Modern Calligraphy: Finding Your Own Style

Find Your Own Calligraphy Style via Happy Hands Project

There are so many reasons why many would opt for modern calligraphy over the traditional styles. First reason would most probably be because there are ‘no rules’ in the modern style. Another reason would be its popularity all over the web and social media platforms. Modern calligraphy is everywhere nowadays, and a lot of people are doing it as a hobby. Third reason, and this is the reason I believe the most, is because the modern style can reflect the writer’s personality. It would display one’s individuality, and you can have a style you can call your very own.

Before I go on, I’d like to dispel the myth that modern calligraphy simply has no rules. It’s a myth. It’s false. Modern pointed pen calligraphy is based on traditional Copperplate, so we will still follow the basic rules that come with it — consistent slant, legibility, and uniform thicks and thins. I would prefer to write something that is actually readable.

Now, for the fun part. With so many calligraphers and enthusiasts out there, how can you make your work stand out? It took me 2 years to come up with my own style — and I’m still learning, everyday. For beginners who want to display your individuality, I’ve come up with a few pointers.

1. Learn your basic letter forms.

Once you have memorized how each letter would look like, your calligraphy will look more consistent. Try to write the same letter in that style every time. Once you’ve mastered it, make slight variations to make it a little more exciting. Which leads me to my next point.

2. Write your own exemplar.

To help you memorize your basic letter forms, why don’t you write the full alphabet in the same style? You can always refer to it whenever you’re writing. You can write your variations there, too.

3. Study calligraphy fonts.

Modern calligraphy fonts are different from each other, and observe why this is so. Some have thick downstrokes, some are very upright, while some are playful and carefree. While doing this, you can also gauge what style reflects your personality more.

4. Keep on practicing.

Even the expert calligraphers out there still practice and do their drills. Believe me, it helps! It builds muscle memory, so you’ll be able to do your letter forms right. Practicing also keeps your mojo going, and very relaxing, too. I can write drills for hours. Just remember to have your own exemplar around while practicing so you can be consistent with your slant and style.

Find Your Own Calligraphy Style via Happy Hands Project

Finally having a style you can call your own will take months, or even years of practice. I must admit I tend to jump from every style I can think of when I was starting out. It’s not bad, and it actually helped me come up with the style that I would actually stick to eventually. Good luck in finding your own pointed pen style! Remember — Practice Makes Pretty!

A Peek Into The Calligraphy In Colour Workshop

Calligraphy In Colour Workshop via Happy Hands Project

I was amazed by so much talent during the first Calligraphy In Colour advanced modern calligraphy workshop here in Singapore. I was happy to be back at Joo Chiat Place, too! There were some familiar faces, ones who I’ve already met in my beginners’ classes. There were new faces, too, and all 12 ladies were very enthusiastic about mixing colours and exploring new styles.

Calligraphy In Colour Workshop via Happy Hands Project

During 2014, I’ve always had beginners’ classes where we use black ink and focused on drills and basic letter forms. In the advanced class, we used different types of coloured paper, different kinds of inks and paint, and an end project that everyone so creatively pulled off. We got a little technical as well, because I believe that these things are better taught during an advanced class where everyone is already familiar with pointed pen calligraphy.

Calligraphy In Colour Workshop via Happy Hands Project

Oh, and as always, we’ve got a sumptuous menu for our lunch specially catered by Carpenter and Cook.

Calligraphy-In-Colour-via-Happy-Hands-Project-4

I’m looking forward to having another Calligraphy In Colour class in the next few months! If you’re curious if this class is for you, well, you just need a basic knowledge of using a flexible nib and be familiar with the letter forms. A more detailed class description can be found here. After practicing calligraphy in black ink, it’s a whole new experience when you start customising colours and finally creating your own work of art. Thanks to everyone who came, you were all awesome!

Calligraphy In Colour Workshop via Happy Hands Project

Venue: Studio @ Heaven In A Wildflower
Catering: Carpenter and Cook

A Wedding in Texas: Calligraphy for Yasmin & Andrew

Andrew-Yasmin-Wedding-Invitations-via-Happy-Hands-Project

Late last year, Yasmin of Coffee Creative got in touch with me through my Etsy shop to write their wedding invitations in calligraphy. It was for their wedding in Texas, USA, and I was thrilled! It turned out to be a lovely suite, because calligraphy matched the awesome drawing Yasmin did of her and her groom! I would be totally inspired by this idea, now I wish I’m getting married again. It has a lovely, organic feel and I am super happy to have provided calligraphy for this wedding. Photos were taken by Kristen Swanson.

Beginners’ Calligraphy Workshop {October Edition}

Modern Calligraphy Workshops via Happy Hands Project

I’m still on a high from last Saturday’s Happy Hour Workshop! I think this is the first time that we had 3 Michelles in the group! Who would think modern calligraphy drills would actually be fun? I was teaching myself years ago and drills were a chore (albeit necessary). I’m still quite amazed at how patient these ladies were, even when there were quite a few scratchy sounds, ink blobs and spills.

Modern Calligraphy Workshops via Happy Hands Project

 

They were all so into writing, it was difficult for me to coax them out of their seats to have lunch! Finally, the smell of Quiche Lorraine and pastries lured them downstairs and we all enjoyed a hearty meal (thanks to Carpenter & Cook, as always!).

I should’ve known that this group is really into learning modern calligraphy. When I opened the registration for this class, all seats were snatched in minutes. I was in awe!

Modern Calligraphy Workshops via Happy Hands Project

I’ve been receiving a lot of emails regarding the upcoming workshops – looks like everyone wants to get into the craft before the year ends! Great news – I’ll be having one session specially for those wait listed from this October session. Another will be for subscribers of the Workshop Newsletter, so leave your email address on the right sidebar to get the first dibs. I cannot wait to meet all of you, and I promise to have more classes in 2015.

I’m sending another shout out to Heaven In A Wildflower for having us at her lovely, lovely, lovely home studio.

The Happy Hour Workshop: August Session

Last August’s Beginners’ Modern Calligraphy Workshop was super fun! What I love about these classes is meeting different individuals from different fields, all eager to learn a new craft. Some are even eager to take an advanced class (which I’m preparing for, by the way – thanks for the feedback!). Here are the photos from The Happy Hour!

Venue: Studio @ Heaven In A Wildflower  |  Catering: Carpenter & Cook

Calligraphy Workshop Aug2014 via Happy Hands Project

Calligraphy Workshop Aug2014 via Happy Hands Project

Calligraphy and Watercolour in Yellow and Emerald

Ian-Kres Logo via Happy Hands Project

Ian-Kres Wedding Invites via Happy Hands Project

I really enjoy designing for weddings, especially invitation suites. Do you know what I love most about this invite? Apart from the sweet bride being awesome to work with, they actually gave me creative freedom. I got to play around with their wedding colours to my heart’s content! I’m very happy to share with you the wedding of Ian and Kres.

We started the design process with the wedding logo, and it turned out to be fairly swirly yet uncomplicated. I used emerald green and sunflower yellow to paint the floral motif that was ultimately used in their Save the Date cards and invitation suite. The best feeling has always been seeing all the elements fall perfectly in place.

Ian-Kres Wedding Invites via Happy Hands Project

Congratulations, Ian and Kres, it was wonderful working with you! Photos above were captured by Nelwin Uy Photography.

#EatDrinkArt Exhibition at Mad Nest

EatDrinkArt via Happy Hands Project

I was very busy for a couple of weeks, putting together an artwork for Mad Nest‘s #EatDrinkArt Exhibition. 14 artists have been engaged to come up with a work of art using ‘mystery ingredients’ found in Mad Nest’s kitchen. Exciting! I didn’t know what ingredient I was going to have until I went there myself.

I was assigned some raw linguine, and got to pick a pack of star anise as a secondary ingredient. The challenge? Coming up with a creative idea to incorporate the edible elements with my craft! In the end I decided to use the items in their raw, organic form and combine them with my brush calligraphy. Images of a homey kitchen, smelling of star anise with sounds of tomato sauce bubbling nearby filled my senses. I wanted an artwork that will remind one of the feeling of homecoming, dropping your bags and heading straight to the kitchen and see Mom working her magic. I wanted to evoke that feeling. It’s a feeling I truly miss. I wrote a quote by Federico Fellini that I thought would be most suitable – ‘Life is a combination of magic and pasta’. Here’s a peek of my work in progress.

The great thing about #EatDrinkArt is that a percentage of the proceeds will go to the Business Times Budding Artists Fund, which ‘originated from a conviction that no child should be denied the opportunity to pursue arts training due to a lack of financial resources.’ 

The exhibition will run from 18 June to 3 September 2014 at Mad Nest along East Coast Road. All the artworks exhibited at #EatDrinkArt are for sale, so it would be very much appreciated if you can help me spread the word and help the youth pursue their passion for the arts. All the artists have put a great deal of effort in their pieces, it’s really worth a visit! More photos can be found here. All photos courtesy of Lucent Pictography. I’m extending my thanks to the wonderful people of Uniform for inviting me on board this exhibition.

The Happy Hour Calligraphy Workshop {May Edition}

It has been raining sporadically here in Singapore lately – you can never tell when it’s going to pour or how long it will last. Fortunately, the weather cooperated last 31 May. The Happy Hour Calligraphy Workshop took place during a beautiful sunny afternoon at Joo Chiat! I felt very lucky to be surrounded by another batch of creatives who were eager to learn a new craft.

Happy Hour Calligraphy Workshop via Happy Hands Project

As always, I try to keep my class as intimate as possible. Introducing modern calligraphy to 8 individuals is perfect for all of us! It’s always a joy to see how each person’s handwriting transforms into a work of art on its own. Those 3 hours were spent effectively learning about the upstrokes and downstrokes and getting our hands inky with drills and flourishes.

Happy Hour Calligraphy Workshop via Happy Hands Project

The studio is always worth mentioning – I simply love its character. I spent a looooong time trying to find a right venue for my workshops and it was pure serendipity that I stumbled upon Studio@Heaven In A Wildflower. Tea break was such a welcome treat especially with delish cakes from Carpenter and Cook.

Happy Hour Calligraphy Workshop via Happy Hands Project

From left to right: Eunice, our hostess and owner of Studio@ Heaven In A Wildflower, Frances, Davinia, Pauline, Amanda, Pratiwi, Esther, Iris, Intan and Karina

 

I’m again tipping my hat to the lovely ladies who came to the class – some have been traveling, some busy with work and mommy duties, but found the time to pick up a new craft. Thank you to those who came to Singapore just for this workshop – you know who you are! I’ve been busy as a bee lately, with classes and calligraphy commission works . But each class I teach is a learning process for me as well, and looks like we’ll be having more for the rest of the year! Be in the loop by subscribing to the mailing list. Oh, and here’s what went on in the inaugural HH Calligraphy Workshop.