To inspire your creativity in 2021, we'll be chatting to calligraphers and lettering artists from around the world in our Meet the Maker series. For our first interview, we get to know Mariam who some of you may have got to know through our #PenPusherAdventChallenge.
Tell us a little about yourself
My name is Mariam Iqbal Mirza. I'm 23 years old and am from Lahore in Pakistan. My love for calligraphy started in childhood - it's like I'm crazy for calligraphy!!
In my school and college assignments I used to decorate my writing with colourful markers and most of the time got extra marks for writing. It was from there I choose calligraphy and lettering as my hobby!!
How did you begin your calligraphy journey?When I was at university, I wanted to write some quotes in calligraphy, so I made my first pen from ice cream sticks and nibs from drinks cans. I wasn't impressed by anyone else and developed my own style of calligraphy.
Do you have favourite styles of calligraphy and what makes these so enticing?My favorite script and style is Gothic Calligraphy and Fraktur, which is a type of Blackletter style. I made my own style by mixing Fraktur and Blackletter scripts. Then I add shading and decorate it by using silver gel pen. I stick to my style only I love it.
What are your favourite pens or tools to work with?
My favourite pens are the larger Pilot Parallel Pens - 3.8mm and 6.0mm in particular. These are perfect for calligraphy.
I also enjoy the Kuretake Zig Memory System II pens and Zig Gansai Tambi watercolours. I love to use the Zig pearlescent watercolor system jewel box on black paper - these watercolours are so metallic!
What have been your proudest moments throughout your calligraphy journey?
My proudest moment is when I won international calligraphy competitions! I have got international orders, which I'm proud of too.
What advice would you give to beginners just starting in calligraphy?
My advice is don't copy style of others - do lot of practice and develop your own signature style. Start practicing lowercase alphabets first and then go towards uppercase. Gothic calligraphy seems very tough at first but it requires lot of practice! Watch videos of masters in YouTube and try to develop your own unique and different style.
Can you share a few of your favourite projects with us?
Here are my three favorite projects.
1. A collection of 100 motivational quotes, size = 18.5x20"
2. Warm Wishes
3. Self investment is the best investment
For more inspiration, you can follow Mariam on Instagram at calligraphybymariam