I believe so deeply in the power that lettering can have on our souls--fulfilling our longing to slow down--that I've created a printable lettering workbook to help you learn modern calligraphy.
When you incorporate your lettering into your prayer life: slowly drawing and meditating on the Sacred Scriptures or words from our Sacred Tradition, the fruits are incredible and life-changing. I incorporate lettering as a fifth step in my Lectio Divina and I can't speak enough of how it has enriched my spiritual life. So, I want to share this with whoever is interested!
My motto is that if I can do it, anybody can! I have horrible handwriting and I'm incredibly impatient, but practice makes perfect!
WHY SACRED LETTERING?
Calligraphy, like many other crafts we do with our hands, is all about muscle memory. So, needless to say, practice is key. There is no way to rush to a professional-looking composition, because it takes time. Think of training for a 5K or a half-marathon. Your body needs to build endurance and speed, which takes time until you can eventually get to the point of finishing the race and then even more practice for a good finish.
Calligraphy is the same way. It takes time and practice to get your lettering to look like those beautiful farmhouse signs you see everywhere! But the journey is incredibly worth it. This is why I created the 21 Days of Sacred Lettering Challenge so as to pray and meditate on sacred words while we learn lettering. So, instead of getting frustrated during the learning process tracing worksheets and what seems to be mindless calligraphy drills, we will consider the process itself a prayer from start to finish. Instead of a struggle, learning lettering will become a time to meditate on the Word from scriptures and our Sacred Tradition.
To expound on this point, I strongly recommend listening to the Mystery Through Manners podcast episode on “A Prayer and a Pen”. This will get you excited to start this challenge and learn more about the benefits of lettering and doodling in your prayer life. Jules, who produces this beautiful podcast, features four women (and yours truly!) who talk about their experience with lettering and doodling in their ministries and prayer lives.
WHAT DO YOU NEED?
The wonderful thing about lettering is that it is incredibly affordable. You only need some paper and pens!
(Feel free to check out a video that summarizes this post!)
You will regular need printer paper to print the lettering workbook. But it also happens to be great media for learning lettering! It's smooth but yet provides enough friction with the tip of the pen that is great for practicing.
Once you move beyond the challenge or to practice on the side your sacred letters and words, I recommend a drawing sketchbook that you can take with you anywhere you go, especially during a Holy Hour or your quiet prayer time. This will be your prayer journal where you collect those sacred words that slow your soul down. I recommend the Canson XL Drawing Pads.
The trick with learning lettering is to stick with small brush tip pens. Here are my favorite ones:
You only need one of these--not both! But, of course, you can buy both sets if you'd like and try them out!
Stay away from large brush tip pens like the Tombow Dual Brush Pens, at least for now. They create beautiful lettering, but the large tip requires a lot more control than the smaller tip, which takes time to build and establish muscle memory.
If you're doing the beginner track of the lettering workbook, any ballpoint pen will work well, but I recommend the Gelly Roll pens, which are super fun!
You'll also need pencils and a good eraser toward the last week of the lettering workbook!