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Are you learning calligraphy from scratch? Or trying to improve your skills? Why not learn from one of the best, everyone’s favorite calligrapher, Seb Lester.

Calligraphy Essentials: From First Script to Final Flourish

Go behind-the-scenes with world-renowned calligraphy icon Seb Lester, only available on Skillshare. The course was perfect for me as a beginner. Even just testing the waters with calligraphy, I’d rather learn from the best. But honestly, I would imagine, even professionals would love this course. SKILLSHARE

Seb Lester Calligraphy Course Review

What Does This Online Calligraphy Course Cover?

The 1 and a half hour course will give you an in-depth masterclass, involving close-up demonstrations, step-by-step walkthroughs, and an exclusive printable workbook. You will learn the following:

  • Italic letterforms with a broad nib pen
  • Calligraphy tools and materials
  • How to hold and manipulate your pen
  • Detailed walkthroughs of lower and upper case letters
  • Flourishing techniques for beginners
  • You will finish the class with an elegant and polished piece of writing
Seb Lester Calligraphy Course Review

Seb Lester’s Calligraphy Course Breakdown

01) Introduction

The introduction is all about getting you inspired. Seb briefly discusses the history of calligraphy, and how he has taken this ancient art-form into the modern era. He then talks through a high-level overview of the course. Overall, Seb explains that by taking this course, you will learn not only the fundamentals of italic calligraphy but how these skills translate to other aspects of design.

02) Getting Started & Materials

Seb gives us the rundown on the necessary tools, and how to achieve different styles. The required tools for this course are:

03) Understanding Proportions

Next, Seb explains the fundamentals of proportions. I found this helpful before getting into the writing sections. The main takeaway for me was understanding the calligraphy grid system, which is relative based on nib width.

Seb Lester Calligraphy Course Review

This section is so critical. Even though very technical, Seb makes it easy to understand. He breaks it down clearly while showing every aspect on paper in front of you. Sebs shows us how lower case, upper case, ascenders, and descenders are written in relation to nib width increments. When you are done with this section, you will understand the core principles of how proportions work.

Seb Lester Calligraphy Course Review

04) How to Hold the Pilot Parallel Pen (3.8 mm)

Seb teaches another essential skill in calligraphy; how to hold the pen. From pen angle to hand movement, these are techniques you will need to know. Seb gives examples of what good looks like, vs the contrary.

05) Warm-Up Exercises

Seb talks about why warm-up exercises are important. He shows various stroke movements that help with muscle memory and rhythm.

Seb Lester Calligraphy Course Review

06) Lowercase Calligraphy Letter Forms

In this section, you will learn how to combine various strokes and connections to create the letter. The way Seb teaches how to practice lowercase letters is genius. He breaks down all letters in the alphabet into 4 groups based on their similarities.

Seb Lester Calligraphy Course Review

At first, it was trial and error. I crumped up a few sheets of paper. But after a few tries, I began to see better results. I recommend sticking to Seb’s grouping exercises. The more repetition, the better.

07) Writing Words

Now you will put what you have learned into more realistic situations. Seb talks about a number of considerations when writing words in calligraphy. First is negative space between letters. Next is the space between words. All while reinforcing the fundamentals like consistency, proportions, and pen angle.

Seb Lester Calligraphy Course Review

Now you will put what you have learned into more realistic situations. Seb talks about a number of considerations when writing words in calligraphy. First is negative space between letters. Next is the space between words. All while reinforcing the fundamentals like consistency, proportions, and pen angle.

08) Capital Letterforms

Seb shows and tells how to create capital letters. I found these letters to be especially beautiful because of the added flourishes. This section is helpful because Seb shows how capital letters fit proportionally with lowercase, ascenders, and descenders.

Seb Lester Calligraphy Course Review

09) Flourishing Techniques

This section is so much fun! You will learn how to add decorative strokes that extend from the letters to create drama, elegance, and beauty. Seb talks through some best practices around flourishing while showing some beautiful examples.

I love how at the end of this one, Seb mentions how this is an advanced technique, and not to rush into it. He says he wouldn’t recommend using it for a logo (lol). I agree as the first couple I tried were horrendous. But I did get better. Overall, adding these organic flowing extensions is the most fun and rewarding part or calligraphy.

10) Writing Your Name

Now it’s time to put all that you have learned together and write your own name. Seb teaches how to plan out where you might apply flourishes. He recommends using a pencil to map out the design.

11) Bonus: Behind The Scenes.

I won’t spoil it. What I will say is this video is simply more inspiration.

12) Bonus: Seb’s Favorite Tools.

Another inspiring watch, Seb puts all of his favorite calligraphy tools to the test. He talks about how different tools have different strengths. He refers to tools as a tone of voice and encourages you to experiment with as many tools as possible.

Seb Lester Calligraphy Course

I wish there were links to each tool he mentioned. However, the comments section is full of people asking questions about tools, which Seb has answers for.

Conclusion: Calligraphy Essentials From First Script to Final Flourish

To summarize everything above, I recommend this calligraphy course to anyone! If you are a beginner or looking to improve your skills, you will find tons of value learning from Seb.

The only downside is that this course only covers one calligraphy style/technique, which is Italic. On the flip side, I feel this is actually a good thing because Seb mentions Italic is the best calligraphy style to learn with. You don’t want to get overwhelmed learning a bunch of different styles from the start. Either way, this amazing course is Seb’s first, and I’m sure there will be more to come in the future. I really enjoyed it, and I’m sure you will too!
Check out the course here.

Inspiring Hand Drawn Logos By Seb Lester


Camden Taylor

Author Camden Taylor

Camden is ARTURTH's Chief Editor, Senior Graphic Designer, and artist from the Pacific Northwest.

More posts by Camden Taylor