Sachin Shah is a calligrapher and a lettering artist from Mumbai, India, who specializes in traditional calligraphy and handwritten typography. By day, he is also a professional computer engineer, who works at a global IT company. “I am very passionate about calligraphy and dabble with different hand types,” he says, “So you can call me an engineer by profession and an artist by passion. “
Purely handwritten without any kind of digital editing, Sachin’s typography work looks beautiful, natural and organic. He likes to study and explore different kinds of traditional letterforms. He tends to create visually appealing lettering on canvas or paper. He also likes to experiment with colors, whether it is with inks or paints, which he often uses for his calligraphy. In the past, he has also created calligraphy works on walls, and has also dabbled sometimes with tattoo designs and drawing logos.
Sachin has been hand drawing letters in sketchbooks ever since he was a child. He didn’t know exactly what calligraphy was until he came across the Speedball Textbook during a visit to the British Council Library about two decades ago. Sachin instantly fell in love with the art form, and since then has started doing his own calligraphy work. He has even customized his own writing tools, for example, by chipping and grinding fountain pens, and even chiselling ice cream sticks and wooden strips.
He has started teaching calligraphy as well, because he believes that the best way for him to learn actually was to teach others. Sachin also takes on privately commissioned work, such as calligraphed quotes, brand identity work, logos and tattoos. Basically he can work on anything which has letterforms in it and for anyone who really values handwritten typography. For him, the most satisfying designs have usually been artwork that he created for himself, or for his family and friends. He says, “I get my inspiration from everywhere: nature, daily objects, the patterns that they create in subtle ways, from my emotions and state of mind.”
Neocha: Tell us about your explorations in calligraphy.
Sachin: My love and passion for letters drives me to pick up a pen or a brush whenever I can, anywhere I am. I can see letters everywhere around me. Besides wanting to excel at calligraphy, I like to inspire budding artists across the globe and help them to learn this beautiful art. Though there are several master calligraphers in this world, I still think this art is underexplored in this digital world. Every letter created with hand is unique to an individual just like a fingerprint or the retina of the eye. I feel calligraphy is the purest form of typography. The smell of a paper, the color of the inks and the fluent strokes inspire me to write everyday. I have a strong emotional connect with letters and calligraphy to me is the most powerful form of self-expression.
Neocha: Can you describe your process of making calligraphy?
Sachin: Calligraphy is all about thinking through your hand. The ideation and planning takes the most time. Once you know what you have to write, you need to select the right writing surface for that letterform and prepare your nibs and inks. If you are writing long content, it makes sense to plan your layout with a pencil so that you achieve symmetry. You can also draw guidelines on the paper so that all of the letters are sized correctly. The entire process of completing a calligraphy work can take about two to four hours on average. It can take few days if you have to calligraph a wall.
Neocha: Tell us about some of your side projects, and what you have in the works for the near future.
Sachin: Right now I am working on a few tattoo designs for a father who wants to get the names of his two daughters tattooed on each of his arms. I am also working with a greeting card company to create some type designs for them. In the future, I would like to make and release instructional videos on calligraphy and make them available to everyone who wants to learn calligraphy.