Tag Archives: National Handwriting Day

Happy National Handwriting Day!

National Handwriting Day

In honor of National Handwriting Day we hosted a #MeetLaurenEssl tweet chat with the talented Lauren Essl of Blue Eye Brown Eye. We had the opportunity to ask her questions about her favorite materials, tips and love for handwriting.

In case you missed the chat, I’ve recapped it for you here:

Q1: What inspired you to explore handwriting as an art form?

A1: I’ve always had a love for invitation design & when I started my business, calligraphy seemed like a great art to explore. And I wound up loving it! Calligraphy is a lot of fun.

Q2: What is the most popular handwriting font right now?

A2: I think the most popular fonts are loose, informal, script-inspired fonts. For example, Anna Clara is great!

Q3: What tips do you have for beginners wanting to try their hand at calligraphy & other handwritten fonts?

A3: Tracing your favorite fonts is also great for practicing. It helps you get used to applying pressure on the correct strokes. Practice! Try to sit down regularly – once or twice a week so writing with the pen and ink begins to feel more natural to you.


Q4: What are your 5 must-haves for learning calligraphy?

A4: Smooth paper for practicing is key (like tracing paper or marker paper). A great book, like Mastering Copperplate Calligraphy helps tremendously!

Mastering Copperplate Calligraphy

Q5: Where do you find inspiration for each calligraphy project?

A5: I love pulling inspiration from my client’s visions. If they like modern styles, whimsical styles, etc. Each job is a challenge!

Q6: Do you already need to have neat handwriting to learn calligraphy?

A6: I do not have great normal handwriting, actually! I think of calligraphy more as a form of drawing. But nice penmanship certainly helps!

Q7: Do you write moving your whole forearm or just move at the wrist?

A7: Personally, I do not use my forearm. I keep my movement more in my hand. But find your comfort zone! That will help you perform your best.

Q8: Do you favor any brands for ink and or gouache?

A8: Favorite gouache: Winsor & Newton. Here’s a video that will help guide you in mixing gouache.

BLUE EYE BROWN EYE CALLIGRAPHY from Amanda Marie Lackey on Vimeo.

Gouache is great for colors & metallics, but for black I love Sumi ink and Higgins.


Q9: At what point should you “retire” a nib?

A9: Your nib will wear as you use it, and it will begin to grab at the paper. Sometimes it will catch & flick ink everywhere.  If you’ve been using your nib for awhile and it catches and flicks ink, that’s a good indication it’s time to change! Also, clean your nibs with soap & water or a nib cleaner. The key is making sure they are completely dry; they rust easily.

Q10: What’s the difference between using an angled nib holder & a straight “regular” one?

A10: An oblique pen, as shown below, is used for a slanted script (like Copperplate). I’ve heard lefties have more success with straight pens. :)

Oblique Pen

That wraps it up. If you missed this tweet chat, make sure you’re following @MichaelsStores on Twitter and join the conversation with us!

Follow Lauren’s handwriting adventures on Instagram @laurenessl.

Photography courtesy of Amanda Marie Portraits.