Carve a career as a professional calligrapher

It can't get more offbeat than this! Calligraphy – the art of beautiful writing – opens a unique career option to write words in different stylish and creative ways.

Creating fancy scripts with various flat and oblique nibs is at the least, a very expressive profession that offers a chance to unleash your artistic potential. “The physical feel of writing is such a joy to me. I get swept up in this process which is almost meditative”, exclaims passionate calligrapher and professional trainer, Cherrell Avery.

Calligraphers can do wonders with their skills – impart a touch of class to written work and make even the most basic words look interesting!

Career Possibilities

Take your pick from a wide palette of services like – designing greeting cards, invitations, announcements, certificates, business cards, menus and decorative books to logos, monograms, posters, motivational art prints or even titles for magazines and films. The increasingly diverse applications also extend to paintings, maps, and legal documents, cut stone inscriptions, ceramics, memorial documents and other handmade presentations.

Some professionals make a living by just addressing envelopes while others choose to propagate the art by conducting calligraphy classes and workshops. Still others create and sell beautifully lettered artwork and other merchandise. A wacky option is body art designing in conjunction with tattoo artists!

You can work part-time, freelance, start your own business, specialise in private commissions or obtain employment in printing shops, greeting card companies, publishing houses or even with wedding planners.

Many argue that calligraphy is a dying art what with the almost ubiquitous use of computers and digital media today. But noted calligrapher and graphic designer, Rohan Rawat, argues: “Calligraphy has existed for centuries, but is relevant even today. It has a rich heritage, yet is being adapted to the digital media as well”.

Calligraphy now forms an integral part of various other fields like design, graphics and typography. Typeface (font) design, desktop wallpapers, manuscript design, hoarding design, signboards, packaging design, illustrations, fine arts and props and moving images for films, television and advertisements use calligraphy for both pen-based and computer-based variations.

What's more, this budding profession is being integrated into the fields of fashion and interior designing too.

Is it right for you?

Calligraphy demands an artistic mind with a creative bend and passion for lettering. A steady hand, an eye for detail and a vivid imagination is imperative. “In order to be a good calligrapher, you must have the driving desire to create beautiful images, motifs, symbols. An aesthetic sense and gauge of artistic balance is necessary. While these skills can be cultivated over time, they are also partially innate,” says calligraphy student Sonal Mathijia.

It takes patience and perseverance to diligently hone and master this artistic skill. Practising with concentration and determination alone will perfect your serif, so to speak! You should also be comfortable working with different mediums (paper, digital, merchandise), colours and relevant designing software.

World renowned calligrapher and master of modern calligraphy, Achyut Palav, elaborates, “If you are interested in a creatively fulfilling career, have an artistic flair and don't want to work at a regular 9-to-5 job, a career as a calligrapher is for you!”

Entering the field

While there are hardly any university recognised calligraphy courses in India, you can always opt for varied classes (beginner to expert) offered by some institutes ranging from a few weeks to a few months.

Online and distance learning is a boon as you can easily access modules, watch demonstrations and scan your works. In addition to this, there is a proliferation of hobby classes (please check credentials), instruction books and calligraphy-writing kits for those looking to getting started.

Even Fine Arts students learn basics of calligraphy like scripts, styles, fonts, strokes, depth, techniques and methods. Once ready, it pays to maintain a portfolio of varied and experimental samples for client approval.

With the growing demand for calligraphers, this is a well-paying career - starting salaries as high as Rs. 15,000. But earnings are bound to vary depending on the art form and project commissions.

As Richard Tuttle, publications director for the Association for the Calligraphic Arts (an international association promoting calligraphy) remarks, “Payment can range from ten dollars for making a little bookmark to many thousands of dollars for creating a one-of-a-kind art piece!”

So, there is a long way to go as you bring your letters alive – the only limit is your imagination!

Payal Chanania


Where to study?

Sri Yogeashwari Institute of

Handwriting, Bangalore



Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA), New Delhi


Calligraphy India, New Delhi,

Noida, Haryana, Chattisgarh


Achyut Pallav School of Calligraphy, Mumbai


Vikrant Karia Institute of Art, Mumbai


New Learning Horizons –

Artistic Calligraphy, Nagpur


Write Right, Indore



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