I have to admit that I struggled over what to call this calligraphy tutorial. “White calligraphy with a hint of color and a shadow on a watercolor background” just didn’t have a nice ring to it. So: “Phantom Blush” it is! This calligraphy technique is a favorite of mine because it’s casual, artistic, and quick. You can find instructions over how to make it below, including a ~6 minute tutorial video that will help those of us who love video demos!
1. Paint a Watercolor Background
Choose a hardy piece of paper, and use a large-ish brush and a dark watercolor tone to make several quick horizontal strokes. Layer the strokes until you have created a dark background like the one pictured below.
If you’re using this tutorial to make mail art, you probably are wondering whether the envelope will “bubble up” because of moisture. The answer is yes — but I think that the change in texture adds to the artistic nature of the piece! My only word of caution would be to use a high-quality envelope that is 80 lb or higher.
2. Write Calligraphy
Wait for the watercolor ink to dry, then use opaque white ink — I like Bleed Proof White — to write calligraphy on it. You’ll notice that writing on the watercolor background is a little bit different than writing on naked paper. Namely, upstrokes will probably be thicker than what you’re used to. Don’t worry about it! For this calligraphy tutorial, you actually want upstrokes that are nice and thick.
3. Add Color
Next, get out your colored pencils. Choose a fairly light tone, and use it to gently fill in the bottom half of all your letters/characters.
Continue until all of your letters have a blush of color on them!
4. Draw in Shadows
Find a fine-tipped black gel pen, and use it to draw a parallel line along the right side of each stroke in your calligraphy. (If this concept is confusing, check out the tutorial video, which I posted just under this step.)
Continue to draw in shadows until all of the letters in the piece “pop”!
If you used this calligraphy technique for mail art, try adding a stamp collage for an extra creative touch!
Phantom Blush Calligraphy Tutorial Video
If you’re a bit fuzzy on the details of this calligraphy tutorial and/or you have about six minutes to spare, you can watch the video below. It explains the process behind the Phantom Blush calligraphy technique and should clear up unanswered questions!
As you probably gathered from the video, you can use this calligraphy technique for anything. Mail art, gift tags, bullet journals, sketchbooks … try it on whatever paper good you create next!
I hope that you enjoyed this tutorial, and that you find the time to give it a try! It’s nice and short, the perfect way to incorporate art and calligraphy into a hectic holiday schedule. If any part of this tutorial is confusing or you have observations you’d like to share, please feel free to contribute to the comments below! If not, have a great weekend, and thanks so much for reading TPK!
(PS – I so enjoy seeing tutorial results on Instagram! If you make something you’re proud of, tag @thepostmansknock or hashtag #thepostmansknock. I guarantee you that I’ll be proud of what you made, too.)