Calligraphy: With an Italic Nib

I borrowed two books from the library on calligraphy. I was actually surprised that our local libraries actually have books on calligraphy. And by saying “on calligraphy” I mean they really teach us how to write calligraphy!

The first book borrowed is called “An Introduction to Calligraphy” and I borrowed it from the National Library. I haven’t read every single word of this book but merely browsed through, and I found great details about calligraphy, from various writing materials to the writing board to the style of writing. At this beginning stage I wasn’t into details yet, and I was a little overwhelmed at the chapter which talks about spacing between letters, words and lines. This, I would say, is a very useful book, but I haven’t learnt yet how to write or even hold a calligraphy pen, so I didn’t read this chapter thoroughly. The chapters on writing method are useful, they break down each stroke of the letters and show you how to make the strokes, angle and all. Pretty useful indeed!

The second book which I borrowed from Clementi Library is called ” The encyclopedia of Calligraphy and Illumination”. I thought illumination is the Art of Shining Good Light at a Proper Angle on your Script, but I was so very wrong. This book (I wouldn’t call it an encyclopedia because it isn’t thick and heavy, and to me encyclopedias need to be thick and heavy to qualify) explains various ways of illumination, which translates to me as methods to decorate a page. I especially love the parts about gold leafing and colouring the paper. I wouldn’t be trying any of that soon due to lack of resources, but I will be thinking of it in the near future. This book is also good for quick references to how to write calligraphy with italic nibs. In fact I have really only used this book to get my headstart on calligraphy with an italic nib. Pictures below:

My first try at Gothic script with my name… it always looks nicer on a photo.


Foundational (roundhand)

Foundational (roundhand)


Foundational (roundhand) Uncial. I like this script! Not too difficult to write too.

Uncial. I like this script! Not too difficult to write too.


And finally, Gothic. I love this too but it's a real pain to write! Literally! My hand hurts writing this!

And finally, Gothic. I love this too but it’s a real pain to write! Literally! My hand hurts writing this!


As a leftie, I use the italic nib on an oblique nib holder to get a proper angle by writing underhand. Of course I also need to turn my paper almost 90 degrees clockwise to get a good angle. If I use a normal italic pen or nib in a straight holder, I need to twist my wrist such that I am writing overhand (hooked) which causes me to smudge my letters when I move from left to right too. Either this, or I’ll have to learn italic writing the leftie way, which involves a different “look” to all the alphabets altogether. I like the normal right-handed look of the letters, so I adapt myself to it. 🙂

I would love to hear your thoughts!