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Undo and Redo – IPAD Calligraphy

As a calligrapher trained and experienced with pen, ink and paper, I unearthed a new universe with Digital Calligraphy. In this blog, we are looking at calligraphy - the digital way.

Digital calligraphy can be of two types.

1. Scan & Digitise

The first type is to scan a hand-written text using pen and ink on paper and then digitising the scanned version to make it printer-friendly. This usually involves increasing the resolution and vectorising the image for a clean print. 300 DPI is usually a preferred resolution for printing while PNG image file is an ideal choice for printing.

MRD’s Quick tip: In case of scanning a written text for digitising, always write at a larger size and scan to reduce digitally. This will help to keep the resolution of the scanned version ideal for printing.

The image below depicts a design we created by hand and scanned for digitising and editing to create the cover page of our Guideline book (pls hyperlink this to the respective product page).

2. IPAD Calligraphy

The other type is writing using an apple pencil directly on the Procreate app in an IPAD. The Procreate app on the IPAD is extremely versatile for calligraphy. All you need is the Procreate app on your IPAD, an apple pencil and a calligraphy brush.

There are many advantages to this type of digital calligraphy. A list of advantages is provided and discussed in this blog.

a) Correct mistakes

When it comes to writing with ink on paper, it’s a one-time activity and extremely challenging to correct any mistakes or ink spillage or splatter. However, this is not a matter of concern when it comes to IPAD calligraphy. The first and foremost advantage is the option of Undo and Redo. With this option we can correct our mistakes any number of times.

b) Plan different flourish options

The second advantage of IPAD calligraphy is the ability to plan multiple flourishing options in a given stem and then later decide the final design. In order to utilise this feature, one has to create each different flourish in a different layer. This way one can decide which layers to retain and which layers to remove while exporting the final design. This provides so much scope for planning your overall design at the final stages.

c) Size adjustment

One unique advantage of digital calligraphy in comparison to hand-written text is the option to increase or decrease the size of script as per the intended application. This is especially true for pointed pen scripts like copperplate calligraphy where one cannot write much larger than a given x-height of say 10mm. However, using the Procreate one can write at a certain size and then select the entire text and adjust by increasing or decreasing and fit the same to your final design.

d) Colour adjustment

This is another unique advantage wherein colour of the script and the overall design can be adjusted with multiple options until the final version is decided. Other effects like embossing, shadow effect and dual-tone effect and so much more is possible on the app.

e) Adjust layouts of compositions

As an extension to the size and colour adjustment, one can also adjust the overall layout of a composition, add images to a canvas and add regular text to the canvas, reposition the text with images and much more to enhance the overall design. One can even create different canvases and export them to a new canvas to adjust the overall composition. The possibilities are truly endless.

f) Rotate and change angle

Have you ever wished while hand-writing a calligraphy script the angle could have been a bit more aligned along the 55-degree slant line? This is of no worry in digital calligraphy! You can select and adjust the angle of the stroke by rotating the same. This will help to ensure uniformity of the overall script.

g) Copy, paste and clone scripts

The next interesting feature is one can clone or cut-copy-paste one or more strokes or even an entire design that you want to duplicate.

h) Choose different backdrops

The Procreate app works by creating different layers, hence creating a backdrop or background is another option that is possible. Backgrounds can be based on colours, textures, elements and so much more and their appearance and transparency can be adjusted to one’s liking. One can even import a pre-saved design as a background to create more elaborate compositions.

i) Adjust resolution for effective printing

Digital calligraphy is a preferred choice for most calligraphers for the purpose of printing in large numbers. For the purpose of printing, resolution of the output should be optimum which can be easily adjusted on the app. Also, exporting the output in different formats like document files like pdf, or image files like png, jpeg is possible on the Procreate app.

Here’s a time-lapse video showcasing how a design can be created using one or more of the above listed advantages.

Fun Fact: We recently designed and printed 460 gift tags personalised with the bride and groom’s names using the Procreate app for a client. We were able to consider all of the above advantages during the process of designing the gift tag.


Although nothing can replace the warmth and appearance of hand-written scripts using ink on paper, digital calligraphy can be a good addition to a calligrapher’s skill set. It can be combined effectively with hand-written scripts to achieve a suitable end result.

Hope this blog was insightful! Let us know your thoughts and comments in the below section.

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