On top of photography and visual arts, calligraphy is one of my huge interests and passions.
With calligraphy, there tends to be too many rules on how to do it “properly”. For example there is a “proper” stroke order and so forth. But this is where Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline and many of the abstract painters were geniuses:
They had the courage to throw all the rules out of the book.
Similarly, I’m happy I never had a formal education in photography art or design. Why? I’m not trapped by dogma.
In photography I did get a little suckered by dogma — mostly insecure and petty name-dropping photographers who wanted to make other photographers (like myself) feel small by trying to assert how “smart” they were in terms of photographic history, art history, art terms, and other pretentious forms of artistic virtue signaling.
To trace the calligraphs of other master calligraphers brings me more delight than studying the design of Lamborghinis
Why do I like to study calligraphy so much? For me, I get a huuuuuge rush of artistic and visual aesthetic bliss from studying calligraphy. Studying the brush stroke patterns, the dynamism of the line, and the disdain for straight lines really excites and turns me on.
So is there a right way to do it?
Certainly not. Anyone who tries to “correct” you — disdain them with a passion.
Certainly there are more “efficient” and “effective” ways to pursue calligraphy, especially if you’re writing proper words in Chinese, Korean, Japanese, etc. But consider the first calligrapher who had ever done this … the average scholar must have thought them to be mad.
In praise of graffiti artists
In the states, we got graffiti artists and street artists who never had a formal education in art, yet have created some of the most visually dynamic and exciting-sublime visual art works and pieces. The art world is starting to catch up.
The scribbling technique
Truth be told, it seems the best technique is to just do a mindless scribble. Scribble and make it look good to you.
Look at and study calligraphy which you consider aesthetically beautiful, and just trace over it
I’ll either screenshot or photograph calligraphs I see, and just trace them in Procreate on my iPad.
What does great calligraphs look like to me?
To me, great calligraphs look like human beings dancing in motion. And I surmise that much of the early pictograms and even Chinese characters literally did look like abstracted human beings. I even look at some of these great calligraphs and it reminds me of Richard AVEDON and his great photographs of women dancing in motion in the air.
For example this character:
It looks like this Jean Shrimpton photograph by Richard Avedon in 1970: