The Ultimate Review of Modern Calligraphy Practice Guides

There are a crazy amount of worksheets available to buy and more are being as you read this! There are different worksheets for different lettering tools and even for different lettering styles. How the heck does someone choose where to start?! Let’s be honest people, money may come from trees but it’s not GROWN on them. So I thought I would put this together in case anyone wanted to know which worksheets would work best for them. Basically, I’m going to tell you what you’ll get for your money and then you can make your own decisions from there.

This list will be updated frequently depending upon my experiences and when I buy more worksheets/guides. As of right now, the following worksheets/guides are reviewed in this post.

  1. Random Olive
  2. Pieces of Calligraphy
  3. Kelly Creates
  4. Golden Leaf Calligraphy (3 styles)
  5. TheInkyHand (2 styles)
  6. Brittany Luiz (2 styles)
  7. The Blushing Script (my personal fav)
  8. Veronica Letters
  9. Chrystalizabeth

A quick word before you continue… My biggest pet peeve with most guides/worksheets is that they most likely will not come with letter connections or have one page with all the letters of the alphabet. I always, always, always have to cut and paste the letters and make my own alphabet guide. Sometimes I just want to look at the whole alphabet for reference instead of having to go back and forth through the worksheets. So if anyone out there making worksheets comes across this, I hope you consider adding a page with all the letters of the alphabet–please!

randomoliveRandom Olive (http://randomolive.com/)
Guide: Comprehensive Brush Letter Practice Guide
Cost: $32
Breakdown of what’s inside:
3 zip files: 1 for Lowercase, 1 for Uppercase, 1 for Numerals. Each zip file contains multiple PDFs inside.
Include practice strokes? Yes
Include letter connections? Yes (stored on alternate google drive provided via share-link) edit: It’s inside the guide now.
Include written instructions or tips? Yes
Include blank guide lines? Yes
Lowercase or Uppercase? Both – and Numbers!
Tools to use: Small paint brushes, Brush pens, Brush Markers, etc…
My Review: I love everything about this guide! Practice strokes? Check. Traceable worksheets (in regular AND jumbo size)? Check. Connection letters? Check! This is the most bang for your buck people. Uppercase, lowercase and it has numbers! You know what’s even cooler? It has a 45 day schedule to help you practice and learn on a timeline! This guide has pretty much all the digital tools you need to learn brush lettering. What’s great is that you don’t have to use an actual paint brush to learn from these worksheets. You can use any large brush pen as well as Crayola markers! Follow Olivia’s blog for monthly brush lettering challenges (she also provides $2 worksheets for individual words from the challenges) and free brush letter quotes you can even use to trace and practice! This guide is so jam packed with helpful materials that I can’t help but recommend this guide!

piecesofcalligraphyPieces of Calligraphy (https://piecescalligraphy.com/)
Guide: Brush Calligraphy Guide: Basic Strokes and Alphabet
Cost: Free!
Breakdown of what’s inside:
1 PDF: 4 pages that consist of basic practice strokes, lowercase alphabet, and 2 pages of blank guidelines.
Include practice strokes? Yes
Include letter connections? No
Include written instructions or tips? Minimal, Instruction videos more informative
Include blank guide lines? Yes
Include letter connecting? No
Lowercase or Uppercase? Lowercase only
Tools to use: Best for brush pens/markers
My Review: This was my first practice guide and was my introduction into modern calligraphy—period. Thanks to Sharisse (who is from my hometown!), I was given one of the best introductions to modern calligraphy through visual learning. Sharisse has a bunch of very helpful videos on her Youtube that show you from start to finish how to start practicing the calligraphy alphabet. The actual guide is very simple and in lowercase only, but it’s meant to go along with the Youtube videos. It’s a calligraphy foundation guide, it’s great to learn if you’re a complete newbie like I was. The alphabet in the guide is very basic and easy to learn. The videos are very helpful.

kellycreatesLCKelly Creates (http://kellycreates.ca/)
Guide: Brush Lettering with Kelly Creates (Lowercase)
Cost: $15
Breakdown of what’s inside:
1 zip file. 3 PDFs: 1 for drills and the other two are both lowercase letters broken up by a-m and n-z.
Include practice strokes? Yes
Include letter connections? No (must buy separate)
Include written instructions or tips? Yes
Include blank guide lines? Yes
Lowercase or Uppercase? Lowercase
Tools to use: Large brush pens like Tombow Dual Brush pens.
My Review: Love love love the practice stroke sheets. Very helpful. I also like the grid background as it’s also very helpful when I use the Rhodia blank dot paper to practice. When I first printed these worksheets, they did not work well with my Tombow Dual Brush pens because the  printed strokes were thinner than my pen tips. It’s not too much of a difference, though. A huge advantage is that once you get the practice strokes down you will be able to draw the letters with hardly any problems. In the worksheets, Kelly breaks down each letter by stroke and you can see that they’re all just various practice strokes connected to make the appropriate letter. There are also dotted lines to show you where to start and stop when you draw your letters. Kelly provides 15 helpful tips at the beginning of the guide that are helpful for future reference. My biggest hurdle is to SLOW DOWN, which is exactly what Kelly recommends in her tips. Tip number 11: “Slow down. And then slow down some more. It’s easy to go fast when tracing, but then you will not be developing muscle memory. Most strokes should take you at least 10 seconds from start to finish.” I definitely recommend these worksheets for practice and learning. The price isn’t so bad either! Other worksheets available at her website.

catstyleGolden Leaf Calligraphy (http://goldenleafcalligraphy.com/)
Guide: Cat Style – Upper and Lowercase
Cost: $20
Breakdown of what’s inside:
1 zip file. 1 PDF, 33 pages: 2 page blank guide lines; 5 pages of lowercase letters (6 letters to a page) and 1 pangram; 26 pages of individual letters for tracing.
Include practice strokes? No
Include letter connections? 1 traceable pangram.
Include written instructions or tips? No
Include blank guide lines? Yes
Lowercase or Uppercase? Lowercase
Tools to use: Small brush pens like Tombow Fudenosuke pens.
My Review: When I first started with brush pen calligraphy, this was the style I wanted to ultimately achieve. Everyone is different, but for me personally, I feel like this style is fancy and easier to learn for intermediate calligraphers. For me, as a beginner, this is a challenge and I’m still practicing it everyday.  The first 5 pages of the worksheets are 6 letters to a page, one line for each letter, page 7 has 1 pangram written in the cat style font for tracing. After that there are individual pages for each letter with several traceable letters for practicing. Also very helpful is the different colors used for each stroke of the letter. It’s nice to know when to pick up your pen and when not to. The best advantage is the traceable pangram which shows lots of connecting letters. Very helpful. It’s also made with great quality as it was created on her iPad Pro, I believe. I love Aurelia’s Cat Style (it’s just so pretty!) and I continue to practice with these worksheets to this day. Other lettering style worksheets available at her website.

owelstyleGolden Leaf Calligraphy (http://goldenleafcalligraphy.com/)
Guide: Owl Style – Lowercase
Cost: $15
Breakdown of what’s inside:
1 zip file. 1 PDF, 33 pages: 2 page blank guide lines; 5 pages of lowercase letters (6 letters to a page) and 1 pangram; 26 pages of individual letters for tracing.
Include practice strokes? No
Include letter connections? 2 traceable pangrams.
Include written instructions or tips? No
Include blank guide lines? Yes
Lowercase or Uppercase? Lowercase
Tools to use: Small brush pens like Tombow Fudenosuke pens.
My Review: As I’ve stated in the previous review, Aurelia’s worksheets are made in great quality and are very helpful. I believe the Owl Style is the best one for beginners because it’s very simple and a lot easier to connect letters. It also includes TWO traceable pangrams. I really love those pangrams because it helps me with the letters and connections at the same time. I didn’t like the new format for the worksheets, but I still recommend them for practicing. The first 26 pages are for individual letters for tracing however, unlike the Cat Style worksheets, these ones have about half less traceable letters than before and instead give you more blank lines for practicing on your own. The next 5 pages are 6 letters to a page, one line for each letter, but this time there is only one traceable letter before you’re on your own for practicing. Last two pages contain 1 pangram each for tracing! Other lettering style worksheets available at her website.

theinkyhandThe Inky Hand (http://theinkyhand.com/)
Guide: Brush Lettering Practice Sheets (Upper & Lowercase) *UPDATE*
Cost: $40
Breakdown of what’s inside:
4 zip files. 2 for lowercase letters broken up by a-m and n-z. Same deal for the uppercase letters. After unzipping you’ll find each letter has it’s own individual 1 page PDF file.
Include practice strokes? No
Include letter connections? Yes
Include written instructions or tips? No
Include blank guide lines? No
Lowercase or Uppercase? Both
Tools to use: Small brush pens like Tombow Fudenosuke pens.
My Review: Okay, so in my opinion this is pricey in comparison to what you’re actually buying. The PDF quality is not bad, but it’s not the best either, so take care with your printer settings to get them to come out light or dark. The worksheets are now digital so the quality is A+. I bought the Upper and Lowercase worksheets together and saved a couple bucks vs. buying them separate. I also had a %20 off coupon or else I would not have spent the full amount. That being said, the worksheets themselves are helpful as they breakdown the letters and have several more to trace for practice. The biggest advantage is that at the bottom of each worksheet there are several letter connection examples. VERY helpful. I also really, really love Sarah’s lettering style so I really wanted these worksheets. She also has other worksheets for a lower price available at her website.

inkybounceThe Inky Hand (http://theinkyhand.com/)
Guide: Bouncy Calligraphy Workbook
Cost: $15
Breakdown of what’s inside:
1 page PDF file, 9 pages. Title sheet, 2 info sheets, 6 practice sheets with notes throughout. Only 3 of the 9 sheets are actually for tracing letters, 1 of those 3 is for 2 traceable pangrams.
Include practice strokes? No
Include letter connections? Yes
Include written instructions or tips? Yes
Include blank guide lines? No
Lowercase or Uppercase? Lowercase
Tools to use: Medium brush pens, like the Zebra Disposable Brush Pen – Fine. Works better on Procreate (iPad app).
My Review: I am a sucker for Sarah’s handwriting/letters so… even though I do not think the workbook is worth $15, I would still buy it again. This workbook has a lot more helpful notes and the quality is crystal clear. It’s perfect if you use the Procreate app on your iPad, if not you can still print and practice with Crayola markers or the Zebra brush pen. Tombow Dual Brush Pens are too big to use with these worksheets in my opinion, but everyone is different. I really like that this guide includes letter connections and that it breaks up the letters by “always bounce” and so on… It was really helpful to know which letters are best for bouncing and which letters should always stay the same. Other worksheets available at her website.

blBrittany Luiz (http://brittanyluiz.com/)
Guide: Brush Lettering Practice Sheets for LARGE Pens
Cost: $10
Breakdown of what’s inside:
1 PDF: 16 pages that consist of 1 page instructions/tips; 7 pages of lowercase letters (4 letters to a page); 7 pages of uppercase letters (4 letters to a page); 1 blank lined page.
Include practice strokes? No
Include letter connections? No
Include written instructions or tips? Minimal
Include blank guide lines? Yes
Lowercase or Uppercase? Both
Tools to use: Large pens like the Tombow Dual Brush Pens
My Review: Great worksheets for large brush pens. However, I didn’t like that there were no worksheets for individual letters. There are 4 letters to a page, one line for each letter. Each line is one traceable letter before you’re on your own to copy the letters. I had to make my own worksheets to better suit my needs, but the initial baseline of the worksheets are nice to have. Plus side, the worksheets are for upper and lowercase letters and the price is really decent. Also, there aren’t many worksheets I have come across for large brush pens (although more are starting to pop up) and this one is specifically for said pens. I really like this letter style (as seen at the beginning of this post) and I do recommend purchasing this guide if you don’t want to spend too much for worksheets and you like to use large brush pens.

Brit+CoBrit + Co Bounce Lettering Basics Online Class (https://www.brit.co/shop/catalog/bounce-lettering-basics-online-class_41184/)
Instructor – Brittany Luiz (http://brittanyluiz.com/)
Guide: Brush Lettering Practice Sheets for LARGE Pens
Cost: $29
Breakdown of what’s inside:
1 PDF: A List of Hand Lettering Supplies; Lettering Terminology Guide; Basic Strokes Guide; Script Alphabet Guide + Practice Sheets; Block Alphabet Guide + Practice Sheets; Bounce Letter Basics Guide + Practice Sheets; Bounce Lettering Composition Examples.
Include practice strokes? Yes
Include letter connections? No
Include written instructions or tips? Minimal
Include blank guide lines? Yes
Lowercase or Uppercase? Both
Tools to use: Large pens like the Tombow Dual Brush Pens
My Review: Okay worksheets for large brush pens. However, the worksheets are not the main focus. This is actually a class you watch online and follow along with your brush pens. I personally did not like this class and I don’t like the worksheets either. I thought the worksheets were sloppy and I did not watch the entire video for the class. I just personally could not get through the entire video and I tried three times. I’m not a great example of the class so don’t take my own personal opinion to heart. Perhaps you will have better luck than me.

theblushingscriptThe Blushing Script (https://www.theblushingscriptblog.com/)
Guide: Bouncy Lettering Practice Sheets A-M & N-Z
Cost: $14 each (A-M & N-Z total: $28)
Breakdown of what’s inside:
2 zip files, 1 for print worksheets and 1 for iPad worksheets. All files are in the jpg format. Both zip files include individual pages per letter and include multiple connections for each letter of the alphabet. I LOVE this! There are a few traceable pangrams and also popular words like “Celebrate” and “Happy Birthday” – However, the pangrams & words only come in the A-M guide.
Include practice strokes? Yes
Include letter connections? Yes!
Include written instructions or tips? No.
Include blank guide lines? Yes.
Lowercase or Uppercase? Lowercase.
Tools to use: Small brush pens like Tombow Fudenosuke pens. Procreate (iPad app) calligraphy pen on smallest setting.
My Review: This is a very sneaky way to get me to spend nearly 30 bucks. I need to have the whole alphabet in front of me so… I bought both guides. That being said, lets talk quality. I think the quality for the iPad worksheets is low and I was disappointed because the letters are already really small so when I zoomed in closer for tracing the pixels start to blur–no bueno (still had this issue when I uploaded the print versions in Procreate). In terms of actually printing the worksheets, it was on point and I have no complaints in that department because it was perfect. The connections are so great, you see how to connect every letter to every letter of the alphabet! Plus pangrams and some popular words to trace. I have to say these are probably my favorite worksheets in terms of style because the letters are so bouncy and cute.

veronicalettersVeronica Letters (https://www.etsy.com/shop/VeronicaLetters)
Guide: Block Lettering Worksheets
Cost: $5
Breakdown of what’s inside:
1 PDF: 22 pages that consist of a mix of tips for lettering; the whole alphabet and tracing. 3 different block letter styles are shown but the main focus is on one style (shown on the example pic).
Include practice strokes? Yes
Include letter connections? No (no need)
Include written instructions or tips? Yes
Include blank guide lines? No
Lowercase or Uppercase? Both
Tools to use: Your choice
My Review: Very basic, it’s self explanatory and pretty cheap! I have problems with my clock lettering so this will be very helpful to me. I just purchased it today so I don’t have much to say about it just yet. So far so good, though!

clChrystalizabeth (http://www.chrystalizabeth.com/)
Guide: Brush Pen Modern Calligraphy Worksheets
Cost: $5
Breakdown of what’s inside:
1 PDF. 14 pages. 3 pages with 9 letters to a page.
Include practice strokes? No
Include letter connections? No
Include written instructions or tips? Very minimal
Include blank guide lines? No
Lowercase or Uppercase? Both
Tools to use: Small brush pens like Tombow Fudenosuke pens.
My Review: Lover her letters, but the tracing letters are far too small. They were even too small for my Tombow Fudenosuke pens. I had to work with the print size resolution in order to get them large enough for my pens. Nothing fancy about these worksheets, they’re simple and to the point. There are 6 pages with 9 letters per page, one line for each letter. 3 of those pages have traceable letters down each row. The other 3 pages have one letter per line and then you’re on your own to copy the letters.  Same deal for the Uppercase letters. For the price these worksheets are okay because they have both lower and uppercase letters. There are other worksheets available and I plan to buy one soon to see if I like those better.

Things to think about after you buy the worksheets. Go slow. Seriously–GO SLOW! You won’t learn much if you just trace quickly and then move on. You have to seriously concentrate and follow the guidelines. That being said, what I love about worksheets is that I can trace as many times as I need before I start to remember where to press my pen down and when to let up. Remember, practice makes perfect and don’t be discouraged by how long it takes to learn calligraphy! I started in June of 2016 and as you can see below, my progress is slow going but it IS progress!

If you have an iPad with the Apple Pencil (or something very similar) I suggest you save the PDF pages as images (you can screen shot the pages to make them images) and import those babies into Procreate and get practicing. It has boosted my hand lettering skills tremendously and saved me so much money on buying multiple pens and paper. BUT, if you only have pens and paper that is totally fine as well. I suggest you use the Rhodia dot pads, smooth paper that won’t fray your pens like copy paper will! Only problem with the Rhodia pads is that you have to buy them online, I have not seen them in stores. I buy them on Amazon whenever they’re showing below ten bucks. Keep practicing, guys!

practice

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