Guaranteed Ways to Quickly Improve Your Calligraphy + Hand Lettering

by - July 03, 2021

 I'm sure you've seen them. Those absolutely gorgeous bullet journal layouts with exquisite calligraphy. I know I have. It can be easy to compare your own calligraphy, and think that you will never be able to write like they can. You are wrong there though because today, I will tell you how you can quickly improve your handwriting.

Guaranteed Ways to Quickly Improve Your Calligraphy + Hand Lettering

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Pretty soon, you'll have your gorgeous bullet journal layouts right alongside the ones you admired, and you'll be on your way to being a pro! Oh, you don't believe me?

Trust me, my calligraphy might not be the best, but I used to not even know how to do calligraphy... and my normal handwriting? Let's just say, it looked like chicken scratch. It was barely even readable, and sometimes it still isn't readable! 😂

When I started bullet journaling back in 2018, (I've come a long way since then) I saw tons of bullet journal layouts online that had absolutely amazing calligraphy on them, and you guessed it. I wanted to create calligraphy just like them!

In 2019, I made a calligraphy binder to help me practice my calligraphy. This helped me improve my calligraphy and hand lettering immensely.

Today, I want to share with you the simple ways I have improved my calligraphy and hand lettering. Plus, it's guaranteed! If I can use these tips to improve my calligraphy, and I have, then so can you!

Guaranteed Ways to Quickly Improve Your Calligraphy

First of all, as with most things that you learn, the supplies you use are important. Especially when you are getting started, if you use the wrong supplies, it might ruin your experience. Imagine, if you started training to run a marathon, but you bought the oldest cheapest shoes you could find at a thrift store, and you went the same route and bought uncomfortable itchy workout gear.

Surprise! Surprise! You probably aren't going to be running that marathon.

Now, this might be an extreme example, but I'm sure you get might my point. You are not very likely to be successful at reaching your goal of running a marathon if you don't have the correct supplies.

The same goes for learning how to create beautiful calligraphy. If you want to succeed, you need to have the right supplies. This does not mean you have to purchase the most expensive supplies on the market. Definitely not!

If you buy an expensive set of calligraphy pens and then you decide that you don't like hand lettering, it will be a complete waste of money. I'm all for saving a few bucks and I even have a post about 15 hacks for shopping online and in-store.

Plus, if you buy an expensive set of calligraphy pens, and you are a beginner, you might ruin them, and that would also be a waste of money.

If you decide you like calligraphy and you are into this hobby for the long run, then you can buy a nice set of calligraphy pens, but not before then.

Guaranteed Ways to Quickly Improve Your Calligraphy + Hand Lettering

Hand Lettering Supplies Recommendations

First, I'll share my hand lettering supplies recommendations for beginners, and then I'll share some other more advanced options you can put in your back pocket, for when you get there.

1. Tombow Fudesonuke Hard + Soft Tip Brush Pens

The main pens I used when I learned how to do calligraphy, were these two pens. These two pens were the backbone of my calligraphy journey and if you are a beginner, then I highly recommend them.

They usually come in a two-pack. One has a soft tip (this means the tip is more bendable) and the other Tombow Fudesnuke Brush Pen has a hard tip.

If you only buy one set of calligraphy pens, then these are the ones to go for and they are fairly inexpensive too!

2. Sharpie Pen

If you read a lot of my blog posts, then you know that I am a big fan of using a Sharpie Pen in my bullet journal. Sharpie pens are cheap, and they have nice, dark, smooth ink, which is ideal for hand lettering.

Sharpie pens cannot be used for calligraphy because they can't be used to create thick and thin lines. They are great for practicing making the shapes of letters. They can be used for cursive and hand lettering though, so what pen you should use depends on what type of lettering you want to do.

I use a Sharpie pen in my bullet journal the most out of all of my other pens.

3. Tombow Dual Brush Pens

These brush pens are for when you become more advanced. The great thing about these brush pens is that they are dual-tipped, meaning each brush pen has a different tip on either end.

I love that these brush pens have juicy ink that blends well. Beautiful ombre calligraphy here I come!

These brush pens are on the more expensive side, but they come in a tremendous amount of colors. I've had mine for over a year and they still all work great!

I have a full review of my Tombow Dual Brush Pens here.

4. Ecoline Brush Pens

My other favorite brush pens to use are the Ecolline Brush Pens. These brush pens are also for people who have had experience with calligraphy before as the tips are very bendable so it is harder to control the ink in the pen.

I won't get into the details on these pens as I also have a review on them, and I want to get onto the tips you can use to quickly improve your hand lettering. You can read the review on the Ecoline brush pens here.

Other Supplies

Other than your pens of choice, there are a few other supplies you will need.

  • A Pencil (always handy to have one lying around)
  • An Eraser (to go along with the pencil of course!)
  • Paper
  • A Thick Piece of Cardstock (this is to put under the piece of paper you are writing on just in case any of the ink goes through the page)

I've seen some bloggers recommend paper other than regular printer paper because smoother paper will help your pens last for longer. The tips won't fray as fast. I have not tested this out myself, so I can't say that this will help your pens last longer.

I use regular printer paper myself unless I am doing calligraphy in my bullet journal, which I believe contains paper that is smoother.

Guaranteed Ways to Quickly Improve Your Calligraphy + Hand Lettering

Now, it is time for the fun part! Grab your supplies and let's get started!

I hope you took my above advice because #1 should really be about having the right supplies. I already went over that above, so we'll get right into a different tip. Having the right supplies though will help you improve your calligraphy and hand lettering quicker!

Guaranteed Ways to Quickly Improve Your Calligraphy + Hand Lettering

1. Find Font Inspiration

Okay, so this might seem a little bit like cheating but hear me out.

This is one of my favorite ways to improve my calligraphy. Actually use a font for inspiration!

You can try it out and see how it works for yourself below.

  1. Go to Creative Market and click on the fonts section
  2. Click on the type of hand lettering or calligraphy you want to do
  3. Find a font you like, and then click on it
  4. Right below the header image, there should be a box that says "preview text" on it
  5. You can type whatever you are trying to write in the box and then you can see it in your chosen font!
  6. Write it down in pencil first on your paper to practice it if you want
  7. Then trace over the pencil using a calligraphy pen

Voila, now you have an endless supply of new fonts that you can try out, and a great way to practice calligraphy is by writing out quotes! Go get yourself one of your favorite quotes and then find a font you like so you can practice it.

Because you can type anything in the box, you will be able to memorize whole new fonts to add to your calligraphy collection.

2. Use Practice Worksheets

This is the biggest way I improved my calligraphy, and how I learned how to do calligraphy in the first place! I probably should have started with this tip, but I was excited about the first tip because it is my favorite and I feel like people don't know about it.

My favorite website for getting free printables is By Dawn Nicole. She has tons of free printable practice worksheets, and this is a great way to start out your calligraphy and hand lettering journey. If you are a beginner, I recommend heading over to her website to read some articles and print out some worksheets.

As a beginner, it is a good idea to practice your hand lettering by tracing letters and doing strokes for a while before moving on to doing it on your own. It can be scary and intimidating looking at a bright, white piece of paper!

3. Practice Daily

What? This made it onto the list of guaranteed ways to improve your calligraphy and hand lettering?

Okay. You got me. I know this is a very cliche tip, but it is important to practice daily when you want to improve at any skill, and learning calligraphy is no exception.

Plus, I have an idea that you might want to try. When I started learning calligraphy, I made a calligraphy binder that I keep all of my worksheets in so I can see improvement and have all my supplies in one place.

Basically, all you need is a large binder, a hole punch, a pen holder, and some tab dividers to make one. You can read how I made my calligraphy binder here.

Every day, you can simply grab your binder, and then sit at your table and practice your calligraphy. If you think you might forget, you can even store your calligraphy binder on your table!

Practice daily for just 15 minutes for two to three weeks, and you should see some improvement in your hand lettering. The more you practice, the better you will become!

Guaranteed Ways to Quickly Improve Your Calligraphy + Hand Lettering

4. Use a Pencil

You've filled out practice sheets diligently for around a month and you are ready to take the plunge into writing on a blank sheet of paper. Congratulations!

If it seems kind of intimidating to do cursive on a blank sheet of paper, you can start out by writing using a pencil and then going over it with a calligraphy pen. This should help eliminate errors, and you won't forget what letter comes next in the word you are writing. Eek! That has happened to me before.

After you write it, and your ink has dried, you should go over your calligraphy with an eraser to make sure no pencil lines are showing.

When trying to center a word on a piece of paper, you should start by marking or writing where the middle letter should go in pencil, and then add in the other letters on either side.

5. Use a Ruler

Do you struggle, making your words go across the page in a straight line?

Don't worry, you are not alone. You just need more practice. Lined paper is usually pretty thin, so the ink would bleed through if you used it. You can make your own lined paper though with just a ruler.

Add a line on your paper for every row you need. After you do the calligraphy, all you have to do is erase your "lined paper".

After a while, you should try to not look at the line while you write, and pretty soon, you will be able to do calligraphy without it.

You can also use dotted paper. Most bullet journal notebooks have dotted paper in them, and dotted paper printables can be found online for free. This will help you with creating bounce lettering that "bounces" the right amount as well.

6. Experiment

Once you start learning different fonts and calligraphy styles, you should start experimenting and doing these fonts without any guides or "helps". No ruler, no pencil. Just a calligraphy pen and a piece of paper.

It may be scary, but you will probably surprise yourself with how well it looks, and doing freehand calligraphy can help you to be more creative.

Along with experimenting, you should also try out different methods of doing calligraphy. I like doing ombre lettering sometimes. Then even if your lettering is not so perfect, the beautiful blending will draw the eye away from the crooked lines.

7. Find Your Calligraphy Style

After doing calligraphy for a while, you should be familiar with a variety of fonts and styles. Memorizing different fonts that you can write well is great, but you should make it your own.

Don't be afraid to try out new ways of connecting letters or of writing your letters.

I recommend picking one font that you like. First of all, you should of course learn the font. After you can do that "fluently", you should memorize it, so you can write using that font perfectly whenever you want without any sort of guides. Then make it your own. Change it up, and design your own signature calligraphy font.

Use this font as much as you can. You don't need to be using a calligraphy pen. I practice my cursive in my bullet journal all the time. You can practice it while making a shopping list, or while making your to-do list for the day.

Guaranteed Ways to Quickly Improve Your Calligraphy + Hand Lettering

Guaranteed Ways to Quickly Improve Your Calligraphy + Hand Lettering

Those are all of the tips I have! I wish I could tell you some special way you could use to quickly improve your calligraphy, but there isn't one. Mostly it comes down to practice, practice, and yes, more practice. The tips above should help you improve your calligraphy a little bit faster, but it still will take practice and hard work.

That is the beauty of calligraphy and hand lettering, I can look back at my calligraphy from when I started, and see the improvement. It's all about finding joy in the journey. I hope these tips help you on your calligraphy journey!

I would love to know, what helped you improve your calligraphy? Have a productive week!
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Guaranteed Ways to Quickly Improve Your Calligraphy + Hand Lettering

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