Gothic / Old English / Black Letter Styles

Gothic, Old English or Black Letter calligraphy is characterized by tall, ornate and impressive characters with very broad strokes using a very wide nibbed calligraphy pen and black ink.  This style is a little more complex to learn than other calligraphy styles and may take a little more time to master, but with patience and plenty of practice, you can get to grips with writing this style relatively quickly.  The characters look impressive and very ornate, depending on how much detail you add to the letterforms. 

You can add lots of fancy twirls, patterns and other fancy marks and scripts to make the writing really impressive, but be careful not to go over the top because the letters can become illegible if you go too far.

Gothic Calligraphy Tutorials

To kick-start you to the art of how to write in Gothic style of script is a video tutorial that shows a simple step-by-step guide to writing the letters a, b, c, d, and e in lowercase letter fonts.  This video tutorial can help you get the idea of how to hold your calligraphy pen and the strokes involved with this style.

YouTube Video

Old English, Gothic or Black Letter Scripts

You will need to use a very broad nibbed calligraphy pen and good quality black ink.  Winsor and Newton inks are great for calligraphy writing.  The secret to great-looking Gothic letters is to hold the calligraphy pen nib to a constant and steady 40 or 45-degree angle.  If you allow your calligraphy pen to slip, your letters will look amateurish and wobbly. 

You can add ornate details to the upper case or capital letters, which really make this style of writing, look stunning and pleasing to the eye.  Try using a fine nibbed black pen or Rapidograph pen for drawing the final finishing touches to your work, but remember, less is more

What Is Gothic Calligraphy Used For

Old style Gothic calligraphy is often used for ornate headings, certificates, wedding invitations and old poems.  Gothic style is also often used for spooky themes, such as Halloween or haunted themes.

Adding Color To Gothic Calligraphy

Years ago, Monks used beautiful luminous and glowing colors to their written scripts, often using gold and bright colors to bring out their work.  You too can experiment with 

color.  Try watercolor washes or good quality colored inks such as Winsor and Newton.  If using watercolor washes, ensure that you use superior quality paper so the watercolor does not crinkle your paper when it dries.