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Calligraphy and Lettering with Sachin Shah

What is your background and where did your passion for calligraphy and lettering come from?

On the contrary to what most people think, I am actually an engineer by qualification. As a child, I was always fascinated with letters and used to write them in every fancy way possible on my notes and journals. About 22 years ago, I was introduced to the beautiful art of calligraphy but there were hardly any resources and materials available where I lived. So I used to make my own tools from wood, bamboo and cutting fountain pen nibs. Since then I have been practicing Calligraphy and Lettering, taking time out of my daily schedule. Even though I work for an IT company in a non-creative field, I always maintain that I am a calligrapher by passion.

Where do you take your inspiration from?

My earliest sources of inspiration were the ancient manuscripts, which I used to study and research in the library. I am particularly inspired by the illuminated letters, which are used in the manuscripts. I also find historic monuments and architectures inspiring especially the inscriptions in Roman script. Besides, nature and its colours play a large role in all my creations whenever I mix my paints and inks.

In your opinion, what are the hardest and the most rewarding parts of practicing calligraphy?

The hardest part, which is actually the most rewarding too, is the laborious number of hours you have to put into this art. Since I write everything with my hand either on paper or canvas or any other medium and do not depend on digital editing, there is no scope for making mistakes. It usually takes decades of learning, exploring, experimenting and practicing this art.

Do you have a favourite style?

I have always been fascinated with the thick and bold letters, which are written with a broad edge tool like a nib or a brush or a marker. It’s difficult to choose a particular style, but I am quite drawn to the Gothic script and Fraktur in particular, which was used in most parts of Western Europe from as early as 1150.

What are the most exciting projects you have worked on and what are you working on at the moment?

The most satisfying projects for me are the original commissions for people who value the art form whether they are quotes or words that are very personal to them. I also love creating type tattoo designs since I know my creations will permanently stay on their body. Among other assignments, right now I am working on creating a type logo for a Saxophonist.

How does your work relate to your everyday life?

Calligraphy to me is daily meditation. It’s therapeutic, soulful and brings a lot of harmony in my life. I absolutely love the fact that I get to write every day of my life. Even when I am travelling I make it a point to carry a book and a pen anywhere I go. The best thing about Calligraphy is you don’t need fancy tools or a workspace. You just have to put your imagination and discipline to work.

What are your favourite tools to use?

Since I love broad edge calligraphy, I love all flat nibs whether it is a Brause or Leonardt Tape Nib. I also love the Leonardt Round Hand Nibs for tiny and precise lettering. Besides the nibs, I love my horizon and automatic pens as well as broad markers. I use a lot of inks and paints in my work and I just love all of them.


If you could give any advice to those starting out in the art of calligraphy, what would it be?

Practice. Practice. Practice. There is no short cut to learn calligraphy. If you are serious about learning, you will need to be extremely sincere about it too. Be prepared to dedicate some part of your day and your life to this art. Understand the basic concepts of letters, spacing and layouts and don’t be afraid of experimenting. You can be inspired by famous calligraphers but do not try and write like them because you can’t. Create your own style and your own identity. And most of all – Don’t wait to be taught. You ought to learn yourselves.

To find out more about Sachin and how you can get in touch with him, follow him on Instagram here