How to Create Original Calligraphy Art for Your Home


When I’m asked to write a quote in calligraphy for a client, I offer two options. The first option is a print. I do the artwork on paper and then scan it into the computer. Once in the computer I can clean up any ink blobs, eraser marks, move words around to make sure it’s centered properly, etc. I can add graphics and show the client multiple color options. Lastly, I print out the final piece on heavy photo paper and that’s what the client receives, a print of my hand lettering. 

The second option is original artwork. With this option I typically start with pencil on tracing paper, layering tracing paper over and over and over on top as I fix little things. Adding flourishing, moving a word over a hair here and there, adding more space between the lines, and so on. Once the client and I have agreed on the final look of the piece (still on tracing paper), I then use a light box to ink the final card stock piece. The light box is the key piece to this puzzle! I don’t know what I would do without it. For original artwork I use brush pens, pointed pen, or watercolors with a brush. I use pointed pen the least with these projects just because they are typically 8x10” or larger. Black brush pen is my preferred look! 

It took me a few years to really develop a system that worked for me. Tracing paper and the light box are game changers. I always carry a little notebook in my purse and I will try out layouts for quotes while I’m waiting on my coffee at Starbucks or killing time between classes. Very stream of conscious, messy, pencil and pen layouts. What words are the most important in the quote? What do I think should stand out? The final product almost always arises from these doodles.

Creating these prints for people is my favorite thing to do. It feels like I’m a chef and I’ve prepared this big meal for people and I just want everyone to like it. If someone is paying you to write out a quote for them, they clearly love the quote! It means something to them and the person they are giving it too. I’m always emotionally involved in these projects and get really nervous handing over the final product! Oh, how I hope they like it! :)

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