Fiber & Dye

Unexpected, silly, oddly-specific. Oh, and pretty.

Tutorial: No-Nib Calligraphy in just 3 steps

Tips/TricksLisa AiharaComment
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This post was inspired by a Crafting Day Meetup I had with the lovely ladies of 'Cause We Can Events and The Event Boutique. The four of us had champs, macaron, and hummus for days. And got some work done.

The convo came to faking that calligraphy look on chalkboard and wood signs alike. You hear it as fauxlligraphy in some tutorials. There are great ones out there already too, but thought I'd take a crack with mine. Because guys, it's seriously as easy as 1-2-3, no fancy tools necessary.

So if you're looking for any last minute signs, read on and master this no-nib calligraphy trick!

Fiber & Dye | No-Nib Calligraphy in just 3 steps
 From chalkboards to wood signs to even burning cork, "fauxlligraphy" will get you that look without using the finicky calligraphy nib!

From chalkboards to wood signs to even burning cork, "fauxlligraphy" will get you that look without using the finicky calligraphy nib!


1. Draw your cursive

And I mean it when I say, cursive. I'm talking school-house, dotted and solid lines on paper, classic of the classics cursive. I'll explain the "draw" part below.

The beauty of cursive is that your excuse for "my handwriting is shit" can't really hold up. Printed, sure, but when we write in cursive, because it's usually not the way that we write every day, it helps to separate the act from "writing" and focus it on "drawing." Take notice of the loops, and the connection between letters.

Fiber & Dye | No-Nib Calligraphy in just 3 steps

 

2. Dot the downstrokes

Okay, let's break this down. The only difference between the cursive you just drew and calligraphy using those fancy nibs is in the downstroke. You see, the calligraphy nib pen was engineered brilliantly to create the thin/thick strokes that characterizes copperplate calligraphy. The nib is split down the middle into two tines, which open up and allow more ink to flow out as you apply pressure on your downstrokes.

So what does that mean for you? Downstrokes are just what you think they are, they're the strokes of your letters where your pen went down the page. Notice them?

Okay, remember those. Put a tiny dot next to the beginning and end of each of the downstrokes, to the left of it to mark where they are.

Fiber & Dye | No-Nib Calligraphy in just 3 steps

 

3. Fill the line

Now that you know where the downstrokes are, just connect the dots, literally. Go over the part of your letter where you dotted, and fill in to make it thicker. If you taper the shading a bit, it'll be more realistic.

Fiber & Dye | No-Nib Calligraphy in just 3 steps

 

EXTRA: To thicken, or to leave thin?

This is more of a stylistic thing. Leaving it just this way gives you a more elegant, script-style feel because the difference between the thick downstroke and the thin upstroke is not so stark. When you make this more dramatic by making it thicker, you create a more casual, laid-back, modern feel. Also, some handwriting look better with a certain thickness, so play around with it and see what feels right!

Fiber & Dye | No-Nib Calligraphy in just 3 steps