For more information about Arabic Calligraphy Presentations and workshops, please contact me.
Calligraphyis known as “beautiful handwriting,” and in Arabic it also means the“art of the pen” and “the geometry of the spirit.” Arabic calligraphyis a genuine Arabic and Islamic art form that links the literaryheritage of the Arabic language with the religion of Islam. It is anartistic tradition of extraordinary beauty, richness and power. TheQur'an played a major role in the development and evolution of Arabicscript and calligraphy, and was the main inspiration for beautifyingthe words of God. The first revelation of the Qur’an inspired Arab andMuslim artists to be creative and use calligraphy as a spiritual andartistic identity. Arabic calligraphy has been used for centuries todecorate architectural buildings, manuscripts, and objects of dailylife.
Despite the diversity of the Arabic and Islamic world, ArabicCalligraphy is a major element that unified Islamic art. In additionto its spiritual value, Arabic calligraphy and inscriptions onarchitectural monuments served as historical documents. Calligraphywas an art form that adapted every imaginable art media such as paper,wood, metal, glass, stone, ivory, and leather. It is an art that isconsidered a form of worship and played a major role in Arabic andIslamic cultures.
Presentation on the Hisorty and Development of Arabic Calligraphy
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Themost economic and accessible tools are ordinary pencils. You can use asingle pencil with a tip shaped correctly, or use a combination of twopencils at a certain arrangement, or you can get a carpenter pencil.
- Two Pencil Combination: Puttogether two ordinary graphite (2H) pencils using elastic bands ormasking tape. For Arabic calligraphy, the points of the pencils needto be arranged at about 35-40 degrees, or the right point is about ¼in. higher that the left point. When using the two pencil combination,you may need to close the opening using one of the points. This toolis simple and it is useful in the learning stage specially for writinglarge letters.
- Carpenter Pencil:
Carpenter’spencils are available from construction supplies stores such as HomeDepot. These pencils have broad and rectangular center. Harder pencils(H) are better than soft ones. To prepare the pencil, use a utilityknife to sharpen the tip rather than using a sharpener. The tip needsto be shaped (cut) at an oblique angle of about 35-40 degrees to besuitable for Arabic calligraphy.
2 - Felt Tip Pens: Thesepens are available from stationary or art supplies stores. You need toselect a chisel tip pen such as the one manufactured by ZIG. In theArab World, you will find pens specially made for Arabic calligraphy byPILOT and ZIG. These pens come in 3 different nib widths: 1.0, 2.0,and 3.0 mils.
3- Permanent Markers: Chisel Tip markers such as Sharpie Permanent Markers, and COPIC Wide Extra Broad Markers such as 100 (Black)
Sharpie Permanent Markers
COPIC Wide Extra Broad 100 (Black)
4 - Calligraphy Sets and Fountain Pens:
CalligraphyPens such as ozmiled, Shaeffer, and Rotring calligraphy sets and penscan be used for Arabic calligraphy. The nibs of these pens need to beshaped at an oblique angle of about 35-40 degrees using sandpaper.Rotring pens come in 1.5, 1.9, 2.7 mil. See instructions for preparing nib pens below.
5 - Bamboo/ Reed Pens:
Froma traditional perspective, the reed pen carved from a dry bamboo stalkis certainly the essential beginner’s tool. The harder or more maturethe bamboo, the less trouble it will give you once carved. Soft bambootends to absorb the water in the ink and the nib swells out of shape.Carving the pen is an art best learned in the traditional way at thehands of a master calligrapher.
1.Drop the bamboo pen on a table or flat surface, allowing it to rolltill it stops. The side which is now facing the ceiling is the side youwill carve.
2.In the side of the pen which fell face up, carve a hollow that is thelength of the first digit of your thumb. As you carve, shave away someof the thickness at the tip of the nib, but make sure that you do notshave away so much that the nib becomes weak or paper-thin.
3.Gently and evenly peel the two sides of the hollow from the opening tothe tip of the nib so they are smooth and the tip is the approximatewidth you desire.
4.Make a vertical slit in the nib. Locate the slit slightly right ofcenter, that is, closer to what will be the point of the pen. This waythe right-half-nib (the nib containing the point) is thinner than theleft-half-nib. This allows a free flow of ink when you use only thepoint of the to write delicate strokes such as the point of the jiim, the tail of the waaw, or the vowel markings fatHa, Damma, and kasra.
5.Make a small round hole at the base of the vertical slit. The holestores ink, allowing it to flow evenly through the slit of the tip asyou write.
6. Cut the tip of the nib at the desired angle (usually 35-40 degrees) as follows: - Place the hollowed nib of the pen upon the edge of a flat table or wooden box. The back or uncarved side should be facing the ceiling. - Position the knife on top of the nib at an angle such that the right side of the nib will be pointed. - Press down the knife, while holding the pen steady.
7. Peel a shallow .5 cm long indentation into the smooth back of the nib all the way to the tip. 8.With gentle vertical and horizontal strokes, sand the back and front ofthe nib, on fine sandpaper, so the tip is smooth. Now write the lettersalif, baa, waaw, nuun, and a big yaa on sandpaperas if it were paper. Don’t write roughly or press down to hard! If yousense roughness or resistance when writing any of the letters, writethem two or three times on the sandpaper until they can be writtensmoothly. When sanding a pen always hold it at the angle at which youwould write the same letter. 9.Dip your pen in ink until the vertical slit and hole are covered, butno further. Wipe the nib on the cloth blotter and write. If any of theletters can’t be written smoothly, gently write them two or three timeson the sandpaper and text again. Repeat this process until satisfied.
6 - Nib Pens:
Contemporarycalligraphers most commonly use nib pens for their work. These pensconsist of a steel nib inserted in a wood holder. Like the bamboo pens,they must be dipped in an inkpot. The nibs are available in many sizes,and you can get a much finer line than with a bamboo pen.
When you buya nib, the tip is completely flat. You must prepare it for writing bysanding a comfortable angle onto it. Once a nib has been prepared itcan last for months if cleaned after every use and kept free of driedink which stretches the nib-halves out of shape.
Following are instructions for preparing the nib:
1.Insert the nib in its holder and hold the pen as if you were going towrite, but press one finger or your thumb against the nib between thehole and tip, so that the two teeth do not separate and are sandedunevenly, the pen will not write properly.
2.Holding the pen at the angle at which you could write and protectingthe teeth with one finger, sand the pen from right to left and left toright several times. Since the nib is flat and you wish to put an angleon it, you will initially be sanding only the left or bottom half ofthe nib. As you continue, the nib will acquire an angle and both top(right) and bottom (left) teeth will be sanded. Examine the sandpaperas you proceed. You will know you are done when the sound of sandingchanges and the horizontal mark from sanding is the width of the fullnib. If you look at the nib now, it should be angled instead ofstraight. When held in writing position, the right tooth should containthe point of the pen.
3. Examine the pen with its back facing you and the hollowed concave side facing away. Thereis a slit down the nib which separates the two teeth. The slit shouldbe slightly off center to the right, so the right tooth (with thepoint) is thinner than the left tooth. If the slit is directly down thecenter of the nib you must turn the nib on its right side and sand theright tooth several times from right to left and left to right on theedge of your sanding block. Sand until the right tooth (with the point)is slightly thinner than the left tooth. This allows ink to flow freelyto the point of the pen when it is used alone for delicate strokes thatdo not require the entire nib width.
4. Gently write few letters such as alif, waaw, nuun, and yaa two or three times on the sandpaper. If you sense any resistance write them again until they can be written smoothly. 5.Test the pen with ink on paper. If any letters cannot be writtensmoothly write the again on sandpaper. Repeat this process until youare satisfied.
The computer or digital process in
creating the majority of my art pieces involved many steps, including
hand-drawn sketches, vector illustration, and raster manipulation using
computer graphics applications. Following is an outline of this digital
process in creating one art piece, which contains the word "Allah," and
is arranged in a geometric shape forming an eight-pointed star. The
individual stages involved in creating this image are discussed and
illustrated as follows:
1. Using a
grid sheet of paper, I hand-sketched the word "Allah" with a pencil, and
then scanned it into the computer using Adobe Photoshop software. The
file was then saved in a raster TIFF file format. This scan was used as a
template for line tracing using another program (see below).
2. By placing
the scanned image (TIFF) file into the Adobe Illustrator program to be
used as a template, I traced the word using vector and tracing tools. In
this step, I made sure that the lines were straight and the width of
the lines was consistent. I used a different color to be able to
distinguish between the template (background) and the lines that I was
tracing (see below).
3. After tracing the entire image,
and making sure that the closed areas were made into one object, I
deleted the template that contained the scan, because it was no longer
needed. Then I filled the objects with a solid color (see below).
4. Using the
reflection or "mirror" tool in Adobe Illustrator, I made a mirrored copy
of the image, as shown in (see below). The vertical red line is the
5. Another mirrored copy of both
images was also made using a horizontal mirror line, as shown in (see
below). The resulting image was now in the shape of a square, rotated at
6. I then made four additional
copies of each word and arranged them by rotating each one or making
mirror images, to form a square shape as shown below. This is what I
called a "Unit."
7. Additional copies of the "Unit"
were made and arranged in a square. Additional words were added to form
the shape of a star, as shown below.
Last edited by 3loomi on Sat Feb 12, 2011 5:42 pm; edited 1 time in total