The Journal Gazette
Sunday, May 30, 2021 1:00 am

Calligraphy takes patience, imagination

Keiara Carr | For The Journal Gazette

If you ever sat in a study hall, you may remember doodling your name in a notebook. Meghan Short, owner of Moonlit Design Co., started the same way.

Short, who was a fan of doodling her name in curly cursive all over her journal as a kid, easily picked up calligraphy when she began working in the wedding planning industry.

“It's very similar to how florals can be custom to your centerpieces, so can signage,” Short says.

“It adds a little extra to the experience, whether it's a welcome sign or the guest's name on a place card, it can be something special. I think that's why it's become really popular.”

If you're looking to add a little something extra to your next event, gift or pen pal letter – or maybe you're just bored and like to doodle, too – learning calligraphy takes nothing more than a pen, paper and a little imagination.

Practice, practice

Short explains that calligraphy is a series of strokes – lighter, upward strokes for a fine line and heavier, downward strokes for a bold line. Start with an exercise of upward and downward strokes, then move on to using the strokes to form letters. Once you have the hang of it, you can practice connecting the letters to form words.

“There are several books that have lettering guides with lined paper that you can practice with,” Short says. “I don't use brush pens, they're not very user-friendly for me. They take a lot of practice. If you were to use brush pens, you have to press harder on your downward strokes to make a thicker line, and it can be hard to control. But a way around that is to just bold in all of your downward strokes (after you write each word).”

Get inspired

Once you have the basics, Short suggests you experiment with style. She says what we often see in advertising or on signage nowadays is a version of modern calligraphy. The connectors are longer and the letters are less likely to be perfectly aligned.

“I like to get inspired by others first and massage it into my unique skills. So I like to follow different calligraphy artists on social media or YouTube,” Short says,

“Maybe they write on something that I didn't even think you could write on. It's not just paper or wood or glass, I've done something on a leather jacket before. Trust in your skills and don't give yourself boundaries.”

Put it to the test

The best way to refine your calligraphy is to use it, Short says. Start implementing your new talent by writing letters or thank you cards. Even addressing envelopes with calligraphy can be a nice touch.

“Tags for gift favors are great. I'll tie it on a bag or tie it on top of a wine bottle. You can just write their name on the tag,” Short says. “It makes it unique to them. A wine bottle with a bow is one thing, but if I get a wine bottle with a tag on it that has my name on it, I'm going to keep that tag. It's just so cool.”

To see some examples of Short's work, go to


Buy the basics: A set of markers or pens and paper, but don't limit yourself.

What you need: Calligraphy inspiration and plenty of practice

About the series

At this point of the pandemic, if it can be done virtually, you've done it, you've seen it and you've probably have told someone to turn off "Mute" at least 20 times.

It is time to turn inward. This six-part series is about finding new outlets offline, whether it's indoors or outdoors. We have turned to the experts to provide beginner tips on a range of topics that will give us something to brag about at Zoomsgiving this year.

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