How to do Faux Calligraphy

Do you stop on all of those satisfying lettering videos when they come along your Facebook feed? I do too. A few months ago, I decided to try my hand (pun intended) at the amazing calligraphy that the modern masters were sharing. What I didn’t know is that you can get the same effect as a fancy calligraphy pen without breaking the bank. Before I started buying calligraphy pens, I learned how to do what is called “faux calligraphy,” achieving the pretty letters without spending a dime. 

All you need for this project is a pen and a piece of paper. I’m using a fountain pen with an extra-fine nib because that’s what I use in my everyday life, and what I’m most comfortable with. However, you can use whatever you like, from a marker to a pencil, or even that ballpoint you picked up at one of the booths at the Get Involved Fair this year. 

The first step is to practice your cursive! It doesn’t have to be what you learned in elementary school. You can play around with the way each letter looks — you’re not being graded on it, I promise! Just make it look how you like it. 

Take special notice to what’s an upstroke and what’s a downstroke. The basic concept of calligraphy is that it should be thinner on the upstrokes and wider on the downstrokes. If you’re paying attention to the way you construct your letters, you’re already halfway there! 

Now it’s time to write your word or phrase. Write in cursive, but make your letters slightly wider than you usually would. It also helps to leave a bit of extra space between the letters. We’re compensating here for the parts we’ll be widening in the next steps.

Next, look at all of your downstrokes. Draw another line parallel to them, so that you have a bit of a shadow effect. Try to keep the distance between these shadows as consistent as possible as you’re doing all of your letters. This can be a bit tricky with curved letters like “a” or “e”, so don’t worry if it isn’t perfect on your first try. Practice makes perfect! 

Now, this has a pretty cool effect on it’s own, and you may want to leave it like it is! However, for that full calligraphy effect, all you need to do now is colour in the space between the lines. Now’s the time to adjust the thickness of the lines to be however you like them.

Don’t be afraid to add pizazz! What makes calligraphy cool and mesmerizing is the swirls, drawings, and designs that go with them. Once you’ve got the basics, the sky is the limit! 

So, before you make the commitment of purchasing that pen or buying a pack of brush pens, try faux calligraphy and see if it’s worth the investment!