It has taken me a while into adulthood (I'm an adult, right?) to realize that Faking It is half of just about everything. Sometimes I'll get down on myself for going about things the wrong way. Sure, I'll think, I did it, but I didn't do it for real. But I've come to realize that getting things done is something of value, and finding your way of faking it is as real as it gets. It reminds me of this Ricky Gervais quote.
Before I go on any more of a philosophical ramble, though, let me be clear - I'm talking about calligraphy here. As I mentioned before, I've done some doodle-y projects, from font work here on this site, to invitations for parties, to addressing envelopes for friends' weddings and such. The thing is, I don't actually know how to do calligraphy in the proper sense, using a broad tipped calligraphy nib or brush. So I developed this technique for faking it, which has given me a really similar effect. Once you get a half-decent script going - in any normal pen - you're ready to go.
FAUX-LIGRAPHY HOW TO:
Traditional calligraphy pens make a different thickness of line depending on what direction you drag them in - so the trick for faking it is to create different thicknesses to your strokes by drawing them and filling them in. The figure above shows the 3-step process.
- Write what you want to say in whatever script you want.
- Then draw a parallel line next to each down stroke, merging the lines together when you hit into the next swoop at the bottom. A down stroke is any part of a letter that you drag your pen downwards for while writing normally.
- Next, simply doodle in between the lines you created to fill it in solid. The down stroke parts of each letter will appear thicker than the other parts of the letter.
As I said in my previous doodle post, I use the Sakura Pigma Micron pen a lot for this type of thing - but you can really use any felt tip, or even a ball point pen. The key is to be patient and go slowly- filling the strokes in can be tedious sometimes (and by "tedious" I mean mindlessly Zen-like in a really satisfying way).
Once you get doodling, there's no limit to the types of fonts you can make. Play with the thickness of your down strokes, the extra flourishes you give to the ends of your words, how up-and-down or italicized your letters are, etc. The best practice is to look at some calligraphy you like and try to copy it, making the words exactly as you see them at first, and then slowly developing the alphabet from there to write your own things.
My next step is usually to bring my doodles into Photoshop, where I can straighten or re-size them - and also make them any color I want, including gold foil (there's a printable with that one) or even floral. But that's a lesson for another day. For now, get doodling!