Recently, I got hooked on watching calligraphy and hand-lettering videos by the likes of seblester, jeremytow_lcsc, and melanemagdalena. So, much like what I did with bullet journaling, I bought myself a brush pen, a fountain pen, some ink cartridges, and threw myself right into it.
Obviously, calligraphy is something that takes quite a lot of practice and patience to get right. As easy as these people make it look, their videos are often sped up to keep it within Instagram’s 30-second limit. So, as much as I wanted to progress rapidly through the steps, I simply did not have the amount of free time I needed to devote to practice writing letters over and over again.
Luckily, I found a method of faux calligraphy that would do just fine to tide me over until I could become more practiced with my brush pen and ink. Basically, you just write in your normal cursive (any kind of connected letters will do, really). Pay attention to where your pen goes up (this is called the upstroke) and where it goes down (this is called—yup, you guessed it—the downstroke). You want to artificially thicken your downstrokes in order to contrast against your (thin!) upstrokes. I’ve shown this process in the photos below:
- Write out your word or phrase in your best cursive. You do want to leave some space between your letters, because they will get thicker. However, it is definitely totally fine if it’s not perfect, especially if this is just your first run. Besides, I personally hadn’t written in cursive since third grade.
- a brief aside: Remember when your teachers told you that middle school and high school assignments were going to be completely in cursive? Remember when you got to middle school and found out that they all lied to you? Me too, man. Me too.
- Draw in the lines for your thickened downstrokes. I’ve demonstrated this on the word “calligraphy” in the above photo. Alternatively, you can just go straight ahead and thicken the lines of the downstrokes until you’re happy with them, as I’ve done for the word “misanthrope” and the sentence “this is my handwriting”.
- You can get more advanced. Draw guidelines and do your cursive outside the lines on purpose to get a more “fun”, spontaneous look.
All you have left to do now is practice! The next step after mastering the art of fake calligraphy, of course, is to move on to the more advanced stuff. There are plenty of sites out there that offer free resources for people interested in self-teaching calligraphy. I’ve taken the liberty of compiling a few sites for you to reference:
- How to Create Fake Calligraphy (not where I first found out about faux calligraphy, but they have a great tutorial that includes how to draw guidelines)
- Learn Calligraphy Basics
- Start Handlettering Today (has a great labelled exemplar for drawing guidelines!)
- How to Add Simple Swirls to Your Letters
I’ve actually taken to doodling words and phrases in class rather than my customary plants and animals. It’s calming and extremely rewarding when you do a particularly good bit of letter-work. Besides, now is the perfect time to take advantage of the advent of hand-lettering and the handwritten “look” being so in style these days.
Have fun and happy lettering!