Now that you’ve seen the prettiness from Laura Hooper’s Calligraphy Workshop, we thought we’d dive into a bit of the nitty gritty: the top three questions that she always gets from inspired calligraphers. Plus what’s a good workshop without a great gift? We’ve got a Calligraphy Starter Kit up for grabs for one lucky SMP reader so that you can try your hand at it. Keep reading for all of the details!

Photos by: Abby Jiu


QUESTION: I am having trouble with the ink bleeding when I write. How do I remedy this?

ANSWER: There are a few different solutions to try with this problem. The first option is to try writing on different paper. Second, you might try shaking the ink bottle (make sure the lid is on securely first!), which can help distribute the pigments more evenly. Another thing that helps with bleeding is Gum Arabic, an amber color solution that when mixed with ink can combat bleeding – available at Michaels or Aaron Brothers. I would first see if they have any smaller glass jars to mix it in, as you’d need a pretty large amount to mix in with the large Higgins bottle to get it to work. Just try a few drops at a time. If you add too much you just add water again.

QUESTION: I find working with white and/or gold ink is more difficult than black ink. What brands do you recommend for these and are there any tips to using them?

ANSWER: Ziller white wind north for white and gold Windsor newton gouache for gold. The white and the gold can seem more tricky because the white is almost like a paint, and the gold is in a thick tube, just like a paint. They are thicker than your usual inks.

For the white: Add a little bit of water at a time, until the ink flows freely from the nib without too much pressure. If you have to press really hard and little to no ink is flowing, then you haven’t thinned out the ink enough. **Add the water SLOWLY – too much water, the white will lose its opacity.

For the gold: In small jar, mix in enough water so the gouache becomes thin, like an ink. Follow the same instructions as above once you’ve thinned it out properly. If your ink is too thin, or bleeding into the paper, add a few drops of Gum Arabic to thicken it.

QUESTION: How do you get a thick line?

ANSWER: In order to get the thicker lines you have to press harder on the down strokes. Try working on your down strokes (just slanted lines will work) before you do the letters.

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Laura Hooper Calligraphy currently offers workshops in both Washington, DC & Los Angeles, and also offers a Calligraphy Starter Kit. More details can be found on the Laura Hooper Calligraphy website.

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