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  • Erin Neilson

How did I start "calligraphy'?

I have always been fascinated by the written word, and enjoyed making my notes pretty in high school with various pen colors, highlighters, and the often borrowed and never given back, sparkle gel pens.

Like many people, I had gotten a 'Beginner's Calligraphy Set' from the local art store at some point in my youth and I was incredibly disappointed that I wasn't able to create beautiful things in he first 5 minutes.

This is what ended up happening:

- The ink got all over my kitchen table

- What was a nib, and why is there a hole in the metal thingy?

- Paper is ripping everywhere!

- I'm all about free-form, guidelines are for babies.

Not exactly the one I got, but you get the point

I had gotten scared and decided that maybe it wasn't for me. That was what computers were for, right?

So when my husband and his mom gifted me my first calligraphy classes in 2015, I don't think they had in mind that I would quit my full-time job in 2019 to pursue this as my new career....

The minute I got into the first 'Intro to Copperplate Calligraphy', I realized how much I didn't know, but how much I wanted to! Thanks a lot to my teacher and mentor Joy Deneen, my love of ink and paper was rekindled. Her enthusiasm was infectious.

My work at the beginning was... not good to say the least.

Pretty swearwords made (and still do) me laugh

Alphabet practice

Thankfully this time I understood the rules of engagement and continued working on it! Practice makes progress as they say.

A sea of 'b's

Guidelines, I found out, were not for babies, but were there to help with letter forms and consistency

Practicing names of my favourite book characters is so fun!

With more understanding, I started practicing more, and really enjoyed my 'me-time' it created while I was at home. Slowly I started accumulating more and more supplies, and I needed to have my own space!

Glass top desks make me so happy - love the ability put exemplars under without it taking precious desk space

I started creating more things!

Look at me doing some hand lettering!

From that point on, I was hooked!

Whether I was aware of it, or not, I started thinking 'maybe I can do this all the time..?'

How did that happen?

That's for the next post.

Until then best wishes,


#calligraphy #calligraphybeginning #montrealcalligraphy #montrealcalligrapher

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