The Topic:

Easier - Calligraphy is the art of making beautiful or elegant handwriting. It is a fine art of skilled penmanship.
Harder - The word calligraphy literally means beautiful writing. Before the invention of the printing press some 500 years ago, it was the way books were made. Each copy was handwritten out by a scribe working in a scriptorium. The hand writing was done with quill and ink onto materials like vellum or parchment. The lettering style applied was one of the period bookhands like rustic, carolingian, blackletter, etc.
Today, there are three main types or styles of calligraphy: (1) Western or Roman, (2) Arabic, and (3) Chinese or Oriental. This project focuses mainly on Western calligraphy with a glimpse at the other two styles.
Calligraphy, Lettering and Typeface Design by J. Waters
Noted calligrapher and designer Julian Waters delivered this lecture at Washington's Sidwell Friends School, where he was the 1997 Rubenstein Memorial Guest Artist.
Other Online Articles on Calligraphy:
2) Art of Letters by M. Freeman from Reading Today
3) Calligraphy
4) Calligraphy by J. Stevens from Calligraphy Centre
5) Computer Aided Calligraphy: A Contradiction of Terms? by G. Thomson
History of Calligraphy
This article summarizes the origins and history of calligraphy, beginning with the prehistoric cave paintings.
Other Websites on the History of Calligraphy:
2) European Calligraphy from
3) History of Calligraphy
4) Making Marks: the Evolution of Calligraphy
5) Revival of Calligraphy (19th and 20th Centuries) from Encyclopaedia Britannica
6) Story of Writing and The History of Calligraphy (Book review)
Primer in Calligraphy and Illumination
This website is a short primer in the arts of calligraphy and illumination for those who are interested in learning how to make scrolls.
Other Online Calligraphy Instruction:
2) Calligraphy 101 from Scribeworx
3) Calligraphy Lessons On-Line from Calli-Graphic II
4) Calligraphy, The Art of Beautiful Writing
5) Flourish by C. Fearon
6) Free Easy Calligraphy Lessons from The Calligraphy Company
7) Getting Started in Calligraphy from Calligraphy Centre
8) Learn How To Draw Beautiful Lettering by C. McGavren
9) Lesson 1 from Scribeworx
10) On-Line Calligraphy Lesson
11) Tips and Techniques
12) Video Clips from Calligraphy Centre
World of Calli & Graphy
Create beautiful letters with the art of calligraphy! Learn about its history, check out the gallery, or learn about the parts and strokes that make up the letters.
First, explore several of the calligraphy websites. Then complete one or more of these related projects.
Try The Double Pencil Technique. Find the instructions for this at Double Pencil Technique by Seshat from Suite 101.
Practice Calligraphy Online. Use the interactive Calligraphy Lesson by G. Booth, Yale University.
Plan, Organize, and Hold A Calligraphy Fair. Start planning early, select a date, and location. Then plan events for your Calligraphy Fair. See if you have calligraphy experts in your area who would be willing to contribute their time and expertise, display their work, demonstrate techniques, recommend tools, etc. Promote your event through the media and your school and library. Have some fun. Plan snacks and activities - maybe some calligraphy punch or calligraphy pretzels (whatever that is, be creative).
Do You Calligraphy? Learn to. Use the lesson and the tips and techniques websites to get you started. Also check out some calligraphy books from the library media center. Practice every day, keep your work, note your improvement.
Make A Calligraphy Project. Select a favorite quote or short poem and create a calligraphy art piece focusing on it. You might create a unique greeting card incorporating the work or design it for framing.
Keep A Calligraphy Journal. Include techniques and tips that you learn as you go. Be sure to include samples of your skill with each journal entry.
More Websites
Calligraphy Ring
Click on "Join" within the navigational link visit the sites of this webring as a guest - - or you can join as a member.
Calligraphy Glossary from Speedball
Download and printout this helpful worksheet on calligraphy terminology.
Other Useful Documents from Speedball:
2) Lettering Charts
Few of Our Favorite Things from Cyberscribes
Cyberscribes from around the world share their list of favorite tools, inks, papers, etc.
Related Site from Cyberscribes:
2) Pearls of Wisdom
Other Techniques and Tips Sites:
3) Notes on Calligraphy by J. Aikmon
Gothic? Letters
This webpage provides examples of gothic alphabets.
How do Lefthanders Learn Calligraphy
This website explains the two exceptions for southpaws (lefties) in the four rules of calligraphy.
How To Cut a Bamboo Pen by W. Dunham
Reed pens have been used for centuries. Today, they are still used for calligraphy that needs a broad-edged, flexible pen. This site provides instructions for making your own reed pens.
Related Website:
2) Cutting a Quill Pen
On an Ancient Appearance by E. Boucher
Here are some suggested ways to make your calligraphy look less modern.
Early Manuscripts & Documents
Age of King Charles V (1338-1380) from The Bibliothèque Nationale de France
This site can be searched by text, theme or manuscript and contains 1,000 French illuminations from the 14th century.
Book of Kells from Oregon State Library
This online exhibit provides images of the Book of Kells, a handwritten gospel manuscript.
Related Websites:
2) Book of Kells
3) Book of Kells from The Catholic Encyclopedia
4) Book of Kells Images
Lindisfarne Gospels from The British Library
The Lindisfarne Gospels is one of Britain's greatest artistic treasures. Written and illuminated in honor of God and St. Cuthbert about AD 698 by the monk Eadfrith, afterwards Bishop of Lindisfarne, it is famous for the superb quality and intricate design of its decorated pages.
Related Sites:
2) Lindisfarne Gospels
3) Lindisfarne Gospels from BBC
DScriptiorium from Brigham Young University
This digital collection is devoted to collecting, storing and distributing digital images of Medieval manuscripts.
Early Manuscripts at Oxford University
Beginning with collections of Celtic manuscripts from several Oxford libraries (9th to the 19th centuries of Irish, Welsh, Cornish and Breton origin), this project was extended to include a broader range (dating from the 9th to the 16th centuries and of various origins).
Images from Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts
This collection contains manuscript images in a broad range of styles from the 8th to mid-16th centuries. They are organized by date, then country.
Other Calligraphy Styles
Arabic Writing and Calligraphy (See also: Islamic calligraphy below)
Explore the history of this writing form and some of the unique styles and works done in Arabic. calligraphy.
Related Websites:
2) Arabic Calligraphy
3) Arabic Calligraphy
4) Arabic Calligraphy from
5) Arabic Calligraphy Instruction by M. Sakkal
6) Art of Arabic Calligraphy by M. Sakkal
7) History of Calligraphy
8) Learn the Arabic Alphabet
Art of Chinese Calligraphy by M.L. Pei
This website provides examples of various styles and famous artists' works.
Related Websites:
2) Calligraphy from Asiawind Art Gallery
3) Chinese Calligraphy
Asian Calligraphy by D. Jones
Here is a collection of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean calligraphy information and links to websites.
Related Website:
2) Asian Calligraphy from
Islamic Calligraphy with Mohamed Zakariya (See also: Arabic calligraphy above)
In the Islamic tradition, the writing has a different aspect involving the many connections made between the letters.
Related Websites:
2) Art of Calligraphy by A.F. Hasan from Suite 101
3) Islamic Calligraphy
Japanese Calligraphy by G. Hawker
Here you can read a short history of Japan's calligraphy, or sho, and learn what makes good vs. bad work.
Related Websites:
2) Calligraphy (Exhibit) from Kyoto National Museum
3) Calligraphy Stories from Kyoto National Museum
4) It's a Shodo's Room
5) What is Shodo
Here is a combination Chinese-English dictionary and a character genealogy website. Entering an English word will bring up its character, definition, and relation to other characters.
Not-To-Be-Missed Section:
2) How to Write Chinese Characters
Related Website:
3) Animated Chinese Characters
4) Calligraphy Sheets (downloadable worksheets)
Websites For Teachers
Calligraphy by B. White Skene
In this lesson, students will gain an appreciation of the various calligraphic styles, design their name in elaborate calligraphy, and explain several reasons for the purpose of calligraphy.
Chinese Calligraphy Lesson
In this activity, students become acquainted with calligraphy and Chinese ideograms or characters.
Other Lessons:
2) Chinese Calligraphy (Grade 3)
3) Chinese Calligraphy
4) Chinese Calligraphy as Art Communication (Grade 6) by D. Tullmann
Introduction to Japanese Calligraphy (Grades 2-6)
This lesson introduces the basic strokes of Japanese calligraphy by writing the Kanji character of EI (eternal).
Penning of a Class Constitution (Grades 4-8) by L. Mitchell from National Constitution Center
This exercise leads the teacher and students within a classroom through the development of a workable classroom constitution and the penning of their document as a final product.
Write Me a Picture (Grades 8-12) by V.Y. Martin
In this lesson, students first view examples of calligraphy, then create their own calligraphic artwork.
fine art
Gutenberg Bible
dip pen
pen / nib
cursive handwriting
black letter
cuneiform writing
"fine writing"
Created by Lisa Brady, Galien Public Schools, Michigan, 11/02.
Adapted by Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson, 12/02.