Arabic Calligraphy for Beginners: Fonts & Types

March 25, 2024

The art of Arabic calligraphy has been enhanced and developed over the course of a millennia. It has been codified, stylized, and lent itself to abstraction. It has even struggled with the modern world and found renewed life in both art and typography. In this article, you will learn about the Arabic calligraphy - its history, styles and fonts.

Arabic Alphabet

The Arabic alphabet is one of the most widely used scripts in the world. Many scholars believe that the alphabet was created around the 4th century CE. The alphabet consists of 28 letters written from right to left. Each letter can be written in four ways, depending on where the letter is placed in a word. These four locations are also known as initial, medial, final and isolated. Read more: The Arabic Alphabet in English.

Arabic Calligraphy

From an artistic point of view, Arabic calligraphy has been known and appreciated for its diversity and great potential for development. In fact, it has been linked in the Arabic culture to various fields such as religion, art, architecture, education and craftsmanship, which in return have played an important role in its advancement. Although most Islamic calligraphy is in Arabic and most Arabic calligraphy is Islamic, the two are not identical. Coptic or other Christian manuscripts in Arabic, for example, have made use of calligraphy. Likewise, there is Islamic calligraphy in Persian or the historic Ottoman language. 

The art of Arabic Calligraphy is known to be one of the most beautiful and elegant visual arts, which has developed significantly over many years, all around the world. This art preserves the writing of the Arabic language as well as the arabesque beauty that comes from within this Arabic Calligraphy art.

Arabic Calligraphy Implements

The magnificence of Arabic Calligraphy relies on certain methods that emerge from the proportionality between lines, dots, and circles. They are used in technical ways where its components are adopted by fine arts, such as the line and mass, not in the physical sense but in the sense of its meaning and beauty that it creates. It produces a self movement allowing the line to waddle in distinct aesthetic associating with the content and meaning of the calligraphy all together. The pens used for Arabic calligraphy vary from Latin calligraphy. The tools used for calligraphy are different assortments of pens and calligraphy ink. 

  • Khamish pen
    The Khamish pen also known as a reed pen is used by Arab, Turkish, and Iranian calligraphers. The reed of the pen is grown along rivers. Although this pen has been used for over 500 years, preparing the pen is a lengthy process. These pens are imported from Turkey and are made specifically for Arabic and Islamic calligraphy.

  • Java pen
    The Java pen is known for the tool's hardness and ability to create sharp edges. The pen is good to use for small scripts.

  • Handam pen
    The Handam pen consists of the same strength that the Java pen has. The pen is good to use for all kinds of scripts.