The Art of Calligraphy

Barbara Balchunas

Students will be able to:
1. Recognize various fonts in calligraphy and their origins.
2. Copy a text using a font in calligraphy.


The Art of Calligraphy (Power Point)
Lined and/or newsprint practice paper
Calligraphy pens
Lined paper (can be graph or lined penmanship paper)
Basic Italic and Cursive Italic (handouts)
Colored toothpicks
Wooden coffee stirrers


Day 1
1. Engage students by asking students if they have ever done calligraphy.
2. Introduce the lesson with a power point about calligraphy from multiple time periods and cultures.
3. Throughout the presentation, ask questions and invite students to made commentary on the images observed, compare and contrast the texts. How are the pages similar; how do they differ? Point out the uniformity of the lettering and the careful craftsmanship that is evident in all. Guide students to see the elegance of each style. When looking at the Chinese scroll, explain that the seven stamp prints on the scroll refer to important events associated with the work (the artist’s birth date or name, the person who received the scroll, and people who saw it on special occasions).
4. After showing the power point, keep the last practice page on the screen.
5. Discuss the various line qualities and uniform direction of line.
6. Help students to gesture some of the brushstrokes. Note how a slight twist of the wrist creates a curve. A slight hesitation creates a head or foot finial.
Focus on the practice page and explain that students will practice brushwork for calligraphy.
7. Distribute practice handouts (Basic Italic and Cursive Italic), practice blank paper and calligraphy pens.
Model these techniques:

Demonstrate how to hold and position the pen.
Begin each letter at the top. While pulling the pen/brush down or around, press harder to widen the line.
Make circular letters with two strokes, one for each side of the letter.
8. Using either font for reference, invite students to mimic the various lines on the blank page. Point out the direction of lines and even spacing.

Days 2 and 3
1. Review key points from previous lesson: uniform line qualities, direction and slant in the font, careful craftsmanship.
2. Demonstrate how-to indent and space the words in pencil.
3. Distribute lined paper, spacer sticks and pencils.
4. Display and/or provide hard copy handouts of the two calligraphy fonts to be used as reference. (Students may have a pre-written text from a social studies lesson such as a classroom constitution or an ELA lesson such as a poem about calligraphy. This part of the project may be done with the third grade teacher. If not, the art teacher may provide a poem or text.)
5. Using the calligraphy font of their choosing, students will first use pencil for the writing sample. This will allow students to make corrections if needed.
6. If the pencil draft is satisfactory, students may begin to retrace the letters with calligraphy pen.
7. Provide individual assistance as required as students work on the project.

Differentiation Approaches

1. Provide short colored sticks (tooth picks) to place over letters to discover with greater ease the direction/slant of a particular font.
2. Spacing tools (wooden coffee stirrers) to place in between words for uniformity.
3. Pre-written text in pencil to trace with the calligraphy pen.


Day 1- Look over all student samples. Provide individual instruction for students who are not working carefully and/or creating uniformly drawn lines.
Day 2 and 3- Writing sample is crafted neatly. Letter size and slant/direction is uniform. No errors in grammar, spelling or punctuation.

Follow Up and Extension Ideas

Visual Art
1. Create an illuminated letter.
2. Decorate around the written sample with a border design.
3. Create a calligraphy font.
4. Re-write the text in a different font.

Language Arts
Read and/or research more examples of calligraphy.

Social Studies
Read and/or research a culture/country to find more examples of calligraphy/art.

Additional Details

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