How you practice defines how quick you make progress

It’s not enough to know the basics, you have to practice them over and over, and ingrain them. It also depends on how you practice.
You’ll improve much faster by practicing what you’re not good at. You should practice deliberately and not just start anywhere and go from there.
Study the fundamentals and the underlying principles from which the letters are built, don’t start with the details or the completed works. You can copy those, but without an understanding for the principles your copies will always look a bit off.

What deliberate practice can look like:

To start with deliberate practice, look at the words and letters and break them apart into basic shapes.
Practice those shapes slowly and with attention to the details, until you know them. Always be mindful of the stroke you’re writing, and try to improve your writing with each new stroke. There is no shortcut to learn these techniques, you simply have to put in the time and practice, look at what you write and improve it until the movement is part of your muscle memory.
Look at details like where the stroke starts, what angle does it have, where it ends. Where does it change its width, and how do I achieve this with my pen? How can I vary the stroke?

You can refer to my Basic Stroke Practice Sheet to review the shapes you can practice. You should definitely include downstrokes (thick), upstrokes (thin), both combined, round shapes, straight and curved strokes and then connect all those to basic letterforms.

Try to write one to two entire pages at least and try to practice often. Start every day with a few warming up drills and with those basic shapes before you create the next big calligraphy piece – it will be so much easier to write afterwards.

What helps you staying consistent with your practice?

Tell me where you have difficulties or what you noticed when trying out deliberate practice. Calligraphy should be fun, and what helps me keeping at my deliberate practice is that I can see my progress after a while, and that motivates me to keep the practice consistent.

Like what you’ve read? Want more? If you subscribe to my newsletter, you’ll get posts on calligraphy and lettering on a regular basis directly to your inbox. You’ll also receive my FREE guide “Calligraphy Essentials” plus FOUR free practice sheets with different calligraphy styles.

Calligraphy-Essentials-Guide-JuliaBausenhardt-250The guide includes:

* Essential tools & practice techniques
* Action steps to perfect your calligraphy skills
* Tips on how to find the right mindset for successful practice

If you have any questions or comments on this topic, please feel free to contribute!
Let me know if you like these calligraphy blog posts and if I can help with anything. Just contact me.

Learn modern calligraphy in the CALLIGRAPHY ESSENTIALS course - Two days leftSign up NOW