Spotlight: Judy Broad Calligraphy

Calligraphy is hot right now, and new ways of exploring the traditional craft are on the rise with calligraphers such as Judy Broad. Having learned from the masters as a mature student, Judy is paving her way with their modern scripts. She now teaches and works with both private and corporate clients including wedding planners, photographers, designers and bloggers to add style and personality to their paper products. We sat down to find out more about Judy and the fine art of beautiful penmanship.

We understand you first learned calligraphy at school. What inspired you to get back into it again?

Yes, I did and I remember loving calligraphy at the time but then life got busy and I forgot about it for a while. It was my niece, Bella, who was responsible for bringing me back to calligraphy. She was getting married and she asked me if I could still do ‘the fancy writing’. I soon discovered that I could indeed still do ‘the fancy writing’ and my passion for calligraphy was reignited.

And this is what led you to start the business you run today?   

Yes, having rediscovered calligraphy I then registered on courses and workshops and studied and practised whenever I could. I found I loved being creative again and through word of mouth I was being asked to complete various commissions for brides and wedding planners. And so I decided to focus on calligraphy as a business and I am delighted to say I am enjoying it immensely. I have my commission work, my workshops and also an e-commerce site and feel lucky to be doing what I love and meeting and working with so many lovely people.

Hand-written wedding table numbers by UK calligrapher, Judy Broad
The extra little details: Judy’s calligraphy perfectly complements a stylish wedding celebration table

Have you noticed a rise in popularity in calligraphy since you returned to the craft?

Absolutely, calligraphy and hand lettering have become very popular and trendy in the last few years. I think it has grown in popularity because on the one hand, we all spend so much time on screens and it can be refreshing to devote some time to doing something creative. I also believe that it has become more popular because of social media. Platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram have made us aware of how things look visually and made the work of talented calligraphers more accessible.

What is your most asked-for style?

I mostly get asked for a modern style of calligraphy, which is a little less rigid than the more traditional scripts. I am lucky enough to work with lots of lovely brides and so calligraphy for weddings is probably requested the most. With different coloured inks, papers and styles, I always love providing calligraphy for weddings and feel that it’s the extra little details that really make the difference.

Have you ever had a special request that really stuck in your mind?

I have had a few unusual and special requests over the last few years. Recently I helped a very nice young man secure a date with someone he had liked for a long time from a distance. I met him at a London café and he asked me to just write, “Call me”, together with his telephone number on some beautiful paper. The note was later delivered to her place of work and he emailed me later that day to say that she had adored the calligraphy and that they were off on a special date. So it wasn’t a huge or difficult job but definitely one that made me smile and I will remember.

A hand-written wedding menu by UK calligrapher, Judy Broad
Calligraphy shows an attention to detail that elevates the occasion

What do you love most about your craft?

There is so much I love about calligraphy. I love how the nib seems to dance across the page, I love being able to be creative every day, I love how relaxing and therapeutic calligraphy can be. Calligraphy means ‘beautiful writing’ and so most of all I love being able to provide someone with something beautiful, personal and unique.

Tell us more about your courses – can anyone join?

It gives me a lot of pleasure passing on my calligraphy skills to others, and yes, anyone can join. I run beginner’s workshops in London and Surrey each month, and also run workshops for both corporate and private clients. The workshops are extremely popular and it gives me a thrill to watch people improve and enjoy their new found skills.

A student learning the art of beautiful penmanship on Judy Broad's calligraphy course
A student learning the art of beautiful penmanship on Judy Broad’s calligraphy course

What’s in store for the future?

I have lots of ideas and some exciting projects planned. There will be more workshops, more sourcing of lovely calligraphy supplies for my e-commerce site, and then there is my book which has just been published by Arcturus Publishing. “Creative Calligraphy” helps you first master the fundamentals of modern calligraphy and then includes 20 step-by-step creative projects for you to try. Look out for the flower wrap project!

Last but not least, do you have a favourite flower and why?

My all time favourite flowers are pink peonies. I tend to get very excited when they suddenly appear at my local florist. There is something so charming and romantic about the beautiful large heads that magically appear from the tightly closed buds. Just stunning!

Calligrapher Judy Broad's favourite flower, the classic pink peony
Judy’s favourite flower, the classic pink peony