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So if you’ve hung out around here at all lately or follow along with me on Instagram, you may have noticed I have a serious love for hand lettering. And while I don’t have an artistic bone in my body, I’ve been doodling letters since I could write, so the idea of drawing letters really appealed to me. While not everyone is ready to dive right in and invest in everything you would need to start playing with modern calligraphy, I’m here to let you in a secret…it’s SUPER easy to fake hand lettering, aka faux calligraphy. It’s a great place to start if you’re interested in learning hand lettering but aren’t sure where to begin, or if you really love the look of hand lettering but don’t want to commit to full-blown modern calligraphy. Fair warning though: once you know how to fake hand lettering you’ll find it can be a gateway drug to learning modern calligraphy. So consider yourself warned. 😉
The best part about faux calligraphy is that you don’t need anything fancy to do it. Just your favorite markers or pens and some paper. These are my go to pens for everything from faux calligraphy to doodling in my planner. I love them so much they’re my annual Christmas present to myself.
To get started, go ahead and draw out what you want to say. I say draw because no matter what you’re doing whether it’s faux calligraphy or traditional brushed lettering, the idea is the same: you’re not writing your letters, you’re drawing them. That didn’t make sense to me at first, but I realized if I kept that in the back of my mind when I was lettering it really made my calligraphy easier.
If this is your first time trying any kind of calligraphy don’t worry, just use your regular cursive. If you’re feeling confident, go ahead and add a little flavor to your letters. You do you on this one. But when you’re lettering, be mindful to leave space between your letters. Don’t freak out when you finish this first step. Your letters will look a little bare but don’t worry we’ll fix it.
Once you’ve drawn out your word or saying now go back to the beginning and wherever you have a downstroke in your letters go ahead and draw a second stroke to create what looks like a white space, or shadow, in your letters. Make sure to start from the top of the stroke and follow it to the end of the original downstroke. No rules on how far apart your downstrokes are from one another. Just remember the further apart they are the thicker your lettering will appear once you’re finished. Ideally, your second line should begin and end with your original downstroke.
Now your piece is really starting to look crazy. 😉
After all of your downstrokes have been doubled, go back to the beginning and carefully fill in the white space you created between your downstrokes with your pen or marker. This will create a thickness to the downstrokes that mimic the look created by a brush pen used in hand lettering.
Starting to see the calligraphy yet?!
Once you’re done filling in all the white space you can sit back and admire your beautifully created faux calligraphy!
See, not so bad, right?! Once you have the basic concept down you can experiment to your heart’s content. Have fun with it! I used to (okay, I sometimes still do) get really frustrated if a piece didn’t turn out exactly like I had envisioned in my head until I realized hand lettering is just another form of art (and faux calligraphy counts too!). Each piece is one of a kind, so embrace the imperfections and create something that inspires you. Not to mention, now you can impress all of your family and friends with your beautiful calligraphy and they’ll never have to know you faked it.