Creative Handwriting Styles

A fountain pen is essential for artistic writing.

In the age of endless fonts on the computer, the skills of creative handwriting are in danger of falling by the wayside. However, many people who feel that nothing compares to a carefully handwritten note or invitation still study the arts of calligraphy. Several different styles of calligraphy exist, and experienced hobbyists may have mastered one or several of them.


Blackletter is a form of calligraphy that appears very formal when printed. The letters are elegant and often have extra lines beyond those that appear in a standard letter form. The lines are very thick, and the way the letters are compressed and the ornate character of the individual letters makes text difficult to read at times. This style is sometimes used for the headings or names on official documents, such as diplomas or degrees.


Copperplate is a very popular style of creative handwriting that emphasizes beauty and flow rather than creating drama like the earlier gothic style. The style is known by many other names, including Engrosser’s Script. This style is a slanted cursive script, and is quite time consuming to perform as the artist balances the shaded thick lines of letters with the more delicate lines that balance the script.


Italic calligraphy is a more modern-looking style that doesn’t sacrifice readability for artistry. This form of writing is rather similar to some of the italic fonts you see on computers, and is the source of the name of those fonts. The letters are slanted to the right and are taller than letters in some other forms of creative handwriting. Artistic embellishments that flick upward are common at the ends of letters when printing or at the ends of words when writing in cursive.

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Custom Styles

When the best artists get familiar with a few basic styles of calligraphy, they may branch into creating their own styles. These are based on images of other handwriting and often born completely from the mind of the artist. For instance, a professional graphic novel letterer will sometimes invent completely new styles of creative handwriting to fit the style of a character or particular story.