A calligrapher is any person who practices the beautiful art of calligraphy, which means "beautiful writing"in Greek. A calligrapher can practice any of the different forms of calligraphy such as, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Western or Indian. Examples of the work of calligraphers in the past include inscriptions preferably on stones, memorial documents, testimonials and religious art, to more recently, designing wedding invitations or party invites. Although the basics of the different forms of calligraphy are similar, yet to become a successful calligrapher one should begin by mastering a particular style.
Forms of Calligraphy
Although the different forms of calligraphy employ different styles of writing, the tools used by the calligrapher remain almost the same. These basic tools are paper, ink or inkstick, pen and pencil or brush. The paper used needs to diffuse the ink easily. Japanese calligraphers prefer using mulberry paper because of its soft texture. If you are interested in Arabic calligraphy, you need to gain expertise in the art of writing on glossy paper. The next most important tool is the ink, which comes in the form of solid inksticks, as well as liquid ink packed in bottles. Chinese and Japanese calligraphers prefer using inksticks, as it was the traditional method, formed from oil smoke and soot, held together with some sort of adhesive. Along with the inkstick, you need an inkstone, which is a sort of mortar, on which you pour water and then grind the inkstick against the stone to prepare the ink. Western, as well as Arabic Calligraphers use liquid ink, which is easily available in a number of colors in any stationary shop.
It is important to choose the correct tool for writing, as this is relevant to your preferred form of calligraphy. Chinese and Japanese calligraphers prefer creating their art with the aid of brushes. These brushes are usually made from hairs of animals such as squirrels, deer, dogs, mice and wolves. The brush plays a major role in the creation of beautiful calligraphy. The brushes are available in a large variety of shapes and sizes, and you need to choose yours depending on the thickness and curvature of the letters you intend to make. There are many types of calligraphy pens in the market among which the major categories are dip pens, cartridge pens and markers. Pens also come with broad as well as slender nibs and you need to choose one according to your style of writing. If you desire to practice Arabic calligraphy, remember to use a pen with the nib cut at an angle of 35 - 40 degrees. Initially, using pencils with their nibs cut at 35-40 degrees, is a great way to get ample practice.
As a calligrapher you need to about the various writing styles categorized under each type of calligraphy. To start with, the major styles of writing Chinese calligraphy are Xiaozhuan, Li, Cao, Xing, and Kai scripts. A Japanese calligrapher mainly uses styles like Kaisho, Gyousho and Sousho. If you are aspiring to be an Arabic calligrapher, you have to master the cursive and geometric styles of writing such as Hijazi and Naskh, to name a few. Some popular styles within Western calligraphy, especially English calligraphy, are Gothic, Copperplate, Spencerian and Italic.
For further research, you can refer online materials or books to assist you in practicing your chosen form of calligraphy. With hard work and perseverance you will soon be on your way to becoming a successful calligrapher.