Writing Old-Looking Text

No medieval letter would look authentic without carefully penned lettering. That's where calligraphy, the art of writing, comes into play.

A good beginning calligrapher's pen is a dip pen. With dip pens, a writer dips the nib (the point of the pen) into the inkwell instead of brushing the ink into a crevice in the nib, such as with round-hand nibs. I learned to write calligraphy with a Speedball kit, which came with a pen and six tape nibs.

Avoid cartridge pens; although they offer a continuous ink flow, the ink is weaker than the India ink used with dip pens.

Using Your Pen

You will need:

  1. Write your intended message on a separate sheet of paper to avoid mistakes. Use the calligraphy pen if you want to practice.
  2. Select a nib that will produce the kind of font you prefer and dip the nib almost wholly into the ink.
  3. Wipe the excess ink off onto the rim of the inkwell or onto a pad of blotting paper.
  4. Set your pen nib to the paper and point it at a 45° angle.
  5. Draw each part of the letter one stroke at a time.
  6. Dip your pen back into the ink and repeat Steps 3-5 if your pen runs dry. Try to replenish your ink after you finish a word so that the different strokes will be less noticeable.
  7. Continue copying until you finish your letter.

With a little practice, you should have a gorgeous letter to present to whomever you'd like.

Beginner's guides to calligraphy are inexpensive, so if you find yourself making several mistakes or you have no idea where to begin, pick one up from your local craft or hobby store. Several Web sites and Youtube videos also offer lessons on perfecting calligraphic text, such as Chris McGavern's Learn How to Draw Beautiful Lettering.

Practice makes perfect--keep at it. You may find that you enjoy it!