Brush Calligraphy Workshops at a Brand New Venue [Highlights]

Most of the time, I like to schedule my modern calligraphy workshops 3-4 weeks ahead. But, since discovering this new venue in Nyack, I’ve taken a no-holds-barred approach and listed a brush calligraphy workshop on my calendar, less than two weeks in advance. I was just too darn excited about using this space and setting it up to my liking, which for most of my previous workshops was not possible due to cost, time, space, and other logistics.

While the turnout was small (as expected), I couldn’t have been more content or comfortable in this space. I didn’t feel flustered like I usually would in the past due to running around, driving/commuting, parking, lugging supplies, etc. The art gallery is literally down the street from me so I don’t have to deal with parking, but I also have my own little storage space there so all of my workshop supplies will be housed there. Now, I can focus more on the little details, and not feel out of breath before class begins.

See some of the details from the workshop in the images below!

Missed out on this class? There’s lots more to come - check out my events calendar!

Tea & Calligraphy in Taipei [HIGHLIGHTS]

I’m not usually one to make resolutions but at the beginning of this year I decided that I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone and teach a workshop outside of the Tri-State area least once this year. It was a mental note I made just for myself, not as a result of any suggestions/requests - certainly not because I have a mass following in any particular place begging me to come host a workshop.

So, this winter, I visited a dear friend in Houston, and while I was there I also got to host a brush calligraphy class (long overdue recap to come)! While I mentally checked off that little goal I had at the start of the year, I couldn’t help but dream some more…

It had been about 2.5 years since my last visit to Taiwan, and my heart was telling me it was time to go back. Back to my birthplace, to the warm weather, to all the amazing food, and of course my family (and much more)! Why not teach a workshop there, too?

Other than my family though, I didn’t have any real connections or leads to how I would go about putting together a workshop. Not to mention that my Mandarin is at a middle-school level, and incredibly rusty. An English-speaking venue (and attendees) would be ideal…

Delicious cakes, tea, + calligraphy - what’s not to love? ;)

Delicious cakes, tea, + calligraphy - what’s not to love? ;)

My mind always wanders back to food - I’m realizing more and more that it’s due to my upbringing. Food was/is a love language - it’s the way my parents show(ed) me love. In fact, in Taiwanese culture, many times family/friends greet each other with, “have you eaten yet” (regardless of time of day), rather than “how are you?”. This is why I’ve always tried to include some kind of refreshment for my workshops, specifically, dessert!

Who knows all about the food scene in Taipei? Joan of The Hungry Girl’s Guide to Taipei (aka @hungryintaipei)! I’ve been following Joan’s blog since the early days so I could live vicariously through all her Taiwan food adventures; we follow each other on Instagram but we’ve never actually met or interacted much with one another. Our common love for food and stationery is all I needed to know before I sent her an email asking if she’d like to partner with me in planning my workshop in Taipei!

[As an aside, I encourage you to send that email - what’s the worse that could happen? They ignore you? They say no? Then you know and you move on. But friends, from my own experience, 9 times out of 10, the answer will be YES. And all you had to do was ask. Your only regret will be not asking sooner.]

Rather than drone on and on about the details, I’ve included some photos below (with captions) from the event. It was a dream to have partnered with Joan, and Heritage Bakery & Cafe to bring my brush calligraphy workshop to Taipei. It means a lot that I was able to do this, because Taiwan is where my calligraphy journey began - it was back in the summer of 2015, while I was living in Taiwan that I decided to teach myself brush calligraphy/lettering! In a way, it’s come full circle. I’m so grateful.

I’d love to help you host your own Tea & calligraphy workshop / event - click here for private workshop info & rates!

Start with the basics | Real-time brush lettering [Video]

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Do you know about the basic strokes that make up modern calligraphy? It's a set of shapes and building blocks that serve as an introduction to drawing letterforms.

When I first started lettering, I didn't have the slightest clue about these basic strokes and attempted (unsuccessfully) to practice brush calligraphy with every brush pen I could find, thinking I just didn't have the right pen.

Tools | Faber-Castell PITT Artist Brush Pen, Rhodia dot grid pad

Music | Chasing the Sun by Nick Petrov via hooksounds.com

It wasn’t until I realized there was a “formula” to learning brush calligraphy that I started seeing improvement in my letter formations. The "right" pen doesn't make the artist/calligrapher. Starting with the basics and practicing good habits gives you the confidence to experiment with different pens, mediums, and styles that once weren't "right" for you.

There is no “fast-track” to achieving your own whimsical, signature modern calligraphy style. Sure, you can start off by emulating others, but to truly develop your own unique style requires hours of consistent practice - experimenting with different letter formations, studying different styles, and a whole lot of trial and error.

As long as you have mastered the basics, you'll be able to master whatever tool you pick up - be it the brush pen, pointed pen, or even a paint/water brush. Your style possibilities will be endless!

Ready for the basics? Join me for a workshop or download my beginner’s guide to brush calligraphy to start practicing at home and check back in the coming weeks for a video tutorial all about the basic strokes!