Calligraphy Lessons!

img_0977I just attended my first Chinese calligraphy lesson yesterday!

Several months back, I thought that I could learn Chinese calligraphy on my own through the internet and some books. But I was wrong. It’s very difficult to make good progress without the aid of a teacher.

As it turns out, this teacher is quite a famous calligrapher who has been teaching calligraphy for 16 years! He’s very amazing! What I love about his classroom is that he pasted up all sorts of calligraphy which – I think – were written by him. And they’re really beautiful!

It’s hard to find good Chinese calligraphers here in Singapore these days, and I am very thankful that I do have a very good calligraphy teacher

Yesterday’s lesson, the teacher asked me to do nothing but to write the Chinese characters for 1 to 10 (一二三四五六七八九十), person (人), and big (大). According to him, I will do nothing but write these words as they contain the basic fundamentals of Chinese calligraphy. By the time I master writing these, I will be able to write other words very well. Interestingly enough, he said that the two toughest words to write (and yet they’re one of the first few words we learn from young) are the words person (人), and big (大).

I liked what the teacher said about writing and calligraphy: when you write you just want to get the message across, so style and structural balance is unimportant. You can sacrifice these and other qualities for speed.But when you do calligraphy, every stroke matters – the position, the thickness, the curvature, the length, the angle, etc. That is why you need the fullest concentration. You ought to think about nothing except the word when doing calligraphy.

The first lesson was quite interesting. Oh, and I have homework too! I have to write the Chinese numerals, person (人), and big (大), for the entire week until the next lesson. Can’t wait for the next one!

Update: I have since stopped lessons because of my heavy workload. Due to the overwhelming requests about the Chinese Calligraphy Class, I’ve decided to post the details about the class here:

The name of the teacher is Mr. Ong Guan Kee (王源枝). But I call him 王老師. You can contact him at (+65) 9642 8883.

The place is in between Aljunied and Paya Lebar. Here’s the address:

Singapore Hui Ann Association. 
7 Geylang Lorong 29
Singapore 388063 

There are 4 slots that you can choose (If you miss one, you can make up for it by attending one of the other slots):

  • Mon 2-4pm
  • Wed 11am-1pm
  • Sat 2-4pm
  • Sun 2-4pm. 

The course is on-going. Fees are collected every 3 months. According to him, you’ll need a few years of practice to finally master calligraphy, but you can see visible improvements after a few months under his guidance. Many of his students have been learning with him for many years already. In my class, one of them has been learning under him for 7 years!

He’ll start off by teaching the basic script known as kaishu (楷書). Once you’ve mastered that, he’ll proceed to teach the other scripts, e.g. 隸書, 篆書, and 行書.

王老師 is really amazing. Very patient and professional too. It’s very rare to find such a teacher like him.

As for the materials, you can buy them from directly from 王老師. He sells them at prices lower than what you can get at Bras Basah Complex. Also, he has the kind of brush suitable for beginners.