How to fake calligraphy

The art of brush script calligraphy is hard! In this article, I’ll describe how to mimic it when you don’t have access to the right tools (e.g. a brush pen). You may also not master the pressure/push/pull technique yet. This cheating method will lead to a better understanding of the letterform while helping to smooth the movement of your hand.

Let’s suppose you want to achieve this kind of calligraphy style, inspired by Copperplate:

Notice the strokes are thicker at some precise points? You’re one step forward!

When the stress of the letter is misplaced, it feels like something’s off. I took examples from my early work to show you below.

No need to worry about the different type of strokes to start. Here are some step-by-step instructions:


Create your own guide and mark down the baseline, the waistline and the angle lines. You can also indicate where the ascending and descending loops and strokes should stop with lighter guides. It will look like this:


Write down your word(s) using a single, same-width stroke. You should obtain something like this:


Create new strokes to indicate the thick section of the letter. If you’re not sure where to stress it, you can follow a guide such as the Copperplate Alphabet.


Fill in the strokes, add flourishes if you wish – et voilà!

You are ready to integrate your artwork into promotional material such as the following printed piece that we did for some of the community members.

Here are other things to pay attention to and work towards mastering the real technique:

Moving the hand

In order to have a steady stroke, you need to work on your breathing. Inspire as you pull the pen and expire as you push it. Ideally, you want to push on descending, thick strokes and pull on ascending thin lines.

Holding the pen

The pen should ideally be held at a comfortable angle, which is somewhere in between 45° and 60° degrees from the paper.  The grip should be loose enough that you don’t shake yet it needs to be consistent.

Give it a try!


One thought on “How to fake calligraphy

  1. Pingback: What comes first? The audience, or the views? | AUTOMATTIC DESIGN

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