I was first attracted to the world of calligraphy when I saw bunches of charming, carefree-looking modern calligraphy around the web – this was last year. They seem so pretty and doable, very different from traditional calligraphy, which seemed difficult and rigid. I always think of myself as a chameleon handwriter, having no single adhering style. Naturally I thought this could very easily be something I would be good at very quickly.
How wrong I was.
It may be possible to imitate someone’s hand by looking, but I’ve since learned that there’s an art to looking alone, not to mention learning and practising to imitate it.
I joined the Flourish Forum looking to learn more about modern calligraphy, but by the forum’s mere topic division I was educated about the many different kinds of calligraphy. For me, traditional calligraphy was copperplate, mainly, and modern calligraphy is all those new things I saw on the internet. And then I read this blog post.
To be honest, I felt chastised and a little bit confused, even deterred from learning calligraphy further. Because what first attracted me was the (seemly) ease of it, but now I’m told it’s much harder that I thought. It’s like being attracted to a comic book, then told to memorise the encyclopaedia.
I mulled on this for some time, and came across an article which said that some people say it takes seven years before one can be called a ‘calligrapher’ (before that you are a ‘letterer’). Now a whole set of encyclopaedias is unveiled.
I can’t tell you how, but, somewhere along the way, a resolution hit home that if anyone should learn any thing the hard way, by the canon, it should be me. I love everything by the book. I believe that one should have a strong foundation before attempting any endeavour seriously, or at least have the inclination to establish it. I know I am a good learner, yearning to prove to myself that this is something I will attain.
I haven’t become and extreme traditionalist at this point on my calligraphic journey (and I hope I won’t be). I still find ‘modern calligraphy’ very appealing, and plant to do myself justice. I only hope that by learning the old ropes, it would tremendously help me on the new boat.