Five calligraphy courses to try in London

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A woman's hands writing calligraphy in different styles while sitting outside on a picnic bench.

Updated 14th December 2020

With the computer encroaching on everyday tasks bit by bit, the handwritten note is becoming a rare art. However, in private households, being able to compose a beautifully written thank you note, name settings, card or invitation is of great value to a potential employer. In fact, one of the UK’s leading etiquette experts, William Hanson, notes: “Handwriting is just one of the many ways in which we humans – especially the Brits – judge other people.  The effort and awe of an elegantly set table can be undone and tarnished by a badly scribbled placard, which is why household staff need a heightened level of good penmanship.” So if you don’t think your handwriting is up to scratch, why not enrol in a calligraphy course? It’s a skill that you may need if you’re a private household PA! Here are five of London’s best:

1. Quill London
With a whole range of different calligraphy classes, Quill London is currently hosting their workshops entirely online. Opt for the beginners’ workshop to learn how to write using ink and nib, starting out with shapes and strokes before moving onto letter forms. By the end, you’ll be creating whole sentences in your unique style and take home an essential kit of calligraphy materials so you can practice at home. If you know the basics but want to refine your skills, the improvers’ workshop is for you. You’ll be able to improve your overall technique, develop your style and take home a set of professional-grade materials.

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2. City Lit
If it’s a full-day course you’re after, City Lit’s Modern Calligraphy is the one for you. Based in Covent Garden, the seven-hour workshop will take you through the process step by step and letter by letter, with demonstrations and an analysis of historical models along the way. You’ll learn to use pointed pen and ink, how to format letters and spacing correctly, the importance of pen pressure and how to do flourishes. At the end, you’ll be able to use a range of tools for your calligraphy practice and produce work in the modern version of Copperplate.

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3. Babooche Calligraphy
Learn the fundamentals of modern calligraphy at Babooche, a calligraphy studio located in EC1. Start off by learning and practicing basic strokes before moving onto the lower-case alphabet and capital. With a limited class size of four participants due to pandemic restrictions, you’ll receive plenty of one-to-one help, with an experienced teacher who can help you develop your own style. Each workshop includes light refreshments and a take-home calligraphy starter kit.

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Writing letter to a friend. Selective focus and shallow depth of field.

4. Alice Gabb
Stationery designer and modern calligrapher, Alice Gibb, spreads her love of distinctive lettering through a number of workshops throughout London. Join her in Shoreditch for a beginner’s’ workshop, where you’ll start with tea, cake and a chat before diving into the art of modern calligraphy. You’ll be introduced to good technique and what equipment to use, before being guided through practice exercises. From there, it’s straight to letterforms, which is important if you’re a private household PA and want to learn fast! By the end, expect to be able to write your favourite quote in modern calligraphy, with Alice always on hand for assistance.

If you’ve done the basics but want to practice with some expert help, Alice also hosts a Practice Makes Perfect Calligraphy Club, where you can work through guide sheets, have a chat about your equipment and pick up some tips. Supplies are provided, but you can also bring your own.

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5. Oh Wonder Calligraphy
As the lady behind Oh Wonder, Lauren Cooper, a graphic designer and self-taught calligrapher, hosts a range of workshops for beginners and enthusiasts in Bromley. If it’s the beginner option you’re going for, expect an introduction to the fundamentals of calligraphy, starting with what to use and strokes, before moving onto the alphabet. After two hours, you’ll have a new appreciation for handwriting, a workbook of exercises and tips and everything you need to keep practicing. Once you’ve mastered the basics, opt for an enthusiasts’ class, which aims to top up your skillset and help you develop your own style, as well as writing with different inks and on alternative surfaces.

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Looking for a private household PA role? Tiger Private can help – get in touch today.

Author Tiger Contributor Tiger Recruitment Team

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