The art of calligraphy was used across ancient civilisations, from the Greeks to the Romans to the Middle Shang period in ancient China. While it’s less common an art form today, those in the know use it to do some serious showing off. Whether you’ve got a stack of wedding invitations to scribe, a bullet journal to decorate, or you’re simply looking to learn a new skill, fancy doodles never fail to impress. Ink you’ve got what it takes? They why not perfect your penmanship and learn from the pros.
Kalo Make Art
A quick search for calligraphy in Hong Kong will likely lead you to Kalo Chu. The calligrapher and stationary designer has been conducting workshops since opening her business in 2015. Her courses are suitable for beginners looking to dip their pen for the first time. She teaches dip pen and brush pen calligraphy as well as watercolour painting classes. Calligraphy course fees are inclusive of a starter kit and tote bag.
Kalo Make Art, Room 201, Ivy House, 18-20 Wyndham Street, Central
Check out Kalo's upcoming beginner's workshops in the coming months:
Calligraphy Tasting Workshop
– May 29, June 11 (7.30 - 9.00pm), $700 per person or $1,300 per couple
Colour Ink Calligraphy
– May 26 (10am - 1pm), $950 per person or $1,600 per couple
Watercolour and Foiling
– 26 May (2.30 - 5.30pm), $950 per person or $1,600 per couple
Tips and Tricks
Kalo Chu shares some advice for those foraying into calligraphy for the first time.
What advice would you give to someone buying their first calligraphy set?
It is essential to use the right tools for calligraphy beginners! I recommend using a stiffer nib so you can have better pressure control for the shades. While for inks, you can try Japanese sumi inks as they have dark pigments and are very smooth to write with. For beginners, it can be very frustrating to use inappropriate tools which may result in problems such as ink bleeding and the nib scratching the papers. To minimise all these issues, I have put together a beginner Calligraphy Starter Kit for my students, which is also available from my shop.
What are some really common mistakes beginners make?
A lot of beginners focus on QUANTITY and try to fill up a page as quickly as possible, but the key for calligraphy practice is QUALITY! Studying with experienced calligraphy teachers will help you learn the right techniques and improve the quality of your writing.
How do I clean my ink nibs and how often should I be doing this?
A good practice is to place a glass of water on the table as you write, remove the inks with a tissue first, then dip the nib into the water and dry it with the tissue after every 10 to 15 minutes of writing. This avoids ink clotting around the nib which may result in thicker lines. When you finish writing, repeat the same process and ensure the nib is clean and completely dry. Lastly, place it in a tin box or container to prevent it from rusting and being damaged.
Make and Do Hong Kong
The Three Keys is a creative workspace in the city's up-and-coming arts district, Chai Wan. It hosts Make & Do Hong Kong – a crafts workspace offering a range of workshops including embroidery, calligraphy, and weaving – among a legion of other creative companies. Earlier this year, Make & Do ran a Bullet Journal and Brush Stroke Lettering workshop, which proved incredibly popular. Be sure to check out their Facebook page
for upcoming brush lettering and dip pen calligraphy classes, taught by Jacqueline Chow. The studio also runs private and corporate events, with prices available on request.
Make and Do Hong Kong, ThreeKeys, 906, Paramount Building, 12 Ka Yip Street, Chai Wan
Patrick Leung is a graphic designer and western calligrapher, offering a range of design services and workshops from his Wan Chai-based studio. Calligraphy courses consist of five lessons, each lasting one and a half hours. Small group classes are capped at just four people, while private lessons are available for an added fee. Group courses cost $3,400 per person, with material fees (including your calligraphy pen, a selection of nibs, ink, and practice book) ranging from $350 to 450.
Grafik Design, 17/F, Toi Shan Association Building, 167-169 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai
Calligraphy in HK
Swati Jain has been teaching calligraphy courses in Hong Kong for the last six years and has collaborated with international brands from Christian Dior, Mercedez Bens, and La Perla, to name just a few. Based out of the Laguna Verde clubhouse, Swati teaches four different calligraphy classes, with all held on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Upcoming workshop dates and additional information are available on request.
Calligraphy in HK, Laguna Verde Club House, Hung Hom, Kowloon
Copperplate Calligraphy, 2 hour course inclusive of both upper and lowercase lessons costs $1,400
Modern Calligraphy, 2 hour course inclusive of both upper and lowercase lessons costs $1,400
Watercolour for Beginners, 3 hour course costs $900
Calligraphy Tasting Class, 1.5 hour course costs $400
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