If you find yourself intimidated by pointed pen calligraphy, try writing faux calligraphy instead. Learning the faux calligraphy technique will allow you to make beautiful lettering today, and you’ll develop knowledge that will come in handy when you decide to pick up a pointed pen for the first time. In addition to today’s free worksheet,…
Faux calligraphy — calligraphy created with any writing instrument like a ballpoint pen, chalk, or marker — offers a fantastic introduction to pointed pen calligraphy. Additionally, faux calligraphy is a beautiful lettering art form in its own right. In the first half of this blog post, I’ll teach you how to create this fun, accessible form of calligraphy. In the second half, you’ll find inspiration for using it to add beauty to everything from chalkboards to mail art!
How to Write Faux Calligraphy: Video Tutorial
In the comprehensive video tutorial below, I’ll walk you through exactly how to write faux calligraphy. I’ll also provide examples of projects I’ve used to make the technique in the past, along with the story of why faux calligraphy caused a stir among traditional calligraphers!
If you followed along with the video tutorial and you feel empowered to try pointed pen calligraphy, I encourage you to enroll in TPK’s Beginner’s Modern Calligraphy Online Course. It’s 20% off this weekend with the gift card code BEYONDFAUX.
How to Write Faux Calligraphy: Written Tutorial
1. Write the Word or Phrase
To write faux calligraphy, you’ll first want to choose your writing utensil. It can be anything, from a regular pen (like the Pilot G2 shown below) to chalk or a crayon! Use it to write a word or sentence in cursive, and make sure you leave a fair amount of space between the letters.
2. Reinforce Downstrokes
Next, you’re going to reinforce the downstrokes used to create the word. In order to do that, you’ll first want to identify the downstrokes. A downstroke occurs when you pull your pen down to create a stroke. You can see in the photo below that the word “create” is made of several downstrokes.
Next, draw reinforcement lines that are parallel to your downstrokes. These new lines should hug the contours of your downstrokes. Note that it doesn’t matter which side of each downstroke you draw your new lines in on. Use your best judgment to ensure consistent, pleasing spacing.
Once you finish drawing in the downstroke reinforcements, your word will look something like the photo below.
3. Fill in the Downstroke Reinforcements
Now that you have created all the downstroke reinforcements, you can use your pen to fill them in.
When you finish, the contrast of the strokes in the word will strongly resemble pointed pen calligraphy.
I want you to start your calligraphy journey off on the right foot, so I designed a free 8-page faux calligraphy worksheet for you. This worksheet features Amy Style calligraphy letters A-Z and a-z, plus common words like “Birthday”, “Thank”, and “You”. Note that this worksheet should take a chunk of time to complete! Give yourself at least three days to finish it.
Even if you are capable of creating pointed pen calligraphy, sometimes faux calligraphy is the best technique to utilize. That can be due to a number of reasons — maybe you’re in a situation where you can’t use a dip pen (e.g. a work meeting), maybe your writing surface isn’t conducive to dip pen calligraphy, or maybe you’re just fed up with ink spills and spatters.
Chalkboard Faux Calligraphy
You could arguably use a dip pen and white ink on a chalkboard, but the resulting calligraphy would be tiny. The calligraphy below — made to welcome a guest — was created using standard chalk.
Hand-Lettering + Faux Calligraphy
You can combine faux calligraphy with hand-lettering (decorative, non-cursive writing) to make an art piece like the one pictured below. The stroke contrast in words like “Colby”, “xo”, “Sushi”, and “Cream Cheese Jalapeño Pizza” contrasts beautifully with other styles of lettering. Personalized lettering art like this, which shares cherished experiences and common interests, makes for a wonderful gift.
Faux Calligraphy in the Mailbox
You can make lovely envelopes with faux calligraphy. The envelope below was created using all-lowercase Kaitlin Style lettering (download a free exemplar by clicking here). Notice that the downstroke reinforcements are not filled in. If you like this stylistic variation, as I do, there’s no need to fill in the downstrokes.
No matter what your level of proficiency with a dip pen, I hope that you’ll give this technique a try. While faux calligraphy offers a soft introduction to pointed pen calligraphy, it’s not just for beginners. Seasoned calligraphers can also benefit from using it to spice up their lettering creations!
If you have any questions about creating faux calligraphy, please feel free to ask! I am a huge proponent of mastering this type of calligraphy before moving on to pointed pen calligraphy … because that’s how I learned. If you try this technique and love it, consider enrolling in The Beginner’s Modern Calligraphy Online Course. With over 240 five star reviews, it offers a wealth of information at an incredible value. Enroll by this Tuesday, August 1, to receive 20% off using the code BEYONDFAUX in the “Apply Gift Card” field at checkout.
Thanks very much for reading TPK, and enjoy the rest of your day!