A Master Calligrapher is like a Supermodel?


This month we started our new term at the calligraphy school. After a two month winter break I was keen to get back but felt a tad guilty that I hadn’t got my paper and brush out once (no, not even ONCE) during the break. :( The new year’s resolution to practise every day at home was all forgotten.


Our new teacher encourages everyone to practise on newspaper. This is the teacher’s sample.

I recognised some old faces from my class last year, but the number of students has dropped from more than 10 to 4! Maybe the thought of another exhibition at the end of the year scared the others away, or maybe they have moved to another class. I don’t know, but anyway, we have some new students and a new teacher too so the mood has changed – this teacher is a lot more chatty and so the class is more relaxed. But it’s harder this year. Last year we started with the easiest calligraphy stroke called 예서 (ye-seo) which has rounded ends and jerky strokes that look like bamboo. Here’s the teacher’s sample:


But this year we have started on a more tricky style called 초서 cheo-seo) where the width of the stroke changes getting gradually thicker at the ends before gently tapering away. So you need to have more control of the brush. Here’s the teacher sample again:


I think we all worry about getting the strokes perfect and that means making them look exactly as they do in the teacher’s sample or the textbook. But the teacher says that EVERYBODY’S calligraphy is different. Our strokes are as unique to us as our silhouette and walk!

I imagined us all standing in a row. And yes, we would all have a unique silhouette. But of course ‘unique’ doesn’t necessary mean good! I’d be the relatively tall, chubby one at the end with posture issues – I slouch! :(

I always thought that walking was pretty straight forward (!) until I watched America’s Next Top Model and discovered that it’s not so easy after all. ‘Look at the state of her walk‘, I found myself saying out loud at the TV as the nervous wannabe model stumbled ungainly down the catwalk. Miss J clearly wasn’t impressed either because as everyone knows who has watched the show – a key to becoming a successful model is to develop a cool signature walk.

My brush stumbles and staggers across the page like a new model’s walk. But even a novice model can get from one end of the catwalk to the other, the question is will she ever be able to get there in style?



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