Faux Calligraphy

Jan. 23, is National Handwriting Day, and in honor of this wondrous occasion I think it’s time we give calligraphy a chance to be added to our repertoire. Calligraphy, arguably a dying artform, has regained popularity in the past few years as a hobby. According to the Inquirer, “Legions of hobbyists around the world are enjoying calligraphy, the way adults have taken to their coloring books. Moreover, calligraphers are in demand for writing invitations, cards, letters, logos, poems, name cards and other print collateral.”

This hobby can be really rewarding. It can be a form of stress-release and therapy, similar to the adult coloring book trend, as well as a form of creativity. There are numerous accounts on social media of calligraphy superstars who wrote their way to stardom. Seb Lester, for example, is a celebrity calligraphy artist on Instagram with over a million followers. These calligraphy artists provide aesthetically-pleasing script to people for their viewing pleasure and even provide their services for weddings and other formal events in forms of addresses and place settings.

It looks great on addresses and letterheads!
It looks great on addresses and letterheads!

When you look on websites to learn calligraphy, they usually suggest buying expensive supplies like dip pens, ink and special paper. These supplies are great and incredibly useful once you are advanced, but if you are just starting out and want to  see if you like it, they’re not necessary. There is a term for the type of calligraphy I’m talking about: it’s called Faux Calligraphy and it is arguably the most diverse and creative form of calligraphy. In this form, the design and style is all up to the creator, there are no strict boundaries to be followed. It’s called Faux Calligraphy aka False Calligraphy, because it doesn’t involve that much practice or any of those expensive materials. There are various forms you can create like your own font styles, different mediums like pens, markers and even crayons. After you learn the basics, the rest is up to you.

Try tracing in pencil first to give your calligraphy that real sharp look.
Try tracing in pencil first to give your calligraphy that real sharp look.

A majority of websites feature tutorials to learn this skill but, a general rule of thumb for the script side of calligraphy is to first write your desired text out normally and then go over the all of the downstrokes with a broader or thicker line. Some other techniques or tricks you can take are to use pens or markers that release ink depending on the type of pressure applied, like brush pens and gels. This way, you can apply more pressure on the downstrokes and lighter pressure on the upstrokes in your desired format.

Another way to play around with this is to print out script worksheets and play around with the type of fonts you can use. There are a variety of font sheets you can print out but you can always refer to Microsoft Word as well. Type up your desired word and try and match or copy the style. This works best if you type up individual letters so you can follow the way the characters connect.

The best way to learn how to write faux calligraphy is to have fun with it and practice. Try it in letters, class notes and mail. That way, you can learn while you hone your craft. It also adds an extra personal touch when added to letters like thank you notes and birthday cards.

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