I've been going through changes in my creative life over the last year, finding myself drawn more and more to what I think of as elemental crafting, techniques that require patience and lots of practice. Usually a fan of instant gratification, I find instead that I'm searching for something more soulful, embracing process in a way I haven't before. I want both the modern and the timeless.
Calligraphy is one of those pursuits. It's been on my bucket list of things to learn for so long that it's almost laughable. But when my friend Tristan came to visit, she helped push me over the edge, introducing me to the right nibs and ink, printing guidelines and offering resources. I was less intimidated when she left, but I still felt stymied by one issue that I always bump into - being a lefty. For the most part, I've learned to be ambidextrous over the years, but that's not really an option for me with calligraphy.
So I was excited to see that a new book, Modern Calligraphy, by the talented Molly Suber Thorpe, had a section in it specifically dedicated to lefties. It's a small section, but it's specific and helpful and enough that I felt the door open a bit wider for me. This is not to say that it's not going to take a lot of practice for me to be good enough to showcase my lettering, but I've finally gotten my foot in the door!
It's easy to be drawn to this book. Molly's hand is so beautiful and feminine, a look that I personally aspire to, and she includes 14 pages of handwriting specimens (each letter drawn in multiple ways) that will help you find your own style. But just as important, it's filled with accessible, useful information on everything you need to get started. You can stick with the first two chapters as you begin your journey. When you've mastered the basics, you can move on to Chapter 3, introducing new supplies to your tool kit and learning six new techniques (such as writing with watercolor and gouache). From there, the book launches into a variety of DIY projects. I'm still in the first two chapters, where I'll be for awhile, but I highly recommend this book for anyone's even remotely interested in hand lettering. It's a wonderful addition to your library, especially if you're feeling intimidated, like I was.
Read an interview with Molly here.