Is calligraphy easy?
I often try to encourage students to practice calligraphy on their own. Just as often, I receive replies that "Copperplate is too difficult" or "traditional scripts are impossible".
So was learning calligraphy easy for me at the beginning?
As you might have already read, I picked up the pen on my own, bought a copy book, and started self-learning copperplate. I recall the enthusiasm I had, thinking of how gorgeous my writing would be after a few days. I read the copy book end to end in one sitting and decided to go ahead with the writing. After all, the book made it sound so simple.
Within 2 days, I gave up on calligraphy.
After a few weeks, I decided to try again. Surprisingly, after my hiatus, I felt that I could write pretty well! I am not sure what happened during this break (perhaps my expectations dropped), but it was only after giving up that I found myself able to write. It was as though I had to first break into pieces before I could be mended with gold.
This pattern continued every time I wanted to learn a new script. When I wanted to learn spencerian, I bought the books (woo!) and went straight at it, thinking: "I have learnt copperplate. How hard can an un-shaded script be?"
I promptly gave up on spencerian.
It was only 1 year after I bought the books and gave up that I decided to pick it up again. This time, I found it much easier to learn the script. I have since made some progress, and am proud of where I am right now.
Yet it puzzles, this phenomenon. Could it be because my eyes are trained better and therefore I am able to identify important aspects in a script such as angles and curves? Could it be that my arm is able to wield a pen more proficiently? Are my expectations really dropping?
So my answer to the initial question is this: No, calligraphy was never easy at the beginning, and still isn't whenever I want to learn a new hand.
P.S While making this post, I had to scroll all the way to the bottom of my Instagram profile. Along the way, I saw posts that I felt (at that time) were very pretty, but just look plain hideous now. And so I guess calligraphy is similar to life in general: We grow slowly and never notice it... but when we look back, we see how old we've become (and how much better looking in some cases [not in my case though]).
On a more serious note, this is only my opinion... go let your calligraphy journey be easy if that's what you want to do. ;)
@YakiUjohn the umami