The joy and use of calligraphy can’t be overstated! In the past few years, it’s converted lots of creators into its lovers. You can easily follow the community’s interest by checking lots and lots of new lettering guides, books and courses being released every now and then. However, which of them are really the best ones to learn calligraphy or upgrade your existing skills?
Similarly to drawing, calligraphy opens you a whole new world, that’s tightly bound with history, visual art, and languages. Japanese, Arabic, Slavic, Latin lettering pulls you into exploring the entire culture with its customs and legends, so as you start to learn calligraphy for these languages, you go far beyond simply writing rows of letters.
Along with broading your horizons, learning classic or modern calligraphy has many social and psychological perks. First, it’s a great way to relax and meditate — like many repeating actions are. Second, doing calligraphy helps you focus on your thoughts. If you need to find a solution for a problem or do a sort of brainstorming, you can try doing it during the lettering class. Third, it develops fine motor skills, responsible for memory and speech. And finally, learning calligraphy helps you meet like-minded people if you practice it offline.
If you are already convinced to learn calligraphy or already on your way to master it, choosing the best way to do it is a huge question. That’s what we’re here for, with a selection of the greatest courses from Domestika! Made by true professionals, they will cover all aspects of lettering: various writing systems, levels, and writing supplies. So whether you want to do it on paper or in Procreate, with a pen or brush, for beginner or to refine your calligraphy skills, we’ve got a matching class for you!
Use the code THEDESIGNEST-10 to get an extra 10% off any course. You can even use the code on multiple purchases — there’s no limit to what you can learn.
Calligraphy Courses for Beginners
A course by Bego Viñuela Galarraga
The best way to learn calligraphy is to start with the Latin alphabet. This class bringing English calligraphy is probably the best option for the beginners and those who complete their calligraphy journey with elegant copperplate writing. With no prior experience, step by step, you will see how to use the tools — nib, toothpick, and ink — and you will practice drawing uppercase and capital letters.
You will start with the basics: from the history of English writing style to the postures to work correctly and keep your back healthy during the hours of practice. Getting to the core of the course, you will trace lowercase and uppercase letters with a nib or brush pens. Bego Viñuela, the author of this class, will show you the basic strokes and features and how they join letters together until you draw the entire tiny alphabet. You will expand these skills by learning alternative letters, numbers, signs and discover different ways of composing a text. Also, you will try writing with gouache and watercolor. So by your final project, which will be to write a phrase or poem of your choice, you’ll do tons of practice and will be equipped with all possible calligraphy supplies and skills.
A course by Abraham Lule
If you ever wanted to convert lettering into your professional booster and use it in branding projects, web design and logotypes, Abraham Lule’s class on concepts and principles of typography is a great one to start your creative journey with. Abraham will teach you how to focus attention on the typography of an illustration. You’ll learn modern lettering & calligraphy with a focus on basic principles to create high-impact designs for your clients.
During the course, you’re going to explore the five focal concepts of modern calligraphy and hand-lettering: shape, space, color, hierarchy, and rhythm. And you’ll see how to apply them to different design projects with regard to the creative niche you’re working at. This is a physical lettering class, so you’ll need the following supplies: paper, pencils and pens, an eraser, a ruler, and scissors. Access to a printer is desirable. You should also have a computer with Adobe Illustrator or your preferred vector software to prepare the final project and test yourself in the field.
A course by Rie Takeda
If you learn calligraphy or are just thinking of it, you can’t pass by Shodō, the ancient Japanese calligraphy art. By exploring it, you have a chance to explore your self and find inner peace and inspiration in the meditative processes. Japanese calligraphy is always bound with a spiritual and cultural journey, and in this class, you can share it with Rie Takeda, an experienced calligrapher and artist.
The course will make you dive deep into the history and the cultural aspect of Shodō. As you learn calligraphy, you will see how to release tension in the body and mind during the guided meditation practice. Actually, Rie’s class is one of the rare artistic experiences where you can bring together deep relaxation and creative activity.
With a clean mind, you’ll draw your first calligraphy characters guided step by step through the setup and technique. Each step has its own Japanese name and procedure, which Rie meticulously unravels. In the end you’ll create a stamp with your name in katakana to sign your work and take some time to adjust the final touches by fine-tuning the composition.
A course by Maaida Noor
Meet the incredible Maaida Noor, an artist and calligrapher who has worked with Christian Dior, Jo Malone, Estée Lauder, and Selfridges. In her class, she will share with you her fascination with Arabic calligraphy. Little by little, you will be practicing the Arabic alphabet using the Maghrebi script. While you learn calligraphy, you will discover the rich history and significance behind the Arabic writing style.
Before you onboard the course, make sure you’ve got all the necessary writing supplies for comfortable practice: a reed pen or nib, an inkwell, calligraphy paper, silk threads (likka), or a straightedge and an HB pencil. With your reed pen, you’ll pass straight to writing the letters under Maaida’s guidance and the diligent focus on the structure of each letter to achieve harmony and balance by using knowledge of the dot system. Along with the letters, you are going to explore the diacritic marks, so in the end, you’ll be able to form your first words and sentences using the provided templates and practice sheets.
A course by Lucia Nolasco
Watercolor art is so satisfying that we obviously couldn’t leave you without an inspiring course on watercolor brush calligraphy, which you can join with no prior experience at all. The author of this class is Lucia Nolasco, a graphic designer who previously worked with Studio A, Chanel, Kipling, Ibis Hotel, and Innato — and who’s now going to share with you her passion for watercolors. The class is a good fit for beginners, so if you have never done calligraphy before or did only a few practice sheets, you’re going to enjoy it a lot.
Once you have everything you need for the watercolor art class, you’ll learn calligraphy from the basic strokes. You will discover different styles — script, sans serif, and serif — and then perform a series of exercises to help you release the tension in your arm and prepare yourself for the writing practice. By the end of the course, you should have a composition inspired by your favorite song or poem. In order to imbue your work with a powerful message, you’ll play with color, texture, and movement — and there’ll also be Lucia by your side, supporting you with insights and tips throughout the whole studying and creative process.
A course by Thomas Lam
We’ve met many people who started learning calligraphy being inspired by the language or vice versa. And we believe that Thomas Lam’s class on Chinese calligraphy may be right the case. However, for now, you only need your motivation, a couple of brushes, and ink. The course promises to be very intriguing — let alone all the cultural aspects it is sprinkled with.
So, what are you going to do? After you’ve decided on what artistic supplies you will use, you’ll start directly with the technique. You should discover different structures that compose Chinese calligraphy, and you’ll learn how to practice correct stroke order and keep characters proportionate — this may take time, but you’ll greatly enjoy the process of writing basic and more complex Chinese characters as you dip your brush into the ink. After you grasp the technique and obtain ultimate detail with your characters, there goes the real practice. You’ll be suggested to write a poem from the Tang Dynasty on a piece of rice paper you properly prepared beforehand. However, you are free to choose any other piece — which should be particularly exciting for those who learn or speak Chinese.
A course by Marianna Rezk Timcke
If you seek guidance to help you with the basics regardless of the language and writing system, the course on ink hand-lettering from Marianna Rezk can help you with that. It’s a great option if you want to try yourself in lettering and make the first steps in the art of calligraphy. The drawing skills will make the studying a bit easier — otherwise, simply get yourself a bunch of brush pens, paper and here you go!
First and foremost, Marianna will teach you some techniques to warm your hand and get used to the pencil and paper in terms of calligraphic writing. Once you feel ready, you’ll begin to explore different fonts and practice writing each of them. By doing think or light strokes from your practice sheet, you’ll find it easier to find your style. Rest assured, there’ll be lots and lots of tips on width, contrast, and fillings, so you won’t get lost. Probably, the most satisfying part of the course will be learning to make effects with ink: gradient, borders, blends of colors, and shadows typical for modern calligraphy. In the end, you’ll be able to draw a phrase to print on a tote bag — Mariana will show you how, too!
A course by Oriol Miró Genovart
You’ll be surprised to know that the Gothic style is one the best ones to start to learn calligraphy from. It gives a very clear understanding of rhythm, structure, formal coherence, the importance of spaces and counterforms — all the vital concepts you’ll need to master any other writing system or hand-lettering technique. Besides, being good at Gothic lettering is vital for many designers working in retro style as well tattoo artists and label designers — as they always prefer a custom font to a ready-made one.
With Oriol Miró, a professional calligrapher and teacher, you will be practicing in two styles of Gothic calligraphy. First, it’ll be the medieval Gothic based on the book “Les Grandes Heures du Duc de Berry” from the year 1409 to get you the basics of the lettering inside the historical context. Second, you will study the gothic letter models of the German calligrapher Rudolf Koch, the best calligrapher and typographer of his time. With this knowledge, you’ll experiment a lot with different formal variants and with pens, pencils, dip pens, and improper instruments, sometimes even homemade. And we mentioned label design for a good reason, as in the end, you’ll be suggested to create a logo for a beer in the Gothic style.
Explore thousands of creative classes in design, business, visual art and craft! Whatever skill you want to improve, Domestika has a course for it! Use the code THEDESIGNEST-10 to get an additional 10% off.
Calligraphy Courses for Experienced Learners
A course by Jimbo Bernaus
If you already feel quite confident with your iPad and Apple Pencil and know the basics of hand-lettering, we invite you on a creative journey with Jimbo Bernaus. Jimbo has been working as a lettering artist for over ten years, and he has Booking.com, BMW, and Carlsberg among his clients. And in this course, he will show you how to bring energy and vibrancy to your digital letter design.
You will learn modern calligraphy and explore how you can experiment with textures, color, light, shadow and, of course, brush types (which can be quite tricky at the beginning). Jumbo will not just share with you the technical skills like making your first layer in Procreate or transforming a rough sketch into a refined and complete piece of modern calligraphy. Along with that, he’ll show you some professional secrets of creating effective typography and teach you how to create inspiring mood boards and bring the accumulated inspiration to the paper.
At the end of the course, you’ll get straight to a real-life task and make a lettering piece inspired by a music genre for a Spotify playlist cover.
A course by Birgit Palma
Illustrated lettering and experimental typography are the utmost way to create an emotional message. They’ve been a popular design trend for two years now, and they’re not going to lean back in the nearest future. That’s why it’s wise to master the skill — especially if you work in the creative industry and want to bring a fresh, vibrant vibe to your work. Birgit Palma with her class on illustrated modern calligraphy & lettering, is here to help you start.
First of all, you’ll discover what modular type is and see for yourself how everything begins with simple geometric shapes. Further on, you’ll learn calligraphy via the structured methodology, research, and lots of playfulness. This is the very class for you to realize how important colors, shapes, and details can be in typography — especially if you aim to create an entire story behind every letter and word.
To take this course, you need basic graphic design skills, knowledge of Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. As a final task, you’ll have to make a digital lettering illustration of a city of your choice for an editorial piece where you’ll merge modern typography and illustration.
A course by Andrés Ochoa
If you ever considered doing digital lettering or merge your Adobe Illustrator mastership with modern typography, this class is for you! Andrés Ochoa will help you release your creative potential and teach you from scratch to use the software as a typography and lettering medium.
If you already have some experience using Illustrator, you can jump directly to learning and practicing modern calligraphy. Otherwise, rest assured, Andrés will showcase to you the new working environment with its features, tools, and tricks. As you learn calligraphy in the digital, you will get acquainted with the bezier curves and master them to create your custom typography. After you’ve seen how to design your own letters, Andrés will teach you to decorate them using such tools as tracers, displacement, and clipping masks. You’ll also see how to create shadows, fills, and patterns, how to generate volumes, and play with the most peculiar details: textures, lights, and shadows. If you’ve been doing graphic design but always hesitated onboarding modern calligraphy, now you’ll have the basic toolset to experiment with and eventually reach a pro level with your personal and client projects in this niche.
A course by Bego Viñuela Galarraga
Italic script is traditionally considered one of the most beautiful typographic styles. There are many creators working in this technique, so the temptation to acquire and develop this ability to carry out fancy letters with a top pen may be incredibly strong. And we know why! Maybe you want to create your first script or just practice calligraphy focusing on this classic elegance. Either way, you’ll be able to start from the very beginning with Bego Viñuela’s course.
We already wrote about Bego’s class on English calligraphy. From some point, this course on Italic script can be considered as its follow-up. Here you will go through all the artistic stages with your brush pens: from learning the ductus of the letters and writing techniques for your first strokes and words. She will also help you start experimenting with thicknesses and contrasts to achieve ultimate dynamism with your lettering. Prepare your dip pen and nib for hours of practice, as this will make you write both flawlessly and fluently. And that’s how you’ll understand how to play with pressure, inclination, speed, and contrasts.