5 Resources That Will Help You Kick-Start Your Calligraphy Endeavour

Motivation and persistence are without a doubt an essential key to becoming a good Arabic calligrapher. It’s a common saying, if you have these two taken care of, you have half the battle won…

But what about the other half? How do we make sure that our high spirits are well complemented and don’t result in imminent failure? It’s by insuring that we not only have the right tools and supplements to script calligraphy but are also learning from viable resources that properly teach the art.

The following are 5 resources that I would recommend to all beginners and those looking for practical resources.

1. Arabic Calligraphy Supplies

Run out of Washington DC by Josh Berer, who himself is an outstanding Arabic calligrapher, this online retailer provides the highest quality of writing tools, paper, ink, and many other accessories. Though they are a little on the pricey end of the spectrum, I have never been disappointed with the quality and authenticity of their products.

They carry local calligraphy ink as well as imports from Egypt and Turkey.

They are also very responsive to customer service issues.

2.This Qalam crafting video

I couldn’t have demonstrated this better myself. My recommendation has always been and always will be to create your bamboo pens (qalams) from scratch, rather than buying them ready made. There are a few reasons for this.

Firstly, most retailers (not including the previously mentioned resource) mass produce pens to cut and sell them very quickly, this leads to imperfect cuts, angles, and unnecessary bevels; I have tried several retailers in the past and this seems to be a common issue – cutting the pen is an art of its own, you cannot mass produce artwork.

Secondly, every individual has a unique way of holding the pen, by recognizing what the most comfortable angle and position for your specific hands would be, you can customize the angle and thickness of the tip according to your personal preferences.

3. List of Teachers

Hands down, the best way to learn calligraphy is under the direct guidance of a live Ustad (teacher), despite the fact that we live in the information age and practically any field of study could be learned online (including calligraphy), there is no doubt that nothing parallels the guidance from a live professional who is actually critiquing your work. This resource is a list of Ustads that you may be able to find in your area. The list is by no means exclusive and I’m sure there are countless more that didn’t make this list, but it’s a great place to get started.

4. BOOK: Mesk of Thuluth and Naskh. By Sevki Efendi

This book as an absolute gem in the world of Arabic Calligraphy. Though it is brief and doesn’t go into any details on how to actually script any of the modules, it’s one of the first books ever written to outline the modules of the Thuluth script and makes for a fabulous reference guide. The book is used as a base to learn Thuluth throughout the world.

5. ONLINE COURSE: Become an Arabic Calligraphy Artist from Scratch

Ok, now time for some shameless self promotion… No but seriously though, this online course is an excellent resource for beginners to learn calligraphy from scratch. The reason why I put this together is because I noticed a huge void and helplessly wanted to provide this type of a platform for all beginners. You get lifetime access to all the lectures and discussion boards and currently there are almost three thousand students learning from the resource. In 2015, it was ranked as one of top 50 courses on Udemy and currently boasts more than a hundred 5 star reviews.