Top 5 things I learnt about On-site Calligraphy


I had been working non-stop for the past few weekends – my full-time day job and calligraphy passion/side hustle. I had the pleasure to collaborate with a few luxury brands for their Lunar New Year store activation. I finally have some time to sit down and reflect on these jobs and the learning that I got from it that I am hoping can help you on your gigs as well.

1.       Preparation Before the Event

First thing you need to do is to request some samples of what you are writing on and ensure that the expectations with clients are clear. You always need to know what the client’s expectations is before you accept the job. I had a job where the client did not explicitly state I have to write in Chinese. When the sample arrived 2 days before the event, I found out that the sheet was a 12×3” vertical paper. I had to immediately search for thicker brush pen instead of writing in dip-pen but that would be too thin for the result.

2.       Ask Questions

Ensure the expectations such as arrival, who to contact, dress code, and any restriction on posting on social media. Even though some of these seems to be common sense such as arriving earlier for set up, some client specifically stated that you must arrive at a certain time prior to the event. I also had client restrict all social media posting due to privacy of the events. Therefore, don’t be afraid to list out all your questions.

3.       Arrive earlier to set up

Always, always and ALWAYS over prepare yourself when you on on-site. You will definitely panic when the tools or supplies ended up not working while people are waiting for you in-line. I had an incident where I left my supply overnight in my car under extreme cold weather alert. When I set-up prior to the event I realized the ink froze. Luckily, I tend to give myself tons of preparation time so I could resolve the problem (by putting it a warm cup of water and let it defrost). Want to know the full story? Check out my instagram post

4.       Prepare your materials and have backups

As mentioned in the previous point, it is good to have backups. You never know which tools or material would be malfunctioning. There could be incident where the pen would stop working all the sudden because it ran out of ink, the roller ball on the pen is not working etc. so always have a back up plan for all your tools and material. This is no joke when the client relies on you for their brand activation event and you cannot perform.  

5.       Make friends and connections and ENJOY

I tend to connect with all the staffs and the event manager for each event I do. Send a thank you note after the event and even some holiday greetings would help with your connection. Clients often come back to you for jobs and even referrals to other clients.

Hope these helps and share with me on any incidents you came across, I would love to hear and connect with you!

Visit my Instagram to see more calligraphy projects!