Relearning Calligraphy

When I was younger, I went to Chinese school and learned calligraphy. It has always appealed to me, maybe because anything that has to do with writing does. The brush strokes, whether big and bold or thin and short, look like works of art. I find it fascinating that writing in calligraphy is closely connected to China’s history, culture, religion, even philosophy. Each character seems to have its own soul.

I own a set of brushes and ink stone but I never used it because I’ve always been too busy. Recently, I met someone who is an avid calligraphy writer. He took the time to explain the various types of brushes …


He also described the different characters from various periods in Chinese history, including the ways this type of writing was used.


It has been a long time since I picked up a brush so my writing hand was unsteady. Even writing “δΈ€” or “one” was a struggle. I practiced it several times until I could write it evenly, even adding the subtle curls at each end of the line (if you know Chinese calligraphy, you know what I mean).

guided practice

Besides practice, I think I need to be more graceful and gentle with the brush. I tend to press hard on the paper as if I am writing with a ballpoint pen. In watching my instructor, I observed that he holds the brush delicately and allows it to grace the paper as if he were simply sweeping it. Such control takes a lot of practice.

independent practice

Now that I’m relearning calligraphy, I hope to practice more on my own. Just like any hobby, I would need to invest time and effort to capture the art. I may do just that.

2 Responses to “Relearning Calligraphy”

  1. kim says:

    this is kinda like our ‘mo-pit’ in school right? it’s funny how you guys used the ashtray as the inkwell. :)

  2. mbcohao says:

    yes, it’s pretty much the same … I actually had an inkstone but my instructor didn’t want to waste it and used his own ink instead (in an ashtray). Worked quite well, too! :-)

Leave a Reply