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Calligraphy - the art of beautiful handwriting - is a branch of paleography or ancient writing. The artistic strokes created may or may not resemble letters. Calligraphy is extensively used in creating fonts, alphabets and words as a way of expressing ones imagination through creativity and design. A contemporary definition of Calligraphy is 'the art of expressing thoughts with beauty, harmony and peace'. The word Calligraphy has been derived from two Greek words 'kalli', which means beautiful, and 'graphia' which means writing.
Considered as a form of visual art that date back to the 10th century, Calligraphy has been used by many civilizations like ancient Greeks, Romans and Chinese since ancient times, in their texts, edicts, sagas, palm leaves, animal bones, ancient monument walls, ceilings, stones etc. Now it continues to flourish in the form of wedding and event invitations, paintings, maps, font design, graphic design, typography, cut stone inscriptions, religious art, ceramics, memorial documents, props and moving images for film and television, and other handmade presentations. This budding profession is integrated into the fields of fashion and interior designing and even on the human body in the form of tattoos.
Calligraphy is an expressive profession that offers a chance to unleash one's artistic potential. It opens a unique career option for those who have an artistic mind with a creative bend and passion for lettering. Calligraphers, professional artists who specialize in handwriting, can do wonders with their artistic skills. They use their talent to create new fonts and fancy scripts using various flat and oblique nibs with variety of inks, pens or brushes. A Calligrapher creates attractive 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.
Traditionally, Calligraphy artists used different types of tools such as boru, calligraphy pens, nibs, cut tip markers, art brushes, foam rollers etc. for designing and execution of letters. But nowadays instead of these tools, computers are used for creating several different fonts. The scope of calligraphy never ends as it plays a vital role in various fields for a variety of purposes. With advance in technology and widespread use of computers, Calligraphy has became an integral part of fields like design, graphics and typography.
No specific degree is needed to learn calligraphy. What is required is excellent artistic talent, creativity and imaginative skill. Even though, university recognized calligraphy courses can be hardly found in India, aspiring candidates can opt for long and short-term calligraphy courses offered by private institutes/ coaching centers. Formal training can prepare individuals to make a living from this craft. One can learn the basics of Calligraphy within a short period of time through these courses that lasts for a few weeks to a few months. As there are multitude of fonts, styles, scripts and strokes, no one can learn all the calligraphy techniques within this short period. It will take an extended time period, and can only be attained through regular practice.
Experience and expertise in forming alphabets, words and sentences is beneficial for a career in calligraphy. Fine Arts courses will give basics of calligraphy like scripts, styles, fonts, strokes, depth, techniques and methods. So students interested in Calligraphy profession can go for degrees in visual art or history in order to learn about the various ancient alphabets.
Achyut Palav School of Calligraphy- Mumbai; Sri Yogeshwari Institute of Handwriting - Bangalore; Vikrant Karia Institute of Art- Mumbai; Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA)- New Delhi are some of the institutes in India offering basic, advanced level certificate courses in Calligraphy. Calligraphy India - New Delhi offers 3 months Calligraphy teacher training course for those who want to establish their own training institute in calligraphy.
Calligraphy can be learned through online and distance learning mode. Instruction books and calligraphy-writing kits are also available for those who have an interest in this creative career.
Some universities abroad offer recognized courses in Calligraphy. The University of Sunderland, United kingdom offers certification course in Calligraphy as well as courses which specifically focus on the theory and teaching of Chinese calligraphy.
Course module: Calligraphy covers a huge area of studies, science and art. A calligraphy course covers subjects such as Alphabetic Study, Study Cursive Style, Freehand Creative Writing, Writing with Brush, Writing with Croquel, Writing with calligraphy pen etc.
Skills required for Calligrapher
A good calligrapher must have creative and artistic mind to create beautiful ideas, images, symbols, motifs and letters. Patience, attention, interest, zeal, enthusiasm, aesthetic sense, artistic balance, eye for detail and vivid imagination are the key skills required for a calligrapher. Hard work and regular practice with focus and determination is very much essential for becoming a proficient calligrapher. Since both pen-based and computer-based variations of calligraphy are in use, one should be comfortable working with different mediums (paper, digital, merchandise), colors and relevant designing software's. Basic knowledge of digital media and designing software's will also help Calligraphers to make use of innovative techniques. Good interpersonal skills is necessary for those who teach calligraphy or conduct workshops.
A Calligrapher designs and applies artistic lettering for various mediums using a variety of inks and other materials. Job opportunities are available for skilled calligraphers in printing shops, publishing houses, greeting card companies, graphic design firms etc. Calligraphers job profile may differ depending on the company/ organisation they work for. However, their major task is to make documents, invitations, or other printed pieces of the company look distinguished and prominent.
Wedding/ Greeting Card Companies are one of the biggest employers of Calligraphy services who hire calligraphers to create their client's invitation cards. Their main job is to design the invitation/greeting cards with beautiful, flowing lettering on the envelopes as well as inside pages. Calligraphers can show their creativity in birthday cards, greeting cards, party invitation cards and even in the name cards that is to be placed on the table at an event or party. Film and television companies may need a calligrapher’s services for images and props. Calligraphers play a significant role in coming up with logo designs and brand imaging. Hoarding designs, signboards, desktop wallpapers, and packaging designs use Calligraphy as well.
Calligraphers are often self-employed and work as freelancers. However it is always better to work under an established studio first to gain experience before offering freelance services to clients. Talented professionals can make a living by creating and selling beautifully lettered artwork and other products, or by conducting calligraphy classes and workshops, or by doing body art designing in conjunction with tattoo artists.
All calligraphers should possess a professional portfolio that showcases the best examples of their work. The portfolio should contain a variety of fonts and styles created using different media. The portfolio can be shown to studios when seeking employment or to customers when seeking freelance work.
Professional calligraphers can always benefit from continuing education options. Taking courses or attending workshops periodically throughout one's career can help a calligrapher stay up-to-date on current industry trends and learn about new tools and supplies as they enter the market.
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.
For the details of Calligraphy Training Institutes, click on the following links.
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