5.14.2012

How to Fake Calligraphy

I’m sure you all know by now that I like to play around with calligraphy. I do it for friends, and even offer it as a service with my wedding planning. For the real type of calligraphy, I use a real calligraphy pen, a Lamy Safari black 1.5 fountain pen, to be exact. But I didn’t always do that.

Pretty handwriting runs in my family, and I’ve always been blessed with nice handwriting. I always used to practice my cursive writing, and last year I just decided to go for it. I bought a couple archival pens and doodled. This is what I came up with.

First things first, you need to find a good pen to use. Any pen that has a thick ink will really work, but it’s all personal preference. I like to use the Micron 05 pen, found at Michaels stores.

You really don’t need the nicest handwriting in the world in order to do this. If you don’t like your handwriting though, practice! It really does make a difference. Look up styles you like online, and practice, practice, practice. Research different techniques, find the right pen for you, and waste a lot of paper. That’s how I did it.
Photo by Lavender and Twine, calligraphy by myself, originally posted to Wedding Chicks.

Make sure you use lots of loops and swirls, to make it look all pretty-like.

Real calligraphy pens give different strokes with varying thicknesses. So, the goal is to create this variation in thickness on your own. I draw a line next to the longest stroke of the letter, and just fill that in.

It can take some time to do a lot of letters in this way, but the outcome sure does look nice! And again, just keep practicing and you’ll get it down perfectly.

Have you ever tried fake calligraphy?

UPDATE 8/2/2012 :: If you like this post, you'll probably like my post on how to improve your handwriting! Check it out!

UPDATE 3/6/2013 :: My own "fake calligraphy" font is now for sale! You can purchase it here.
UPDATED 9/9/2014 :: I have a YouTube channel now! Come see some of my calligraphy and handlettering in live action!

41 comments:

Brianna said...

SO pretty! Great tips (: I'm going to have to try it out soon!

Holly said...

I'm going to have to try this technique! You have such beautiful lettering, Joelle!

Kate said...

Girl, you have some skills. That looks awesome!

Alivia said...

Ahhh so pretty!! Love it.

Terri said...

While I've tried it, I can never get anything to look this pretty! I guess I have a new goal, huh?

Lindsay @ Trial By Sapphire said...

I was just telling my husband that our moms have such lovely cursive handwriting! I should practice mine now!

Jill @ ACharmedLife said...

i wish i could fake it like you - girl! i will have to start practicing!

Katie Price said...

A good pen & good paper makes all the difference! You have rockin fake calligraphy skills ;) Your handwriting reminds me of the Emily Lime fonts.

steph anne said...

I'm in love with your handwriting! You definitely should make it into a font. I'd totally buy it! :)

Tamra {ever swoon} said...

This is such a great post. I need to improve my normal handwriting first, but I totally will be giving these tips a try and getting those pens! thx doll

Adriana said...

When you said you had nice handwriting, you weren't kidding! Wow.

This is a great tip. :)

Josie Daga said...

wow....looks so pretty + professional!

Mary Alison said...

After growing up with a Mom who writes print-quality REAL calligraphy and always claiming she is "self taught" I had to give this a try. Works great! I used just a plain Papermate Flair Medium sized pen. Thanks so much!

Kelley @ Kelley Maria said...

So pretty! Not sure that I can pull off fake calligraphy like you, but I am going to try!

Melisa Nicole said...

what a great trick! I just tried it and will definitely be using it on some upcoming notes I'll be writing.

I just discovered your blog by the way and gave you a follow. Check mine out and follow back if you'd like :)

xoxo
Melisa
http://mylittlesliceoflife.blogspot.com/

Christina Charles said...

I've always wanted to learn! This is great! Thank you very much!!

miss sOnshine said...

this is EXACTLY what i do and i did it to address all my wedding invitations!

She's Got Heart{s} said...

Love it! I find making the downward stroke thicker looks really natural!

whitneycroy said...

what is that type of font called? the one you used in this blog?

Rachael said...

i do this alllll the time. loopy letters are so beautiful. love it!

Sam @ reddyorknot.blogspot.com said...

love this! you have the best handwriting!

Moni said...

Ahhh this is amazing. Can you make your handwriting into a font... so i can practice with yours? lol :D

Rachel said...

You have inspired me to fix my ugly handwriting!

Unknown said...

This will come in handy--and hopefully save some money--on our wedding invites!
Do you have any suggestions for pens for lefties that won't smear?

Anonymous said...

i have always had the messiest "boy" writing, and i blame it on being left handed! as soon as i start to write anything, i smear my hand in it.

Nauli said...

Hmm, I wished I have a nice handwriting where faking calligraphy would make any sense... However my sister is good in it, I think she had to train it for a whole semester. So, I just ask her all the time.

pureandsimplelife said...

For the Lefties: When writing calligraphy as a lefty, you turn your paper sideways and write your letters sideways- so you work top to bottom. You may have better luck trying to write that way to prevent the smear. (Unless you're a "hooker" lefty, then you may just be out of luck.)
I'm a lefty. My handwriting is atrocious, but a lot of lefties can do excellent calligraphy. I think it's because it breaks down the letters into shapes so you focus more on forming them correctly (instead of forming them out of memory/habit as you do when writing).
Janice

Kristal Jones said...

I just found your blog from pinterest and I am so glad I did. I love your handwriting! I think I will try this!
sincerelyarizona.blogspot.com

Joelle :: Something Charming said...

Thanks so much Kristal! I'd love to hear how it turns out :)

xoxo,
Joelle

Joelle :: Something Charming said...

Just tried this and loved it! I think I'll need to get some large labels to do it on though, I don't like potentially wasting special envelopes if my hand writing goes nutty. To practice I think I'm going to make all of my To Do lists and grocery lists in this style. I make a lot of lists that no one else ever sees but me.

Joelle :: Something Charming said...

Haha I love the idea of using it for all your personal notes and lists. You'll definitely get the practice you need ;)

Joelle :: Something Charming said...

you can make a font from your own handwriting! It's really cool.... http://www.yourfonts.com/

Joelle :: Something Charming said...

That's cool, but the thing is, if you want to make it look real when you draw the thicker lines, you have to imagine where they would be if you were using a pen with a broad nib. This is a mistake some typographers do when creating antique looking letters. Just something one needs to know if creating such letters ;-)

Joelle :: Something Charming said...

Or you just use a nib and it all makes it WAY easier :-)

Joelle :: Something Charming said...

I always wish there was the same appreciation for calligraphy and the aesthetics of writing in English-speaking countries as there is in countries that use Chinese characters.

Joelle :: Something Charming said...

Your writing is lovely and charming. But why not just get a wide-nibbed pen? Much quicker results....

Joelle :: Something Charming said...

lamyusa.com has basic and calligraphy-style fountain pens with steel nibs for around $35 to $38. I have crappy handwriting and they make it look rather nice.

Joelle :: Something Charming said...

Um, I do? I actually do "traditional" calligraphy as well. This is a style on its own, one that I get more requests for than any other style...
* * *Joelle Duff*
Wedding Planner and Designer
A Charming Occasion
Blog: Something Charming Twitter:
JoelleDuff
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Joelle :: Something Charming said...

really seems gud .

Joelle Duff said...

thats gorg, i will off course try it! /('0')/

Joelle Duff said...

I love it!! However...I tried to go to the link for the post on "how to improve your handwriting", and they're both broken. :(