Always admired this sublime writing art but never dared pick up a brush? Pixartprinting will help you get started with a selection of the best calligraphy workshops for beginners in Europe. Airbnb experiences, renowned artists, institutions, associations… To your pens, get set, go!
1. Alice Gabb
Alice Gabb is without doubt London’s calligraphy queen. From her studio in east London, for over ten years she has been lending her quill to big names, including Hermès, Jo Malone, Harrods and even Facebook. Her workshops are held both in her studio and at various other venues across London. You’ll be welcomed with a cup of tea and some tasty nibbles, and come away with your own calligraphy starter kit consisting of a starter manual, pen, pen holder and tote bag. The kit can be found on Etsy, the workshop experience on Airbnb and more information about her work on her website. Enjoy!
Studio B, 21-27 Millers Terrace, Dalston, E8 2DP
2. Quill London
Quill London has been featured in Vogue, Elle Decoration, The Sunday Times and more. Snapped up fast by Londoners (advanced booking advisable), its workshops are held in classy surroundings and are ideal for modern calligraphy beginners and improvers. Everything you need is provided and practice sessions are also organised so you can hone your skills outside of class. You’ll also find gift ideas, calligraphy tips and more on their website. Check it out.
37 Amwell St, Clerkenwell, London EC1R 1UR, United Kingdom
3. London Calligraphy
With a welter of glowing Google reviews and 5 star ratings, London Calligraphy is undoubtedly a Mecca for calligraphy in London. Founder Katie Noakes still marvels at the power a few prettily handwritten words can have and shares her passion with rare sensitivity. She’s worked for Buckingham Palace among other notable clients. Royalty!
Unit 134, 6 Candle St, London E1 4SG, United Kingdom
4. Babooche Calligraphy
Asha from Babooche Calligraphy celebrates handwriting in all its glory. She grew up near the sea, surrounded by the English countryside, and nature’s inspiration shines through in her work. Her calligraphy is clearly produced by hand, as are her materials: ink mixed by hand and handcrafted paper too. In her workshops, you will learn the basics of modern calligraphy: how to use a fountain pen or brush and ink to write your first letters. The workshop costs £50 and includes refreshments and a calligraphy starter kit to take home with you. We recommend booking in advance as places go quickly.
LG08 The Record Hall Babooche Calligraphy Ltd, Baldwin’s Gardens, London EC1N 7RJ, United Kingdom
5. Tea & Crafting
Tea & Crafting offers all sorts of workshops – from crochet to cake decoration to popcorn making – but all with one thing in common: outstanding quality. There’s something for everyone, from modern pen calligraphy to traditional brush.That little extra? There are also themed seasonal workshops throughout the year, including a class on Christmas card calligraphy.
15 Maiden Lane, 1st Floor, London WC2E 7NG, United Kingdom
1. Schreibwerkstatt-Klingspor Offenbach
Founded in 2009, this international non-profit association promotes the practice of calligraphy. It organises handwriting classes, conferences and exhibitions. The conservation and development of works of calligraphy are an important part of its mission, with the organisation keeping an international archive of historical and contemporary calligraphy. Workshops are led by Karlgeorg Hoefer and take place in the evenings and at weekends. It’s the perfect environment for top-quality classes with an almost academic feel. You can find more information on their Facebook page.
21502 Stadt Geesthacht, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany
Juju Kohi, the calligrapher who runs Sosekido, sees the organisation as a bridge between Japanese culture and other countries, built on the art of writing. The school was founded by his teacher, whom he first met when he was just 13 years old: it’s the ideal place to immerse yourself in centuries-old traditions. Classes are held weekly in the centre of Berlin. Regardless of their level of experience, all participants are encouraged to learn from one another, to express themselves rather than follow strict rules. The institution has recently partnered with the Japan-based Mugen Mirai school, which aims to bring a more artistic dimension to calligraphy. Don’t miss the 2019 annual exhibition on traditional writing styles.
Köpenicker Straße 175, 10997 Berlin
3. Studio Martina Flor
Illustrator and designer Martina Flor puts her twin talents to good use in the art of lettering. She works for advertising agencies, magazines, major brands and publishing houses including Vanity Fair, The Washington Post, Etsy, Adobe and Mercedes Benz. A graduate of the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague, she now spends a large part of her time teaching calligraphy. Her different packages offer something for everyone: online classes for stay-at-homes (the first two months are free), three-day intensive summer courses, public workshops held 2 to 8 times a year in her own studio and elsewhere in Europe, and in-house workshops where she comes to your workplace and participants take home a certificate afterwards. There are no more excuses for not giving it a go!
Gerichtstrasse 23, Hof 3, Aufgang 2, Etage 3 13347 Berlin, Germany
4. Saiu Minagawa
Saiu Minagawa started studying calligraphy at the age of 9. She then moved on to the traditional Chinese brush technique. Today, she has a bachelor’s degree from Tokyo’s Keio University and, having received her master’s degree from the Tokyo University of the Arts, she is a member of the Sogen Shodokai Organization and continues to study with her teacher, Sokyu Nagamori. She has received numerous awards from the Mainichi Shodo Exhibition in Tokyo and is currently based in Berlin. Minagawa teaches classes on Wednesday afternoons and also offers a free taster session. She also holds workshops at other times of the week. These are often aimed at children and cover subjects such as the history and different types of Chinese and Japanese calligraphy, as well as tools, basic techniques and how to write your first characters. ビエンナーヴ (Welcome!)
Brunnenstr. 39, 10115 Berlin-Mitte (U8-Bhf. Bernauer Straße), Berlin
Stephanie Weigele is a calligrapher and graphic designer based in Potsdam, a city 20 miles from Berlin. She has worked for over 20 years as a freelance illustrator and graphic designer, and has a real passion for calligraphy. For Weigele, calligraphy is the perfect combination of precision, beauty and artistic expression – and we couldn’t agree more! She belongs to various lettering associations and her work has been published in Dasherie Magazine. She also continues to learn from the great practitioners of this art. Weigele holds workshops and private classes in Potsdam as well as online sessions via Google Hangouts. It’s a great way to learn from home with a great teacher (who also teaches in English).
Stefanie Weigele, Meistersingerstraße 4, 14471 Potsdam
email@example.com | +49 173 / 2 34 16 92
1. L’associazione Culturale Dal Segno Alla Scrittura
Founded in 1992 by volunteer professionals and supported by graphic designers, teachers and illustrators, this non-profit association dedicated to calligraphy is without doubt the most active in Italy. It is completely self-financed and independent. Each year, it participates at the Turin International Book Fair and countless other events. In total, 11 experienced teachers give courses for a range of styles and levels. Regular classes are held during the week and longer workshops at weekends.
Corso Matteotti, 9 – TORINO, presso Scuola Media Statale “A. Meucci” (succursale)
firstname.lastname@example.org | +39 333 109 8472
2. Centro Internazionale Arti & Calligrafiche Del Libro
CIAC’s mission is to promote handwriting.It holds various types of workshops, including one session on “free handwriting” taught by Monica Dengo, in which the physical process trumps the aesthetic result, and another on movable type printing led by American typographer Amos Paul Kennedy. Classes on handwriting, Latin calligraphy, book art and binding are also offered.CIAC is based in Arezzo, south of Florence.
Via Venti Settembre 60, Arezzo, Italy
3. Associazione Calligrafica Italiana
Since 1991, the Associazione Calligrafica Italiana has been promoting calligraphy and related disciplines such as miniature, binding, letter drawing and stone engraving. It organises conferences as well as visits to libraries and archives aimed at bringing the Italian calligraphy tradition to a wider audience. The main goal is to preserve this handwriting culture in our increasingly digital societies. Classes are taught by instructors with truly remarkable backgrounds. Two years ago, to mark the association’s 25th anniversary, it organised an international conference in Milan entitled: “Does handwriting have a future?”. On the practical side of things, you can take one of their classes in Rome, Milan, Naples, Verona, Ponte Tresa and Vicenza. It’s an association that makes sense of our relationship with culture and the tradition of writing.
Associazione Calligrafica Italiana, Via Sebenico 22, 20124 Milano
email@example.com | +39 377 282 6625
4. Bottega Di Calligrafia
The Bottega Di Calligrafia was founded by Maria Beatrice Cicchetti over 20 years ago in Rome. The idea behind it? To promote the art and practice of calligraphy. Together with husband and fellow calligrapher Giuseppe Riccardi, she runs a boutique-cum-studio in Rome’s historic Prati district. Over the years, this little shop housed in a 19th-century building has become a must-visit address for calligraphy in the Italian capital. It’s a treasure trove of fine papers, artisanal inks, waxes and traditional calligraphy, a bastion of tradition and culture. While they don’t offer classes as such, just speaking to the owners is an introduction to the world of calligraphy in itself.
Via degli Scipioni 105, Rome, Italy
5. Corso Di Calligrafia
If we had to pick an Italian workshop from outside of the non-profit world, it would certainly be the one given by Lorenzo Paciaroni, who teaches calligraphy for a living. A web designer by training, he returned to more traditional techniques having grown tired of the computer screen. He specialises in historical scripts, particularly medieval Gothic, and these serve as inspiration for all of his work. Paciaroni believes that, in the digital era, we yearn to reconnect with techniques and traditions that have often fallen out of use, which would explain the recent craze for calligraphy. Various course packages are available, ranging in length from half a day to two full days, and never with more than 15 people at a time. The rave reviews on his Facebook page should be more than enough to convince you.
Courses are held in the largest cities of the Lazio region as well as the greater Rome area.
firstname.lastname@example.org | +39 389 947 4712
A passion for teaching. At Deletras, calligraphy is viewed as the loveliest distance between two points. Since 2010, this team of enthusiasts has been teaching hundreds of students the art of beautiful handwriting. Spain’s first school dedicated to calligraphy, it offers a range of classes: classical, English, modern, brush and American cursive, as well as others with a more creative focus, such as watercolours. A team of six will guide you through your first foray into calligraphy.
Ruiz Perello 6, bajo C, 28028 Madrid
2. Taller de Caligrafia
Having studied history of art at the Complutense University in Madrid and worked as a photographer for over 24 years, Isabel finally found her true calling in calligraphy.She founded her school 17 years ago and has built a strong team around her. Although Taller de Caligrafía specialises in classical calligraphy, it also teaches a variety of other techniques. Ideal if it’s personalised instruction you’re after.
C/ Santa Engracia, 4, 28010 – Madrid – España
3. Three Feelings
After studying graphic design in Barcelona, Laura moved to New York, where she was blown away by the stunning lettering to be found throughout the city, and by its powerful visual impact. She went on to study with some of the great teachers of this art and now gives classes of her own. You will learn how to use the pen, control the pressure exerted on the paper, form letters and so on. Classes are held in small groups in either Madrid or Barcelona and consist of four-hour workshops from which you’ll take away pens, a note pad, a workbook and other goodies.
4. Asociacion Alcuino Caligrafia
This association is run by two calligraphy history aficionados. They regularly organise meetings, classes and events – find out more on their Facebook page. A hangout for calligraphy fans in Valladolid.
Plaza Tenerías, 5, 8º B, 47006 Valladolid
5. Shodo Creativo
Shodo Creativo consists of Elena Hikari, a young woman who has studied with a Japanese master calligrapher and who also runs the Nihon Shuji foundation, and Luciana Rago, an art professor specialising in Japanese painting. It’s the place to go to if you want to get into Japanese calligraphy and its philosophy in Madrid.
Métro Puerta del Angel, Madrid.
1. Julien Chazal’s workshops
Regarded as one of Europe’s finest calligraphers, Julien Chazal gives lessons on Tuesday evenings in Paris. He also puts on courses elsewhere in France and abroad upon request. It’s a fantastic opportunity to learn from a master whose illustrious list of clients includes Cartier, Moët & Chandon, Rolex, Dior, Chanel and the Crillon hotel. Chazal has also worked in the film industry, notably tutoring Romain Duris in quill calligraphy for Laurent Tirard’s Molière, and doing the same for Emmanuelle Devos in Violette. He has published numerous books, and chairs the calligraphy category of the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France competition, a prestigious award for the finest craftsmen in their field.
Julien Chazal, 22 Rue Tuition, 75011 Paris
2. La Maison de la Calligraphie
Created by two handwriting obsessives, José Ruiz and Serge Cortesi, La Maison de la Calligraphie is a Paris institution that gives classes for both beginner and experienced adults. Ideal for mastering the basics and then building on them by experimenting with different tools and materials. Courses focusing on particular techniques are also held regularly. These workshops bring together people of all ages with a shared passion for calligraphy.
La Maison de la Calligraphie, 11 Rue Duhesme, 75018 Paris
3. Quartier Japon
There’s no better place in Paris to learn Japanese calligraphy. Teacher Ayano Okumura took his first classes at the tender age of 9 and went on to obtain an advanced calligraphy diploma in Japan, winning awards for his work along the way. The syllabus is extensive: you will learn about the philosophy that underpins Japanese calligraphy as well as its fundamental tools, and will then practice various kanjis and katanas. Class numbers are limited to ensure each participant receives one-to-one tuition.
Quartier Japon, 35 rue de Clichy, 75009 Paris
4. The Confucius Institute
Confucius Institutes promote Chinese culture across the world. As well as language courses and seminars on ancient China, they offer calligraphy workshops. It’s essentially a practical lesson. Each student chooses a calligraphy model, in other words, a master work of Chinese calligraphy to study and use as inspiration for new creations. The classical theories of this centuries-old art are also discussed in class. An exhibition presenting each student’s work concludes the course.
The Confucius Institute, Paris Diderot University – Paris 7, 5 Rue Thomas Mann, 75013 Paris
Ductus is a Latin calligraphy non-profit association that gives classes covering the great historical styles, Latin graphic design, lettering and the various techniques that can be used to enhance the end result, such as gold leaf, scratchboard and embossing. Personal projects are shared throughout the year to create calendars, books and more. Classes are taught by Jean-Yves Quellet, who divides his time between teaching, graphic design, calligraphy and experimental paper-making.
Ductus, 23 Rue de Belfort, 75011 Paris
And for the European expats out there, the Calligrafile website has put together a list of the major calligraphy associations around the world. We’re most grateful!