30 Captivating Facts About Calligraphy

Not all of us have pretty penmanship, but some of us are truly blessed to be able to write beautifully in calligraphy! This writing style has been around for a very long time and is widely seen as an artistic form of writing. Nowadays, we can find the style printed on cards, letters, and so on, but nothing beats seeing it written by hand!

But did you know that this writing technique is not only pretty but also has a long and fascinating story? Here are some of the most interesting facts about calligraphy!

1. Calligraphy isn’t the same as writing in cursive.

Many of us tend to mistake calligraphy for cursive. While certain schools teach cursive to this day, it is not quite the same thing as calligraphy.

Cursive, while still a beautiful form of writing, came about in order to help the writer save time. They should not have to lift their pens from the paper too much.

On the other hand, calligraphy involves exaggerating the letters and using specific strokes to make them beautiful.

2. Calligraphy is the art of writing – literally!

In case you didn’t know, calligraphy is the art of beautiful handwriting. This particular style is often characterized by intricate and decorative lettering.

The word “calligraphy” stems from the Greek words “kallos,” to mean beauty, and “graphein,” which means to write. It was, therefore, very aptly named!

3. It has been around for millennia.

When we think of calligraphy, we tend to think of old letters and scripts, and we aren’t wrong! This style of writing has been practiced for thousands of years!

Calligraphy even has origins dating back to ancient civilizations such as Mesopotamia, Egypt, and China.

4. There are multiple forms of calligraphy.

Although we tend to use the term “calligraphy” very generally, there are actually many forms of the art.

Due to it being such an ancient art form, and one that has spanned across multiple countries, with varying alphabets, styles, and techniques of writing, it’s no wonder that calligraphy actually arrives in multiple styles! For example, you’ll be able to see Ottoman calligraphy in artifacts dating back to empirical rule.

5. China has its own form of calligraphy.

China, in particular, has a fascinating history with calligraphy. Chinese calligraphy, also known as “Shufa,” is one of the oldest forms of the writing art. It is also one of the most highly regarded forms of calligraphy, again dating back thousands of years!

Each stroke in Chinese calligraphy is carefully executed. Emphasis is placed on balance, harmony, and rhythm!

This form of calligraphy is often associated with the philosophical concepts of Daoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism.

6. Japan also has its own form of calligraphy.

“Shodo” is the name attributed to Japanese calligraphy. This form of calligraphy was definitely heavily influenced by the Chinese variations.

However, it has also developed its own distinct styles and techniques that make it stand out. For example, traditionally, Japanese calligraphy is practiced using a brush and ink on washi paper or silk.

Different from Shufa, this form of calligraphy focuses on simplicity, spontaneity, and expressive brushwork. It’s truly beautiful!

7. Khatt is another form of calligraphy.

You may have heard of “Khatt.” It is Arabic calligraphy and is very important in Islamic culture!

Khatt is often used to decorate mosques, Quranic manuscripts, and other religious texts. You can see inscriptions of Quranic verses and religious texts across various walls, ceilings, and doorways in this style of calligraphy.

Due to this, Khatt is considered to be a sacred art form reserved for holy buildings and practices.

Interestingly, Arabic calligraphy is based on the Arabic script, which consists of 28 letters and is written from right to left, unlike most Western variations.

The most famous style of Arabic calligraphy, meanwhile, is known as “Kufic.” This style dates back to the 7th century and is known for being particularly angular and geometric.

8. Western calligraphy differs wildly, too.

In the Western world, there are multiple forms of calligraphy. For example, some of the most popular ones include Gothic, Italic, Uncial, and Copperplate, among others.

So, yes, all of those names you may recognize from your computer’s fonts are actually inspired by famous forms of calligraphy!

Western calligraphy is believed to be rooted in ancient Roman writing styles, such as Rustic Capitals and Uncial script.

9. Calligraphy can be created using certain tools.

It can be difficult to write in calligraphy, as not all pens are equipped for the style.
However, skilled hand writers can write calligraphy using various writing instruments, including brushes, pens, quills, and markers.

Calligraphy pens, as you might well expect, come in various styles and sizes. For example, calligraphy artists can use fountain pens, brush pens, dip pens, and marker pens to create work.

It remains best to use tools specifically designed for calligraphy to obtain the best results, although some do attempt it with standard pens and pencils.

10. Ink used to be essential in calligraphy.

As you might imagine, ink used to be an essential part of calligraphy. Whatever the tool the writer was using, they’d need ink, and preferably good quality ink, in order to complete their scripts.

However, nowadays, modern calligraphers may also use other media such as paint or digital tools. But, nothing really beats a nice bit of traditional ink calligraphy – what do you think?

11. Calligraphy can be found just about everywhere.

You will likely have come across calligraphy in decorative objects most of all – while writing is largely about delivering messages and sharing ideas, calligraphy is more about creating a lavish display.

Calligraphy is often used today in wedding invitations, certificates, artwork, and diplomas. Again, you’ll also frequently see it used in building decoration, too.

12. It can be very therapeutic.

Although you might imagine that calligraphy can be a bit of a nightmare, especially for perfectionists, it has long been valued for its therapeutic benefits!

This art form requires focus, patience, and mindfulness, making it very therapeutic. In fact, more and more people are trying their hands at calligraphy specifically for that reason!

If you’re trying to find new hobbies to help soothe your mind and reduce stress, you might want to give calligraphy a try!

13. Practicing calligraphy can also help motor skills.

Believe it or not, calligraphy can also be a great exercise for training the body!

It has proven to be able to help improve hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, and concentration. And, given the time, patience, and effort that it takes, the results on the human body should be expected!

14. It has been used in very important texts.

Given its style and important demeanor, calligraphy has long been used on historical documents. For example, you can find calligraphy on documents, such as religious texts, legal documents, and royal decrees.

Therefore, it’s unsurprising to see calligraphy used so broadly across historic documents. The next time you visit a historical exhibit or view an ancient document up close, be sure to pay attention to the penmanship!

15. There was calligraphy on an ancient Egyptian tomb.

As it stands, the oldest known example of calligraphy is on an ancient Egyptian tomb. The inscription is on the tomb of the ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Djer.

Incredibly, the inscription dates back to around 3100 BCE! It’s bizarre to think this art form has endured hundreds of years – and yet, we’re still practicing!

Egyptian calligraphy / hieroglyphs
Egyptian calligraphy / hieroglyphs

16. Calligraphy styles changed with the eras.

As you’d expect, the way we produce calligraphy has changed somewhat since the days of the pharaohs. The Carolingian script, for example, was developed during the reign of Charlemagne in the 9th century. It is considered one of the foundational styles of Western calligraphy.

Then, the Gothic script, also known as Blackletter, was widely used in medieval Europe. This calligraphy style was commonly used on manuscripts, books, and official documents.

17. The Italian Renaissance changed calligraphy further.

Following that, the Renaissance brought yet another new style. The Italic script, in particular, characterized by its flowing and slanted letterforms, was popularized during the Italian Renaissance.

This Renaissance in calligraphy came due to scholars and scribes rediscovering and studying ancient Roman manuscripts and inscriptions.

And, you’ll recognize its influence – try pressing CTRL and I or CMD and I on your keyboard, and type. That’s Italic script!

18. Copperplate soon followed suit.

Copperplate script, also known as English Roundhand, emerged in the 18th century. This particular style of calligraphy is known for its elegant and refined appearance.

Calligraphers such as Eleanor Winters and Sheila Waters led this style, seeking to revive and modernize the Copperplate script – and succeeded in doing so!

Again, you’ll find there are several digital fonts similar to Copperplate, such as Giveny, Coldiac, and Gamour.

19. Modern calligraphy is its own style.

Although many of us regard calligraphy as quite an old practice, it has lasted in the modern world for centuries, and many still work to master techniques!

For example, certain modern calligraphers often blend traditional techniques with contemporary styles and materials, creating innovative and unique works of art.

20. Calligraphy has increased in popularity, too.

As mentioned above, calligraphy has certainly managed to retain popularity in the modern world. In fact, it has even experienced a resurgence in popularity in recent years!

Nowadays, there are classes, workshops, and online tutorials open to all who wish to try the art form for themselves.

These classes have helped attract enthusiasts worldwide to pick up this art form and bring it back into the mainstream.

However, many calligraphers spend years and years honing their skills, so don’t be disappointed if you try it and aren’t perfect at it immediately!


Hello August! #calligraphy #fyp #calligraphytutorial #august #oddlysatisfying

♬ Golden Hour: Piano Version – Andy Morris

21. There are associations dedicated to calligraphy.

Have you ever heard of IAMPETH? The International Association of Master Penmen, Engrossers, and Teachers of Handwriting (IAMPETH) is a professional organization dedicated to the art of calligraphy and penmanship.

There is also the Society for Calligraphy, located in Los Angeles, California. It is one of the oldest and largest calligraphy organizations in the US.

22. Calligraphy ink comes in various forms

Believe it or not, it’s not just the pens that vary in form for calligraphy; it’s also the ink! Calligraphy ink is available in various colors and formulations, including waterproof, archival, and pigmented ink. This is what helps to make it such an interesting art form.

23. Some artists also prefer to use calligraphy paper.

Although to many of us, paper is just paper, that is definitely not the case for artists, calligraphy specialists included!

Many calligraphy artists prefer to use calligraphy paper. This kind of paper is usually smooth and durable, with some varieties specifically designed with ink and brushes.

As time has shown, calligraphy is practiced on various surfaces, including paper, parchment, vellum, wood, glass, and fabric.

24. There are calligraphy competitions open to all.

If you are interested in seeing the best of the best do what they do with a creative flair and a set of pens and paper, you will be glad to know that there are calligraphy competitions regularly taking place worldwide.

These competitions help to showcase the work of talented calligraphers and even provide opportunities for networking and collaboration among artists and business people.

Two of the most popular calligraphy contests include the World Art Competition for Calligraphy and Painting, and the Albaraka Turk International Calligraphy Competition.

25. Calligraphy is part of the art of illuminated manuscripts.

You may have heard of the art of illuminated manuscripts. This form of art combines calligraphy with decorative elements such as gold leaf and intricate illustrations.

And, as modern as it sounds, this kind of calligraphy actually flourished during the Middle Ages! Illuminated manuscripts date all the way back to between 1100 and around 1600, with many emerging in ancient monasteries.


Made using entirely medieval materials and techniques. #calligraphy #scribe #medieval #illuminatedmanuscript

♬ original sound – Scribal Work Shop

26. There is a particular tea ceremony that uses calligraphy.

“Chanoyu,” also known as “Sado,” is a Japanese tea ceremony. This particular ceremony often includes the practice of calligraphy. Guests are invited to admire and appreciate the host’s skillful brushwork as they take their tea. It is a beautiful and fascinating ceremony!

27. Chinese calligraphy can be found in various areas of Eastern culture.

As mentioned above, Chinese calligraphy is highly valued in East Asian culture. It is often displayed as artwork in homes, offices, and public spaces. Those capable of doing calligraphy are seen as being highly skilled!

Chinese calligraphy is known for using the Four Treasures. The Four Treasures of the Study, also known as the Four Jewels of the Study, are essential tools used in Chinese calligraphy: brush, ink, paper, and inkstone.

Therefore, many budding calligraphers – even those who are successful in the West – choose to work only with these tools when creating their art.

28. Chinese calligraphy calls for the Eight Principles of Yong.

If you do wish to follow the Eastern standards of penmanship, those practicing Chinese calligraphy use the Eight Principles of Yong.

These principles are a set of guidelines that emphasize concepts such as spirit resonance, bone force, and rhythm.

Therefore, perfect calligraphy isn’t just about the tools and materials you use – it’s about your technique, too.

29. Calligraphy is highly treasured in multiple cultures.

As mentioned above, calligraphy is highly important in Chinese culture. In fact, it is considered to be one of the Three Perfections.

The “Three Perfections” refer to the traditional Chinese arts of calligraphy, painting, and poetry, which are considered the highest forms of artistic expression.

In Islamic cultures, meanwhile, the art of Islamic calligraphy, in particular, is also known as “the art of beautiful writing.” It is celebrated for its intricate patterns, flowing lines, and spiritual significance.

30. It’s still evolving!

One thing we can definitely say for calligraphy is that it is not going anywhere any time soon! In fact, it continues to evolve as an art form, with contemporary calligraphers pushing the boundaries of tradition and experimenting with new techniques, styles, and mediums.

Even amateur calligraphers are known for attempting to use this writing form when writing intimate notes, thank yous, and more.


taking chinese classes in taiwan this year and tried out calligraphy:) Thicker strokes are created by pushing down the brush towards the paper while the thinner stroke is created by lifting the brush 🖋 #caligraphy #chinesecaligraphy #chineseart #huayu #mandarinlearning #taiwan #howto

♬ spin you round – Rocco

FAQs About Calligraphy

What are the basic rules of calligraphy?

There are two basic rules in calligraphy: consistency and spacing. These are the two first and most important rules that most instructors teach!

However, if you’d like to learn more than just the basics of calligraphy, a great place to start is to look for an online course, or to dive into a documentary or two on YouTube.

What is necessary for calligraphy?

In order to write in calligraphy, you will need paper, ink, and, most importantly, a dip pen and metallic nibs.

However, having the right tools doesn’t mean that you will immediately be able to write in calligraphy! This style of writing demands a lot of time, patience, learning, and skill.

What makes good calligraphy?

The difference between good and bad calligraphy usually revolves around consistency. If the technique remains consistent throughout the writing piece, it will look far superior to one that loses the style and consistency in certain parts.

Do you know any fun facts about calligraphy? Share them in the comments below!

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This page was last modified on May 17, 2024. Suggest an edit

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