how to create fake calligraphy

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I have always loved beautiful calligraphy.

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Years ago, my former boss brought me back a calligraphy pen and ink from her trip to Italy. I was so excited to try it out and figured it would be super easy to turn my handwriting into calligraphy with just the flick of a nib {that’s the technical term for the metal pieces that go in the pens – not to be confused with my go-to treat, the twizzler nib}.

It didn’t go so well.

Then I met Lindsay {of Lindsay Letters – who created that fabulous O Holy Night print } and figured since she is a pro, she could surely give some pointers and it wouldn’t be too hard.

Again, the pen and ink proved too complicated for my impatient hands {have you ever tried it? the ink sure does splatter!}

I have yet to learn how to use a real calligraphy pen {although it is on my list of skills to master someday} and have just stuck with my fake calligraphy technique. I thought I’d share it with you today.

First, choose a good fine tip ink pen.

I usually like these pilot precise extra fine pens the best, but just bought the foray stylemark at the office store and it’s a good one too.

Now, write your letter. You can do it in pencil first if you prefer, or just freehand.

To give your letter the calligraphy look, you will need to make all of the down strokes thicker and filled in {as if you were writing with an angled calligraphy pen}.

Every time your pen stroke goes downward {as seen with the arrows above}, just draw a close line and fill it in.

See how easy it is?

Here’s another example.  I wrote the word love in cursive:

then filled in the down strokes:

Doesn’t it look fancy?  You can transform your handwriting to make it look like calligraphy very simply and easily with just a few extra pen strokes.

If you would like a faster way to make fancy handwriting, I have created a new font for you using my own fake calligraphy.

archive-free-access

Isn’t it cute?!! You get a full alphabet with lots of extra symbols, doodles and words.

Now its even easier to fake calligraphy.

You will get the font for free {previously $4.99} by joining our exclusive freebies page called the Archive. Click the image above to join and download the fancy font.

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113 Responses to how to create fake calligraphy

  1. Roni July 4, 2012 at 10:19 pm #

    Love this! I will be using this for crafts and doodles — practice makes perfect. Thank you for sharing this.

  2. Margaret July 6, 2012 at 4:03 pm #

    Now that’s a smart idea!

  3. Concerned July 10, 2012 at 10:38 am #

    The blogger who runs acharmingoccasionblog is getting tons of traction on a recent post of her that looks eerily similar to yours. Kind of odd that her post is almost identical! Just letting you know.

    • emily July 10, 2012 at 8:01 pm #

      Unfortunately this happens all too often – when someone’s work is copied and not linked to the original source. I certainly did not make up ‘fake calligraphy’ and so I can not take full credit for the technique, although I will say that this post is original to me. Thank you for the heads up and while it frustrates me, I realize that there is little I can do about it.

  4. mace July 25, 2012 at 6:27 pm #

    that is very weird because i was just on that website and it is identical

  5. Brittany August 4, 2012 at 5:40 am #

    Awesome ! I have been trying to figure out how to do this for years! Thanks so much for the great tutorial !!

    • Lacey Parsons September 1, 2012 at 11:03 pm #

      i also want to know how to access the rest of the characters.. i can only figure out the regular characters like the question mark. please let us know how to access them. Thanks!

  6. Iman August 4, 2012 at 3:13 pm #

    Hello, I just bought your font. I love it! But I dont know how to access all the extra symbols, doodles and words from microsoft word. Any help?

  7. Dusty Tingstrom August 8, 2012 at 11:28 am #

    You know, I began practicing the Old English alphabet (using nibs categorized as “brush”) when I was in grade school. Now I can knock it out anywhere-with calligraphy nibs, felt tip calligraphy markers or with a regular pen. Your down stroke technique is basically how I fake it too when my tool lacks a flat edge.
    Well, I wanted to share this. All calligraphy tools are not created equal. Not by a long shot. I have never met a self contained, cartridge or ink well draw, instrument that was worth a darn. Cost a fortune and never work for me. When I was a girl, I collected a lot of supplies from all over. (There used to be stationers.) Now I buy nips from my art supply store, and one at a time.

    So consider:
    Few calligraphers get it right all of the time.
    and
    the most important thing for doing calligraphy: , good pen tip
    the most important thing for doing professional calligraphy: extra blanks

  8. Bee August 13, 2012 at 9:15 am #

    Hello,
    I purchased the pens and have been practicing because I have a basic knowledge after taking personal calligraphy lessons. I was wondering if you have some practice sheets that I could get from you?
    Bee

  9. Jean August 13, 2012 at 9:47 am #

    I love fonts and when I tried to learn calligraphy I found it to be too regimented for me. I now wing it and do my own fake calligraphy too….so nice to find a kindred spirit!

  10. Gina Soddy August 14, 2012 at 9:20 pm #

    Hi Emily!

    I’m sure you hear ALL DAY how much everyone loves you and your creativity. Well, add me to the masses. :) I absolutely adore your ideas, ambition and all of your TUTORIALS!!! I love trying (ok, telling myself I’m going to try) your ideas.

    That being said, I purchased your wonderful Fancy Font and I adore it. I simply have 1 request: Pretty please…is it at all possible to fix the S? The top is cut off and it makes me CRAZY. Lol! I know, I know…it’s just a silly little thing but I find myself not using it for things if I can’t manually correct the missing piece. If you’ve already done this, or can, please email me the link or download.

    Thank You!!!
    <3 Gina

  11. Lucky Red Hen August 28, 2012 at 9:22 am #

    Simple and CUTE! I’m always looking for ways to embellish my correspondence (yes, I actually MAIL through the post office… it’s a dying art)! Thanks for the tutorial :D

  12. Allison September 3, 2012 at 8:33 am #

    Love this! I am using this to address my wedding invitations,and I can’t tell you how many compliments I’ve gotten on it already! So worth the time and practice. It’s beautiful :)

  13. Deb September 23, 2012 at 3:49 pm #

    Go online and find a free tutorial on how to do calligraphy. It is so much easier than “faking it” and faster. And did I mention it is fun. All you have to master is how to hold the pen right and if you can do all these steps to fake it then you can learn how to hold the pen right.

  14. Susan Jackson January 25, 2013 at 7:51 am #

    I just found your website and love it. You are so talented.

  15. Christina April 6, 2013 at 8:08 pm #

    I’ve been doing this for years and years, just for fun! Nice little tutorial for those who haven’t discovered it yet. :)

  16. michelle April 17, 2013 at 1:05 am #

    hi! do you sell your cursive font? i absolutely love it.

  17. Korrine April 17, 2013 at 5:36 am #

    I had about 6 weeks of calligraphy instruction in 6th grade, and promptly forgot everything!

    I know at this point in life, I don’t have the time for “real” calligraphy, and your fake calligraphy tutorial is so clear and helpful. Thank you for posting!

  18. Amanda June 13, 2013 at 5:02 pm #

    Ooh, I love this! It’s funny how sometimes the simplest tricks can create the most beautiful things. I used this for some DIY wall art, and now my living room looks gorgeous! Thanks for sharing. :)

    -Amanda
    DecorStyleFood on Pinterest and Twitter

  19. Karen July 20, 2013 at 3:12 pm #

    Any ideas on how to tilt this font?

  20. Angela Ambroise September 13, 2013 at 2:38 pm #

    It looks nice and very fanciful, but for “crying out loud” how did you do it? I have to be able to see and replay again, and again to get it. Is there anyway you can do a video one day?

    Also what paper are you writing it on?

    I think your blog is or has become my favorite blog. It is just like my morning cup of coffee…I have to have it. I get very happy when I look in my inbox and see mail from you. You seem to be so authentic, genuine, and sincere. I like you a whole bunch :-)

  21. Angela Ambroise September 13, 2013 at 2:38 pm #

    One more thing… did you do the writing on those envelopes?

  22. Brittany Griffiths October 5, 2013 at 5:33 pm #

    Love this!!! Is there any way to use the symbols in photoshop? Trying to design a birth announcement and would love to use this font for the name with the swooshes:)

    • emily October 6, 2013 at 8:48 pm #

      I don’t think there is a glyph panel option in photoshop. You can try searching for ways to add symbols, but I’m not totally sure how to do it.

  23. Lisa December 2, 2013 at 4:19 pm #

    Love this! thank you for sharing. I, too, lack the patience for proper calligraphy but love the look of it.

  24. kim womack January 13, 2014 at 12:05 pm #

    Learned a couple of new things trying to get the “oh so fancy” font downloaded. First it is called “Fancy” and not oh so..although it is OH SO! Ha. Also, never knew about the symbols associated with the font set. Do many font’s come with symbols??? I’m obsessed with fonts and am always seeking them out. Appreciate you sharing.

  25. Nicole February 27, 2014 at 11:34 am #

    Hello All,
    While I love the “fancy” font and am eager to use it for a home project, I have been unsuccessful in dowloading it. I am attributing this error to my machine, not the user! Would anyone be willing to convert the font on my document to the fancy font? Please and thank you!

  26. Dez May 3, 2014 at 9:45 am #

    Very neat and clever idea!

  27. Sarah Cobb July 10, 2014 at 7:43 pm #

    I realize this post is a couple years old so this may not get seen, but I wanted to say that your writing is beautiful. Since calligraphy means “beautiful writing” in Greek, I think you’ve accomplished your goal, even if it isn’t a classic script. No need for “fake” calligraphy!

  28. James Brooks July 27, 2014 at 10:11 am #

    Awesome tutorial! I am definitely going to try this out – many thanks.

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