What is your advice for those picking up the pointed pen for the first time?

Jodi Bonig: My advice would be to go with the flow (pun intended, but somewhat unintended haha).  When I first started practicing on my own I would get frustrated when comparing my letters and writing to others online thinking that mine wasn't pretty enough and that I must have been doing something wrong.  I realized that I was just taking on my own style and needed to go with it. Just as in writing with a regular pen- everyone's handwriting is different so I shouldn't expect my calligraphy to look exactly like someone else's either. 

Lauren CarnesDon't be afraid to just give it a try. You will mess up... and that's ok! You may write the same phrase 50 times before you like how it looks, but there is joy in the process. And when you get that one that you absolutely adore, look back at where you started and see how far you've come!

Anne WearnBe patient!! Progress feels really slow - but its very helpful to keep older practice to look back at. On days that I am getting frustrated its so nice to look back at the first attempts at the letters and appreciate how far I have come. Its so hard to remember to slow down - my letters look so much better when I really take my time. Go slow - its really worth it! Experiment with different nibs - I really hate some and love others and everyone has an opinion on them. Good thing they are not too expensive - its quickly becoming an addiction! Paper Ink Arts has become a go to shopping website….my cart seems to fill itself up! 

Jordan Slice: Don't be afraid to use your pencil! After I took Paulene's Modern Calligraphy class, I went home and immediately felt like I'd digressed. I started lightly drawing lines on my envelopes before I started with the ink and that really helped me focus on alignment. Sometimes I even outline the text I plan to write so that I can make sure it fits appropriately and looks how I'd envisioned. Another tip: avoid comparing yourself to others! When I find a new craft I want to pursue, I dive head first into researching everything about it (I've already admitted I'm a researcher by trade so no surprise, huh?!). With calligraphy, I quickly found a billion absolutely stunning blogs. They were beautiful, but they caused me to quickly spiral into a cloud of self-doubt. At this point, I've kind of given up following a specific style (because I'm a perfectionist and following a strict style always stresses me out). I'm no professional [that's for sure!], but I'm starting to embrace my style!