Today’s colored pencil calligraphy tutorial is one of those projects that you should save for a day when you need some quiet and reflection. It’s something that requires a bit of time, but not intense focus — so you can let your thoughts wander as you color! To begin, you’ll need a white pencil, a black piece of cardstock, a dip pen + white ink, and colored pencils.
1. Write Out a Phrase in Calligraphy
You’ll begin by using your white mechanical pencil to write out a draft of any short phrase that you connect with. (For more information about making layouts like the one below, you can visit the How to Make Calligraphy Quote Art tutorial.) Feel free to create your phrase in any calligraphy style! I chose to use the Kaitlin because it has a lot of nice contours.
Next, trace over your calligraphy with a dip pen and white ink.
Try to use a flexible nib that doesn’t make hairline-thin upstrokes. Otherwise, your lettering may end up looking too delicate and it won’t stand out in the final project.
Allow your ink to dry (give it 15 minutes just to be safe), then move on to the next step!
2. Add + Blend Colored Pencils
You can use any color scheme you want for colored pencil calligraphy. I’d recommend choosing three colors that you feel go well together. Make sure they’re fairly light because you want them to show up against the dark cardstock!
Now, start using the colors in a random order to fill in the space around your calligraphy. Follow these two rules:
- Apply pressure to your pencil in the areas that directly border letters in order to create dramatic color contrast. As you color away from the letter, let up on the pressure to make a lighter tone.
- Don’t fill in the counters of letters (meaning: the areas inside of loops, such as the bottom of a “y”and the inside of the “o”, both shown below). Leaving the counters blank will lend some rich visual interest to the finished piece!
Continue to use your colored pencils to fill in all of the space around your calligraphy. For maximum contrast, extend your colored pencil to the border that you drew in step 1. Don’t worry about where to put which color — the whole point of this tutorial is to go with your gut and let your mind wander! Any spontaneous combination will end up looking great.
Once you’ve finished adding color to your piece, use an eraser to get rid of any visible white guidelines. Exert very gentle pressure; you don’t want to accidentally erase the colored pencil!
When you finish, take a step back to enjoy the artistic effect! This type of colored pencil calligraphy especially looks striking from afar.
Again, this isn’t a complicated tutorial by any means — but sometimes it’s nice to have a project that doesn’t necessarily take a lot of concentration. Put on a good podcast or playlist, keep a yummy snack or drink at hand, and let yourself relax for an hour or so as you delve in to making this project! My guess is that creating it will make you feel rejuvenated and renewed, which is exactly what it did for me. 🙂
If you have any questions, suggestions, or observations, I always enjoy hearing from you in the comments! Otherwise, I hope that you feel inspired by this tutorial, and that you have a wonderful weekend. Thanks so much for reading!