There are many ways to make your first steps in modern calligraphy. Signing up for a workshop can be an excellent one, as you gain the knowledge and attention of an expert tutor, who can help you through any issues you might encounter.
Caron Romney is a modern calligrapher from the north west who runs regular weekend workshops in Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds as The Creative Nib. We sent a couple of the Simply Lettering team along to one of Caron’s Manchester workshops to find out what it’s all about.
Caron’s Manchester workshops take place in Leaf – a smart, modern coffee shop in the heart of the city centre. Its humble frontage hides a roomy and welcoming space that divides nicely into smaller venues, perfect for workshops. Our class was in a quiet, airy corner of Leaf that keeps you out of the way of the brisk Saturday morning custom but still with handy access to the cafe’s broad array of teas and cake, which is all included in the price of the workshop. With around eight students to a class, it’s a warm and friendly environment with plenty of one-on-one time with Caron whenever you need it.
The focus of The Creative Nib workshops is on using penholders, modern calligraphy nibs and pots of ink – all of which are provided and packaged up for each student with all the practice sheets needed for the class and beyond. Few of the students had used dip ink pens before, and none were familiar with the varying pressure needed to create the thin and thick strokes of modern calligraphy. With Caron’s expert advice and plenty of practice throughout the morning, all students were comfortable and capable by the end of the class, and keen to try more.
Practice makes perfect
Once Caron taught us the basics of how to use the pen, we cracked into some simple warm-up exercises, which teach the basic strokes that form each letter and help train the muscle memory needed to create beautiful calligraphy. As Caron explained, this warm-up practice is a good idea whenever you plan to do some calligraphy, to ensure consistency throughout your writing – without it, strokes and letters may end up looking quite different at the start of your work to the end.
From the basic strokes, we moved onto mastering letters in one script and then starting to string them together into words and sayings. Caron’s gentle guidance was on hand throughout, so if anyone struggled with a letter, she had advice to offer or an alternative glyph we could substitute instead.
After a couple of hours of practice, all the students were confidently trying different words and different inks, including some gorgeous metallic pan inks. She helped each student master particular words they wanted to write, such as children’s names, and shared some super tips on how to perfectly frame lettering on the page. Caron even introduced us to faux calligraphy and how to use an embossing pen, embossing powder and a heat tool to create impressive heat-embossed designs. The magic of melting powder into a lustrous metallic sheen was a great source of wonder and delight!
Over the course of three hours, The Creative Nib workshop nurtured a room of complete newcomers to lettering into confident beginner calligraphers and sent us all away with practice sheets, pens and inks to take our new-found hobbies further. If you’re looking for a relaxing and engaging introduction to the craft then we’d heartily recommend workshops with The Creative Nib or other modern calligraphers in your area.
You can find The Creative Nib on the following platforms:
For details of Caron’s upcoming workshops head here.