The full interview (in English!) of Ruth Tan, chief creative of The Workroom, as follows:
How long have you been in the industry? How much time does one have to invest to be like you?
The Workroom's predecessor was Crafty Workshops under thelittlehappyshop.com and we've been organising and teaching workshops since 2011. It takes years to learn to write well.
What inspired you to take career change from a teacher to calligrapher?
I didn't become a calligrapher right away. I quit teaching to look after my two young children, and worked on my online gift-retail business for a few years. When the opportunity came for me to open a brick-and-mortar, I knew right away that I must have a craft corner for my retail customers. That little corner grew to what we are today at The Workroom.
Describe a day in the life of a calligrapher?
It is mundane I guess! haha~ It is a combination of a lot of emails, meetings/discussions with clients, drafting for projects, creating commissioned pieces for clients and working at live events. The day-to-day varies, depending on the bookings of the week, and the demands at the studio as well.
What are the common mistakes a beginner makes, and how to avoid them?
I think a lot of people who like the look of calligraphy have no idea how much work and time it goes into practising and perfecting the script. Also, it is easy to get caught up in the fanciful colours rather than focusing on the actual letterform. It is important to learn the basics well, and to be mindful during practice.
What are the recommended books you suggest beginner to read?
When I started, I used the project section of Molly Thorpe's "Modern Calligraphy" as inspiration. I also love studying the many beautiful scripts in "The Universal Penman" by George Bickham.
What are the takeaways that you hope your class participants have after your class?
That calligraphy is not as difficult as it looks, and that it definitely gets a whole lot better with instruction and practice!
Your tips for brides-to-be?
Have at least a 3 months lead between the time you pick up calligraphy and the time you endeavour to send out those invites you intend to write. When the going gets tough and you don't want to stress over the lettering, hire a calligrapher.
Share us one thing you wish you had known earlier during your early days of calligraphy?
There isn't any... I had a lot of great advice from others who started before I did!
Brush Lettering and Modern Calligraphy, which one is more suitable for beginners?
At our studio, we recommend Brush Lettering to people who wish to write colourful lettering, since this workshop has students writing with watercolour paints. The Modern Calligraphy workshop is a little more 'serious' as we focus on the letterform, and use only black ink.