Show Me Your Drills Challenge

Show Me Your Drills, you’ll be pleased to know, has nothing to do with DIY!

It’s a 30-day lettering challenge I’m taking part in this month.

If you read my last blog post about my goals for the year ahead, you’ll know why!

I’m keen to get to grips with modern calligraphy and brush lettering.

So when I saw this challenge on Instagram, I knew I had to get involved.

The challenge is being run by Canadian calligrapher Becca Courtice, also known on Instagram as @thehappyevercrafter, and there are thousands of people taking part from all over the world.

Becca believes that people are missing an important step when it comes to learning calligraphy and that’s the drills.

“Drills are the basic strokes you need to learn for calligraphy and in my opinion it is just not taught enough, especially on Instagram,” she explains in one of the guidance videos she has made for the challenge.

“A lot of people tend to just understand the basic concept of how a brush pen works and then find someone’s calligraphy they like and try and copy it, which is really hard to do if you don’t know the basics.”

Practice, practice, practice is another of my mantras for this year and keeping up with the challenge will hopefully get me into a good habit!

Becca recommends setting aside 20 minutes a day to practice the drills.

In the first week, one drill a day was released as a printable worksheet for those using brush or dip pens, or for download for those using an iPad, along with an instruction video.

I chose to use a Pentel Touch brush pen that I’ve been playing around with for a while, but I’m going to repeat the challenge with a dip pen myself at some point.

In the last seven days I have drilled upstrokes, downstrokes, overturns and underturns, compound curves, ovals, ascending loops and descending loops.

Eventually, these will all help to form letters, but for now, it’s all about the basics.

“You will really need to practice these,” says Becca. “The more consistent you get at these, the more consistent your alphabet will be.”

I’m really pleased that I haven’t fallen behind in the first week, despite the children being off school for the first half of it and my son’s birthday falling in the middle of it.

There is any number of excuses you can give yourself, but practice really does make perfect.

The first week has been about tracing outlines before trying them freehand, but by week four, the aim is to be able to drill them confidently, using freehand only.

Tracing means you can practice as many times as you like without spoiling the worksheets, which cover all four weeks.

I look forward to seeing what Becca has in mind when the challenge ends!

Head over to my Instagram page here to see how my drills are coming along and search for #showmeyourdrills to see what everyone else is up to!


  1. Becca on January 9, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    Love it, Angela! Glad you’re enjoying!!

    • Angela Reed on January 9, 2017 at 4:21 pm

      Loving it, thanks for pulling it all together!

  2. Gina on January 9, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    Lovely piece x great drill challenge #theinkthatflows

  3. Michelle on January 9, 2017 at 2:34 pm

    It’s so interesting to see the work that goes into being good at your craft.

    • Angela Reed on January 9, 2017 at 4:20 pm

      Thanks Michelle. There’s always a lot of work going on behind the scenes!

  4. Mary Moss on July 16, 2019 at 5:55 pm

    That’s cool and it makes sense!

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