So, I can’t seriously be the only one who has been doing “faux calligraphy” since I was a kid, can I?

I mean, it was totally unintentional- I used to just doodle in cursive writing all over all of my school supplies (sorry, Mom), and then go back with my pencil and add thicker parts to each letter. I always thought this was just how you added “shading” to your letters, to make it look prettier.

Turns out I was unintentionally teaching myself calligraphy at the same time- the parts I thought were “shading” were actually downstrokes!

Did you ever do this?! Tell me in the comments below and make me feel better!

Just here for the free worksheet? Skip to the bottom of this post!
(Not that I recommend that!) 

If you’ve never heard of “faux calligraphy” before, it’s basically what you can do to create calligraphy when you don’t have a brush pen or other calligraphy tool.

It’s what I use aaaaallllll the time when I’m doing calligraphy on surfaces like windows, chalkboards, mirrors, mugs- you name it! Whenever you’re using a pen or tool that doesn’t allow you to change your pressures to create thick/thins, you’ll do faux calligraphy!

And, although you may have been doing this since you were a kid like me, there is actually some method to the madness- other than just adding “shading” like I thought!

Let’s look at how faux calligraphy actually works. (Feel free to skip ahead to the tutorial video if you like, or browse the recap below!)

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.

You can do faux calligraphy two ways- with cursive writing (if you don’t know calligraphy basic strokes), or using your actual basic strokes (if you know them!).

Either way, what you’re going to do while you write your word is focus on which direction your pen is moving. In calligraphy, anywhere you’re moving your pen in an upwards direction should be a thin line, and anywhere you’re moving your pen in a downwards direction should be a thick line.

Here’s a little diagram to recap the upstrokes & downstrokes rule:

Once you understand that rule, you can apply it to your faux calligraphy fairly easily. As you write your word, simply pay attention to which direction your pen is moving. Then, once you’ve drawn your letter, go back and thicken any lines where your pen was moving in a downwards direction- because downstrokes are thick, remember?!

Once you apply that rule to your entire word, you will have mimicked what your calligraphy would look like using a flexible tool, with heavy (thick) and light (thin) pressures on the pen!

Let’s look at the letter ‘a’ as an example, and recap the steps.

STEP 1: Draw your letter or word in calligraphy (or cursive if you don’t know calligraphy basic strokes!). Pay attention to where your pen was moving in a downwards direction.

STEP 2: Go back and draw the outline of a thicker area around any lines where your pen was moving in a downwards direction.

STEP 3: Colour in the thicker lines. Voilà!

Ready to give it a shot? Grab the free faux calligraphy worksheet below! You can use any writing tool- seriously! Even a pencil will work!

Find this post helpful? Have questions? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!