Chinese Calligraphy Workshop

6 Dec
Guidelines and instructions for the workshop

Guidelines and instructions for the workshop

We all know the saying “When in Rome, do as Romans do”. So in Hong Kong, I wanted to try more local traditions to lean about Chinese and Hong Kongese culture. Luckily CityUniversity Run Run Shaw Library offers Chinese Calligraphy workshops few times every semester. This fall they offered 3 one hour workshops where you can learn the basics of the calligraphy. And the best thing, they were FREE 😀

We started with a quick introduction of the history of calligraphy and a 10 minutes video about famous Calligraphy artists in China and their schools. It turns out they are very few people who are considered masters of Calligraphy and they are very picky in taking in students to teach them.  The video covered also the process of making calligraphy paper and brushes. The paper is usually made from rice through a process that takes days. The brushes body is made from bamboo or sandalwood (am sure other materials are possible too) and feathers come from a variety of animals including horses and ducks. The process seemed very complex as every hair has to be picked manualy.

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The Ink and brush used for the workshop

Following the video, the instructor explained to us how to handle a brush and the right way to hold it. One big mistake most beginners make is holding it like a pen. And as we focus on other instructions we tend to forget about the brush and go back to holding it like a pen, i guess it is habit. another important point is that you need to hold the brush vertically when writing. 

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The right way to hold the brush

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The instructor holding the brush perfectly vertical

After covering the basics, we were handed an example of characters to follow. The brush strokes have to move from top to bottom, left to right. The end of the stroke should be round and not sharp. To achieve this,  we should not lift the brush quickly, we should do it slowly with a slight return movement at the end.

In the example below, it is obvious that my first attempt (the one of the top) was too sharp, it took me few tries before i can achieve an acceptable results with more round edges. It was really hard because if you are too slow you, the ink soaks the paper for too long and you end up having very round edges which is not good either.

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My attempt at Chinese Calligraphy


Poster for Fall 2013 Calligraphy workshops

The workshop was very informative and even though my calligraphy skills didn’t really improve that much , i still enjoyed it. If you happen to be at City U, i recommend that you sign up for a similar workshop. I did not manage to find an official website where you can find the dates but i found this poster. I recommend that you send an email the the address on it to inquire about the dates of future calligraphy workshops


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