05 Jun 2015
How to Fake Calligraphy
The classic and elegant technique of the
calligraphy nib is evocative of a certain timelessness and old world charm,
making it a desirable stationery style among brides. Unfortunately the
customised nature of calligraphy along with the high demand for experienced
calligraphers means that it can also be a bit on the pricey side. But before
you disregard it as an unattainable option there is a quick and easy DIY solution
that is relatively easy to master.
Traditional nib calligraphy uses varying
pressure on the up and down strokes to create the beautiful variance of thick
and thin lines. Lighter, finer lines are used on the upstrokes and heavier,
thicker lines are applied on the downstrokes. Mastering a calligraphy nib pen
is something that requires concentration, patience and a lot of practice. By using
the faux calligraphy technique below you can quickly achieve a similar result
without the frustration (and without all of the inky mess!).
Choose a sample calligraphy typeface.
Unless you already have an elegant hand it would pay to get your hands on a
sample script to use as a guide to form your letters. There are a number of
free resources online for this. A quick Google search will yield hundreds
Using your sample script as a guide, draft
out your desired name or phrase in pencil. You can keep this as simple or
intricate as you like depending on your desired style and ability. Add
flourishes if you want something a little more elaborate although you may want
to stick to the basics to begin with. If you are more confident with your
handwriting style you can skip this step and go straight to step 3.
Once you have lightly written out your
phrase in pencil, trace back over the pencil lines with your choice of marker
or brush pen, using a light pressure. Sharpies are a
budding calligrapher’s best friend and are available in a variety of nib sizes
and colours including metallic gold, silver and bronze for an elegant look. For
large lettering use a generous sized nib. For small lettering use a finer nib.
I would recommend trying a few different pens until you find one that suits
your style and application. The pens I used in the examples below
are the Staedtler
Triplus Fineliner in black and a Uniball
Signo in Gold.
To replicate the characteristic stroke
variance of calligraphy you will then need to thicken the line of each
downstroke. To do this go back over the letters by adding another line
alongside every downstroke and fill in any gaps with ink. Make sure you wait
until the ink has fully dried before rubbing out any pencil lines.
This faux calligraphy technique is a great
way to personalise your invites, envelopes or table place cards and can be used
on various materials. For something a bit more interesting consider using
leaves or even flat pebbles to use as place cards. Sharpies can be applied to
most surfaces so this is your chance to really get creative.
I first discovered this technique on
Lindsey Bugby’s blog The Postman’s
Knock which has become a bit of a go-to resource for my own creative
lettering projects. For those of you that are keen to pursue the art of
calligraphy further I would definitely recommend checking it out as her
detailed calligraphy tutorials contain a wealth of knowledge. And while you are
wandering around the World Wide Web don’t forget to head over to my own blog The Paper Botanist for more paper
related and hand lettering inspiration.