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Modern Calligraphy with Charlotte Xu

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

I am based in Melbourne, Australia. I first discovered calligraphy when I was 16 after seeing them appearing on social media. I have always had a strong interest for traditional art and I instantly fell in love with the therapeutic videos on YouTube. I picked up my first pointed pen almost three years later, and I haven't stopped writing since then. Today my main focus is still pointed pen calligraphy.

Where do you take your inspiration from?

My initial source of inspirations came from master penmen, books and exemplars. As my work began to refine a lot more, my inspirations started coming from not only calligraphers but artists and things around me. I noticed that I began paying a lot more attention to nature nowadays. I find that writing calligraphy can be very intuitive and rhythmic. The letters are not traced nor drawn, and the most beautiful work often reflect a beautiful flow in the calligrapher's movements. 

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

Personally, I find that calligraphy becomes hardest when there is time constraint. Writing and creating art itself is a process I really enjoy, so whether I am practising or completing a piece of work, I'm usually always loving it. One of the most rewarding partS of calligraphy for me is seeing my own growth and improvement. The other is when I am able to do it as a job for other people and seeing my clients loving my work and using my work for the most meaningful occasions.

Do you have a favourite style?

While I work on a number of pointed pen scripts, Copperplate, Spencerian and Modern, I take most of my modern calligraphy inspirations from traditional script. I absolutely love the style of spencerian script. It is characterised by subtle shades in its minuscules and large contrasting shades in its majuscules. The script is very graceful and requires very graceful and refined movements when writing.

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

Occasionally I will receive interesting custom commissioned requests such as artworks, personal letters. In addition to calligraphy, I love to combine it with watercolour. I was recently contacted to create an album artwork for the client's new music album and I was given most of the artistic freedom. The project was challenging but I was able to learn so many new skills in the process, and it is definitely exciting seeing my own artwork being released. Right now, I am working on several wedding stationery jobs as it is wedding season (Spring), along with an interesting design project.

How does your work relate to your everyday life?

I find myself very lucky to be able to work on something I love so much as a part time job while studying as a full time student. Many of the things I practice are quite similar. In addition to calligraphy, I practice yoga, occasionally painting and music. These activities are all quite slow paced, helping my mind to stay in the present and enjoy the process.

What are your favourite tools to use?

A few oblique pen holders and some soft pointed pen nibs. I actually also have a blog post about my favourite supplies here: My Favourite Tools

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

We all know that we should practice and practice, but one of my biggest advices to people who want to take pointed pen calligraphy seriously is learning to study exemplars and your own work. The journey requires a lot of self-awareness and being able to take critiques. I recommend taking photos and videos regularly to help analyse your own work and track your progress.

To find out more about Charlart Script and and how you can get in touch with her, follow her on Instagram here. Check out a gallery of her work below.