Calligraphy: The Basics

Tips and hints to help you get started on your calligraphic journey
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  • Lectures 10
  • Length 1 hour
  • Skill Level All Levels
  • 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 10/2015 English

Course Description

If you are just starting a calligraphic journey, this short introductory course is for you!

CALLIGRAPHY ... the art of beautiful writing

Perhaps you have been wanting to learn more about using traditional nib and pen-holder to create beautiful letters, but were daunted by the unfamilarity of the tools.

This course de-mystifies the use of authentic calligraphy instruments.

Learn :

  • to correctly insert the nib into the pen-holder ;
  • to load the reservoir and get the ink to flow onto your paper ;
  • how to create the thick and thin strokes of the letter ;
  • why it is important to keep your pen at a 45° angle ;
  • where to place your letters in the guidelines ;
  • what the ductus is.

Presented by Mary-Jane Roussel, a qualified calligrapher and designer, this course starts with a keynotes presentation that will first give you a quick overall view of Calligraphy essentials, followed by a series of videos will help you get started in Calligraphy.

In the demonstrations, Mary-Jane uses a 3 mm Brause oblique nib in a wooden pen-holder and walnut hull ink.

After completing this introductory course, you will probably be yearning to learn more about Calligraphy, the Art of Beautiful Writing. You may want to go on to our Simple Gothic Script course, also available on Udemy.

What are the requirements?

  • My favourite tools are a Brause 3 mm nib in a wooden pen holder, with walnut hull ink. This, however, is not mandatory; you may use similar tools and supplies.

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Acquire the elementary knowledge you need before going on to learn calligraphy.

Who is the target audience?

  • If you want to learn to writing in calligraphy, and don’t know where to start, this short series of videos is for you! Or perhaps you have been doing calligraphy for a while, but have always used markers or parallel pens and now you want to learn to write with pen & ink, join me for this course. Those of you that have experience with pen & ink may find this series too elementary for your level.

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: Start Here

Insert the nib correctly into the pen-holder.

Section 2: An overall view of the tools of the trade
Keynotes I
Keynotes II
Section 3: Getting down to business

Insert the nib correctly into the pen-holder.


Load the ink into the reservoir. Get the ink to flow onto your paper. See the difference between the thick and thin strokes.


Understand why it is essential to hold your pen at a 45° angle.


Learn about the four guidelines used in calligraphy.


Learn what DUCTUS is (the sequence and the direction of strokes used to create a letter).

Section 4: Conclusion
Test your knowledge!
5 questions
Thank you for joining me.

This follow-up video demonstrates some exercises that you can repeat at home, to help you get the feel for writing in calligraphy. Simple gothic lower-case letters are then demonstrated with a calame. You can use any flat writing surface to imitate these letters.

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Instructor Biography

Mary-Jane Roussel, Calligrapher & Designer

Hello. Allow me introduce myself: my name is Mary-Jane Roussel. I’m Canadian -- and French! I come from the Kawarthas (Ontario) and live in the South of France. I’m the chief-cook-and-bottle-washer at Online-Calligraphy.

I head up a non-profit group called Pleins et Déliés, based in Jonquerettes. (C’mon, say it right! Pronounce it “Plennes eh Day-lee-aye”.) In addition to managing two calligraphy websites (one in English and the other in French) , I do classes for adults in our pittoresque village as well as workshops in primary and junior high schools.

When I’m in a classroom, kids often ask me,

“How long have you been doing calligraphy?” & “Why do you like Calligraphy?”

To the first question, I answer that, as a child, I went to Church every Sunday. Some kids paid attention to what the preacher was saying; others stared at the stained glass, waiting for the minutes to tick by. And me, I spent the time copying and re-drawing the lettres of the song titles, which were written in a Gothic hand in our hymnbook.

As for their second question, I usually tell them that, if you believe in reincarnation, I must have been a monk in a former life!

Oh, perhaps you’d also like to know that I am a trained Fashion Designer, but I spend much more time designing letters than clothes!

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