Calligraphy -- Quick and Cheap!




Introduction: Calligraphy -- Quick and Cheap!

About: Guitar mania, tigger mania, love of tiggers, guitars, ukuleles, instructables, cosplay and MORE!

A pretty cool trend on Instagram right now is #satisfying calligraphy. Fun fact: Calligraphy is even more satisfying when you do it yourself! In this Instructable, I'm going to provide you with a chart and a technique that's quick, cheap and super fun to do this calligraphy yourself. All you need is a piece of paper and a three-dollar pack of Crayola's absolutely wonderful washable markers (no sponsorship). :)

So if you're like me and you'd rather not waste time, money, and energy learning to do it with an expensive pen and with perfect form, this is the ultimate low-energy, high fun calligraphy for you!

Step 1: The Alphabet

Honestly, don't stress about perfection. In the "Slytherin" art above, the tail leading into my 'y' is a little wonky. Must my calligraphy now be trashed and redone or else death shall occur? No! Come on, don't be dramatic. It's a wonky 'y,' not the end of the world. I'm providing an alphabet chart for reference, but I don't use one. I've been doing this for a while, of course, but calligraphy isn't an exact science. the biggest thing is, when using a Crayola in a colour other than black, don't stop writing. Otherwise, wherever lines overlap, they'll darken as the ink dries, which we will use later to give it some dimension, but for now the colour needs to be relatively even.

Now you'll notice two things about the alphabet chart: 1) There are no capitals. Yes, this is on purpose. 2) It looks a bit of a mess.

1) There aren't any capital letters because I never use capitals in calligraphy. If you want to, make them brilliantly over-the-top (see "Slytherin" in picture). Mostly, unlike typeface and regular writing, calligraphy is a little cuter and more sweet-looking if you leave off all capitols.

2) The chart looks like a mess because calligraphy isn't about the individual letters. It's about the flow. I don't think "s...a...f...e!" when I write "safe." I think safe. Don't stress over individual letters.

Step 2: How to Use Your Tools

Now maybe you'll have tried this already and you're semi confused as to how I got my style out of a kindergarten marker. Uncap your colour of choice dramatically. Now examine the tip.

It's conical, is it not? If it's not, what kind of marker did you buy? It should be a conical and felt-tip. Go find one. I'm sure you have one left from kindergarten.

It's all about pressure and angle at this point. And practice. Start with a light pressure with the marker relatively straight-up. Then, as you write L's, for example, press down on the second half of the loop. The result should be a smooth, fatter line. This shouldn't be too difficult, but if it's tricky, just practice with it. Watch me do it in the gif above.

Step 3: Throw Some Shade

Now I do almost all of my Crayol-igraphy in grey. The reason for this is that the grey goes on pretty lightly, layers well, and can be finished with almost any colour. (I.E. The Slytherin picture in Step 1: grey base with green finishing.)

Letters in any language have two heights: full height and half height. e's, o's, u's, m's and n's are all half height. L's, t's, b's and h's are all full height. When and if you shade, your shade should come down to the same place on each type of letter. For example, in "hello," the h is shaded down to about the halfway mark and the L's are shaded to the same place. You can place a ruler across them and it works out fairly well. (This is for demonstration purpose only. I don't use a ruler when I shade.) (Which you can probably tell.) :)

Shading is just an overlay atop the base colour with the same colour marker. Grey on grey leads to step one of shading. You could do a third layer of grey (I used to) but you don't have to because after layer 2, they all look about the same.

Finishing is touching up the tips of the letters where the shade is with your finishing colour. With grey on grey, I don't use yellow, pink, orange or red. I only use colours that will show up and not lose a lot of their original tone. This step is gif 2 above.

Step 4: Hello, Sunshine!

Last but not least, add a little flair. For our 'hello' example, I just did a few yellow triangles around it. It adds a bit of a cutesy finish without being too detailed. Just experiment and see what you like, but generally the rays around your word is a pretty easy and quick thing to do. In "safe" from step one (pictured here again for reference) I had been drawing this on my arm and just played with details until I got something I liked. Polka dots to accentuate right angles, highlights in curves, or random out-lining can also be easy ways to add a little more flair. Or, if you want to be classy, just write something like "classy" above and leave it plain vanilla.

Step 5: Fin!

Thank you so much for reading this! Now treat yourself to some cookies and calligraphy. Vote for me in the Gifs Contest if you liked it and leave a comment telling me what you think!


PS: Hope you enjoyed the fact that some of my pictures were taken with my Canon Rebel XS and some of them were taken with my cheap-o video camera, lol :)

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    5 Discussions

    Chinmaya Shyamaraj
    Chinmaya Shyamaraj

    2 years ago

    How did you upload the GIF? It doesnt seem to work for me..


    Reply 2 years ago

    I uploaded my gifs the same way that I did for all my pictures... I'm using a mac, as well, so if you're on a different type of computer it might be different. If the problem persists, you might try contacting Instructables or emailing an editor.

    Chinmaya Shyamaraj
    Chinmaya Shyamaraj

    Reply 2 years ago

    It turns out i wasn't making the GIFs properly, they were exceeding maximum size. Thanks Anyway! :)

    KAZ 2Y5
    KAZ 2Y5

    2 years ago

    You did a great job on this!!