Is cursive writing and calligraphy actually the same? Is there a name for all the beautiful letters I keep seeing people write on Instagram and Facebook? Calligraphy is becoming more popular these days with the help of social media; you are probably wondering what Modern Calligraphy really means. You are in the right place! In this post, I will share with you what Modern Calligraphy is, what is not, and what makes it different from traditional calligraphy.
Let’s start by defining calligraphy:
Calligraphy is the “art of writing letters”. Its literal meaning is beautiful writing. Calligraphy is a single pass with a pen to write letters. It uses the same lettering style throughout, so you will need to develop muscle memory to create calligraphy. Even with a modern calligraphy style, you still need to pay some attention to structure.
Traditional calligraphy aims for uniformity on the shape of the letters – to make the “a” look like every other “a,” and so on. The goal is about striving towards having “correct” and predetermined shapes, as Molly Thorpe describes calligraphy in her book Modern Calligraphy. I recommend this book if looking to get started with pointed pen calligraphy.
The picture above is of the book “Mastering Copperplate Calligraphy” by Eleanor Winters. The cover is pretty self-explanatory. This book is excellent if you want to learn this traditional calligraphy style. This book provides a comprehensive guide to learn Copperplate Calligraphy. This particular style is taught as complete alphabets with established letterforms. You have to follow a specific set of rules in letter formation.
Usually, to do calligraphy, you use tools like a nib and ink. Now, tools like brushes and brush pens are being used to create modern calligraphy. That’s why you will see terms like brush calligraphy and brush pen calligraphy.
What is Modern Calligraphy?
To put it in simple words: Modern Calligraphy refers to any calligraphy that is not done traditionally. What makes Modern Calligraphy different from Traditional Calligraphy is the flexibility in their styles. You don’t have to follow specific guides to create a specific style of calligraphy. With modern calligraphy, you can create your own. The idea of right and wrong is gone because Modern Calligraphy embraces imperfections, which makes it a lot easier to understand and super cool to learn.
Now let’s talk about what calligraphy is not.
Calligraphy is NOT the same as cursive writing.
There are a couple of things that separate calligraphy from cursive writing:
The marked variation in the width of the strokes.
With cursive, the strokes (the lines that make up a letter) are consistent in width. In calligraphy, there are thin upstrokes (when your pen is moving upward) and thick downstrokes (when your pen is moving downward).
Continuous writing and speed.
When you are writing in cursive, you tend to write fast and continuously. When you are doing calligraphy, you have to write slowly. You have to slightly pause or lift your pen after each letter, paying close attention to each stroke as you are making it.
Now that you have more knowledge about Modern Calligraphy, it’s time to give it a try. If this is the case, then I have a couple of blog posts that you’d enjoy. First, you can learn how to start doing calligraphy today, with any writing tool of your choice. In this post, I show you how. Then, you need to get the right tools to start your calligraphy journey. In this post, I share the best calligraphy tools for beginners – pointed pen edition. If you want to give brush pen calligraphy a try, then this is the post for you.
Modern Calligraphy is the art of writing letters in a contemporary way. Although you need to build muscle memory to create your favorite style, there are no strict rules to follow. The cool thing about it is that you don’t need to have pretty handwriting to learn calligraphy. As with any art or skill you are trying to learn, what matters is your willingness to do it.
Thanks for reading today’s post. I hope you find it helpful! If you have any questions, leave a comment below or send me an email. I’d love to hear from you!