Calligraphy Crash Course

When I heard Molly Jacques was offering an online calligraphy crash course via Skillshare I signed up immediately. I got my supplies a while ago, and suspense has been building as they’ve been sitting on my desk for the past few weeks. This week the course materials were finally available!

molly jacques online calligraphy course

It’s my natural tendency to give up on anything that doesn’t come naturally to me, and calligraphy is definitely one of those things. I haven’t picked up a calligraphy pen since last year. Trying to scratch out elegant letterforms with a sharp metal pen tip gives me the same tense, clumsy feeling I get every time I put on a pair of ice skates. I find myself gripping the pen so tightly that my knuckles turn white and have to remind myself not to hold my breath. It’s nothing like the contented happiness that normally envelops me while I’m creating.

Molly’s videos are so helpful, not to mention incredibly inspiring. Beautiful letters shoot out of her pen like it’s a magic wand! I think I’ll force myself to continue through the awkwardness and fill up my whole pad of paper with practice shapes and letters. If by the last page I still feel clumsy and uncomfortable, I’ll set my pen aside knowing that I gave it my best shot. Although my hope is that at some point amidst all the practicing I’ll start to feel at ease with this weird scratchy pen. (I don’t think I’ll ever get the hang of ice skating though!)

molly jacques online calligraphy course

molly jacques online calligraphy course

 I’ll bet some of you are also taking the course! Do you like it? Am I the only one with ink stained fingers?


  1. Lydianne

    I too signed up for this class. I am with you on the magic wand thing. Molly’s letters do look so easy. From what you have shown on you post, I think you are doing a beautiful job! I’m not sure about this either. I’m sure Molly has been doing this for many years and we just have to remember that! She has practiced for a long, long time and that is the key. Look how far you have come already! Keep up the great work girl and before long you’ll be just as good as Molly!

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      Thanks for the encouragement! Yes, give us a few years of practice and we’ll be teaching our own Skillshare classes, right? ;)

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      They are! I have the hardest time with the up strokes because my pen tip catches on the paper and makes the lines wiggly. Your letters are looking great, and you’re left handed? I’m impressed! I think tonight I’ll binge watch Netflix and practice. What a wild and crazy Friday night, haha!

    2. Jolene

      I’m left handed too! I really love calligraphy alot but after practices it just seem so difficult so I started to practice writing with my right hand but its so gonna take a long time of practising..

  2. Leslie

    I am signed up for the class too, although I have only watched all 4 videos and not done any practicing yet. Hard to fit that in during the week after working all day and then shuttling kids around! I dug out my old calligraphy supplies from high school. Its amazing that I still have them and even more amazing that could find them!

  3. Jayme

    I’m in the class, too! How fun to see all you ladies are as well! I am completely obsessed… I’m such an admirer of fonts and lettering that its so fun to try to recreate all the shapes and forms. I am, however, quite nervous about actually creating my own font… I mean how the heck… Where do I even start!? Amanda, your letters are looking great so far, I think you’re just critical of yourself :)

  4. pamela

    I am loving Molly’s class but she definitely makes it look easy. Her pen seems to glide on the paper like glass, while mine chugs along scratching it’s way around. I assume that practice will help with that. I think using the right tools is just as important. Either way I am having a blast and want to write on everything I see!

  5. Joanna

    I like calligraphy, at school we had to use fountain (ink) pens as a requirement so calligraphy was easy to get used to for me, yours look lovely, seems like you’ve got the hand of it!!xx

  6. Gioia

    I was interested in Molly’s classes too.
    Maybe I should give it a try, it seems really nice and she’s amazing.
    Your lettering looks great, keep up the good work!
    Love from Italy ♥

  7. Rae

    Lovely. I think you are doing really well. I’ve signed up for the class too but have a couple big things to do before I can start the class. Can’t wait!

  8. jessica bates

    I too am taking the class and have always admired Molly’s talent. I think you’re doing fantastic so far. I’m spending my Saturday night similar to your Friday night :)

    Best of luck!

  9. susi davis

    I love the beautiful and perfect critique of Molly Jacques Modern Calligraphy class on SkillShare. It is way harder than it looks. Great class and so much more than I expected for the tuition. Your lettering looks great and I look forward to seeing your progress! Love your blog too!

  10. Molly Margaret

    I think your letters look great for just being in the class a few days! The trick to that awful paper scratching is to pretend you’re holding a dart in your hand and not a pen holder. The lighter you can hold the pen on the upstroke the happier you’ll be with the result. The ink’s going to flow no matter how soft or hard you press. :) Sometimes it helps to hold something else in your other hand while you write like the eraser side of a pencil. It feels weird but something in our brains makes us lighten up on the writing hand. Worth a try. Ha! Love your blog. -Molly Margaret

    1. Molly Margaret

      By eraser side of a pencil I mean hold a pencil with the eraser side on the paper in your other hand. Holding an eraser makes it sound like some magic eraser, haha. Whoops.

    2. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      Thanks for the tips, and I’ll give your eraser trick a try! For some reason my subconscious thinks that pushing down harder and holding the pen tighter will force pretty letters out of it, haha.

  11. anna

    I m in the class too! I first found it out from one of your blog posts a while ago.. Thanxa a lot Amanda for that info! And well done for all the new work you ve been doing :) You are an inspiration!

  12. Molly Jacques

    Ahhh love seeing all the progress! Your work looks awesome so keep at it girlfriend =)

    I’ve been practicing for years so I’ve gotten the hang of it… I think the real key is finding what nibs work best for YOU. Everyone is different. The supplies I suggest for the class are my favorite but from the looks of it, many students are using a variety of tools.

    That said – the paper suggested is the best!

    Keep up the good work – excited to see some cards using your new skills?


    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      Thanks for stopping by Molly! I’ll say you’ve gotten the hang of it! ;) I’m definitely finding that some nibs are easier for me than others, and even after just a weekend of practice I’ve noticed improvements. Thanks so much for sharing your skills with us! And yes, hopefully I’ll be incorporating calligraphy into my cards in the near future. ;)

  13. Ashley

    Glad I’m not the only one with ink-stained fingers! However, I might be the only one who managed to slice their finger while removing a nib. Eeek! I agree with you about the awkwardness, especially when it comes to the upstroke. I’m making an effort to fill a page daily and I’m already seeing improvements. Keep it up!

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      Ouch! I’ll have to be careful, that totally sounds like something I would do!

    2. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      By the way, just checked out your shop and your work/photos are gorgeous!

    3. Ashley

      Thanks so much Amanda! I have a love-hate relationship with photography that I’m working on. Your tips have been very helpful.

  14. becky

    haa. i actually came to my desk to start practicing for the class…and i ended up here instead! hehe. great job! now im a little more motivated.

  15. Melissa

    I’m taking the class too! I’ve never taken a calligraphy class so I was a little intimidated at first but now I find it therapeutic to practice writing my letters. I’ts been fun trying to come up with my “signature” alphabet. I think the next class I take will be how to digitize your work. Love your shop & blog!

  16. Meegan

    Have you tried a bamboo stylus? I hated the scratchiness of the metal nib, but once I started practicing with a well used, old school bamboo pen, I loved it!

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      I haven’t, I’ll have to get one! I got a bunch of different metal nibs, and I’m finding that some of them don’t give me scratchy problems at all. Maybe it’s just about finding the ones you like… or maybe my practicing is starting to pay off! ;)

  17. Milou

    Wow, looks great! You make me want to practice more. And how cool you are in calligraphy class. I want that too! What kind of pen is it that you use?

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