Beautiful Handwriting, Lettering and Calligraphy

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Handwriting seems to have lost some of its attraction over the last years. Nobody writes beautiful handwritten letters, and uses digital means of communication with smileys, abbreviations and standard lettering instead. And that’s a pity. Since handwriting is unique, it has a tremendous expressive power a standard lettering isn’t able to achieve.

More than that, handwritten text can be incredibly gorgeous. In fact, there is nothing more valuable than a beautiful handwritten letter sent to your beloved ones. And this post attempts to prove just that.

In the overview below you’ll find excellent examples of beautiful handwriting, creative lettering and professional calligraphy. It’s really amazing to see what one can create out of simple letters drawn with a pencil on a small piece of paper.

For further typographic inspiration you can browse through our previous posts

Calligraphy

1800s Lettering Sketchbook:Journal 14
Beautiful calligraphy from 1800s.

Lettering and Handwriting - 1800s Lettering Sketchbook:Journal 14.jpg

Experiment with photographic paper_03
Written by Marina Marjina, a type designer and letterer from Russia.

Lettering and Handwriting - Experiment with photographic paper_03

Lettering and Handwriting - Experiment _process2

Lettering and Handwriting - IMG_8181

Lettering and Handwriting - The sketch_fragment

Claredon Press, Flower
A book cover from 1987. Published by Claredon Press. Created by Sheila Waters.

Lettering and Handwriting - Claredon Press, Flower

Cronica de los reyes catolicos, XVI century.
A Spanish manuscript from Berkeley, University of California, The Bancroft Library.

Lettering and Handwriting - Cronica de los reyes catolicos, XVI century.

Extra: Natasha Mileshina
Natasha Mileshina’s work. Moscow, Russia.

Lettering and Handwriting - Extra: Natasha Mileshina

Daily Type
Calligraphy by Vera Evstafieva.

Lettering and Handwriting - Daily Type

Pool Word

Lettering and Handwriting - IMG_8570

Tom Gourdie’s gallery
Shakespeare’s Sonnets by Tom Gourdie. Handwriting master’s pieces from 1980s.

Lettering and Handwriting -

French Notarial Handwriting
From Michael Twyman’s 26 November 2007 presentation.

Lettering and Handwriting - French Notarial Handwriting

Scripture and Calligraphy
By Denis Brown.

Lettering and Handwriting - Scripture, Denis Brown

Erin K. Nolan

Lettering and Handwriting - Digeridoo Festival

Handwriting, Doodling and Lettering

British Ariways B/W Font
Alex Trochut’s work for British Airways. Sexy, sweet and beautiful lettering!

Lettering and Handwriting - British Ariways B/W Font

Panasonic Advertisement
The design by the agency Lowerporta from Chile. An advertisement for Panasonic digital devices.

Lettering and Handwriting

Art and Life
Joei Lau’s project. Beautiful curves.

Lettering and Handwriting - Art and Life

all the best
Wishes from Ale Paul.

Lettering and Handwriting - happy holidays and wishes

Lettering and Handwriting - all the best

Estrella Levante Posters
Tasty typography!

Lettering and Handwriting - Estrella Levante Posters

Lettering and Handwriting - Estrella Levante Posters

Extraverage x The KDU
Karoly Kiralyfalvi, graphic designer from Budapest, Hungary.

Lettering and Handwriting - Extraverage x The KDU

Lettering and Handwriting - Lettering

Lettering and Handwriting - Aquasky flyer

Typography
Jeff Finley’s work.

Lettering and Handwriting - Typography

Split in Two
Created by Pawel Janczarek.

Lettering and Handwriting - Split in Two

Doodles!
Beautiful doodles from Austin, TX.

Lettering and Handwriting - IMG_2809

Handwriting
By Yury Ostromentsky.

Lettering and Handwriting - Daily Type

takin’ it
Lettering design by Jon Contino.

Lettering and Handwriting - taking it

“R”
By Zeptonn, an illustrator from the Netherlands.

Lettering and Handwriting - R

1961 William Mitchell Pen Catalog

Lettering and Handwriting - 1961 William Mitchell Pen Catalog

inspiredology.com | inspiredology.com

Lettering and Handwriting - inspiredology.com | inspiredology.com

Zapf Games 2005
By Alexander Utkin.

Lettering and Handwriting - Zapf Games 2005

Daily Type

Lettering and Handwriting - Daily Type

inspiredology.com

Lettering and Handwriting - inspiredology.com

Sostav.ru

Lettering and Handwriting - Sostav.ru

Unit.nl

Lettering and Handwriting - Unit.nl

Daily Type

Lettering and Handwriting - Daily Type

on Flickr – Photo Sharing!

Lettering and Handwriting -

zutto

Lettering and Handwriting - zutto

STEREOTYPE

Lettering and Handwriting - STEREOTYPE

Typography

Lettering and Handwriting - Typography

Arabic calligraphy

Lettering and Handwriting - Arabic calligraphy | creativebits

si scott design

Lettering and Handwriting - si scott design

Rolling Stones: Rolled Gold +

Lettering and Handwriting - Rolling Stones: Rolled Gold +

timeless

Lettering and Handwriting - timeless

on Flickr – Photo Sharing!

Lettering and Handwriting -

Marian Bantjes: Yale Alumni Magazine

Lettering and Handwriting - Marian Bantjes: Yale Alumni Magazine

When Love Dies

Lettering and Handwriting - When Love Dies

Libertyland grand selection

Lettering and Handwriting - Libertyland grand selection

Funeral of the Heart by Leah Hayes – front cover

Lettering and Handwriting - Funeral of the Heart by Leah Hayes - front cover

Experiments with type

Typolight
Type with light.

Lettering and Handwriting - Typolight

Feliz Natal | Merry Christmas
By Marina Chaccur. “The 2006 online christmas card started being very real. In the beginning the letters were drawn by hand, then after the final layout was chosen, the white beads were arranged onto a paper with a very pale outline of the lettering. In the end, the paper was photographed, the image was altered in Photoshop, and the beads went back to the package.”

Lettering and Handwriting - Feliz Natal | Merry Christmas

Lettering and Handwriting - Feliz Natal | Merry Christmas

Flickr in Lights 2

Lettering and Handwriting - Flickr in Lights 3

Lettering and Handwriting - Flickr in Lights 2

Arabic Poesie
Type and light.

Lettering and Handwriting - Poesie

Caligrafia na pele
Calligraphy on the body.

Lettering and Handwriting - La Grafía: Caligrafia na pele

Daily Type
Hmmm, tasty!

Lettering and Handwriting - Daily Type

Stephanie DeArmond – Gallery
Typographic sculptures.

Lettering and Handwriting - Stephanie DeArmond - Gallery

Lettering and Handwriting - Stephanie DeArmond - Gallery

Lettering and Handwriting - Stephanie DeArmond - Gallery

Lettering and Handwriting - Stephanie DeArmond - Gallery

Sources and Resources

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Vitaly Friedman loves beautiful content and doesn’t like to give in easily. Vitaly is writer, speaker, author and editor-in-chief of Smashing Magazine. He runs responsive Web design workshops and loves solving complex problems in large companies. Get in touch.

  1. 1

    lovely post,
    esspecially the Arabic calligraphy part.
    such an unrecognized but just dope style.

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  2. 2

    Christopher Hill

    April 7, 2008 1:59 am

    Calligraphy is nice to look at, but for any other purpose I always feel it is too hard to distinguish. It is generally too hard to read at a quick glimpse.

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  3. 3

    like all the others – a great, fantastic post. thanks (i like the first one)

    2
  4. 4

    bloody good!

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  5. 5

    Some great stuff. On of my favorite typographers is John Langdon with his ambigrams. Really amazing work.

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  6. 6

    Sorry for being the stick in the mud, but your RSS feed generally has some html problem in it. This time it’s an “Irreparable invalid markup (‘‘) in entry.”

    PS: Nice post, as usual. :)
    PPS: I don’t know how else to draw your attention to this without posting it in a comment. I hope you delete this after reading it.

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  7. 7

    dagobert renouf

    April 7, 2008 3:51 am

    Dope post.

    Really refreshing inspiration source.

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  8. 8

    You guys post some great stuff, but how about splitting up your articles or editing some things out? A lot of your posts are just overwhelming. Too much to take in all at once.

    1
  9. 9

    Great post, for anyone thinking of improving their day-to-day penmanship, I found this site – full of resources: http://www.iampeth.com/lessons.htm

    2
  10. 10

    Arabic calligraphy looks great. Anyone got any tips on how to recreate something like it?

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  11. 11

    BORING! we want posts about webdesign, tutorials and showcases of great websites. this doesnt get me anywhere…

    -3
  12. 13

    Just wanted to say that your posts, including this one are just amazing. A great source of inspiration. As a matter of fact I consider smashing magazine the best source of webdesign resources!

    To the rest of you guys, have any of you any idea what kind of font is used on Hostpattern (www.hostpattern.com) logo? I am searching for few hours now without any success.

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  13. 14

    Great post

    @ Hannes

    Your comment is boring! Ever thought about that you might draw a little inspiration out of posts like that which you could use in your webprojects? And dont say “we want” because its “you want”

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  14. 15

    Absolutely stunning collection.. thanks for this.

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  15. 16

    I wrote my handwriting out, scanned it, sent it to my brother on the other side of the planet and he sent it back as a ttf.

    Fake my handwriting, if you like:

    jamesspratt.org/blog/2008/02/07/fake-my-handwriting/

    1
  16. 17

    Posts like this are why I love this site.

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  17. 18

    What about web design? I thought this site was about that.

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  18. 19

    I don’t usually comment on here, but I want to balance out the discussion away from the naysayers. Typography is an essential part of good design. No true designer would bash typography the way some people here have today. Many thanks to Smashing Magazine for covering all aspects of aesthetically pleasing design, even the ones amateurs might scoff at and find boring. It was a great post, and very inspiring to me. Please post more content like this from time to time!

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  19. 20

    @ mikemike: This is inspiration, which falls squarely in the realm of design. I for one would like to see even more inspirational posts. :)

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  20. 21

    What a surprise it was to see a page of my sketchbook on an RSS feed I read!
    Thanks. :)
    If it matters–my doodles are no longer from Austin, TX, as I live in NYC now.

    Johanna

    PS-
    http://www.teplin.com is pretty interesting

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  21. 22

    @ mikemike: you obviously do not frequent this site often enough to assume Smashing is only about webdesign.

    this post is wonderful! how the hell am i supposed to get anything done today now?

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  22. 23

    Fun post! Thanks.

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  23. 24

    why does it tell me that the videos no longer exist?

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  24. 25

    Beutiful post, great smashingmagazine…

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  25. 26

    Very nice post – some stunning examples of calligraphy.

    Thanks :)

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  26. 27

    very nice.. gr8 effort…

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  27. 28

    I’m dismayed that a Smashing Design would put together a list like this, yet have no mention of graphic design legend Tim Girvin (www.girvin.com). He was one to champion translation of calligraphic design and storytelling to the brand/interactive/online space while most of us were still in grade school. Unforgivable.

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  28. 29

    Massimo Nastasi

    April 7, 2008 4:21 pm

    Joei Lau is the creator of the Scriptina Font?

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  29. 30

    Epic. Thanks.

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  30. 31

    Very inspirational. Yesterday I saw this doodled type that I thought was pretty hot too. All such great pieces, thanks for sharing.

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  31. 32

    Very inspirational post!

    Alex Trochut spoke at Sydney’s SP08 last weekend. His work has definitely inspired me to create my own typefaces, where possible.

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  32. 33

    I was disappointed that any examples from the Book of Kells were omitted. Kept at Trinity College in Dublin, the Book of Kells has numerous examples of European Biblical calligraphy at it finest.

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  33. 34

    great post! thanks SM!

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  34. 35

    The goobers unable to appreciate the value of an art form as richly textured and various as those shown here actually give goobers a bad name. I hope for their sakes that they’ve become capable of eptitude, for they seem certainly shielded from becoming educated.

    If incapable of appreciating what’s been gathered with so much obvious care and affection, go collect your own magazine, gather an audience, then hear how well we like what you’ve done. Therein lies the rub. That would take an educated person witih a various background to pull off.

    I have new appreciation for the depths of your shallowness.

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  35. 36

    Have you checked the work of Claude Dieterich? He thaught me Calligraphy a few years ago, and is magnificent!
    http://www.claudedieterich.com
    He is a French Calligraphist that lives in San Francisco.

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  36. 37

    Tiago Gerken (Brasil)

    April 8, 2008 8:31 am

    Thank´s Smashing Magazine!

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  37. 38

    Some of these examples are not credited to the artists who created them. For instance, the yellow/black “Clarenden Press Flower” is the work of Sheila Waters, world renowned calligrapher, teacher and author of the book “Foundations of Calligraphy.” http://waterslettering.com/

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  38. 39

    Clare(n)don Press Flower
    This is my artwork, executed in 1987 and was published in the book “Florilege” by Alain Mazeran, in two facing pages (74 and 75) of a diptych of winter and summer, the two using the whole poem of “The Idle Flowers” by Robert Bridges, the image above being the second side, representing “summer” the first half representing “winter”. It was never a cover. I was one of the two judges of the calligraphic artwork submitted for inclusion in “Florilege” (see page 154). I have not been credited here, nor on the 4 images gallery website, presumably being your source. In “Florilege” this work was noted as being copyrighted by The Clarendon Press (note spelling), Oxford, GB. I have no idea how Clarendon Press got hold of it, as publication in “Florilege” was the first, and only, publication of the diptych to my knowledge.
    I still own the original artwork and it is my copyright, no-one else’s. Please rectify omission of a credit to me as the artist and notify any publication source that has obtained it from you or that you send it to. Thank you.
    Sheila Waters
    April 8, 2008

    (SM) Thank you, Sheila, and sorry for any inconvenience! The article was updated.

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  39. 40

    If you don’t see how this post relates to web design and design in general then maybe you should get a new hobby.

    ps: That “10 ways to get a job” piece is amazing!

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  40. 41

    Wonderful article! Very inspiring.

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  41. 42

    Yeah man…. Alex Trochut rocks! again…..

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  42. 43

    Right, three examples, but only one really credited to him. The one titled “Typography” and the Rolling Stone’s (Rolled Gold) cover are his as well.

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  43. 44

    Super talented artists – excellent collection of type.

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  44. 45

    This is sooooo nice…

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  45. 46

    They are amazing works.
    i am very much inspired by this

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  46. 47

    ibrahim abu touq

    July 28, 2008 12:23 am

    nice , impressive . . . . hoping to see more

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  47. 48

    ibrahim abu touq

    July 28, 2008 12:26 am

    the Arabic prototype is very bad , , , while other images are so creative

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  48. 49
  49. 50

    deshpande prakash(pune)india

    August 14, 2008 10:15 pm

    First time i seen this type of beautiful-handwriting
    very nise!
    I want to add some example of devnagri scrip (marathi)lettering
    pl advice about this

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  50. 51

    Although I am flattered that my acrylic painting from 2003 entitled, “Digeridoo Festival” was showcased in your article, you failed to request permission to use the image. The image was taken from my Flickr account without my consent or knowledge, despite being clearly marked as copyrighted.

    I still own the original artwork and it is my copyright, all rights reserved. Please rectify omission of a credit to me as the artist and notify any publication source that has obtained it from you or that you send it to.
    Thank you,
    Erin K. Nolan
    August 25, 2008

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  51. 52

    UPDATE: Thank you for changing the link to “Didgeridoo Festival” to read “Erin K. Nolan.” I appriciate you kind follow-through and cooperation!

    (SM) Thank you, Erin, indeed, the article was updated.

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  52. 53

    I have never seen such an exciting and awesome works before in my life. Its looks so good and crazy and these people who have done these calligraphy work, I think they have a very deep creativity. These may be preserved as a memorable work of these guys who made it.

    I wish these people to grow furthur in there life on calligraphy.

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  53. 54

    ibrahim abu touq

    October 9, 2008 4:18 am

    very nice site

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  54. 55

    day by day i find more materpieces at this unique site

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  55. 56

    I love the old manuscripts.

    Does anyone know of Photoshop tutorials to help clean up calligraphy for digital printing? I don’t know the program terribly well and most of the tutorials aren’t focused on hand lettering. When I need to scan lettering, I spend more time cleaning smudges and smoothing lines than creating the original work! I would appreciate any help.

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  56. 57

    Incredible!
    I cannot believe how wonderful these are!
    The “R” one is super cool.
    Great Web page, it really inspired me!

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  57. 58

    i dont know white handwriting is the best

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  58. 59

    Hi from Estonia :) .. wow, super! :) very beautiful pics! … it’s also hard work to do smth like this. Väga kaunid pildid! :)

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  59. 60

    Gee, I read the whole thing. I started hand composing for letterpress sixty years ago and stopped when I found how difficult it was to have fonts designed and cut for what I really wanted to print. The love of typography is still there, and I guess I waited long enough to do it digitally!! Is there a senior’s discount for typography classes on line?

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  60. 61

    I love calligraphy , i u too love it

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  61. 62

    Nice stuff there. I love handwriting as art perhaps all the more b/c my own handwriting is such a disaster! The Magic Calligraphy was amazing. That guy writes more beautifully upsidedown than i do rightsideup!

    1
  62. 63

    amazing and interesting posts.
    I suggest also this website (wonderful things!)
    link (www.gentlepeople.it)

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  63. 64

    Simply amazing!!!!

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  64. 65

    HEY ED!I AM 14 YEAR OLD.I LOVE OUR MAGAZINE….IT IS WORLD BEST MAGAZINE MY REQUEST IS THAT PLZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ PINUP A POSTER OF ashley tisdalePLZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ..MAY ALLAH BLESS YOU.YOU ROCK

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  65. 67

    hey ! your magazine is superb .
    u all rock it .
    may god bless u all .

    0
  66. 69

    Great post! So many excellent calligraphers here.

    Cheers
    Steve

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  67. 70

    Wow! Inspiring calligraphy and typography styles.

    I did this kind of art since my younger days and I thought that my styles aren’t good. But now that I see styles and art similar to mine posted here, I think now I will be proud of my own art as it should be.

    Thanks everyone!

    1
  68. 71

    amazing collection……..i like to suggest to post some more designs.

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  69. 72

    i love everybodygood handwriting.

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  70. 73

    I like handwriting nice, my letter is now terrible bad.
    What can I do?
    Nicolas

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  71. 74

    This is BANGLADESHI Singer. Nazmul Kavir, I lIKE SONG & nice handwriting , my letter is now terrible bad.
    What can I do for develop?
    nAZmul Kavir
    BANGLADESHI Singer

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  72. 75

    it’s very tough to write like this

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  73. 76

    Any freelancer willing to take up jobs?

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  74. 77

    awsome maann !!!!!!!! really necer saw sm off such hanriting !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  75. 78

    Yo,its a good collection but please give us available writing tips which are cool but not fancy

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  76. 79

    Yo,its a good collection but please give us available writing tips

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  77. 80

    I Love this very much >3

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  78. 81

    great but i thought i can learn how to write in all of them types of style and it was quite hard

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  79. 82

    its very beautiful how to lern in computer

    1
  80. 83

    wonderful site thnks for for this site

    -1
  81. 84

    ahmad zafar kharal

    November 6, 2011 5:26 am

    i like this collection and your taste

    -1
  82. 85

    im just learning so free materials to help learn would be great . beautiful work that ive seen so far.

    -1
  83. 86

    I like the entire Presentation of calligrafy. I also want to learn the way of creative writing.

    -1
  84. 87

    Great work!

    -1
  85. 88

    Awesome. Kudos to creativity of calligraphers.

    1
  86. 89

    wow

    -1

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