In the first of a new series, we shine a light on interesting and unusual crafts that anyone can try at home. Here, professional calligraphist Judy Broad reveals her tips on the art of modern calligraphy.

Calligraphy is a wonderful craft to pursue. It is meditative and mindful – as you concentrate on your strokes and letters, you become totally absorbed in what you are doing – as well as versatile and practical, as you can use it in so many ways. It also sparks joy; there is nothing more lovely than receiving a beautifully handwritten note or card.

Modern calligraphy has been a growing trend over the last few years. Its foundations are rooted in traditional scripts but it has more relaxed rules, creating a noticeably whimsical style. I have studied many kinds of scripts but particularly love what is known as Copperplate or English Roundhand. 

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The wonderful thing about learning calligraphy is you only need four essential – and very affordable – tools. Once you have the right ink, penholder, nib and paper, you’re ready to go. Though  you will be tempted to buy pretty coloured inks and papers.

As with learning anything new, there are challenges. When you’re a beginner, it’s important to learn how to use your calligraphy tools, such as holding your pen properly with the nib at the correct angle. Once you master that skill, other challenges emerge, mostly centred around finding the right tools for the job. I have been asked to write on all kinds of materials, so sometimes trial and error is required to find the right combinations. 

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I recommend that beginners attend a calligraphy workshop such as my online course, which has videos, presentations and worksheets. Once you’ve learnt the basics, it comes down to practice. Take it slowly, learn your craft and reach out to your favourite calligraphers if you have queries. We are a friendly bunch and happy to share our experiences. Also, sending cards and giving gifts offers the perfect opportunity to use your skills.”