How I learned calligraphy

How did I first learn calligraphy?

First, I took classes. Then, I connected with the online calligraphy community. And now, I continue to soak in every bit of calligraphy, lettering, or other related-artistic tidbit I can get my hands on…

I Still Love Calligraphy - Melissa Esplin - starter kit

My 1st calligraphy class 

In September 2014, I took a local formal brush calligraphy class with Phawnda Moore.

In this class, I was introduced to the infamous Tombow dual brush pen! (You may have noticed, or will soon notice, that I write with this pen VERY often. I love it.)

It was wonderful learning from a calligrapher in-person and the opportunity to get immediate feedback. I highly recommend searching your city or neighboring cities for local classes on modern calligraphy.

My 2nd calligraphy class

In January 2015, I formally learned pointed pen calligraphy by taking the online class, I Still Love Calligraphy, with Melissa Esplin.

This is when I was officially hooked.

Let me tell you know, I cannot recommend this class enough. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I tell almost everyone who asks that this is the class to take!

I was extremely glad to have taken the brush calligraphy class prior to pointed pen, because I already had the basic understanding of how calligraphy letters should look. There is an iconic thick and thin variation in the strokes of each letter, a precise art that is only all the more challenging to conquer with the addition of a new tool: the pointed pen.

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I’ll get more into the details of each course in separate posts. For now, that is really how I learned calligraphy. First through a brush lettering course, then through a pointed pen class.

Since those classes, I’ve found these online resources to be extremely helpful:

The Postman’s Knock


~ ~ ~

It’s your turn!

Are you interested in learning calligraphy? 

Have you taken a calligraphy class before? What was it like?

Any alumni out there from Melissa’s class? 

~ ~ ~

P.S. If you liked this post, I’d love if you would share it!

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50 thoughts on “How I learned calligraphy

  1. Great tips and links, Sharisse! Super excited to see your blog. It looks so sleek and clean. Looking forward to hearing more in the future. Kim : )


  2. Hi Sharisse, your such an awesome person to do this for the “people” but mostly “girls”!! Its been great to follow your Instagram and let me tell you ever since I’ve stumbled upon you IG its like I’m non-stop trying to learn the style your doing. AWESOME- well I’m even more excited that you shared about Melissa’s class this Thursday and I get to go…its a good and bad thing I’m out on leave from my two jobs…which makes it possible for me to attend. Anyway Congrats on the blog and your doing great making it an interactive kind of blog!! i like that!!


    1. Hi, Ilissa!!! ❤ ❤ Your support means so much to me. Thanks for being so awesome. You're going to Melissa's class?! What?!?! I'm jealous! Please tell her "hi" from me and be sure to get a photo with her! (Such a groupie!) I'm looking forward to hearing more from you as I write more blog posts. Feedback is crucial to this blog succeeding!


    1. They’re hard to find in person. Do you have a Blick near you? Otherwise, check out Tombow’s website (free shipping over $25!). Glad to hear you are a fellow calligrapher/designer. Thanks for stopping by!


  3. I’m very interested in learning calligraphy! 😊 I though you had time on it, I’m from Mexico City and I’ve never had a calligraphy class, but I would really like to! 😁 than you for sharing inspiration and your talent 😌


  4. Hello!! Your work is beautiful!! Where can I buy Tombow pens?? I’ve been trying to find them at some craft stores but I haven’t been able to find any. Do you have a link for an online store?? 🙂 thanks for the help! Hope I win your give away!! 😊😍


    1. Hi, Shari! They’re usually not at the regular craft stores. I’ve seen them at Blick. Otherwise, you can order at Tombow’s website (free shipping over $25!). You can also check Amazon, although I’m not sure what their availability is. Thanks for dropping by! 🙂


  5. I took an online hand lettering class with Jasmine Jones on Studio Calico and I’d love to take an in person class if I could find one. Love your stuff on IG, so glad you started a blog!


    1. Oh nice! There aren’t very many in-person classes where I live, although there are in San Francisco which isn’t too far. Hope you can find a class and thank you so much for your support! Let me know if you ever find a local class…


    1. Hi and thanks for stopping by! That is precisely why I am hoping that sharing what I’ve learned on this blog will help others who are interested! I don’t have a formal background or any training in the arts, so I want to teach others in the same boat.


  6. Your blog is so amazing & so proud of you that you have hit over 4,000! You know I adore you & your IG, now I can do the same with your blog~


  7. Hi, thanks for sharing all your wonderful posts on IG and now here. I was also able to attend a live class taught by Melissa in Hawaii. My friend, Illisa, told me about you while at the workshop together and have been admiring your work.


  8. I’d love to learn calligraphy and immediately checked out Melissa Esplin’s class when I saw how highly you recommended it!


  9. I took the Studio Calico Hand Lettering class just recently and I’m hooked too! I need a lottle more practice though 🙂


  10. You’re one of my biggest inspirations to learn this art of modern calligraphy! Thank you for having this blog and leaving tips for newbies like me!! Just got my Modern Calligraphy by Molly Thoroe book along with a set of Zebra Comic G nibs, Rhodia grid paper, and a big holder in the mail- but how did I forget ink 🙀 Hahahaha!
    Thank u again! Best wishes to you!


    1. Thank you so much, Lauren! That sounds like a great starting point, of course once you get ink. So far, I’ve tried Sumi and India ink and love them. I also hear great things about walnut ink. Let me know how your calligraphy adventures go!


  11. I love following your Instagram. 🙂 I think it’s great you’ve started a blog! I look forward to following it too.


  12. Hi Sharisse,

    I have been following your instagram for a while and your works are all inspiring. I practiced brush calligraphy by myself for a while before I joined my first class of pointed pen calligraphy in last November.I also like reading Lindsey’s blog. And thanks for introducing Seanwes, I just took a glimpse and I think that’s really useful to me. Thanks so much. Looking forward to more posts from you.




    1. Hi, Stella! Thanks for your sweet words! So awesome that you read Lindsey and I’m glad you can find use in Sean. Please let me know how I can help in anyway! Feedback is key to me as I am totally winging it as I go with the blog and Instagram right now. 🙂 🙂


  13. I look forward to your tips! I have a ton of tombows but don’t know how to do calligraphy with them! It looks like the brush class you took was in CA. (I’m in Utah). I watched your videos and they are too short! (Cannot figure out how to get the thin parts thin.) Hah! I’ve never said that to anyone else before! Usually videos are way too long! Anyway glad I found your blog!


    1. Hi, Carol! Did you get a chance to see my latest post? It was dedicated to Tombows! You are the absolute best for your sweet words. I hope to share more longer videos. Please let me know if what you think and how I can help you in any way. Feedback is so important to me so I can improve as I go! 🙂 🙂


  14. Hiii! I love your work! I dont live in the states, i live in Honduras and a year ago I received a brushlettering class and I fell in love! unfurtunately theres no one else giving workshops here, but on the first week of august I will be traveling to miami. I was wondering if you knew someone that lives in that area that gives modern calligraphy workshops? I would be so happy to attend one !


    1. Hi, Ana! Thank you for your sweet words and for visiting my blog! I do not know anyone in Miami, but I can try to check for you! How long will you be there? Have you checked out Melissa Esplin’s online class: I Still Love Calligraphy? That’s a great option if you cannot attend in person. Hope it works out for you!


  15. Hi Sharisse,

    I love your instagram and now your new website! 🙂 I would love to see some work from when you first started, so we can see how much you’ve improved! It’s always extra motivating for me when I see people how far people have come. Thanks so much!


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