(I just had to throw that snuggly picture of Sunny up there.)
Now on to the real reason for this post. I love calligraphy, but I have known quite a few people who have been intimidated by it. A friend of mine took a class once but felt that she wasn't able to learn it. It does take patience, but if you try it, please don't give up. One day it will click, and then, with practice, you'll be able to produce some hand lettering that will surprise you. Really!
I've done italic calligraphy for years, but recently, I've begun learning pointed pen calligraphy, specifically copperplate and variations of it. It's a beautiful, flowing hand, and I'm excited to be making progress with it. It also has me working with dip pens a lot, because for pointed pen calligraphy, a dip pen is best, as the nib needs to be flexible, and fountain pen nibs really aren't (unless you want to pay big dollars for vintage ones!) Plus, you really can't get that nice, elegant line variation with a fountain pen.
By the way, calligraphy involves drawing individual strokes with a pen; it isn't really handwriting at all. Your own handwriting is sort of irrelevant here, so don't worry if yours isn't the best.
Now, you just read above that you can't get good line variation (thicks and thins) with a fountain pen (which is true--the nibs aren't flexible enough), but I did use a fountain pen for the sample above. (Sometimes you just have to use whatever is convenient, and a fountain pen is more portable!) But I will post some better samples for you in the future!
It's been a fun, creative process to learn pointed pen calligraphy. I was surprised that my background in italic calligraphy shortened the learning curve.
Here are the books that I have been using. I highly recommend them:
Mastering Copperplate Calligraphy: A Step-by-Step Manual by Eleanor Winters
Modern Mark Making by Lisa Engelbrecht
(If you click this banner and buy the books from Biggerbooks.com, I will get a small commission for your purchase.)
I purchased my nibs and ink from Paper and Ink Arts and John Neal Bookseller--both are excellent online resources.
There are also really good video tutorials by Joe Vitolo at Iampeth.com, as well as free, printable guidelines there (that I print out on quality, bright white inkjet paper for practice.)
I hope you'll try pointed pen calligraphy. It's a beautiful way to add fun and elegance to your art projects and correspondence (yes, sometimes I do still correspond by real mail--remember this post?)
Let me know if you give it a try!