Let’s practice faux calligraphy!

What is faux calligraphy? It’s the process of adding weight to the downstrokes of drawn letters in order for them to appear to have been created with a calligraphy brush or nib.

Faux calligraphy is not only a great option for those new to modern calligraphy, it’s also the only option for some pens. For instance, if you have a bullet tip metallic pen that you love and would like to add modern calligraphy to an envelope, you could draw faux calligraphy instead of buying a new brush pen or gold paint for your calligraphy nibs.

Hey, I’m all about buying up the art supplies, so I’m not discouraging an art supply purchase 🙂 . But sometimes you just want to grab what you have on hand in order to complete your project and move on to the next one.

So in this post, I’ll show you the three easy steps I use to practice faux calligraphy.




For this example, I used my sketchbook and a Stabilo point 88 fine 0.4 liner pen.

You can use any paper and pen you have on had. But if it’s a broad tip, just make sure you watch your spacing. I’ll remind you about it below.

Let’s begin!

Step One

The first step is to simply write out your word. You may want to leave more space between each letter than you normally would. This way, your letters won’t look too scrunched up in the end.

Step Two

The next step is to add outlines along all of your downstrokes. Downstrokes are the parts of the letter that you draw as the pen moves towards your body. Upstrokes move away from your body.

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You can use the image above as a guide for where to add your downstrokes. Another trick is to trace over your letter with your hand in the air in order to get a feel for where to add downstrokes.

Also, try to taper the ends of your outline so that they appear to naturally transition into the letter.

Step Three

The last step is to color in those outlines. I normally use a thicker pen to do this, a #8 Micron or the Faber Castell brush tip is what I normally use.

But try to avoid using a tip that’s wider than your outline. Keep all of the coloring within the outline, and then you can use a narrow tip to fill in the areas closer to the edge of the outline.

And then your done!

Practicing Faux Calligraphy

I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy this approach to creating faux modern calligraphy. Over time, you can practice slanted and more stylized letters. You can also try this approach with various types of pens.

Do you have any faux calligraphy tips? Feel free to add them in the comments section below.