When I first picked up a brush pen 3 years ago and started to write with it, a calm came over me. That is what I love about hand lettering above all else…I feel centred and present.
It’s just me and the tools I need to create on the table in front of me, and my practice becomes a meditative exercise. I have left technology behind. I am not looking at a screen.
I feel tremendous joy and satisfaction watching the ink flow on the paper in a myriad of colours. Even the simple black pen on white paper is incredibly satisfying and beautiful.
That is what all art does for us, as well as crafts. When I scrapbook or make cards, or paint with watercolours, I am ‘in the moment’ feeling focused and peaceful, leaving physical evidence of my artistic expression and making my mark on the world. I cannot do this with an iPad, ProCreate or digital lettering. Calligraphy isn’t about perfection and smooth lines. It’s a creative process and artistic journey that cannot be replicated by technology.
There are numerous scientific studies about how handwriting tremendously benefits our brains, our neurological systems and ultimately our mental health and well-being. Psychology Today states that
Brain imaging studies reveal that multiple areas of brain become co-activated during the learning of cursive writing of pseudo-letters, as opposed to typing or just visual practice.
Every time I teach a workshop, I witness the deep satisfaction everyone feels while learning calligraphy. They are focused and absorbed in the art of using a brush pen and paper, and I love watching their confidence and joy grow as the hours fall away.
Try it. Unplug. Turn off all the devices. Sit quietly with pens and paper and see what happens. Embrace the imperfections, make mistakes and learn from rough drafts. We look at screens all day: mobile phones, TV, lap tops, Kindles. Like my mother used to say, “Rest your eyes” … and let the beauty of calligraphy touch your artistic, creative soul.