As more advanced technology takes over our lives, more people are rediscovering the therapeutic effect of putting pen to paper. In the last 5-10 years, there has been a massive resurgence of analog products. Notebooks and planners are popular items being sold at bookstores, and calligraphy workshops and bullet journal workshops are also gaining traction. The art of handwriting and calligraphy is no longer a staple of primary education, like it used to be when we (and our parents) were children. The truth is, this doesn’t diminish the importance of handwriting and calligraphy, because as humans, we have been writing for as long as we can remember, and the act of writing itself, whether calligraphy or handwriting, offers many benefits.
Let’s explore these benefits together!
1) It is Meditative and relaxing
Whenever I teach my pointed pen calligraphy workshops, someone usually mentions that it is very therapeutic or relaxing. That’s because when you are only focused on creating one stroke at a time, each stroke slows down your breathing, and relaxes your body. And as you keep writing, your mind starts to forget about your problems, thus making it a great activity for meditation and relieving tension.
2) It helps develops fine motor skills and memory retention
In order to do calligraphy, you need to know how to use the pen to create each stroke of the letter. This activates the motor areas of the brain, which include the cerebral cortex, the basal ganglia, and cerebellum. At the same time, it engages the language portion of the brain. Studies have shown that children retain the spelling of a word much better when they are writing the word out by hand. So learning calligraphy and handwriting are definitely an incredible way to develop fine motor skills and increase memory retention.
3) We are most creative when we are using our hands
Austin Kleon, author of Steal like an Artist, has an analog table and a digital table. He writes:
“The analog desk has nothing but markers, pens, pencils, paper, index cards, and newspaper. Nothing electronic is allowed on that desk. This is where most of my work is born,… The digital desk had my laptop, my monitor, my scanner, and my drawing tablet. This is where I edit and publish my work.”
He believes that when we’re behind any electronic devices, our body is stationary and gets disconnected from our brain. By keeping our hands moving and our bodies active, it encourages our brain to think at a higher level. This is where we can inject our sense of play, and encourage our creativity to flourish. Creating a calligraphy art piece allows us to move our hands, and putting together word compositions gives us a chance to unleash our creativity.
4) It helps us make sense of our thoughts and promotes critical thinking
When we’re engaged in problem solving, it’s been shown that the best results come from writing things out or by manipulating the problem with our hands. Also, whenever we encounter a problem, the act of writing helps with the critical thinking process. This is also one of the reasons why some of us like to write physical journals in order to sort through our complex emotions. Doing so allows us to gain a deeper understanding of our situation, uncover how we’re feeling, and discover potential solutions to our problems.
5) It helps us gain confidence as we get better at the skill
Learning calligraphy is a skill; it takes a lot of patience and practice. We may get frustrated in the beginning when we start learning, but as we get better and see the beautiful progress, we begin to take pride in our work and gain more confidence. Learning and mastering new skills that challenge us confirms our belief that we have the ability to overcome difficulties.
6) It facilitates connections with other people
Last but not least, being able to build strong relationship with others is the main reason why I love calligraphy. We are social creatures. When we write something meaningful to someone, and when we see that instant reaction from the person, we know that our message has touched them, or made an impact on them. We know that we’ve connected with the other person. This moment is very powerful, and it’s a beautiful moment to behold and treasure.
These are some of the reasons why I teach calligraphy. I have personally experienced all of the above benefits and I want to share them with others. Also, as a mother of a 2.5 year old son who may not have the opportunity to learn handwriting, I feel that it is extremely important for me to help pass on the beautiful art of calligraphy to our future generations.
If you’re interested to try your hand at calligraphy, or believe someone close to you may benefit from it, I invite you to join me at one of the calligraphy workshops I offer with Boomerang. You can view my Calligraphy website for more information about me.
See you soon!
This article was written by Claudia Chan.
Claudia offers elegant bespoke calligraphy and engraving services to clients and businesses who care deeply about creating memories and building relationships that last.
As a calligrapher and engraver based in North York, Toronto, Claudia works closely with wedding couples to help capture their love stories and turn them into treasured pieces.