• Five Simple Calligraphy Shortcuts

    Whenever I have so many projects and so little time (which is often the case!), I rely on one or more of these five calligraphy shortcuts. I hope that one of them can help you when you find yourself in a similar situation!

    Five Calligraphy Shortcuts | The Postman's Knock

    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

    Five Calligraphy Shortcuts | The Postman's Knock

    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.

    Five Calligraphy Shortcuts | The Postman's Knock

    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

    Janet Style Calligraphy Envelopes | The Postman's Knock
    I used iron gall ink to create these Janet Style calligraphy wedding envelopes.

    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.

    Scribblers Envelope
    This showstopper of an envelope was created with Turquoise Bombay ink.

    Some of my favorite time-efficient inks include:

    3. Write Whimsically

    Shortcut Pointed Pen Calligraphy Passage Tutorial
    I created this passage in turbo speed using this calligraphy shortcut technique.

    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.

    Kaitlin Style Calligraphy | The Postman's Knock
    Kaitlin Style calligraphy is definitely going to be your go-to style if you’re a bit short on time!

    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.

    Using a Light Box | The Postman's Knock

    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

    Upcycled Creative Envelope | The Postman's Knock

    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!


    Lindsey's Signature | The Postman's Knock