Calligraphy is a household term, and almost everyone knows what it is, albeit sometimes vaguely. But what exactly is a calligrapher?
What Is A Calligrapher?
Calligraphy is the art of beautiful writing. Its practitioners are called Calligraphers and they use brushes, dip pens, and other precision writing instruments to write beautiful scripts and other ornamental effects.
Calligraphy is the visual art of beautiful writing. Taken from the Greek word KALOS, which means beautiful, and GRAPHO, which means writing, calligraphy basically means beautiful writing.
Taken in that sense, a calligrapher is someone who practices the art of beautiful writing.
Calligraphy itself has been around for more than a thousand years, and all throughout history, calligraphers have been held in high regard. So much so, that in China, calligraphers have been said to be practitioners of the highest art form.
Hobbyists and professionals can both be considered calligraphers. Much like any who practices any form of art is an artist, the same is true with calligraphers.
Of course, professionals have a significant advantage in skill level and are more well-versed in the technical aspect of the art form.
If you were to commission a project, gauging what level of calligrapher you’d need for the event or item could possibly save you more. A semi-professional or hobbyist might have the level of skill needed to complete the project sufficiently. While for more formal or professional settings, a full-time calligrapher would most likely be what you need.
What Does A Calligrapher Do?
A calligrapher specializes in writing beautiful scripts or text using precision writing instruments. Professional calligraphers often use this art form to decorate and design various mediums and projects, much like wedding invitations, logos, documents, and ads.
Calligraphers are still considered artists. As many other artists, they make an active effort to become better in their craft. As there are many tools and scripts in Calligraphy, they have to continuously expand they knowledge of the art form.
To improve their skills in the craft, they often explore and practice many scripts and verse themselves in the capabilities of each tool.
For example, one tool for calligraphy is the dip pen. The dip pen itself has a variety of scripts that use different kinds of nibs to be able to produce properly.
Let’s say the calligrapher wants to create a piece using Spencerian script. A skilled calligrapher will be able to properly create this scripts with the proper tool, which is a pointed nib.
Should someone hire him to create a project using the Uncial script, the calligrapher should know that this will require a broad edge nib.
There are many more technical aspects and techniques involved in calligraphy a particularly skilled calligrapher would likely know more of the art form.
Is There Any Career In Calligraphy?
Calligraphy is a viable career, much like other fields of art and design. Calligraphers mostly work as freelancers and are hired per project. They mostly work in events, ads, and design projects.
As with any art related field, calligraphers are mostly employed in design related projects.
Similarly, calligraphers can range from formally trained individuals to those who developed their skills through other methods. While formally trained calligraphers may have had a more structured education, skill level is still based on the individual.
For freelancers, getting jobs is mostly done through online job offers or through connections and networking. It is a per project basis, and they mostly have control of the projects they take.
For those who work in agencies, while they will not have the same freedom to choose their projects or the same control of their time, they have some stability in that work is passed through the agency.
That’s basically the trade off; either freedom with time and work, or stable projects but less control with your time.
The income of calligraphers are mainly based on skill levels, as with any artist or skill based job. For a more detailed guide, check out this article where I made a table of the average income of calligraphers.
How To Get Started?
Are you interested in being a calligrapher, either as a hobbyist or professional?
Well, you can get started quite easily, as long as you know where to start.
The best way to find out is to answer these questions:
- What script do you want to learn?
- What tools do you need?
- How do I practice?
What script/s do you want to learn?
There are three main variations of western calligraphy:
Once you narrow these down, you’ll have what you need to answer the next question.
What tools do you need?
You’ll have no problem if you want to do Faux Calligraphy, as you can use any pen.
For traditional and modern, you might want to check our recommendations for the tools you might need.
Feel free to swipe left or right to discover more of the tools you need
Once you have these two, the final question will be easy to answer.
How do I practice?
Practice mostly revolves around drills and exemplars.
Drills allow you to practice the fundamentals, while exemplars give you references for the specific scripts you want to learn.
To progress to a level that you can start taking projects, you will need plenty of practice and knowledge of tools.
Don’t expect to get it right away, and be patient. You’ll find that the ride itself is enjoyable in itself.