How to Fake Calligraphy (the right way)

How to fake calligraphy the right way

If you’ve thought about trying calligraphy, this technique is perfect for jumping in risk-free. There’s no guesswork, there’s no mess, and all you need are a couple pencils. (Plus a suitable surface. Paper will do. Or a wall, you know, whatever’s handy.)

 fakingcalligraphy3Once I finish it, this tea party painting will find its home in the kettle’s corner of our new kitchen.

How to Fake Calligraphy

Tools required
♦ Two sharp pencils; I’m using coloured pencils
♦ Rubber band or masking tape
♦ Optional: ruler

Use your rubber band to secure your pencils together, as shown in the pictures below. Now grab your new calligraphy tool and write a few big letters on your paper. Instant effect, even in your own handwriting! Simple, right?

So other than writing willy nilly all over the page, what can you do to really fake good-looking calligraphy? I’ll tell you: it’s about angle and letter height. You can skip the two and still have pretty results, so if you’re eager to jump in go ahead. I did!


Above: Me going will-nilly with spring colours, ruler forgotten!

To practise angle, you could go technical and worry about precise degrees. But for a simpler experience, practise making circles at different angles and see what you like. Go wild with a Y or F and see how angle affects the different proportions of the letter. Try L’s with little flares at the bottom. See what you can do with a twist of your wrist!


Letter Height
Height is measured by ‘nib widths’ in calligraphy. Your ‘nib’ in this case is the space between the two pencil tips. Make a nib ladder like in the photo above, with up to eight steps. If you want to get more technical, you can use your ruler to mark out the lines across the page to keep your letters consistent.

In a lot of calligraphy hands, lower-case letters like a and c are between 4-6 nib heights. Capitals will be a nib height or two taller. Letters like extend a couple nib widths above the ‘a’ height, whereas letters like drop a couple nib widths below.

Keep your letters to similar heights and your fake calligraphy will be looking good in no time!


Other awesome ways to use this technique

  • Take a firm grasp of two pieces of chalk, and go artsy on your chalkboard
  • Let youngsters practise calligraphy, mess and stain free
  • On that note, try it with crayons, or charcoal
  • Go portable without worrying about ink spills or broken nibs
  • Quickly doodle text onto fabric for embroidery (Use fabric markers!)

What could you cover with pretty letters?


Oh, and I better confess something… You know how I said ‘fake’? Well, sorry. This is actually a legitimate technique for practising calligraphy. What an easy start to such a beautiful hobby! ;)