Why should you pay for a class when there are books, YouTube tutorials, and blogs for cheaper (or free)? I wondered the same thing myself.
When I first wanted to formally learn calligraphy, I thought it was easy enough to pick up a book and teach myself.
I don’t know about you, but I am very unsuccessful with self-taught stuff. If I’m not being graded or paid to learn something, best believe the book will sit and collect dust.
As you may have learned already, I took an online calligraphy class and greatly benefited from it. Due to my extremely positive and valuable experience from taking calligraphy classes, I have no choice but to encourage you to take a class yourself.
So, while I definitely will be sharing beginner tips in future posts, as well as great books and resources for learning more about the art, I want to first urge you to seriously consider taking a class for these five reasons.
- Individualized feedback: A book will not talk back to you. It won’t point out your bad habits or make suggestions to help you succeed. There is nothing like receiving the opinion and expertise of a professional, and the chance to “pick apart their brains.”
- Actual demonstrations: Similarly, a book cannot SHOW you how it’s done. Yes, there are pictures and descriptions, but if you are like me, a visual demonstration speaks volumes. When I see how an expect calligrapher puts ink on the nib and glides the pen across the page, I immediately get a sense for how I can then go and imitate those motions.
- Strategic agendas that work: While books, YouTube, and blogs are a valuable resources (I love them myself and will share more on this), they can be overwhelming! As a beginner, where do you start? What do you focus on? It’s tempting to skip around and not go in the proper order or allot the proper time to learning each important skill. Just like learning a sport or learning to cook, there are basics to master before moving on to more complex activities.
- Accountability: When no one is looking, how hard do you push yourself? Having a class with a set number of hours or days gives you a sense of completion and pushes you to pace yourself. You may still procrastinate on assignments (I sure did!), but at least there is motivation to finish and not slack off.
- Community support and networking opportunities: Through the two classes I took, I met some amazing people who I stayed in contact with well after the class. It is not only helpful, but very encouraging and fulfilling knowing there are others rooting for you and willing to help you succeed. Let me tell you, the calligraphy and lettering community is FABULOUS! Through Facebook groups and Instagram, I have literally never been turned down when asking for advice and the support I receive blows me away. It’s that whole “together we’re better” concept at its finest.
Well, that’s my little spiel on why I am a big advocate on taking a calligraphy class when you are first starting out.
And don’t stop at one class! Continue taking more classes with different instructors and in using different mediums.
*Special thank you to the I Still Love Calligraphy alumni Facebook group for their input on this post.
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It’s your turn!
Have you taken a calligraphy class before?
What hesitations or questions do you have about taking a calligraphy class?
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15 thoughts on “5 reasons you should take a calligraphy class”
Excellent post and I totally agree. I have a bachelor degree in fine art and could easily learn from a book but I love classes and take as many as I can. In fact for my 50th birthday I’m attending a week long calligraphy retreat in Sonoma called Passionate Pen. So excited! I so agree about the awesome calligraphy community too. I haven’t explored the Facebook groups yet so would love a post about the ones you have joined. Thanks dear.
Thanks, Dori! First ofall, happy early birthday! What a beautiful milestone and fun way of celebrating! I will check into the retreat – let me know how it goes! Check out “I Still Love Calligraphy” on Facebook. That is dedicated to alumni of Melissa Esplin’s class, but I’ve slowly been seeing other calligraphers join, regardless of whether they took the class. You totally belong given your experience and background with calligraphy.
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You have certainly encouraged me to take a class. I am not sure which one yet, need to look into my options. I toke a class a few years ago at night at a local high school during their summer break. I loved the dedicated time that I had during class. I was able to really focus on my work. I also loved the feedback from the instructor!
Hi, Cortni! Sounds like you know the value of a class! Hope you can take one soon. Definitely check out Melissa’s class, I Still Love Calligraphy, which works out really well even though it’s online. There are also a ton of offerings on Skillshare, although I have yet to try them out. But I hear great things about them.
I love blogs, and lists, and your work, so I really loved this post. I have not taken a calligraphy course, because I’m not entirely sure I want or need to. I’m more interested in painting “stuff” with words, not focusing on the words. But I might take an online course at some point, just to help work on my spacing.
PS: @IcyBubblehead on Instagram
I used to take art in school, and loved it until I had a discouraging teacher who told me I’d never be as good as my sister. I cut off my nose to spite my face, and never took another art class. Until a paint & sip fundraiser for homeless veterans. It sparked my interest in painting again, i attended a 2nd paint & sip, and then finally broke down and bought my own painting supplies. 6 years after dropping out of art class. Its just a hobby now, but I’m hoping to grow in my personal endeavors!
Hi, Kate! Wow… that is such an awful experience! But good for you to rediscover your love for painting and the arts. A friend once told me that when you are an adult, something you must do is the thing you loved as a kid (or when you were younger). it’s not wonder you loved painting again! I encourage you and support your desire to pursue painting! Best wishes to you! ❤ ❤
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Hi, Kate!!! Thanks for stopping by. 🙂 🙂 You should take a painting class! And if you have already, definitely try to take more classes or with different instructors. I follow some AMAZING painters on Instagram (including watercolor artists – don’t know if you’re into watercolor). And if you ever get a chance to take a calligraphy or lettering class, I can imagine it only helping broaden your artistic experience and repertoire!
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Taking a class is something I really would love to do. Thanks for the tip and reinforcement on their value! x
Hi, Kim! Glad to encourage you. Let me know if you ever take a class!!! Would love to hear how it goes.
Haha. You are always raving about Melissa’s online class! I am seriously considering it now, since it’s so accessible. It can be so hard to find good resources in Canada!! (If anyone knows of any, please send them my way!! :))
Yes, definitely. While I am only two hours away from San Francisco where there are a ton of classes, it’s not easy to just go. Melissa’s class worked out so well with my busy schedule. I could squeeze in 15 minutes here, 15 minutes there. I could skip a few days. And I still finished! Hope you get a chance to try it out! Thanks for visiting, Stephanie! 🙂 🙂
Hi! I was thinking about taking a skillshare class, I’ll can do that in a month more or less… I’ll tell you how it goes!!!
Yes! Let me know how the skillshare class goes. I need to take more classes myself, so I would love to hear your recommendations! 🙂 🙂
Hi Sharisse! Currently taking Melissa’s class. I find it helpful than other class in skillshare or starter kit from Etsy. (Have supplies that I am not sure if I will ever touch again. Wished I should have just waited.) I wish to attend one of the classes here in the city in late August after I finish the online class.