Calligraphy takes time to make, and that’s part of its appeal! Writing offers a “creative timeout” that can be relaxing and therapeutic. That said, if you’re working on a large project, it’s nice to have a few calligraphy shortcuts up your sleeve. In the tips that follow, you’ll learn five ways to ensure efficient and pleasant calligraphy creation!
1. Choose Your Calligraphy Tool Wisely
It’s important to remember that different writing utensils require different amounts of time to write a word. While faux calligraphy makes for a great introduction to the world of calligraphy, it’s not exactly an efficient writing technique. In the photo above, I used a stopwatch to time myself writing “hello!” with three different writing utensils: a Pilot G2 pen (and faux calligraphy), a dip pen, and a brush pen.
No matter what project you decide to take on, it’s important to realistically approach how long the project will take to make based on the writing instrument you are using. For large projects such as wedding envelopes, try to use a dip pen fitted with the nib you feel most comfortable writing with!
2. Write With Dippable Ink
Finetec gold is fun and watercolor calligraphy is artistic and creative, but non-traditional inks require a lot more time to work with. Yeah, they look cool, but it takes a while to brush all that pigment onto the back of your nib. Instead, choose an ink that you can dip your nib into. Preferably, the ink should be thin; viscous inks — like Bleed Proof White — require more time to work with than thinner inks.
Some of my favorite time-efficient inks include:
3. Write Whimsically
Whenever I want to write more than a few words, I use Kaitlin Style calligraphy. The Kaitlin is a bouncy calligraphy style that doesn’t require pencil guidelines. I love the Kaitlin for envelopes! You save a lot of time by not having to draw guidelines or worry too much about centering.
Conversely, when you use a style like the Copperplate-inspired Janet — which, don’t get me wrong, is totally gorgeous — you do have to use guidelines. The guidelines let you know how tall letters should be, provide you with a baseline, and keep everything looking orderly. While the guidelines are infinitely helpful, they are also comparatively time-consuming to create.
4. Use a Light Box
Sometimes, you can’t escape using calligraphy guidelines, especially if you want your calligraphy to look neat and orderly. If that’s the case, try using a light box to shine guidelines up through your envelope (or paper). If you use a light box, you only have to draw your guidelines once, then you can use them again and again.
The catch? Light boxes can only shine through light-colored envelopes. Unfortunately, this shortcut won’t work for darker papers. But, if you can use this shortcut, you’ll appreciate how much time you save not drawing guidelines and not erasing those guidelines!
5. Justify Your Calligraphy to the Left
Left justification is one of the best calligraphy shortcuts out there! Everyone loves a perfectly centered envelope, but they take so much time to make. It’s difficult to make sure every address line is perfectly spaced! If one address line is slightly off, it ruins the whole thing. You can remedy that risk by justifying all of your calligraphy to the left. There are a few tricks for making a natural-looking left-justified envelope. Click through the slideshow below to see some of them!
If you have a large batch of envelopes to address, then left-justification is definitely something to consider! Regardless of which calligraphy style you decide to use, not having to center the text will save you quite a bit of time.
While it’s not always possible — or even desirable — to speed up your calligraphy creation, it’s still nice to have a few tricks up your sleeve just in case! If you have any questions about any of these calligraphy shortcuts (or if you have your own to add), please let me know in the comments. Happy writing!