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Calligraphy: Writing Art for Greeting Cards, Letters, and More

Calligraphy has a distinguished history in China, evolving for more than 2,000 years. The term ‘calligraphy’ translates to beautiful writing. It is the art of creating elegant lettering or handwriting with a brush or pen. Today, there are three primary types of calligraphy – Roman or Western; Arabic; and Oriental or Chinese. Calligraphy originated in the Stone Age. While letters still did not exist, images were painted across cave walls as a form of pictorial representation. Egyptians also played a major role in the start of calligraphy with picture drawings during 3600 B.C. They created hieroglyphics that they put inside the tombs of pharaohs or brushed on papyrus paper. In 1000 B.C., Phoenicians created what is believed to be the first writing system or alphabet.

Calligraphy pens should be held in the same manner as an ordinary pen. The angle in which the pen is held depends on the alphabet script being written. This angle will determine the thinness or thickness of strokes. The ‘thin-and thick’ effect is pleasing to the eye and can create elegant flowing text. A calligraphy nib is typically used, especially in Western styles. Calligraphy nibs consist of a broad, flat end of the calligraphy pen instead of an ordinary rounded point. Rather than rotating the wrist to write the characters, the calligraphy pen should be pulled and pushed from the elbow. When writing calligraphy, the pen should stay at a constant angle, typically 30 to 60 degrees. Lead the nib across the paper under little pressure to prevent blotting. Calligraphers must practice these skills to master the basics of writing calligraphy. Once mastered, the elegant look and feel of calligraphy transcends even the finest typography. The stylish writing can be used on a variety of textures, from stained glass, to linens, to fine paper. Calligraphy continues to flourish, and is especially prevalent in the romantic and formal event space. Brides often set their sights on exquisitely designed wedding announcements and invitations. New parents love to announce the arrival of their bundle of love with elegant letters and cards. Just a touch of calligraphy can transform even the dullest of announcements into a distinguished looking coveted piece of art.

For more about calligraphy, see the following links:

  • History of Japanese Calligraphy
    Brief history of Japanese calligraphy and how the Japanese-style of writing came to be from Chinese aesthetics.
  • Calligraphy
    Information of the origins of calligraphy as well as examples of tang calligraphy, techniques of transmission, script types, six dynasties calligraphy, and calligraphy in modern China.
  • History of Chinese Calligraphy
    Origin of Chinese calligraphy in the Shang and Zhou dynasties, spring autumn and warring states periods, as well as the Chin, Han, Wei, Jin, Tang, Sung, Yuan, Ming and Chin dynasties.
  • A History of Calligraphy
    Information on the history of calligraphy and the varieties of script, including Kufic, Thuluth, Jeli Thuluth, Naskhi, Reki, Tevki, Ta’liq, Jell Ta’liq, Divani, Jell Divani, Siyakat, Riki, Icaze and Gubari.
  • Chinese Calligraphy
    The China Online Museum offers information on Chinese calligraphy and photographs of calligraphy masterpieces created by famous Chinese artists.
  • Starting Out in Calligraphy
    Description of how calligraphy letters are created and project ideas that incorporate calligraphy, such as for making cards.
  • Learn Calligraphy
    Collection of lessons for learning how to draw calligraphy scripts with just a calligraphy pen and some scratch paper.
  • Appreciation of the Art of Chinese Calligraphy
    Examples of different styles of Chinese calligraphy that are considered to be a form of abstract art rather then just words.
  • The Art of Arabic Calligraphy
    Brief history of Arabic calligraphy and information on the various styles, such as kufic and cursive script styles.
  • Chinese Calligraphy: Language As Art
    Examples and instructions on how to properly draw calligraphy characters, as well as facts on Chinese calligraphy and language as art.
  • Calligraphy in Islamic Art
    Article that discusses how calligraphy is used in Islamic art and painted or printed on products as a form of decoration.
  • Chinese Calligraphy: History, Technique and Artists
    Rules regarding calligraphy, technique and training information and examples of different types of calligraphy scripts.
  • Lessons in Calligraphy and Penmanship
    Comprehensive webpage with lessons in calligraphy, including tips on getting started with an oblique pointed pen and instructions on writing various script types.
  • Calligraphy
    Background of calligraphy with information on the spread of literacy, the art of writing in Arabic and how calligraphy was used as an art form.
  • Turkish Calligraphy
    Brief history of the beginnings of Turkish calligraphy as well as examples of Turkish art that use calligraphy as a form of design.
  • How To’s and Illustrated History in Calligraphy
    History of how calligraphy began in the Shang, Zhou, Qin, Han, Jin, Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties as well as how-to articles on calligraphy.
  • Chinese Calligraphy History
    This page provides Chinese calligraphy history, facts, styles, art, masters, clipart and more.
  • Art of Chinese Calligraphy
    List of the most famous masters of calligraphy, calligraphy of poems, styles of calligraphy and information on appreciation of Chinese writing.
  • The Beautiful Brush – Japanese Calligraphy
    Basic introduction to Japanese calligraphy with information on the basic tools used and the development of the Chinese writing system.
  • Medieval Calligraphy
    Medieval calligraphy webpage with navigation to the history, examples of ancient scripts, glossary of calligraphic words and other information.
  • About Calligraphy
    Description on how calligraphy is performed and how it was used during the imperial era as an important criterion for selection of executives in Imperial court.
  • Islamic Art
    Introduction to Islamic art and how it was used in Islam as an embellishment on homes, palaces, mosques, businesses and public and private areas.
  • Three Perfections - Painting, Poetry and Calligraphy
    Article on how poetry, painting and calligraphy are considered to be the ultimate in artistic achievement in many Chinese paintings.
  • Calligraphy Examples
    Interactive webpage that provides and animation and pronunciation of Chinese calligraphy characters.