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You have met my lefty calligrapher friends.
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:
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.
7 tips for lefty calligraphers
Here are seven tips to keep in mind as a left-handed calligrapher:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 4-Part Lefty Blog Series on Pieces Calligraphy (I just had to)
- IAMPETH article featuring Jodi Christiansen
- Sean McCabe’s Interview with Winston Scully
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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