Kathryn Murray Calligraphy


Learning Calligraphy

When I started doing calligraphy in 2004, there were only a handful of people doing what I would call "modern calligraphy." Now there are hundreds (thousands?) doing beautiful work all over the world. There have always been people doing beautiful traditional work, and those that have played with the medium for the joy of letter-making. Of course the rise of social media has made it so easy for all of us to see Instagram videos and inspiring Pinterest feeds. In the face of all of that digital media, so many of us have tried to find a way to incorporate hand work or analog practices in to our lives. What a meditative pleasure it is to sit quietly and write! I am often asked how I got started, and more often, how can they get started. 

 very early, embarrassing calligraphy sample (circa 2005)

very early, embarrassing calligraphy sample (circa 2005)

How I got started:

I studied Illustration at Parsons and did most of my work with ink and watercolor. I also took several typography and graphic design classes. I loved incorporating type in to my illustrations, making shirts patterned with subtle textures of penciled in words, or hiding song lyrics in a curl of hair. When I got married, I did take a Copperplate calligraphy class here in LA. This really got me started, joining the beauty of hand lettering and the play of ink on fine papers. Pretty soon I was commissioned to do some place cards, then some envelopes, and it grew from there. It seemed almost accidental at first, but it was a very happy accident. I did, to quote my 100 year old Great Aunt Mary, "let the logic of events take their course." And, I had a secret weapon, my husband is an incredibly talented photographer that has helped me along the way.

 White ink on watercolored envelope.

White ink on watercolored envelope.

How you can start:

Do you want to start to do calligraphy? Are you interested in hand lettering? I do not offer classes, but there are SO MANY wonderful options available now.

So many fabulous Skillshare options here.

Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls on Creativebug here.

Laura Hooper Calligraphy Workshops here.

I would also recommend, 1. Follow your favorite calligraphers or lettering artists on Instagram, that is a great way to find out about classes. And ask them questions! 2. Contact your local stationery shop and ask if they offer classes. If not, tell them they should! 3. Just start. Get books from the library and start copying. Try some nibs, and get writing. 

This book, "Modern Calligraphy" is a great place to start.

Or this simple guide, here.


Happy writing! Hope you enjoy starting to do calligraphy as much as I do!