Modern Calligraphy Summit 2.0!


1471890927721IMG_3713 The secret is out- I'm super excited to be an instructor for Modern Calligraphy Summit 2.0! MCS 2.0 is a 2.5 week ONLINE course that runs from February 20th-March 8th, 2017. You might be wondering why I'm teaching a traditional script in a modern calligraphy course. It's okay- I would too! Well, I'm here because I want you to have a SOLID foundation in knowing how to write beautiful letters by looking at the rules and structure that is found in Copperplate calligraphy.

As much as I love the stylistic freedom that "modern calligraphy" offers, I'm also a firm believer in "knowing the rules so you can break them with intent". Calligraphy comes from the Greek word "kalligraphos" which means "a person who writes beautifully" and in my opinion, there's no script more elegant than Copperplate calligraphy! It is a versatile and popular script that is highly requested for weddings and events.

Are you ready for this?! Here's what I'll be covering in my class:

  • My favorite tools/supplies to get started
  • Drills to work on our finger and muscular movements
  • Breakdown of each lowercase AND uppercase letter strokes
  • Variations of flourished capital letters for an added WOW factor
    • Flourishing tips/techniques
  • Over 24 pages of instructional handouts for you to print and study
  • Special bonus video for my lefty friends!
  • ...and more

I'm also honored to stand alongside 6 of my insanely talented and creative friends who will be covering ALL sorts of topics from brush lettering, digitizing your work, hand lettering layouts, writing on non-traditional surfaces, invitation design, to watercolor paintings. With lifetime access to videos, Q&As, and private Facebook group, we've got your back!

Regular registration costs is $299, but for the next 5 days, early bird registration is being offered at $249!

Click HERE or the button below for more details and how to enroll. I'm so excited to make this class available worldwide.

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Teaching Calligraphy

IMG_2962 One of the quotes that resonated with me from Kathy Milici's class at IAMPETH was something her husband had said to her- "Don't think you are just teaching calligraphy". When she said those words, it brought back a flood of memories of how my journey into calligraphy happened and I couldn't hold back the tears. For me, calligraphy is the beauty that came out of ashes. In midst of some of the darkest/painful seasons in my life as a mother and a wife, slowing down to write again brought much healing to my soul. As I began to practice every night, doing drills to writing scriptural verses, I started to experience joy again.


My personal journey into calligraphy affects the way I value my workshops. When I teach calligraphy, it's not just about imparting knowledge and techniques (which I do! ;)) It's about people. Building relationships, hearing their stories, and spreading the JOY of handwriting again. This journey has been life-giving in so many ways and whether people take a class for fun, as a hobby, or for business, I wish the same for them <3

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A thousand hugs and thank you to my amazing creative friends who helped make these workshops so beautiful!

Venue: SJ Design Studio Florals: By Min Events & Flowers by Joey Baked Goods: Hyung Bae & Dana Yu Photography: Dana Yu


Using a Straight vs. Oblique Holder as a Left Handed Calligrapher


As a left handed calligrapher, it took some time before I finally found my "sweet spot" in regards to pen holder and paper angle. In addition to writing with a proper posture, finding the holder and paper angle that’s right for you can dramatically affect your penmanship. After writing with a straight holder for the first year, I switched to a right oblique holder after meeting Master Penman Michael Sull in February 2016. Why the switch? The straight holder wasn’t a problem, but one thing that stayed with me from conversing with Michael was that writing with an oblique may increase my range in motion. He shared an analogy about swinging your arm that’s holding just a ball vs. holding a string that’s tied to a ball.

Currently, I do most of my work using an oblique holder; however, I will occasionally use a straight holder for more upright scripts or decorative flourishing.


This is how I position my paper with a right oblique holder:The paper is turned about 90 degrees to the right and I’m writing towards my body. It took me some time to adjust to this, but i find this paper angle to be helpful with smoother upstrokes and flourishing. I also don’t run into smudging problems.

This is how I position my paper with a straight holder:


The paper is turned about 45 degrees to the right and I make sure the reservoir of my nib is parallel to the slant line. I spent about a year practicing Copperplate calligraphy with a straight holder and found it helpful especially as a beginner. It allowed me to write with my natural hold and focus on my letterforms rather than trying to adjust to so many changes at once.

Hope this was helpful to you. For my left handed friends, keep at it! Find what works for you and most of all, find joy in writing!


Getting Started in Pointed Pen Calligraphy- Part I


The question I get asked the most is "What supplies would you recommend for beginners?". It can be a bit overwhelming if you are just getting your feet wet in the world of calligraphy, so to save you time, research, AND money, here are some of my personal favorites! Please note that all of the following recommendations/tips are solely from my personal experience.  



Paper does matter! It's important to practice on the right kind of paper to relieve frustration when writing. My first paper purchase was Strathmore's Calligraphy pad and I had such a hard time writing on textured paper. These are some of my favorite paper to practice with:

  1. HP Premium Choice Laser Paper- 500 pages for $20, you can't go wrong with this paper! Download guide sheets and print them right onto this paper. Thick and smooth.
  2. Rhodia Pads- Really smooth. I like practicing on their graph paper and lined pads. I also use their blank pads for when I need to digitize my work
  3. Copperplate Practice Pad- This is a graph paper with slant lines. I love using this for sketching out designs and for practicing my letterforms



When I first started my journey, I bought the "Pointed Nib Sampler" from John Neal Books, which had 30 different nibs that are commonly used for Copperplate/Spencerian. I still haven't gotten through all of them, but here are some of my personal favorites!

Top Row (L-R): Nikko G, Zebra G, Gillot 404, Hunt 22 Bottom Row (L-R): Brause 361, Blanzy 552, Brause 66ef, Hunt 101

The top row of nibs are really sturdy with medium flex. They are great for beginners and I've included these for my beginners workshops. The G nibs are a bit stiff, but because of my heavy hand, I like writing with them. The Brause 361 and Blanzy 552 nibs work well on more textured paper. Keep in mind that the Brause 361 is not as sharp, so it won't give you those fine hairlines. Brause 66ef is a great nib that will give you the fine hairlines and thick shades. However, you will have the dip often with this one! Lastly, the Hunt 101 will give you the most flex out of the ones pictured, but this one has a very sharp point so may tend to snag on the paper if you have a heavy hand.

My advice would be: Try a couple of different nibs and see what works for you! Everyone has a different hand, so it might take a bit of trial & error before you find one that you love :)

3. INK


For black ink, these are the only inks I've tried:

  • Moon Palace Sumi Black Ink
  • Old World Iron Gall
  • McCaffery's Penman's Ink

The Moon Palace is thicker than the other two, but I love the richness of that ink. I bought the other two when I took a Spencerian class, and they both flow out of my nib smoothly. You will be able to achieve finer hairlines with the Iron Gall and Penman's Ink. They write slightly translucent, but darken as they dry. I've also heard good things about Kuretake Ink.



These are all the holders I own. I have two straight holders and two oblique holders. As a left handed calligrapher, when I first took a workshop, I was given an oblique holder. However, trying to figure out the right pen hold, paper angle, AND attempt to write proper letterforms was a challenge. So, I quickly changed to a straight holder and have enjoyed my journey in focusing on my letterforms with the paper turned 45 degrees to the right. Now, after a year of writing, I recently picked up an oblique pen again after meeting Michael Sull. I am still learning, but I do see some benefits of writing with a right oblique holder as a left hander (more on this for a separate post).  I also noticed that the transition from a straight to an oblique wasn't as hard this time because I knew what the letters should look like. It was a matter of re-adjusting my paper angle and pen hold.

Some things to consider when buying a penholder:


  • Not all straight holders are the same. Some have a metal ring and 4 prongs (pictured above on the left) and others just have a circle. I personally find that the left one can fit more nib sizes because of the metal prongs.
  • With an oblique pen, you can start with a Speedball plastic penholder or upgrade to a wooden one with a metal flange. I don't have any problems with the Speedball plastic penholder. Just make sure to get the right nibs so that the point of the nib aligns as close as possible to the center of the penholder. With the metal flange, you will be able to customize it more to your specific hand.

Give both a try! There's no right or wrong penholder to use. Just make sure when you are writing, the eye of the nib is parallel to the slant line.

Happy Writing, Younghae

I'll be sharing some other favorite calligraphy supplies! Stay tuned for Part II!

Copperplate Calligraphy Guidesheets


As I'm preparing for my workshop, I figured for my first blog post, I'd share downloadable guide sheets that I'll be giving to my students :)  For Copperplate, I find guide sheets necessary because it helps me to write at consistent slants and create muscle memory. There are tons of resources out there for guides. Here are a couple of websites you can check out:

  1. Iampeth
  2. Zanerian (you can download either small or large guide sheets)
  3. Bianca Mascorro (she has both black or gray versions)

I took Bianca's version in gray and then added some thicker black lines to help emphasize the x-height as well as ascender/descender lines. I print these on HP Premium Choice laser paper to practice with.

Click HERE to download.

Enjoy! Younghae