Calligraphy Masters: Hi, Tolga ! How are you doing today, mate ?
Tolga Girgin: I am good. I am at the afternoon break at work.
Calligraphy Masters: You’re well known to us and to your huge audience, but please tell us a bit more about yourself. Where are you from? How old are you? When did you start doing calligraphy ?
Tolga Girgin: I was born in a small town named Simav, Kütahya, Turkey in 1981. I live in Eskişehir, Turkey because of my work. I am working as an Electrical and Electronics Engineer in a company in this beautiful city. I am interested in calligraphy as a hobby. I have been drawing sketches since my childhood in my spare times. I started to calligraphy seriously about 1 year ago.
Calligraphy Masters: How did you start, what happened? Who was the one to inspire you to start?
Tolga Girgin: My wife Zeynep encouraged me to start calligraphy. She likes my handwriting and wanted me to share them on the web. I started to share my handwriting on Instagram. But I did not know the technical details. Some people started to like my works, and then I started to learn technical details and the anatomy of calligraphy from books. Turkish Calligraphy Artist Erhan OLCAY gave some advices to me. He helped me much to learn regular calligraphy. At the start THEOSONE was inspiring me. But now I don’t know who inspires me.
Calligraphy Masters: Which were the first alphabets you started with & which where the first you learned and mastered?
Tolga Girgin: I started calligraphy from trying Gothic.
I can not say I have mastered any alphabet. I am now trying to get better on Italic. Because the Italic hand has much variations in my opinion. Every calligrapher should try this hand.
Calligraphy Masters: What tools did you start with? And which are your favorite and most used?
Tolga Girgin: I started with parallel pens. Then I met with the steel nibs. Writing with steel nibs is difficult, but my favourite instruments for calligraphy are the steel nibs, especially the ones from Brause N series . Because I can make many variations with them. Flexible nibs give my letters dynamism and sharpness. Also, for lettering works I use parallel pens because they are very useful for this kind of works.
Calligraphy Masters: You are an actively working Engineer, so how do you combine it with calligraphy? How many hours a day do you spend on practicing?
Tolga Girgin: To be engineer is only helping me to understand quickly the theory and geometry at the background of calligraphy. In addition to this, I think sometimes it helps me to make a design and solve some problems easily. That is all. If I don’t have any other work, I practice minimum 45 minutes everyday. Sometimes 2 or 3 hours.
Calligraphy Masters: So you found a way to combine and enjoy them both and that sounds great! And, there is no bigger love for the one or the other?
Tolga Girgin: To be honest, I love calligraphy more than engineering . Calligraphy makes me relax.
Calligraphy Masters: Tell us a bit more about the 3D calligraphy and lettering you’re doing! How did it start? Is it all your idea or someone inspired you to do it?
Tolga Girgin: OK, There are beautiful different kinds of anamorphic drawings and graffiti from various artists of the world. I like them very much. One day I asked my self “Why don’t I do it for letters?”. So I searched on the web, but I could not find anything about this. I started to deform letters and added some shadows under them, and it was very impressive for me to see the letters. Then I shared them on Behance. In 2 days I received a letter saying that they were published by the very big blog thisiscolossal.com as “3D Calligraphy by Tolga GİRGİN“. And then I tried different versions. After thisiscolossal.com, they were published by other big blog sites like boredpal and boredpanda… And that was all. It was very impressive for me to see the letters standing on the paper.
Calligraphy Masters: What time does it take to make one calligraphy piece into 3D calligraphy and what tools do you use for the shading?
Tolga Girgin: It depends all on what you are thinking to do. A short word is very easy for me, about 20 minutes. But if I want to do it on two pieces of paper, or a sentence, I have to make some calculations, so it takes up to 2 or 3 hours sometimes. As I mentioned before, it all depends on the complexity of your wish. I use simple 2B pencil for shading.
Calligraphy Masters: Many followers of Calligraphy Masters, and most probably yours, also have asked you for a video on that? Are you thinking of making a video to show how you do it?
Tolga Girgin: Yes, this is in my plans. But I am not thinking of doing this in the near future. I have to develop this further, in order to make a video about it.
Calligraphy Masters: Well, people love what you’re doing and are certainly asking for it! As you develop, you can make other videos as well, but we think at least a basic one for now would be great, as there are already many people inspired by you and trying out 3D calligraphy as well. It would be awesome to see!
Tolga Girgin: As I said, I will do it later.
Calligraphy Masters: Good to know! Meanwhile, what would you recommend to the people, who follow you and also want to learn it?
Tolga Girgin: I see myself as a beginner always, too and I’m always trying to learn more. I advise them to start from the understanding of the past and fundamentals of calligraphy from the Roman Capitals and foundational hand. I also advise them to learn the anatomy of the letter forms. True practice, observing the best works of various artists, educating the eyes and learning typography are all very important for the better calligraphy and lettering.
Calligraphy Masters: Is there an alphabet other than Italic, that you adore,and would like to start practicing? And what do you want to achieve in the future for yourself as calligrapher?
Do you have any dreams in which calligraphy is a part of?
Tolga Girgin: I would like try Roman Caps with a brush like master John Stevens. I don’t have any dreams, you can not know what will happen one second later. Now is important for me. I only want to be better than today.
Calligraphy Masters: What do you think about calligraphy in the world of today? Do you like traditional or modern calligraphy more?
Tolga Girgin: I love both. A calligrapher should know traditional calligraphy to have powerful fundamentals. There are excellent examples of both.
Calligraphy Masters: Is calligraphy popular in Turkey? Are there many calligraphers there?
Tolga Girgin: Western Calligraphy is not popular here much.But there are master calligraphy artists like Etem ÇALIŞKAN, Savaş ÇEVİK, Erhan OLCAY, Emrah YÜCEL…
Calligraphy Masters: What is the one thing you think all people, who start calligraphy are the most important to know about it before they begin?
Tolga Girgin: If you do not have passion, you should not start Calligraphy.
Calligraphy Masters: We are definitely with you on that one! How would you define talent?
Tolga Girgin: Talent is a gift to people from God. It is an ability that someone is born with.
Calligraphy Masters: Is there something you would like to share about yourself, or something else, that we haven’t asked you about?
Tolga Girgin: First of all, I would like to say “Thank you” to my love and wife Zeynep, for her support and patience. I also say “Thanks” to Erhan OLCAY, for his help and support. And thank you very much, Calligraphy Masters, for this interview. Big thanks to my followers! The biggest thanks to my GOD!
Calligraphy Masters: How inspiring that sounds, thank you, too! And now, our last question – What do you think about Calligraphy Masters, when did you discover it and would you join one day if able?
Tolga Girgin: Calligraphy Masters is a very cool page for everyone who likes calligraphy. Information about the art, and some inspirations are on this page. I don’t remember how I found it, but I like it. I also like the saying ‘Everyone can become the master of their own calligraphy’ – Yes, that is true. Of course, I would be really proud to be a member of Calligraphy Masters.
Calligraphy Masters: Thank you for your time, Tolga! We love what you do and wish you to never stop doing it!
Tolga Girgin: No problem, thank you very much for your kindness and best regards!