Calligraphy for Beginners: Creating Strong Lines

A Fun Introduction to the Pilot Parallel Pen
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Instructed by Alice Young Design / Graphic Design
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  • Lectures 12
  • Length 41 mins
  • Skill Level Beginner Level
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
    30 day money back guarantee!
    Available on iOS and Android
    Certificate of Completion
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About This Course

Published 3/2016 English

Course Description

This class is a project-based introduction to my favorite calligraphy tool – the Pilot Parallel Pen, a popular broad-edge pen, often featured in YouTube videos.

This class will guide students through exercises which teach pen angle and developing rhythm, while creating a series of marks you can work with in creating your unique project. Using close-up video, I'll demonstrate working with the pen, using only the ink that comes with the pen and recommended papers and addressing the main challenges faced by beginning calligraphers. Carefully designed worksheets allow you to watch and practice at your convenience.

The project is to design a tattoo (or ornamental design). Learners will be encouraged to create an original design, and given four design approaches to use in designing their tattoo. Body inking is totally optional!

Although designed for beginning calligraphers, this class teaches skills which can enhance the work of illustrators, designers, typographers, tattoo artists, watercolour artists and anyone else who isn’t afraid of a little water-based ink on their fingers! My focus is on the Pilot Parallel pen, but much of the class is applicable to any broad-edged calligraphy pen.

NOTE: This class is the first in a trilogy!

I have created two classes to isolate and teach (1) pen skills and (2) more advanced pen skills plus working with coloured inks in two fun calligraphy classes, as a prelude to learning (3) gothic lettering.

My approach is to get you super comfortable with your tool and acquiring skills with both pen and ink – before turning attention to the more serious work of letterforms. The goal is to lead you step-by-step to calligraphy success!

What are the requirements?

  • 6.0 mm Pilot Parallel Pen
  • 3.8 mm Pilot Parallel Pen
  • Pilot Parallel Pen ink cartridges (blue-black is recommended)
  • Premium-quality inkjet paper or Clairefontaine paper

What am I going to get from this course?

  • develop your pen skills, using a Pilot Parallel calligraphy pen
  • create strong calligraphic strokes
  • design a tattoo (or ornamental graphic) using the calligraphy strokes learned in class

Who is the target audience?

  • beginners in calligraphy
  • experienced calligraphers who have not worked with the Pilot Parallel pen
  • calligraphers who want to refresh their pen skills before starting a project
  • calligraphers who use any broad-edge pen
  • NOT SUITED for calligraphers who are using pointed pen nibs (i.e. for "Modern Calligraphy" or wedding calligraphy)

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.


Section 1: Introduction
Welcome to Strong Lines!
Section 2: Tools and Supplies

An introduction to the Pilot Parallel pen, including how to fill and clean it.


In this class we will work only with the ink that comes with the Pilot Parallel pen. Includes how to change colours and cap un-used ink cartridges.


This lecture will demonstrate how Pilot Parallel pen ink works on various paper surfaces. It also explains your options for working with either Light or Dark Guides (which are Resources attached to Lecture 1).

Section 3: Building Your Skills

A brief introduction to the Exercises.


In Exercise One, we'll work with the 6.0 mm Pilot Parallel pen and learn about pen angles while getting comfortable with the pen. Demonstration includes lots of tips and tricks.


In Exercise Two, we'll work with the 6.0 mm Pilot Parallel pen and learn how to analyze pen angle and work with various shapes. Each stroke is demonstrated in this video.


In Exercise Three, we'll work with the 3.8 mm Pilot Parallel pen and more challenging patterns and shapes. This video guides you through the exercises.

Section 4: Your Assignment

This lecture offers some ideas and guidance on how to design a tattoo, reviewing four approaches you may choose to use to create your own unique design.


A demonstration of how to work with translucent papers to refine a design.


How to finalize your tattoo design into a clean jpeg which you can take to a tattoo artist.

Section 5: Conclusion

Conclusion and invitation to join me in the next class!

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Instructor Biography

Alice Young, Calligrapher & Designer

Alice is a GDC Certified Graphic Designer, with 20 years of experience in design and communications. She spent a decade working in the studios of multi-national ad agencies (Leo Burnett, Publicis, BBDO) in Toronto, Canada before moving to Canada's west coast in 2000. She continues to work on local, national and international accounts. The focus of her design work is typography and hand lettering.

Her love of letterforms carries through to her practice as a calligrapher and her work spans a broad range of applications – from commercial (logos and workmarks) to just-for-fun (greeting cards) – to exploratory fine art (asemic calligraphy on canvas).

Her calligraphic paintings on canvas have been exhibited and sold internationally. Along with fifty other international calligraphers, she recently participated in the International Exhibition of Calligraphy for 2015, held in Moscow, Russia at the Contemporary Museum of Calligraphy.

Teaching on Skillshare allows her to reach around the world while staying at home with her small menagerie, and continuing to train her reactive rescue dog, “The Mighty Quinn”.

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