Faux Calligraphy

Introduction to Faux Calligraphy

I’m absolutely thrilled to introduce you to the world of faux calligraphy. But what exactly is faux calligraphy? It’s a technique that mimics the look of traditional calligraphy but is done with any standard writing instrument, no fancy dip pens or nibs required. It’s the perfect stepping stone for beginners who want to dip their toes into the calligraphy world without feeling overwhelmed.

Why Faux Calligraphy?

Well, the beauty of faux calligraphy is its accessibility. It gives you the flexibility to create stunning calligraphy with everyday writing tools, and it’s a wonderful way to train your hand for lettering before moving on to more advanced tools.

The Necessary Tools for Faux Calligraphy

Photo by Dzenina Lukac

To get started with faux calligraphy, you only need a couple of basic tools: a pen and paper. But let’s talk about what kind of pen and paper.

Choosing the Right Pen

Any regular pen, be it ballpoint, gel, or even a marker, can work for faux calligraphy. However, you might want to try out a few to see which one fits your writing style the most. Remember, the goal is to have fun while learning, right?

Selecting the Right Paper

As for paper, smooth, high-quality paper is usually the best choice as it allows your pen to glide easily without feathering. But hey, you’re the artist here. Feel free to experiment!

Step-by-Step Guide to Faux Calligraphy

Now, let’s get to the fun part – actually learning how to create faux calligraphy.

Anatomy of Calligraphy Letters

Calligraphy Bible

Understanding the anatomy of letters is crucial when you’re learning calligraphy, including faux calligraphy. It helps you know how to form each letter correctly and with precision. Here’s a breakdown of the basic anatomy of letters.


The baseline is the line on which all the letters sit. When you’re writing on lined paper, the baseline is the actual line on the paper.


The waistline, also known as the midline, is the line at the top of most lowercase letters. For example, in the letters ‘a’, ‘c’, ‘e’, ‘m’, ‘n’, ‘o’, ‘r’, ‘s’, ‘u’, ‘v’, ‘w’, ‘x’ and ‘z’, the highest point of the letter reaches the waistline.

Cap Height

The cap height is the line where the tallest part of uppercase letters or lowercase letters like ‘b’, ‘d’, ‘f’, ‘h’, ‘k’, ‘l’ and ‘t’ reach. It’s the upper boundary for letters in a font.

Descender Line

The descender line is the bottom boundary that parts of the letters dip below. In letters like ‘g’, ‘j’, ‘p’, ‘q’, and ‘y’, the parts that extend below the baseline reach down to the descender line.


The x-height refers to the distance between the baseline and the waistline. It’s the height of lowercase letters without any ascenders or descenders, such as ‘a’, ‘c’, ‘e’, ‘m’, ‘n’, ‘o’, ‘r’, ‘s’, ‘u’, ‘v’, ‘w’, ‘x’ and ‘z’.


The ascender is the part of a lowercase letter that extends above the x-height. In other words, it’s the part that rises above the waistline, as seen in letters like ‘b’, ‘d’, ‘f’, ‘h’, ‘k’, ‘l’ and ‘t’.


The descender is the part of a lowercase letter that extends below the baseline, as seen in letters like ‘g’, ‘j’, ‘p’, ‘q’, and ‘y’.

Basic Strokes

Faux calligraphy, like traditional calligraphy, relies heavily on understanding and mastering the basic strokes that form the backbone of every letter. The concept is simple yet powerful: every stroke you make will either be a downstroke (where the pen moves downwards) or an upstroke (where the pen moves upwards).

Practicing the Basic Strokes

Begin by practicing these upstrokes and downstrokes separately:

For Upstrokes: Start at the baseline (the line you write on) and gently pull your pen up and slightly to the right. Your line should be thin and even. Practice this stroke until you feel comfortable.

For Downstrokes: Start from the top line (or just in the air if you don’t have lined paper) and pull your pen downwards towards your body. Draw an extra line parallel to your initial downstroke and fill it in to make it thicker. This stroke may take more practice to keep your lines straight and your fill smooth.

Combining Strokes: Once you’ve gotten a hang of creating separate upstrokes and downstrokes, the next step is to practice combining them, as this is how you’ll form letters and words. For example, the letter ‘n’ starts with a thin upstroke, followed by a thick downstroke, a thin upstroke again to create the hump, and finishes with a thick downstroke.

Remember, practicing these basic strokes is key to mastering calligraphy. It might take some time initially, but with consistent practice, your hand will get accustomed to creating these strokes, and soon you’ll be creating beautiful faux calligraphy with ease and style!

Creating Faux Calligraphy Alphabet

When you’re comfortable with the basic strokes, start practicing on individual letters. Remember, your downstrokes should be thicker than your upstrokes. Feel free to create your style and keep it fun!

Faux Calligraphy

Mastering Faux Calligraphy Words

Once you’ve got a hang of the alphabet, start connecting the letters to form words. This part might be a bit challenging at first, but remember, practice makes perfect!

Tips for Improving Your Faux Calligraphy

As with any art form, faux calligraphy needs time and patience to master. Here are some tips to help you improve.

Consistent Practice

The secret to improving in calligraphy is simply to keep practicing. Regular practice will train your hand to create beautiful strokes effortlessly.

Experimenting with Styles

Once you’re comfortable with the basic techniques, don’t hesitate to experiment with different styles. After all, calligraphy is an art form, and your personal touch makes it unique.

Dealing with Mistakes

Mistakes are a part of the learning process. Don’t get discouraged when your strokes don’t turn out perfect. Instead, learn from your mistakes and keep trying.

Conclusion: The Art and Joy of Faux Calligraphy

Faux calligraphy is a joyous and accessible way to start your journey into the world of calligraphy. With just a regular pen and some paper, you can create beautiful pieces of art. So there you go, fellow calligraphy lover. I hope this guide helps you on your faux calligraphy adventure. Remember, the most important thing is to enjoy the process and let your creativity flow. Happy lettering!

FAQs on Faux Calligraphy

1. Can I use any pen for faux calligraphy?

Absolutely! The beauty of faux calligraphy is its flexibility. You can start with any regular pen that you feel comfortable with.

2. What type of paper is best for faux calligraphy?

High-quality, smooth paper is generally the best for faux calligraphy. It allows your pen to glide easily and reduces the chance of ink bleeding.

3. How long does it take to master?

The timeline can vary for everyone. It depends on your practice routine and how quickly you learn. Remember, consistent practice is key!

4. Can I create my own faux calligraphy style?

Definitely! Once you’re comfortable with the basics, feel free to experiment with your style. Your personal touch makes your calligraphy unique.

5. What if I make mistakes?

Mistakes are a part of the learning process. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Learn from your mistakes and keep practicing.

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Louise Andrews

Hi. I am Louise Andrews, founder of Life & Crafts Journey. I am also a calligraphy enthusiast that loves the variety and elegance of the written fonts. I am sharing my knowledge collected for my own hobbies to encourage the passion of this art.

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