How to Draw Cheater Calligraphy

Posted on March 29, 2016 and tagged Sketchbook, Tutorials

Who has the time and patience to learn real calligraphy? I'm just kidding! I really admire people who can do beautiful hand lettering. Even more impressive are those who can use a real calligraphy pen. Those pens are legit hard to master! While I can't stress the importance of practice enough, what about those times when you just want to draw some pretty letters? This is where cheater calligraphy comes in. It's the beauty of calligraphy without the special tools and years of practice. Sure, it doesn't look exactly the same, but it's fun to do!

  • Start by very lightly pencilling in your quote. I had previously made this painted frame in a sketchbook page and it seemed like a great place for some lettering! I literally just scribbled some paint in a circle, so it's really easy to do. Tip: For a more playful look, vary the positioning of the letters in each word. Instead of writing in a straight line, make some letters higher or lower than the others.

  • Once you're happy with the look and positioning, trace over the quote using a black pen. Or any colour really. Feel free to erase and redraw as many times as you need. That's why we did this in pencil! Tip: For a fancier look, use a very fine tipped pen.

  • Now we want to fatten up all of the 'downstrokes' by drawing on either side of them. A downstroke is just where your pen wrote in a downward motion. If you're not sure which part of the letter is a downstroke, just trace over them in the air paying attention to when your pen moves down the page. Next, just fill in the downstrokes with your pen.
  • If you're happy with the contrast between the fat and thin lines, start to fill in the rest of the letters on the page.

I really love this technique for getting the look of calligraphy quickly and easily. Real calligraphy is something that I would love to learn some day - I even have the pen, nibs and ink! But for now I think I'll stick with this. It's fun for just playing around in my sketchbook and it also lets me practice my cursive writing in preparation for the real thing.