Calligraphy Alphabet – Mastering This Ancient Art

Learning different styles of the ancient calligraphy alphabet

Calligraphy is an ancient art, but has remained popular in the modern era. Focusing on the shapes, and symbols, the calligraphy alphabets celebrate words written in various ways, from the placement of individual letters to the rhythm and the flow between them. But where did the letters come from, and how did they evolve over time? Not all calligraphy is the same. In fact, this form of artistic writing can actually be categorized into three main types: Arabian, Eastern and Western. Within each class, there are several sub-styles of characters or hands.

Types of Calligraphy Alphabet

There are so many calligraphy alphabets. Over time, you can grow in identifying the different styles. The more traditional calligraphy alphabets are:

French Ronde

During the Rome sack in 1527, many writers moved to the south of France and developed the Italic Cancellaresca adapted to the French Rhonde style in the early 17th century. Books with French Ronde letters arrived in England only in the late 17th century, when John Ayers and William Banson completed French books’ interpretation. Over the next few years, Roundhand English spread worldwide thanks to British commerce with the help of writing masters such as Goerge Bickham.

A thin, flexible nib

This particular alphabet opens and closes with pressure to create thin and thick lines. It’s closely associated with the quill pen of the 1800s and early 1900s that used a gold plated nib to provide enough flexibility. This style features large tilted hand-painted flower script often used for formal invitations.

Gothic

gothic calligraphy
The Gothic styled calligraphy alphabet

After the post-Roman period, new scripts emerged in Northern Europe (12th century). Gothic scripts are prevalent in today’s era and are practiced by many calligraphers as there were many different styles developed during this period. Gothic writing dates back to the primitive Gothic and Romanesque eras. The writings of Carolingian influenced Gothic in the time of Charlemagne. However, this change is more noticeable in the new Gothic scripts: 

Blackletter (Gothic): These scripts also include various (similar) styles such as Batarde, Fraktur, Textura Quadrata, Textura Presciscus, and Rotunda.

Block writing style: Synonymous with medieval times, this style has sharp angles appear like weaves.

Uncial

Uncial style
One of the oldest existing fonts is Uncial, inspired by ancient Greek characters

As one of the oldest fonts, Uncial dates back to the 2nd or 3rd century AD. Inspired by the Greek alphabet, the Uncial script was one of the earliest alphabets used in Christian texts, and apart from its beauty, it was a more practical and faster script. Ideally, for example, a copy of the Bible or other manuscript.

Its bold, curved strokes required less movement to complete the letter shape than the Roman capital. People find it very attractive how the alphabet evolved to meet their needs. This baptismal font, which is very similar to the Roman Rustic, is associated with the Christian church. It requires more space than most alphabets but remains easy to read.

Roman Rustic

A formal unobtrusive font, Roman Rustic remains easy to read and write with a nib or brush. The beauty and key of these letters lie in their geometry and precision, reflecting the delicacy of architecture and culture of the time. This writing served as a fundamental basis for the historical development of the Latin alphabet, and essentially as a written communication method today.

Similar to the square Roman Capitals, it distinguishes another very influential script called Rustic Capital. This nuanced version appeared at about the same time. Calligraphers mostly painted with a flat brush or nib as more common writing for everyday use. 

Roundhand

The Roundhand dominated British writing masters of the 18th century, and its notebooks illustrate beautifully engraved from engraved metal patterns. The alphabet was simple. By applying pressure to a flexible-edged nib, stylists constructed letters and thick lines with an angle of 35-40 degrees to the right with downward strokes in uppercase and lowercase. It’s a simple, easy-to-read alphabet and great for beginners.

Bottom Line

If you’re interested in learning calligraphy yourself, check out our Gooroo course!

Calligraphy has grown in popularity day by day, and new “renaissances” have been seen all over the world. A lot of credit goes to recent technological advances, especially connections via social media platforms. Thanks to the internet and social media, we can spread the various resources of this beautiful ancient art form for the future.

Written By: Anonymous Gooroo Blogger

About the Author

Sam Kahn

Sam Kahn

Sam is a content creator and SEO specialist at Gooroo, a tutoring membership and online learning platform that matches students to tutors perfect for them based on their unique learning needs. Gooroo offers math, English, ESL, Spanish tutoring, and more.