What is Calligraphy?
The presentation of different characters or fonts, as we know it, have originated from the unique art form of Calligraphy, which involves writing ‘words' in various creative ways. Whether it is proclamations, invitations, greeting cards or logo designs, Calligraphy adds an interesting twist to the art of writing. Beautifully lettered quotations, wallpapers, and wedding cards look interesting. Perhaps, you have experimented with different fonts while using Microsoft Word or PowerPoint too. All these extremely beautiful writings come out of the nibs of a calligraphist. A career in Calligraphy might be a bit offbeat but it is not off-the-mark when it comes to find relevant job opportunities.
Who is a Calligrapher?
A calligrapher uses an instrument like a paint brush, pen or marker to create a particular style of writing that is artistic and expressive.
What does a Calligrapher do?
Modern calligraphers typically use one of several calligraphy alphabets, creating beautiful texts and lettering for wedding and event invitations, logo designs, maps, memorial documents, religious art, cut stone inscriptions, quotes, poems, testimonials, birth and death certificates, letters, and stationery.
Typically, a calligrapher works as a freelancer, taking special orders from clients. A calligrapher may be hired by a graphic design firm, or an educational institute to help create diplomas, or a wedding planning company to help write client invitations. Film and television companies may also need a calligrapher’s services for images and props.
One of the most important parts of a calligrapher’s career is to have the patience to write and rewrite drafts, sometimes to the point of hand cramps. When a calligrapher feels confident that they can do the best job possible, they will start working on a final draft.
Knowledge areas and skills that need to be acquired –
Degree in Visual Art, Typography, History or a related discipline may be required.
Great artistic and creative skills.
A strong calligraphy portfolio would be advantageous.
Excellent communication and marketing abilities.
Strong manual dexterity and discipline.
Resilient self-starter with a positive attitude.
Calligraphy is a skill that has to be practiced daily, honed and perfected diligently, with as much passion as music. Like music, you have to learn the techniques, methods, styles, strokes, and scripts but the creativity, the talent, and the passion for the art form has to be innate. If you are in love with motifs, symbols, and images and have a good sense of aesthetics and artistic balance, you are all set to pursue a career in Calligraphy.
Besides several short-term and long-term calligraphy courses being offered online, you can look for related courses offered by private and government institutes such as:
Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA), New Delhi
Calligraphy India, New Delhi
Achyut Pallav School of Calligraphy, Mumbai
Besides, knowledge about digital media, designing software, and good interpersonal skills can help you in becoming a successful calligrapher too. If you are planning to go abroad, you may go for a foundation certification course in Calligraphy at The University of Sunderland, UK.
A professional calligrapher has the option to work independently as a freelancer or in a calligraphy studio, though there are only a few different types of studios that still hire calligraphers.
For example, wedding planning companies may hire a calligrapher to create wedding invitations. An educational institute might also employ a calligrapher to help create degrees and diplomas. For the most part, professional calligraphers work as freelancers, taking on commissioned work.
Calligraphy Career Opportunities:
1) Wedding invitation cards are one of the biggest clients of calligraphy services. From the design page with shlokas on it to the wedding ceremony details inside and to the names and addresses on the envelopes, calligraphers can do wonders with their skills. You can work as a freelancer, start your own calligraphy business, or look for a career in calligraphy at print shops, publishing houses, and wedding planners. Besides wedding cards, your calligraphy portfolio can include samples of business cards, birthday cards, party invitation cards and even the name cards to place on the table or seats for guests in an event or party.
2) Logo designs might look small but play a big role in brand image and identity. Calligraphers play a significant role in coming up with logo designs and brand imaging. Hoarding designs, making signboards, graphic designing such as desktop wallpapers, and packaging designs use calligraphy as well.
3) Manuscript design, typeface or font design, illustrations, and fine arts (whether it is pen-based or computer-based) has not lost its sheen with the evolution of digital age. In fact, the art of calligraphy which has existed for centuries now and has a rich heritage of its own has now been dusted by digital media and made glossier than ever.
Colleges offering courses related to the career:
1) Santhwana Institute of Counselling and Psychotherapy, Kacheripady established by CMI Fathers
2) Handwriting School of India, Bangalore
3) Kalabhumi Arts, Dwarka
4) Rajmudra Design Institute (RDA), Pune
5) Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi
6) Natraj Academy of Fine art and Animation, Pune
7) Akshargandh Calligraphy Institute, Thane
8) New Learning Horizons, Nagpur
9) HandwritingAone.Com, Bellary Centre, Bellary
10) HandwritingAOne.Com, Bangalore
11) Write Right India, Indore
12) Kala Ashram, Indore
13) 1 Abacus, New Delhi
14) Calligraphy India, Dwarka, New Delhi
Job outlook, Work values and Guidelines –
Understanding client briefs and using a wide variety of inks, brushes, paper, card, stencils, and other writing implements to complete projects.
Keeping nibs, brushes, inks, and workspaces clean and tidy.
Establishing a portfolio of writing styles and projects for clients to peruse.
Using calligraphy markers and pencil to prepare layouts and drafts.
Using dotted paper to complete regular calligraphy drills.
Conducting research on both modern and traditional calligraphy and drawing on new and ancient techniques to complete projects.
Regularly inspecting inks to ensure they are free of air bubbles and debris, and ensuring all nibs are clean and free of rust.
Developing a digital portfolio to attract online clients.
Liaising with clients and politely answering all queries.
Providing project timeframes and contacting the relevant parties as soon as issues arise.
Remuneration of Calligraphers vary depending on their location, project, art form, client and demand for their services. In the beginning, a calligrapher can earn anything between Rs.15,000/- to Rs.20,000/- per month. They can receive commission on each project they make. Calligraphers commissioned to write longer pieces could demand a higher price. Self-employed calligraphers can earn much more.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is it like being aCalligrapher?
Besides the mental benefits, it’s satisfying to create something beautiful and tangible, and there’s also something captivating about watching people create videos of their calligraphy. Plus, calligraphy is difficult. It takes years of practice to become a master calligrapher, and even then, ink can smear, pens can betray you, and paper can tear. And every second is worth it.
How difficult is it to become a Calligrapher?
Like any creative career path, starting a career in calligraphy can be difficult at first, but it can also be extremely rewarding. If you’re fond of artwork and enjoy penning letters and writing by hand then you’ll find a lot to like in calligraphy. Not only will you get a chance to exercise your passion for writing and spread your creative wings, you’ll also be getting paid for the privilege, contributing truly unique work that will live on for years and years to come.
Is it worth to pursue career as a Calligraphy?
If you’re confident that calligraphy is for you and you can picture yourself deriving a lot of satisfaction from it as a career, it’s important to be prepared to work hard. Even for skilled artists and people who are good with their hands, calligraphy takes a great deal of patience and practice. In order to make it as a calligrapher, you’ll need to practice over and over again and be willing to put in a great deal of time and focus before you can reap the rewards of a successful career.
What are Calligraphers like and how valuable is the profession?
Calligraphers are still an extremely valuable asset to companies and agencies that are involved heavily in design work. Some pretty impressive virtual fonts and typesets exist that can be applied to designs, but sometimes a personal, bespoke touch is needed to really make a piece come to life. Here are some of the places a calligrapher might find demand for their services today: