By: JoAnne Ovenell of @theletteringcompanion Hello! I’m Jo of @theletteringcompanion. I am an Artist Ambassador for Zebra Pen USA, a calligrapher, and lettering artist based in Washington State. Today, I’m going to teach you how to create faux calligraphy.
What is Faux Calligraphy?
To understand faux calligraphy, let’s discuss a little background on calligraphy. As you might know, calligraphy is the art of creating beautiful letters. Calligraphy has a distinctive appearance with thin and thick strokes, unlike cursive, which is written with a single line weight. With calligraphy, each letter is “drawn” with separate strokes to create thin and thick lines. Calligraphy is created with a flexible nib dip pen or a marker. Faux calligraphy uses fine tipped markers to imitate the effect of calligraphy. It is created by going over certain parts of your text with bolder strokes and filing it in. Practicing faux calligraphy can help you learn where to place the thick strokes compared the placement of thin strokes. It also gives you the ability to create calligraphy without a flexible nib pen.
Faux Calligraphy Materials
To begin, let’s gather our supplies. The only materials you need is paper and pen. I like to use the Sarasa Fineliner or a Zensations Technical Drawing Pen. Both pens are great to use for faux calligraphy because they have vibrant ink, write smoothly, and dry quickly—which means no smudging. This is very helpful if you are like me and get impatient while waiting for things to dry.
Step 1: Write your word or phrase
The first step is to write your word or phrase in cursive on paper. Be sure to leave plenty of space between each letter, making sure not to crowd them. We will be adding thickness to each letter in the next step.
Step 2: Retrace over your words to identify the downstrokes
The next step is to identify the downstrokes within your word or phrase. With your pen held above the paper, rewrite your text in the air. Each time your pen moves downwards toward the bottom of the page, this is considered a downstroke. Whenever you form a downstroke, add a parallel line to thicken that stroke. Remember, we want the downstrokes to be thick and the upstrokes to be thin. I have drawn arrows in the photo above to show you where the down strokes should be. Continue adding a line to each down stroke to all your letters. Take your time and enjoy the process.
Step 3: Fill in the gaps
After you have added all your extra downstrokes, it’s time for the fun part! Color in all your double-lined down strokes to make them thicker. The Sarasa Fineliner’s thin tip provides precise control, allowing you to easily stay within the lines when laying down color. You can create additional vibrancy to the color by adding more layers of the same color.
Step 4: Display your faux calligraphy
Practicing your faux calligraphy will help it become easier and easier. Learning faux calligraphy is a helpful steppingstone to learning traditional calligraphy since it teaches you where to add thickness in your letterforms. I hope you found this tutorial helpful and it inspires you to continue with your calligraphy journey. For more calligraphy inspiration, check out Shelley Hitz’s Brush Lettering for Beginners tutorial.