Learning About Pointed Pen Calligraphy with Miss Coyligraphy!

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My love for hand lettering and calligraphy started way back in my elementary years. I had always been fascinated with letters and how they are presented. I would often look into labels, tags and tarpaulin designs since I was little. When my father gave me a lettering book, I was super obsessed with it that I would copy those lettering which interests me.

Back in high school, I was actively involved in the design team for our school's activity stage. Every time that we have events, I was part of the group who does all the work of designing, creating and putting up all of those stage ideas, making them all realized. I had cut hundreds of letters before out from Cartolina rolls, pasted different layers of colors and pinned them into our stage wall! It was not an easy task but I definitely enjoyed all parts of the process.


Video credits: OpenInkStand Art & Calligraphy via YouTube

The most memorable for me was graduation day because just an hour away before the ceremony starts, I was still at school on my jeans and shirt, still putting up the letters, it was a hustle I won't forget. I learned a lot about working hard and hustling that morning. I was thankful that I was able to arrive home to eat lunch and prepare for my graduation.

Anyway, why am I stating this? Well, because it is somewhat in connection to what I had joined last weekend. For months, I had been dreaming of joining certain classes so I would learn a skill specifically in Dip Pen Calligraphy. Let me share with you how that class went and the things I have learned.

What is Dip Pen Calligraphy?

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Also known as Pointed Pen Calligraphy, this is a branch of calligraphy which makes use of a nib pen or pointed pen. Dip Pen is more of a description of the pen as the nib has to be dipped into the bottle of ink for writing, the nib doesn't have an ink reservoir thus it has to be constantly dipped to be able to write.

The use of Dip-Pen started in the 19th century. It was derived from how the ancient men write with the use of quill pen. If you are a Filipino who knows Dr. Jose Riza, the national hero of the country, most illustrations of him show himself writing with a quill pen, that pen made out of a molted flight feather of a large bird, similar to a chicken feature.

With the mechanical age, the use of quill pen was eventually changed into wooden or metallic dip pens.

Basic Pointed Pen Calligraphy Workshop

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Miss Coy of Coyligraphy had been showing up on my social media feed since last year and I had been eyeing to join but due to the time schedule as well as with the pricing, I found it hard to really get myself up there in her class until this week.

Prior to this week, I already have created a daily time schedule for myself. I set up a time on which I must enhance a skill. At nine in the morning, I have set it for Photography, editing and familiarizing the Adobe Creative software such as Lightroom and Photoshop.

Then I still have an hour extra which I don't get to do anything so I decided I should fill it up with something worthwhile. My love for hand lettering and calligraphy, of course, came in mind and the rest was history.

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I signed up for Miss Coy's early bird promo for the Basic Pointed Pen Calligraphy Workshop which was held at the Civet Coffee Roasters in IT Park, Lahug, Cebu. I ordered something sweet so I can have energy throughout the workshop. However, I ended up eating it after the class because I was caught very into the writing and lessons.

Above photo shows my blueberry muffin and Caramel Frappe.

The Learning: Introduction to Dip Pen Calligraphy

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For beginners, there are things to be aware of this type of calligraphy. Although I don't consider myself as a beginner, I still went through this workshop because I believe that in order for me to learn each corner of this topic, I should start from scratch.


Here below are the basic tools for Dip Pen Calligraphy:

Pen Holder
Cleaning Materials

Priming the Nib


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The nib is the main tool for this type of calligraphy. In this point in time, the nibs are all mass produced and they are made of metals so they are being coated with oil to prevent them from rusting while still being stored. Thus, the oil coating has to be removed for the nib to hold ink. Without it being prepared, the ink will just slide off the metal nib.

There are certain ways to prime the nib, in our case, we used the Nikko G type which is the most recommended type of nib for beginners. It is also important to know that there are hundreds of types of nibs, each of them has characteristics, time will only tell which one suits one well.

Flame Method
Hand soap

The above is to be used for priming, the most recommended one is alcohol because it is easy, clean and safe.

Attaching the Nib to the Pen Holder

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Straight or Oblique. These are the two types of pen holder for Dip Pen Calligraphy. Once should select which of the two suits him or her well depending on if you are right or left handed.

Since both I and my classmate were right-handed, Miss Coy prepared the Oblique pen holder which has a flange. This will allow almost all nibs to be compatible with the pen holder because of how the flange is designed.

I learned how to attach a the nib to the flange and then the flange to the holder. Together with that, our teacher also introduced the anatomy of the nib and the mechanism. There are only two principles with calligraphy which is thin stroke up and thick stroke down.

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Also, the guidelines were explained such as the ascender composing of the upper line and the waistline, the x-height which is the waistline and baseline, and descender which is the baseline and lower line. This reminded me of my grade school papers with its red and blue lines.

Personally, I want to learn more about Modern Calligraphy rather than the traditional one but, of course, again, I have to learn the basics before I could switch to another type.

Practice Calligraphy Strokes

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After all the introduction and explanation of the nibs, the pen holder, stories about master penman and integrating calligraphy with digital art and photos, we headed to the application of our theories.

The worksheets contained guided and blank pages where we have to practice and get familiar with holding, writing and moving around the paper.


Video credits: Calligraphy Masters via YouTube

Time was fast that we didn't realize it was almost time to go home. Pointed Pen Calligraphy is very tricky but it is also one way of realigning your mind to focus and just be present at this moment in time. It is therapeutic because you will not hear anything but your breathing and the sound of the nib working into the paper.

Parting Time

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The Basic Pointed Pen Calligraphy Workshop ended at four in the afternoon. Both I and my classmate received a certificate of completion but I am already aiming to join her advanced calligraphy class which will happen next month. I believe I will learn a lot too in that class but for now, I will have to work and hustle on practicing and honing the traditional calligraphy.

So much learning on that day that I can't help but share the experience on my social media accounts. It was a nice feeling to finally tick that section of my bucket list!

Thanks a lot for reading!


About the author:
Jean Beltran-Figues is a photography enthusiast. 
A traveler who wants to promote her beloved country, the Philippines.

About the author


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