I'm often asked by left-handers if they'll be able to learn modern calligraphy. My answer - of course!! You may just find it's easier for you than for right-handers. Fact.
This is because of the angle of the pen. Calligraphy nibs are designed to point in the direction of the slant of your letters. Most modern calligraphy lettering slants slightly to the right (towards one o'clock, if you imagine a clock face). For right-handers, this means having to awkwardly angle your wrist* to point your pen to one o'clock on the page. For left-handers, it means you're perfectly positioned to begin writing calligraphy!
So there's really nothing to stop you learning modern calligraphy if you're left-handed. The only thing you might find tricky is if you're a 'curler'... if you usually write with your hand curled around the top left of the page, learning to write with your hand below your writing might be a challenge... but then calligraphy is a new skill, a talent which will challenge everyone - so give it a go all the same!
*Right-handers use an oblique penholder to correct the angle of their writing; the flange (the funny bit to the left of the pen where your nib goes) is designed to help the nib point to one o'clock. Left handed calligraphers often find a straight penholder is perfectly sufficient as they have no problems with the angle of their wrist as they learn!
My modern calligraphy starter kit includes an oblique penholder as standard, but whether you buy from Not On The High Street or my own online calligraphy store, you'll be able to choose your penholder by telling me if you're left-handed. I'll always include both penholders for left-handers, and encourage you to experiment and choose the one which feels more comfortable for you.
It's good to remember that learning calligraphy has its challenges for every beginner, whichever hand you write with. Going to a calligraphy workshop is brilliant: every teacher will have worked with left-handers and will know how to help you learn your own individual style. Everyone learns to correct little habits, right- or left-handed. For everyone it comes down to whereabouts you hold the pen (close to the nib, far away) and the angle of your pen (never point vertically at the paper, folks)... but there's one secret ingredient for every single calligrapher:
Pick up that pen, and make shapes on the page.
They don't have to be letters at first, just shapes.
Lines, loops. Squiggles.
Great big wormy coils or tiny little precise marks... anything to learn how your pen works for you.
And as you progress to letters, remember they'll never be perfect on day 1*. But practice a little every week, every day if you can, and your technique and your letters will improve - I promise.
*For the lucky 5% of you who will take to modern calligraphy like ducks to water, the above statement may not apply. Believe me - in every workshop I teach there's at least one student whose natural talent astonishes me. It's one of the reasons I love teaching calligraphy: I enjoy seeing students who struggle in their first half hour begin to flourish as something 'clicks' - and I enjoy watching students who've never held a calligraphy dip pen before fall in love with their new found skills!
Some resources for left-handed calligraphers: inspiration and how-to
The Left Handed Calligrapher - the first 'modern' style calligrapher to really show left-handers how beautifully they can write. Follow Nicole's blog for ideas and inspiration, and motivation on how amazing you can be!
Calligraphy tips for lefties - love the comments here
Learn from a left-handed calligrapher's freebie tutorials at Inkerella.com