Obby guides

Discover the world of calligraphy

calligraphy classes in London

Calligraphy as an art has been around longer than any of us. The art of ornate and decorative letters is something that has been passed on through generations. Find out about its history, its journey through time and where it is now.



Calligraphy through the ages

Calligraphy as an art form has an enormously rich history. Across cultures, calligraphy has been an art form from the beginning. It is beautiful and ornate and has been a sign of wealth and finery since for as far back as we can tell. Calligraphy has a strong connection with religion and in it's original sense to create decorative scripts and books. It was held in high esteem, completed by hand by very talented artists. Sadly, calligraphy did see a decline once the printing press was invented and mass production became more common.

Calligraphy in the modern era

Modern calligraphy has developed into it's own as the years have gone on. As the influences and styles of the calligraphers themselves have altered, their influence on calligraphy as an art form has changed. Modern calligraphy, without stating the obvious, is any calligraphy that is not traditional. Some modern calligraphy we see is in all capital letters, while some styles have drastically different letter forms to the traditional scripts. Although some traditionalists disfavour the new developments, modern calligraphy offers a lot of creative scope, for a lot of people. In our books, this means it deserves to be respected as a form of calligraphy in it's own right.

Calligraphy in the modern era

Modern calligraphy has developed into it's own as the years have gone on. As the influences and styles of the calligraphers themselves have altered, their influence on calligraphy as an art form has changed. Modern calligraphy, without stating the obvious, is any calligraphy that is not traditional. Some modern calligraphy we see is in all capital letters, while some styles have drastically different letter forms to the traditional scripts. Although some traditionalists disfavour the new developments, modern calligraphy offers a lot of creative scope, for a lot of people. In our books, this means it deserves to be respected as a form of calligraphy in it's own right.

Tools of the trade

Rhodia Dot Calligraphy Practice Pad

Perfect for modern calligraphy practice, Rhodia paper is smooth and strong but great for tracing over guides too. The paper is marked with a grid of dots which helps with forming, positioning and spacing your modern calligraphy lettering without being too constricted by lines.

The Lettermate

The Lettermate is one of our favourite tools for envelope addressing. Write inside the given spaces, or use the template for quick and easy pencil guidelines. Perfect for those of us that have trouble writing in a straight line.

Tombow Dual Brush Pen

Tombow's Dual Brush pens are available in a dazzling array of colors, and are appreciated by fine artists and crafters alike for good reason. They are wonderful for illustrating, drawing, rubber stamping, and more. Each pen has two tips—a high-quality, flexible nylon fiber brush tip and a fine bullet tip.

Dayler Rowney Layout Paper

This is Alice Gabb's recommendation as the best practice paper. The paper is bright white and thin enough that you can put a grid sheet underneath the top page and see through it perfectly. It is SO SMOOTH, which means no snagging on upstrokes and it does not make calligraphy inks bleed, thus giving you perfect crisp lines.

Gum Arabic

This is Alice Gabb's recommendation as the best practice paper. The paper is bright white and thin enough that you can put a grid sheet underneath the top page and see through it perfectly. It is SO SMOOTH, which means no snagging on upstrokes and it does not make calligraphy inks bleed, thus giving you perfect crisp lines.

FineTec Rose Gold Ink Pallette

This is by far the best metallic ink palette out there and includes all the colours you need for that perfect rose-gold! Fantastic shades and very long-lasting. Made of mica, a natural mineral that offers a wide variety of metallic shades. Activate with a little water on the palette and apply to the nib with a brush. Adheres to all absorbent surfaces, such as paper, wood, gypsum, etc.

Class reviews

What learners are saying about our calligraphy classes

review
Holly
Been on 4 Obby classes
This is a fantastic introduction to modern calligraphy. Asha deliberately keeps the classes small which means lots of 121 support and time to ask questions. The class had a really nice feel and I went away confident enough to keep trying at home. I really reccomend this class to anyone keen to try calligraphy
review
Dana
Been on 2 Obby classes
Loved the class! Went home and continued practicing! Katie was a great teacher, it was a small class so there was plenty of 1:1 time. Will be practicing and then be back for the improvers class!
review
Fiona
Been on 1 Obby classes
My first Obby & first calligraphy class. It was great fun, feel like I have learnt a new skill. Can’t wait to have a go at home! The venue is brill and Alice is lovely.

London's calligraphy scene

London has a huge and diverse calligraphy scene, with events happening all over the city. The calligraphers in London are a tight bunch who tend to cross paths frequently. Although there are some huge calligraphy groups and ambassadors in London who run regular practice groups, classes and meetups. Calligraphy is rather underground in comparison to other arts, especially modern calligraphy. You don't tend to find it in museums but instead, calligraphy classes, demonstrations and displays are held in beautiful cafes, independent galleries and gorgeous shop fronts.

I always tell people calligraphy is 80 per cent thinking and 20 per cent writing. If you start without thinking and the ink isn’t flowing or the pen isn’t working with that paper or the height of the desk isn’t correct, by the time you get any writing done you’ve done 80 per cent bitching.

I love the phrase 'to inspire and be inspired' which is what I constantly strive to do. I offer my help and support to students wherever I can and always feel inspired by my students determination and enthusiasm to learn the beautiful art of modern calligraphy.

Meet our teachers

The talented masters behind our calligraphy classes

Working from her studio based in East London, Alice Gabb is a talented modern calligrapher and illustrator. With a passion for creating fancy designs, mixed with a desire to pass on her skills and knowledge to others, Alice offers classes and workshops to people who wish to express their artistic flair through writing.

London Calligraphy is run by Katie - a designer specialising in modern handwritten calligraphy. Katie produces calligraphy work for a wide range of high profile clientele including Soho House, Space NK, John Lewis, Fenwick, Bobbi Brown, Radley London and Winser London to name a few and has even produced calligraphy work for events at Buckingham Palace. She loves to share her skills at her calligraphy classes and help people discover their own journey and handwriting style with ink.She produces calligraphy work for a wide range of high profile clientele including Space NK, John Lewis, Yasmin Le Bon and Winser London. She loves to share her skills at her calligraphy classes and help people discover their own journey and handwriting style with ink.

Lauren Cooper has been doing calligraphy for the past six years and set up Oh Wonder in January 2016 after having her son. Over the past two years, she has taught hundreds of people the art of modern calligraphy. Lauren runs Oh Wonder from her garden studio in South East London and works on a variety of commissions for weddings and events along with creating a variety of handmade coloured inks to fill a gap in the calligraphy market.

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