Myths About Lettering
Do I have to have good handwriting? Are all pens the same thing? What is the difference between calligraphy and hand-lettering? All questions that have some crazy myths attached to them. Today I am clearing up the confusion behind 5 common myths about lettering!
MYTH #1 : CALLIGRAPHY AND HAND-LETTERING ARE THE SAME
Ehhhh…. yes and no.
Calligraphy typically refers to a lettering style using specific tools — a nib and ink. This is a more traditional style and used on projects like envelope addresses and place cards.
Hand-lettering is a term used to explain a learned skill — letter forms, turns, basic strokes, and letter connections just to name a few. It includes different styles such as brush pen lettering, crayola marker calligraphy, monoline lettering, faux-calligraphy, and much more.
MYTH #2 : YOU MUST HAVE GOOD HANDWRITING TO BE A GOOD AT HAND-LETTERING
This couldn’t be further than the truth. Hand-lettering is a learned skill, much like playing the piano or shooting free throws. Handwriting tends to be sloppy or quickly done for a grocery list or note taking. Hand-lettering is a slow, methodical practice that requires thoughtful attention to each letter.
MYTH #3 : YOU MUST HAVE FANCY SUPPLIES TO BE SUCCESSFUL
Fancy supplies aren’t always better for calligraphy. Craft stores sell calligraphy/handlettering kits for you to purchase, claiming they have the best combination of supplies. I actually prefer to purchase my supplies separately and create my own “calligraphy kit”. Pre-made kits typically use low quality supplies and can lead to frustration while you are just beginning to learn. For more information on the supplies that I recommend (and use myself!), check out my blog post DIY Calligraphy Kit.
MYTH #4 : YOU MUST ATTEND EXPENSIVE CLASSES OR WORKSHOPS
I get it. Calligraphy workshops (in-person or online) can be expensive. Why? You are paying for the time it takes to coordinate those lessons, materials + resources that are provided to you, and other expenses like venue space or the online platform to host the workshop.
That being said, if you can’t afford to attend a workshop, I understand. If you have the opportunity to, PLEASE DO! They truly are the best way to learn from other calligraphers in a small group environment. However, you do not have to attend expensive workshops to be successful. I first learned calligraphy by watching youtube videos and following other creative accounts on Instagram. I asked questions, engaged with those accounts by commenting on their posts with questions, and I took advantage of any free resources I could find. For example, I send monthly free practice sheets sent to my email list and am always available to engage with you in the comment section below.
MYTH #5 : CURSIVE IS THE SAME AS HAND-LETTERING
This is one of the most common myths about hand-lettering. Cursive is a quick way of writing by connecting all letters of words — traditionally without picking up your pen. My everyday hand-writing is a mixture of print and cursive, meaning most of my letters run together in a sloppy way.
Hand-lettering is a learned skill that involves picking up your pen after each letter or stroke. It is an intentional style of writing that typically takes time and thought to form each part of the letter. There are ways to embellish hand-lettering through flourishes, pen types, loops, variated ascenders or descenders, and much more.
If you have any questions or comments about these common myths, let’s talk about them in the comment section below!