handletteredabcs - photo

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Join our weekly themed challenges and check out the work of others in the ABCs community.

handlettered ABCs thank you

The original #handletteredABCs challenge

Looking for a way to challenge yourself and improve your handlettering? Do you have the intention to practice, and need the extra motivation and accountability to stay committed?

Join me (@piecescalligraphy) and Nina (@anintran) for 26 days in a row as we practice the alphabet, one letter at a time! We’ll share what we know, answer the questions we can, and help you learn, no matter where you are in your handlettering or calligraphy journey.

improve brush lettering

When does the challenge start?

Every day beginning Thursday, July 9, 2015Nina and I will post the letter of the day at 6 am PST on each our Instagram pages.

You can also check the schedule at the end of this post to find the letter of the day.

To join:

  1. Let us know you’re joining in! Comment below (or on Instagram) with the ONE thing that you want to improve upon during this challenge.
  2. Handwrite the letter of the day using any form of lettering (does not have to be calligraphy).
  3. Post a photo of your letter using the hashtag #handletteredABCs. (Optional: You can also create your own hashtag to track your own alphabet. Example: #piecesABCs).
  4. After you post your letter, browse the hashtag to check out and support others as they post their letters.

What can you expect? The goals of this challenge are simply to learn together, keep each other accountable to practice daily, and have fun! Ask questions, cheer others on, and let us know how we can help you with your handlettering.

So grab a cup of coffee (or tea), get your tools out, and let’s get ready to rock the ABCs!

handletteredabcs - photo


Check out some these frequently asked questions – hopefully we’ve covered the most common concerns!

  1. What if I miss a day?

No problem! Join us when you can. You can always jump in anytime and pick up where you left off, or you can start with the current letter of the day, or you can make up the letters you missed and post them all at once. It’s up to you!

  1. Do I have to post every day or can I pick and choose specific letters to write?

While we highly encourage you to follow along, it is ultimately up to you! This is YOUR challenge, so if you want to post every other day, post once a week, or pick certain letters only, that’s fine! We would just be thrilled for you to share your work with us when you can.

  1. I’m not a handletterer or calligrapher. Can I still join?

Yes! We’d love to have you experiment, give handlettering and/or calligraphy a try, and learn what styles you like and don’t like. Many of us are pretty new to handlettering and are willing to share what we’ve learned so far. Ask away!

  1. I am new to handlettering and/or calligraphy. Can you share some tips with me on getting started?

Check out my recent blog posts here on piecescalligraphy.com for tutorials and videos on getting started. While they are generally tailored to brush calligraphy, they provide basic calligraphy concepts and resources. I would recommend these posts:

You can also check out The Postman’s Knock (blog), I Still Love Calligraphy (online class), andModern Calligraphy (book).

  1. Does each letter have to be handwritten? Can I produce the letter in a creative way?

Since the idea of this specific challenge is to practice handlettering, your letter MUST be handwritten. This means, please refrain from digital creations and producing the letters in a non-handwritten form.

  1. Do I have to use a calligraphy pen?

No, you do not have to use a calligraphy pen. All that matters is that you write the letter by hand. You can certainly use any writing tools you’d like! Pen, pencil, crayon, marker, chalk, Sharpie, brush pen, paintbrush… Take your pick!

  1. Should the letters be uppercase or lowercase? Should it be simple or elaborate? Should it be colorful or plain? Should I share a video or photo?

Do whatever makes you happy. If you prefer simple, black and white lowercase letters – great! If elaborate, colorful, uppercase letters are more of your thing – awesome! Want to mix it up as you go? Sweet! We just want you to have fun and enjoy the process as you go.

  1. I have a specific question about handlettering and/or calligraphy. How can I contact you?

You can send me an email at piecescalligraphy (at) gmail.com or Nina at anintran (at) gmail.com. Please give us at least a full day to respond to your message. You can also send us direct messages on Instagram at @piecescalligraphy and @anintran.

If you don’t see what you’re looking for, leave a comment. Since this is our first time doing something like this, we appreciate the feedback on how we can improve the process so that everyone gets the maximum benefit from participating.

~ ~ ~

Posting Schedule:

Day 1 (7/9): a
Day 2 (7/10): b
Day 3 (7/11): c
Day 4 (7/12): d
Day 5 (7/13): e
Day 6 (7/14): f
Day 7 (7/15): g
Day 8 (7/16): h
Day 9 (7/17): i
Day 10 (7/18): j
Day 11 (7/19): k
Day 12 (7/20): l
Day 13 (7/21): m
Day 14 (7/22): n
Day 15 (7/23): o
Day 16 (7/24): p
Day 17 (7/25): q
Day 18 (7/26): r
Day 19 (7/27): s
Day 20 (7/28): t
Day 21 (7/29): u
Day 22 (7/30): v
Day 23 (7/31): w
Day 24 (8/1): x
Day 25 (8/2): y
Day 26 (8/3): z



handletteredABCs extended challenge

Day 27 (8/4): Full alphabet
Day 28 (8/5): Redo (any letter)
Day 29 (8/6): Double letter
Day 30 (8/7): Pangram
Day 31 (8/8): Your name

Full alphabet: Share all of the letters (A-Z) in one post! You can either handletter the entire alphabet or create a collage of your previous letter posts.

Redo (any letter): Here’s your chance to redo any letter you may not have really liked the first time you posted it. Maybe you always wanted to take a better photo or write it differently.

Double letter: Write a letter twice! You can either write the double letter (ex: oo, ee, ll, tt) or write a word containing the double letter (ex: hello, happy, pretty).

Pangram: Pangrams are words or sentences containing every letter of the alphabet at least once. Probably the most popular pangram is: “A quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.”

Your name: We want to know your name! Share with us the creative handletterer behind your letters.

Happy Writing!

44 thoughts on “#handletteredABCs

  1. Natalie says:

    This is amazing. I would just love to improve my penmanship but oh how would I love to start learning calligraphy. Practice, practice…practice! I’ll be checking on Instagram and joining in on the fun! Thanks!!


  2. Aina says:

    Held my first nib pen 2 days ago and first brush pen a day earlier, I’d love to join and learn from and with all of you 😊. Bought a cartridge beginner’s nib pen though as I thought it’ll be less messier and easier to handle even with my kids around. Does the traditional ink-dipped nib pens deliver better though?


    • piecescalligraphy says:

      I haven’t tried cartridge pens yet, so I cannot give you feedback on that. I can say that even within the universe of brush pens and within the universe of pointed pens, not all pens were made equally! You’ll find some brush pens and some pointed pens that write and ink up better than others. My suggestion is to keep experimenting and get as familiar as you can with different pen. And when you get stuck, reach back out either to me or other calligraphers for troubleshooting tips!


    • piecescalligraphy says:

      Yes, join us! We are thrilled to have you. It’s never too late – the goal of the challenge is to simply give others the support, encouragement, and help they need to get started with lettering and to practice daily.


  3. Kim says:

    Yay! I’ll join in when I can! I’d love to improve my brush calligraphy and learn how to use some different pens. I, like many I guess, need to commit a little more time to practising. A great idea, Sharisse and Nina!
    Instagram – @snippetsofbliss


    • piecescalligraphy says:

      You can join anytime! The goals of the challenge are to give you the little “push” you may need to get started today with handlettering or calligraphy, provide you with support as you join in the community on Instagram, and inspire you to strive for progress by practicing daily or as often as you can. Happy writing!


  4. Trish says:

    I got on Instagram specifically to do this but I don’t know how to do Instagram. Do you have a recommended video that could help me get familiar with Instagram so I can do this?


  5. Clarice Dela Cruz says:

    Wish I knew about this earlier. Excited to join the challenge. Doing self-study on Copperplate for 2 months now and counting. And something like this will be a big help and motivation for newbies like me.


    • piecescalligraphy says:

      Hi Clarice! At least you know now, right? We promise the hashtag (#handletteredABCs) will always be on Instagram so you can certainly continue to post content using the hashtag and refer back to old posts for inspiration. Have you checked out the blog of my co-host, Nina? You can find her page at anintran.com. She is your “Copperplate Companion!” And her Instagram account has a ton of amazing copperplate videos (@anintran).


    • piecescalligraphy says:

      Hi Trish! Did you subscribe to my blog by typing in your email address below? Find the box that says, “Enter your email address” and type in your email address. Then click “Follow Pieces Calligraphy.” Then I believe you have to confirm your subscription by checking your email inbox for the confirmation email. Let me know if you still need help. I’d love for you to stay connected and get my new posts each week.


    • piecescalligraphy says:

      Hi Maria! Never too late to join! The hashtag (#handletteredABCs) will be around well after the challenge, so please continue to post to the hashtag and also refer to it for inspiration. Looking forward to seeing your work!


    • piecescalligraphy says:

      Hi, Andrea! I just took a quick peek at your work – stunning! You definitely need to join us for the ABC challenge. Nina (@anintran) and I created an Instagram account (@handletteredABCs) dedicated to the challenge. We’ll be hosting more challenges, sharing lettering tips, and featuring your work. Please join the fun!


  6. Michelle says:

    I’ve just found this great opportunity. I read that we can post our work using the hashtag. Will we be able to view the daily posts of how to do each letter if we sign up before it closes?

    Liked by 1 person

    • piecescalligraphy says:

      Hi Michelle! So sorry for this late reply. The answer is YES! You can certainly view ALL of the 9,000+ posts to the hashtag.

      And if you haven’t yet heard, Nina (@anintran) and I created an Instagram account (@handletteredABCs) dedicated to keeping the challenge alive! We’ll be hosting more challenges, sharing lettering tips, and featuring your work. Please join the fun!🙂


  7. Trish says:

    I have a “virtual” friend that is also going on the brush calligraphy journey with me. I am trying to find as many videos you did showing lower case alphabet on Instagram and You Tube, knowing Periscope videos are only available for 24 hours. I have located videos for l through t (not individual videos for each of these letters) and a still shot of letters a through o as a still photo with strokes in different colors .We like your approach, so want to stay consistent at this stage of the learning process. Am I missing any lower case videos as of 1-30-16? We are both looking forward to your infamous chart in the works showing each letter’s basic stroke combinations:)🙂


    • piecescalligraphy says:

      Hi Trish! While ever so slowly, the basic stroke combinations chart is coming soon! I was having true technical difficulties as I wasn’t sure whether to digitize the brush strokes or just scan them. Now I am thinking of just scanning because not only would it be faster, it would seem more “natural” or “real” in comparison to a digitized version. With all that said, please hang tight! I promise I will share it as soon as it is ready. Thank you SO SO much for your support and enthusiasm for my approach to teaching the lowercase letters. Looking forward to hearing how your progress goes, especially after I go through the letters and provide that chart!


  8. Trish says:

    Thank you for your response. I am beginning week 2 of returning to basic stroke a week. This week’s blog and video are so timely for my return to basics:)


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