The Basics of Crayligraphy with Colin Tierney

YO! It’s about to get CRAY…for Crayligraphy, that is.

And if you don’t know what Crayligraphy is, there is no better person to explain than Colin Tierney, THE Crayligraphy expert, and his right-hand(ed) woman, Natalie “Ninja” Downey.

But first, lets get to know these experts a bit better…

Colin Tierney runs Tierney Studio, a branding boutique in West Virginia. Colin has a graphic design background, and worked primarily on letter design and illustration before the process of deconstructing typography lead him to hand lettering and calligraphy. His claim to “insta-fame” started 3 years ago, when he shared his logo design process on Instagram and noticed that his choice of TOOL, normal everyday markers, was a major curiosity his followers. That’s when he founded Crayligraphy a marker-loving lettering craymunity, and a colourful source for inspiration and valuable resources.

Natalie “Ninja” Downey (you’ll have to check out the interview for yourself to see WHY she’s a literal lettering ninja) began working as a freelance hand lettering artist four years ago, after working for a design firm as a graphic designer. She had tried her hand at using normal brush pens and found that their soft tips weren’t cut out for her “heavy hand”. When she came across Colin’s work and gave Crayligraphy a shot, lettering with markers as opposed to brushes, she realized that she’d found her new go-to. She soon caught Colin’s eye after participating in his weekly prompts, and now works as the “Craytive Director” (man, we love all their puns!) at Crayligraphy.




  1. The art of stylistically writing with a marker.
  2. Crazy calligraphy.

synonyms: Crayoligraphy

Pretty much, Crayligraphy is kind of like calligraphy’s easy-going, rule-breaking cousin.

So if you’re ready to jump right in and see what it’s all about, check out the video now!

Or, feel free to read below for my recap of the interview & lesson. And don’t forget to grab your free worksheets!

The links below may be affiliate links where appropriate. This means that your purchase through these links may result in a few cents in payment to me, to support creating further resources like this one! That being said, I will never suggest supplies that I do not personally use and fully recommend.

The beauty of Crayligraphy, well…there are more than one to list. To name a few: it’s cheap, easily accessible, doesn’t need fancy paper, and markers are a GREAT intro tool for beginners because of the firm felt tip. Seriously, the same markers you used as a child and a normal piece of print paper is all you need. (That being said, marker paper will help your markers last longer AND allow for more pigmented strokes).

As mentioned the marker has a hard tip, but with a very slight flex. If you’re a beginner to calligraphy and lettering, the hard tip is perfect because it allows for so. much. control. Bonus: the tip is perfect for helping you create the effect of brush lettering; the pointed tip acts as the upstroke, and the broad (side) edge for the downstrokes – it’s all in the way you work it. (*Insert Missy Elliott soundtrack here*) Crayligraphy is also perrrrrrrrfect to show your individual style and personality- you can have so much variety!

“The best thing about the markers is that they can emulate a brush pen, but they’re 1000 times easier to use”
– Colin

Now this is where the lesson part of the interview comes in handy.

Colin shows you exactly how he uses the markers to emulate brush lettering – thing is, SEEING it in action really helps understand how he attains this style. In the video, he also shows the difference between his and Natalie’s individual styles- which they refer to as “fluid” vs. “fragmented” Crayligraphy (can you guess who does which?). 

I’m pretty sure you smart folks can put two and two together with just the terms, but juuust in case you’re having “one of those days”, let me explain….

“Fluid” Crayligraphy: the marker does not lift the paper; all of the strokes transition from one to the next in one shot.

“Fragmented” Crayligraphy: when the marker lifts off the paper after each stroke and pieced together to make up letters.

The one important similarity between the two styles is that with each the letter forms are made up of STROKES! And Colin agrees, if you’re going to start aaaaaanywhere, learning the BASIC STROKES is the way to go. (You guys, if you know me, you know why there are so many caps letters in this sentence. YES, I’M YELLING THIS AT YOU!!! ?) 

So, yep… if you have Crayligraphy on your mind, you still need to know your strokes first! You *always* need to know the rules in order to break them!

If you’re ready to try Crayligraphy for yourself, you can grab Colin’s FREE worksheets and get started! Just enter your e-mail below and I’ll send them to you right away.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Don’t forget to check out the video for yourself, because I promise it’ll help! But if you JUST. CAN’T. WAIT. to start on those worksheets, here are a few important notes:

  • Complete your strokes all the way through to avoid tapering
  • Use your fingers to move the marker (Crayligraphy required lots of finger movement!)
  • Alternate the markers angles & use varying pressure to create the wanted effect (pressure will also give a more pigmented colour)

I really hope you enjoyed this interview! Make sure you’re subscribed to The Happy Ever Crafter TV to catch the rest in the series! 
And one last HUGE thank you to Colin & Natalie!

Interested in more of these interviews? You can also join the Facebook group, where these Q&A’s are hosted LIVE, and submit your own questions for future guests!


  1. Thanks for the fun interview. I wasn’t familiar with Colin before and enjoyed seeing this different style.

  2. I’ve had many of these markers on my kid’s craft shelf for years now, never thought I’d be using them for calligraphy! Can’t wait to try it ?

Tell me what you thought!