Craftsy Review: Modern Pointed-Pen Calligraphy with Laura Lavender

Modern Pointed-Pen Calligraphy with Laura Lavender is a Craftsy tutorial course on calligraphy writing. You can expect to find Laura drawing heavily from the 'Copper Plate Tradition' style of writing, whereby she uses mainly dip pen-nibs.

This course consists of 4 lessons in total - lessons 3 and 4 are very long, lasting 49 and 45 minutes respectively (the bulk of which is spent on writing demonstrations, where you can expect to learn a lot on writing style and techniques from Laura).

Apparently, this is a beginner's course as Laura begins with her first lesson, assuming that you are starting out with no knowledge of calligraphy. For those who are left-handed, you may be pleased to know that the course materials provided also includes a list of tips and ideas for left-handed calligraphers.

Lesson 1

Laura begins with an introduction of pointed-pen calligraphy and the kind of tools and materials, as well as the workplace set-up you will need to get started. She also briefly talks about the differences between calligraphy and hand-lettering.

Laura proceeds on to show you how the various pointed-pen nibs work, and which are suitable for beginners to work with. She also introduces to you the different types of pen-holders, such as the oblique and straight pen-holders (as well as the straight pen-holder with elbow nib) while explaining how writing with each pen-holder will affect your arm posture and writing style differently.

Laura recommends two different types of black ink - the 'Higgins Eternal' and 'Sumi Ink' while also explaining why you should avoid using fountain pen inks for calligraphy writing.

As Laura discusses about the different types of paper out there, she provides tips on the paper qualities you should be looking out for (or avoiding) when choosing paper for pointed-pen calligraphy.

If you are having trouble getting your new pen-nib to work properly when you use it for the first time, Laura shares with you a useful and simple method you can use to get your new pen-nib functioning properly at the outset.

You will learn how to care for and maintain your calligraphy tools, as well as how to look out for signs that your pen-nib's lifespan is coming to an end.

Laura also briefly talks about lighting and how it can affect right-handed calligraphers.

This lesson ends with Laura sharing with you how and what to do to maintain good body posture while writing calligraphy.

Lesson 2

Laura starts with some warm-up exercises - whereby she experiments with pen-holders and nibs to create different pen strokes. (You will be introduced to a few essential strokes that are key to creating beautiful and well shaped letters)

Laura discusses about the 3 main types of lines (on your writing paper) such as the 'cap-line', 'x-height' and 'baseline' which are essential in maintaining consistent spacing between your letters and keeping your overall work neat and organised. Class materials provided also include lined sheets which you can download and print (if you don't have lined papers, or simply don't want to go through the hassle of drawing the lines yourself).

Laura also talks about another line - 'slope line' and how having varying degrees of slope/slant to your letters can determine how formal or casual your calligraphy writing appears.

In this lesson, you will learn the anatomy of letters and understand some basic calligraphy terms such as 'hairline', 'counter', 'ascender' , and 'descender' strokes (you will learn in lessons 3 & 4, how these terms, when used together, can create beautiful letters).

Laura ends off with a tip on how to create a unified look within your writing.

Lesson 3

In Lesson 3, Laura patiently demonstrates to you how to write each letter of the alphabets a - z in 'miniscule' form as well as the different variations of each alphabet letter. For each alphabet letter, she also demonstrates writing a word beginning with that letter (for eg: 'Jasmine' for 'J').

You will learn about the different strokes, how to create these strokes and connect them to produce beautiful calligraphy writings. These strokes include looped entrance and exit strokes, flourishes and swirl & swash.

Laura ends this lesson with a tip on how to add personality to your written letters.

Lesson 4

Laura continues with her writing demonstration in Lesson 4 - this time, demonstrating to you how to write each letter of the alphabets A - Z in 'Majuscule' form and the numbers 0 - 9 in simple, unembellished form as well as in ornate form with embellishments. Laura also demonstrates how to write some symbols, such as the 'ampersand' (&). Class materials provided includes an exemplar for you to practise writing some essential strokes.

Occasionally, you will see how Laura responds when her pen-nib runs out of ink in the middle of a writing demonstration, or even the rare moment when she makes a spelling mistake (and how she swiftly corrects it).

Lastly, Laura provides some useful advice on how to watch out for (and differentiate) details when writing 'Majuscule' letters that can look deceptively similar, for example, the letters 'I' and 'J'.


Laura speaks and expresses herself clearly, while also being an organised instructor.

On the whole, Modern Pointed-Pen Calligraphy is an easy to learn tutorial course which is ideal for beginners and those seeking to improve their calligraphy writing skills (though i wished Laura had included some demonstration examples of calligraphy writing on other mediums like gift cards or envelopes).

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