calligraphy.

Sooooo finally, I decided to try that thing. You know, it's that thing called something like patience. Walk before you run. Back to basics. *grumble grumble*

Those old adages stand true for good reason. I chalked it up, bought this awesome book, basic starter nibs and ink, and went through all the actual exercises instead of skipping ahead.

I am now proud to say, I can functionally write. By no means am I one of those fancy experts, but I can scribble presentable things now, with only an occasional ink splatter. And I will continue to hone and practice, because it's honestly quite fun and a great activity to manage stress. And I want to elevate my practice by dabbling in fun new metallic inks and white ink so I can do more artistic creations.

This little instance reminded me of a bigger dynamic at hand. 

Remind yourself to step back from a situation when you feel stuck and frustrated. Sometimes it really helps to return to the basics. Step back in order to see the bigger picture, so that you can identify what areas you need to improve upon and perhaps take a step backwards in order to advance three steps forward later. 

Any other calligraphy/lettering newbies out there like me? Or any experts offering advice? 


LifeMinna LeeLife, Personal