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Step by Step Guide to Becoming a Professional Calligrapher

Step by Step Guide to Becoming a Professional Calligrapher

Calligraphy is a visual art, but one which is dedicated solely to the creation of text. It is in high demand in niches such as wedding stationery; font and logo design; and even for the creation of inscriptions and historical documents. In fact, as we move towards a world where ever increasing amounts of text appear online, the handwritten word seems to be more highly celebrated than ever before.

The History of Calligraphy

The word calligraphy is formed from two Greek words, ‘kalli’and ‘graphy’ which, in turn, mean beautiful and writing. Calligraphy has been widely used in both Western and Eastern traditions and with such a rich heritage it is unsurprising that this art form is still so sought after today.

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The Tools of the Trade

The tools of calligraphy have evolved through the centuries. Originally stiffened paint brushes, wooden pens or even large feathers were used. While contemporary calligraphers still sometimes choose to work with the traditional tools, they also have a wide range of specialised pens and markers available to them.

Calligraphy as a Career

Many professional calligraphers initially start out on a part-time basis. The easiest way to begin your career is to set up as a freelancer for hire. You can then advertise your availability and work on a project by project basis for companies and private individuals who need your particular skill-set. Check out this guide on how to become a professional calligrapher.

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With the rise in popularity of the handmade arena, and the blossoming of websites such as Etsy and Folksy, you can also create products which feature calligraphy and offer them for sale. Bespoke items, such as wedding invitations and family tree wall prints, can sell particularly well and at a premium price point due to the craftsmanship involved.

Learning Calligraphy

Calligraphy is open to anyone who wants to learn to master the skill. The joy of the art form for most people is that it is so accessible to learn and can be pursued in any small pockets of time you have available, for little cost.

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Calligraphy Qualifications

There are no set qualifications or degrees available in the field although if you wanted to pursue it at a higher education level you could do so as part of a visual arts degree. As this article also highlights many people who gain an interest in calligraphy do so after learning about ancient alphabets during their study of history.

Finding a Calligraphy Class

Calligraphy can be learnt from books; online classes; or from any of the many workshops or classes which are held up and down the country. It is also an art form where you can be continually learning something new and this can expand your opportunities if you choose calligraphy as a career.

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Payment & Your Portfolio

The salaries of calligraphers will vary widely depending on the projects you get hired for and how in-demand your skills are. That’s why continually expanding your knowledge and experience can be a big boon. Also it is a wise idea to build a wide ranging portfolio over time so you can demonstrate your ability easily to new clients. Nothing speaks louder for a calligrapher than the pen they have already put to paper.

Working as a professional calligrapher is a very flexible occupation and can be done on a full-time basis or fitted around other commitments, such as paid employment; care for dependents or even education. It is also a skill which once acquired can be used throughout your career.

With so few barriers to entry; little initial financial outlay needed to take up the skill; and ultimately so much to gain from reaching a professional level there is very little to stop you. The biggest factor in becoming a professional calligrapher will be your love of the art form; your desire to master it; and the hours of practice you are willing to put in.

Featured photo credit: Stokpic via stokpic.com

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James Timpson

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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