Can lefties do calligraphy? (Plus 7 things you should know as a left-handed calligrapher)

Part 1: Meet the lefties | Part 2: Best grips for lefties Part 3: Best tools for leftiesPart 4: 7 Tips for Lefties

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You have met my lefty calligrapher friends.

You heard their recommendations on how to grip your pen and the best calligraphy tools for left-handers.

But can lefties really do calligraphy?

The short answer, YES!!!

The long answer – well, you’ll have to catch up on all parts of my lefty series and then continue reading below.

The information in this post was provided by my amazing left-handed calligrapher friends:

Jessie | Joann | Kathleen | Lauren | Younghae

Photo and calligraphy by: Kathleen Prumo

Can lefties do calligraphy?

Of course lefties can do calligraphy! The question becomes then, how can lefties do calligraphy?

With only 10% of the general population being left-handed, it’s no wonder the resources for lefties is sparse and limited. The very intention of this blog post series is to add to the knowledge and information available to left-handers.

Just with about anything in life, the proper practice, resources, tools, and help allow you to accomplish nearly anything you desire. Of course, there are limitations, but give yourself a good, honest try, before assuming calligraphy is not for the left-handed.

lefty Q & A

7 tips for lefty calligraphers

Here are seven tips to keep in mind as a left-handed calligrapher:

  1. Focus on the journey, not the destination. This is true for all calligraphers, whether left- or right-handed. You must understand that calligraphy may not come naturally for you. It will take hard work, commitment, and practice. And these things take time. If you relieve yourself from focusing on results and instead enjoy the journey, you will be in a better position to learn and improve.
  2. Set yourself up for success. In addition to removing your mindset from perfection, you must take some practical steps to setting yourself up for success. Lauren suggests making sure you have plenty of room in front of you and to each side of you as you work. Kathleen encourages lefties to practice arm movement writing as soon as possible, which is the method of using your arms to write and no finger movement. ask a lefty
  3. Seek help from experienced left-handed calligraphers.For starters, you can meet some of my lefty calligraphers in this blog post! By connecting with fellow lefties and others in the creative community, you will find other lefty calligraphers who are very willing to share their experiences and advice with you. Do not think you are alone. There are people who were once in your exact shoes and they are happy to support you in your journey. Including Leonardo da Vinci and Picasso (thanks, Younghae).
  4. Obtain the proper calligraphy tools. Did you know lefties find more success with straight holders for pointed pen calligraphy, as compared to oblique holders? I had no idea! Of course, I am not a lefty, but I assumed the oblique holder would be best. Read more about the best tools for lefty calligraphers here.
  5. Learn the proper way to hold and use calligraphy tools. After obtaining the best calligraphy tools for lefties, it is important to learn how to use them correctly! For pointed pen calligraphy, left-handers should use the underwriter grip. For brush pen calligraphy, left-handers should use the overwriter grip. Read more on the proper grip in this blog post.
  6. Have a productive and intentional mindset. You must be prepared to make adjustments, be flexible, learn and push forward. You may even have to take “two steps back” before taking one forward, as Kathleen describes her transition from finger movement to arm movement. Remember that it takes time to learn a new skill. And just because you are left-handed, does not mean every tip and advice will work for you. You will have to experiment and make tweaks to find what works for you.

    Photo (left) by: Jessie Chen (@inkerellacards); Photo (right) by: Joanna Taguinod (@theinkcodr)
    Photo (left) by: Jessie Chen (@inkerellacards); Photo (right) by: Joanna Taguinod (@theinkcodr)
  7. Find helpful resources and share them! Here is a list of resources for left-handed calligraphers. Share them with your lefty friends!

Articles for Left-Handers

Left-Handed Calligraphers on Instagram:

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It’s your turn!

Which tip above was the most helpful?

What additional questions or concerns do you have about calligraphy as a lefty?

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

P. P. S. Be sure you are subscribed to my blog below so you don’t miss a post!

16 thoughts on “Can lefties do calligraphy? (Plus 7 things you should know as a left-handed calligrapher)

  1. Thank you for this encouraging post! I’m a lefty myself and I just started out learning calligraphy. Didn’t really think that I’d need a different tool but after the reading this post I think I need to do some experiments with your suggestions. This blog is so pretty and resourceful I think I will be visiting very often. Good on you for sharing useful tips about calligraphy! Happy Handwriting 🙂


  2. I’m really new to calligraphy, and just read about focusing on arm movement as opposed to using your fingers. Any more readings on this topic? I think this is where I need some help.

    Thanks for this series and looking forward to reading more!!



    1. Hi Maria! Did you read the entire series? It was a total of four posts, including this one. You can find them here under “Tips for Lefties” – I will work on including more resources in the future.

      And if you are on Instagram, you can follow my lefty friends to see more of their instructional posts. They are also each so kind and willing to share what they know!



  3. Thank you for helping us lefties! I would love something that shows a lefty do each letter. I know I especially have trouble with P’s. Will you be doing a post on Capital letters? I would love how to do a good M. 🙂 Love your posts and your beautiful work. Congratulations on all the success you’ve had this year.


    1. Hi Ashlee! You are so welcome. I will certainly be posting capital letters, maybe in a few weeks after I finish the basic stroke series! Are you on Instagram? We will be re-launching the ABC challenge on @handletteredABCs in 2016. We have a handful of lefty calligraphers who you would love to observe! Hope you can join us for the challenge!


  4. Hi Sharisse, I’m late to this blog (and calligraphy), and couldn’t be happier to stumble across this wonderful series! Despite the wealth of online resources for calligraphy, the lefty’s arsenal seems relatively limited. The insights here are invaluable, especially on grips and tools. I can’t wait to put them to use. Thanks so, so much for this roundup, and keep up the awesome work!


    1. Hi, Katie! I’m thrilled to hear how much you appreciate the lefty tips! After several requests for lefty tips, I figured I should create a place for lefties to be able to access resources and referrals to other lefties. Are you on Instagram? The gals who helped me develop the series are very generous in sharing their advice. Happy new year and thanks for stopping by!


  5. This whole series has been wonderful! Took me from despairing I would have to learn to write right handed to ever get a brush pen to like me, to being able to confidently practice the basic strokes in all my left handed glory! Thank you thank you thank you!


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