Last updated on June 7th, 2021
Lettering art is amongst the most attractive forms of art that has a high commercial value now. But instead of a conventional brush pen, you can use an ordinary pen and even a pencil to create fake lettering with the same impact. Designhill conducted an online workshop where the lettering art expert Sofia Riccardi showed the right way to fake lettering. Have a look!
Conventionally, lettering is mostly done using a brush or a brush pen. But brushes are no more the sole tools to create attractive letters. The art of fake letters is also picking up with the artists as they can use a pen or pencil of daily use as a writing tool. You can draw beautiful letters in this way as well.
Fake lettering is useful mostly on surfaces where brushes and brush pens do not work. Such surfaces include chalkboards, wood, walls, glass, clothing, etc. On these surfaces, you can still emulate calligraphy using ordinary pens and pencils.
Designhill, the leading marketplace, conducted a workshop with fake lettering expert Sofia Riccardi to get the basics right. During the workshop, the artists learned about lettering generalities, fake calligraphy, composition, and shadows.
Sofía is a lettering artist from Buenos Aires, Argentina. She has done many workshops and different types of courses for the artist communities. Sofia has participated in the Collaborative Book of Lettering in 2019, and she has written an article about types of lettering in the Blog of OVNI Librerías in 2020. At present, she is working on a mural project at a Hospital’s Pediatric ward and she is preparing the design for a wine tasters notebook.
In this post, we have shared the complete session’s video and its transcript in the form of Q/A to make sure you’ll get to know everything about fake lettering in detail.
Transcript (Q/A): Here Is What You Need To Know When Creating Fake Lettering
What is fake lettering?
Sofia Riccardi: Fake lettering is a way that we have to imitate the look of brush lettering. You can use any tool you have at home, for example, pencils, pens, and markers. You don’t need any specific tool for fake lettering as against specific tools you use for brush lettering.
It’s also a great way to emulate a calligraphic look on different surfaces. For example, chalkboards, walls, gold, and clothing glass. Also, it’s a great way for beginners to learn about basic letter structure and the way the letters interact with each other.
So, we are going to start with the course learning the basics of lettering,
Rules To Remember
Sofia Riccardi: There are some rules that you have to remember when you do lettering. This is a brush pen. It has this brush in the point. And you can do thin strokes and thick strokes with this pen. Thin strokes will be the ones that go up. And thick strokes are the ones that go down.
So, upstrokes are thin, and down strokes are thick. This you can do with a brush pen because of the point of the marker. But if you don’t have a brush pen for lettering, you can imitate the strokes, for example, with a rounded point marker. It is the same for the upstrokes. But for the downstroke, you have to double the line. And you will feel the space between them.
So you can do the same trick, but with another marker. For example, with a brush pen, I can draw a thin upstroke and a thick downstroke. If I want to imitate, I will do a thin upstroke also a thin downstroke because I don’t have a brush pen. But I’m going to thicken the downstroke.
Sofia Riccardi: Let’s see other basic strokes. In lettering, you have the upstroke, the downstroke. This one is a thin upstroke and then a thick downstroke. On the other side, you have the downstroke and the up-stroke. You can do a circle upstroke, downstroke, upstroke on the same side. Also, on the other side, you can do upstroke, downstroke, and upstroke, you can do this down-stroke-upstroke. And you can do it like a mirror, downstroke, upstroke. These are all the basic strokes for lettering.
So, when imitating these strokes with a marker, we have to draw the upstroke in the same way. But the downstroke will be two lines. And you fill between the lines. If we want to do an A shape lettering, you do a thin upstroke, then a thick downstroke and you fill between the lines. If we want to do a V shape lettering, then do the downstroke first, and then the upstroke. After that fill the thick stroke. If you want to do an O shape with thickness in the left, then one, do a thin upstroke first. Then, go for a downstroke and fill it. Repeat the same for the O shape with the right side thickened.
So, you can see that I have done the letters with the brush pen and marker. The result of using both tools is the same.
These are the basic strokes for lettering. These will help us to do all the letters of the alphabet. I see that they asked me why it is called fake lettering.
So, in fake lettering, the fake is something that is not the real one. And, lettering is something that was first created to do with brush pens. Brush pens have this specific form and they help to do both short strokes just by writing. If you want to do fake lettering, you have to do the same stroke but with other markers that do not brush markers.
In fake lettering, you have to imitate their drawing. And that’s why you call this fake lettering. It is a way to imitate the brush lettering but with other tools.
Let’s do an example with the small letter a. First, I am going to write the letter with a brush pen. I do first the upstroke that is thin, then the thick downstroke. And then again the thin upstroke. After that, another downstroke is thick.
But here I do fake lettering using a marker pen to imitate the letter and of the brush pen. So, I will first write the o shape in the letter a with the upstroke and then the downstroke. Then the other upstroke and downstroke. But it will have the thinness and the same thickness to imitate the brush lettering. So, I have to thicken the downstrokes and fill between the lines. Then it will be similar to the one I wrote with the brush pen.
Writing A Word
Sofia Riccardi: Now, let’s write, for example, a word. Here I want to write the word hi. I write this word with the brush pen in its natural thin and thick stroke. But if I want to imitate writing this word with the rounded marker, I first write my word. Then, I thicken the downstrokes. So, as you can see, the result is very similar between both the brush pen and the regular marker which I used for the fake lettering.
Tips For Creating Fake Lettering
Sofia Riccardi: There are some other tips that I wanted to tell you to draw fake lettering.
- The upstroke is a thin stroke and the downstroke is a thick stroke.
- All the downstrokes must be of the same thickness. It is incorrect to have different thickness levels in the downstrokes.
- Do not raise your hand from the paper after each stroke. Do not draw continuously without raising the hand.
So, we are going to practice fake lettering first by doing all the letters.
Let’s start with the small case letter a. First, you need to know that in every letter, which one is that upstroke and the downstroke. For example, in the letter a, you have two downstrokes. The first one is the left side of the o shape and the second one is the adjoining line of the letter. That is the fake lettering of the letter a.
If we want to do the letter b, we have first an upstroke and then a downstroke that we have to thicken. Then, we have an upstroke and another downstroke that we will take into.
There are two ways to do fake lettering. First, one is to write the letter and then thicken the downstrokes. The other one is to start the letter and thicken the downstrokes as they appear while drawing.
For example, the c is a simple letter to draw. You can do the letter first and then draw the downstroke. But, for example, you may have two strokes in a letter such as d. To draw d, I can choose to begin with one downstroke and then draw the other downstroke of the sideline. Then, I can thicken the downstrokes.
Another way to draw the d is first I do the o shape on the left of the letter. Then, draw the sideline in a curvy way, first upward in a thin stroke and then a downstroke.
Okay, if I want to draw e, it’s like first going to the right a little bit and then making a c shape. Then, draw a parallel line on the right to make it a downstroke for thickening it.
Then here is how to draw the letter f. First, draw a long c like shape and have a small curvy line on its right. Then draw a parallel line to the long c shape to make it a thick downstroke. That is your letter f.
To draw the letter g, first, create an o shape and then bring down the pen and then come back to form an upward loop. Then, draw parallel lines in the right of the o shape and the straight line to make a thick downstroke. That completes the letter.
Take a short upward thin stroke and then bring it down straight to form a thick downstroke. Then, from the bottom, draw a short thin upward and the downstroke. You have thus two thick strokes that you can fill.
Letter j, k, and l
For example, when drawing the letters i, j, k, and l you will do either the first stroke as upstroke or downstroke. But after that, you should raise your hand to stop writing. Then, start drawing the other stroke.
Letter m and n
Similarly, when drawing m and n, first do upstroke and then downstrokes to make those little arches.
Start with a round downstroke and then go for a thin upstroke, and finish that as a half c. Then bend it to the right side with a little tail.
Go upward for a thin stroke and then bend that into a small round and then turn the thin line a bit right. Then, draw a half-thick downstroke.
Start with a little thin upstroke and then bend it down to the right side to create a thick stroke.
But all of you may have a different way to draw the letters and it’s okay. Everyone has their particular way to draw the letters for you or do the letters have to be straight or slanted.
That’s something that you can choose. You can do a thick stroke and you can do the same stroke. And also as you can see here, I’m not painting inside and the downstroke. So, you can see both lines, but choose to do different types of fake lettering. Here I chose a thick downstroke so you can see properly how I’m drawing the letter. Every time you have to start drawing letters I recommend doing their basic strokes.
Put thick strokes crossed with thin strokes
So, here we have a thick stroke. I have to cross it with a thin stroke. See you me this is one way you can do the letter that is with this but you can also do for example in the W, I will do like this when the x so here I have a thick stroke and so I have to do to cross a letter up things stroke the why and then the sit
I will show you some compositions that I have here and that I drew in with fake lettering. These words are – Don’t be afraid to fail, be afraid not to try. I did this phrase in fake lettering. And I decided to do the words ‘to fail’ by filling the thick strokes just like painting it with black. Then the other words of the phrase – ‘not to try’ also are fake lettering.
But the difference between both these words is that the words ‘not to try’ are drawn with thinner markers. So, you can see that the upstrokes that are the thin strokes are thinner in this word. Compare that with the last word ‘try’. You can see that I didn’t fill them or I didn’t leave them like this without filling them. But I did a special pattern inside the space that I have between both lines. This is something that I like very much about fake lettering.
You can make a lot of art inside the letters. You draw the letters as you want in different compositions as is here in one composition. Here I have three different types of fake lettering. And this, for example, is a thicker stroke downstroke and this is a thinner downstroke. And it’s the same, it’s just a way of how to make a beautiful composition.
I have another one here, for example, this one, which I didn’t fill between the lines. In this one, I didn’t have a special pattern. So you can draw whatever you want and create different compositions with a lot of creativity.
And this is the last one that I want to show you. That is not everything black and white in lettering. I love colors very much. So, I did this composition. I decided to feel between both stroke balls and downstrokes with different colors. It is another way that you can use fake lettering. If you want we will create a composition together, you can learn how to put in part in practice everything that I told you today.
So, you can do these compositions with me. You just need a white sheet and one marker that doesn’t have to be a black marker. You can use a pencil, you can use a pen, any tool that you have at home you can use it and so we can create this composition together.
First of all, I use a pencil so I can erase the throws if I don’t like how I draw them. So we are going to do the composition first with a pencil and then we are going to do the marker. I chose a quote that is ‘you can do a lot- with pencil and ink is something that I think is appropriate for this workshop.
The first thing I do is to write the code here at the top of my sheet. I can see the letters and I don’t forget to write any word that sometimes happens. You can do a lot with a pencil and ink. I will choose some words to do with five letters, not all of them.
For example, I will choose the word ‘Can’. I will choose a pencil and ink. These three words we are going to do in effect lettering the other ones in regular lettering. So, first I am going to draw these three words. Perhaps you’re not going to see it very well because I’m drawing in pencil. But when I start drawing with the marker, you will see them in their appropriate letters.
So I will start using markers. First, I will choose a thick marker. And I’m going to use the word ‘Can’. So I’ll first write it regularly. And if I want to do fake lettering, you will thicken the downstrokes. Here, for example, this is the downstroke of the letters c, a, and n.
Now, I have the word already written. I have to decide what I’m going to do with this fake lettering, I can paint between both downstrokes and I can fill them with another pattern or with colors here. But on this occasion, I want to fill them with black. So, I’m going to use a brush pen. But you can use the same markers. I’m choosing the brush pen so I can do it faster. But all you have to do is to find between the downstrokes. black or you can choose any color you like. And also painted in the color that you have chosen. So here the first word is ‘Can.’
Then, the other word I’ve chosen is the word ‘pencil.’ Yes, we know that. We’re not going to do the same thing that we can. So we can try different ways of doing fake lettering. I am going to choose a thinner marker. And first of all, I will write the word Each time I see a downstroke I will pick on it. You have to be careful. And remember that the downstroke must be all the same thickness.
Here, I know that this is a downstroke so I don’t cross the line. Because if not I will see it inside my downstroke, so I stopped there. I draw the other line. And then I continue. So I don’t have this line crossing in my downstroke. The same with this. I know that there is a downstroke so I left And the space between the between both strokes. So I can do this.
Stokes should be of the same thickness
Sofia Riccardi: Another thing that you have to remember is that almost all the strokes must be the same thickness. And you have to draw the same space between the strokes in each letter of the word, or at least try his hand lettering. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Here is another downstroke. I do this as an upstroke. And this is a downstroke. So I’m going to thicken it consistently.
Again, I will take the downstroke. I know that this will be a downstroke. So, I start a bit separate from the throat before either the upstroke and then the downstroke and I have space here to thicken my downstroke. Here I have my word in fake lettering. This time, I am not going to fail between the strokes. I’m going to leave it like this. And we are going to practice another technique of fake lettering with the last word that is ink. First of all, I write the word. And I will try the same thing in this world so that the strong don’t cross inside my thick stroke.
A pattern inside of the downstroke
Sofia Riccardi: Now, I am going to practice another technique of fake lettering with a word -ink.
This time I choose to do a pattern inside my downstrokes of the world. This is a very very thin marker. So, I can draw inside the stroke.
I do little circles. I’m going to feel all the downstroke of this pattern. You can do this, you can do different types of lines. You can draw little circles, stars, and whatever you want. And sometimes you can choose a pattern that is related to the phrase that you have written.
In every downstroke, I will draw the same pattern. Another option is that you can draw different patterns in different places of the letters. But I recommend that for example, in the end, that you have both.
So, now I will write the remaining words to make the poster complete – you can do a lot with pencil and ink. I will show you this so you can draw different things to decorate. You can do some shadows in letters he has. There are many techniques that you can use in composition and that is free. You can do whatever you want. And just let your creativity flow.
Designhill: Is there any particular way to hold a brush of pen while lettering at some angle?
Sofia Riccardi: To do fake lettering you can choose any tool you have at home. That is the great thing about fake lettering. For example, you can do fake lettering with a pencil or with a pen or with any marker you have at home. For example, here I have different types of markers. All of them are useful to do fake lettering.
Also, you can do it with chalk in chalk with them. Every tool you have at home is the fantastic thing about fake lettering. So you don’t have to buy an inexpensive brush pen. And you can start with fake lettering and then buy the brush pen and start with the brush lettering.
Designhill: What will you suggest for capital letters?
Sofia Riccardi: Well, it’s the same for capital letters, you only have to remember that upstrokes are thin strokes and down strokes are thick strokes. We usually practice with these letters and not with capitals because it’s easier. But, for example, I will draw the capital letter, it will be something like this.
This is a regular letter. And if I have to do fake lettering, I have to think this is an upstroke, so it’s a thin stroke. This is a downstroke, so I’m going to thicken it. Yes. And the same for this. This is an upstroke. This cross is a thick stroke. So it has to be seen. And this is also a thin stroke because it’s an upstroke. So this is the capital letter for a. For example, another one, I have to do the b this is a downstroke. So I have to thicken it. And then I have an upstroke and downstroke and another downstroke. So I have to thicken both strokes like this, and this is the B and while you can do all the alphabet, but it’s a lot of time.
Designhill: How to control the thickness of the brush pen strokes?
Sofia Riccardi: You have to make the same pressure in all their strokes. If I apply more pressure on the pen, I lift the hand at the end. And if you make the same pressure at all the strokes, the thickness will be the same. In all the strokes, this is about a basic tip for lettering. But brush lettering is another world.
Designhill: Do you take in or add a second line towards the right side of the base or the left side? Does the double line have to be on the same side of the base letters?
Sofia Riccardi: It is the same. You can thicken on the right side or the left side. It doesn’t change the technique. But you have to see that they are in space between the letters. Here you can see and must be a regular space.
Consider spacing for thickening of letters
For example, in the letters that I did here, space is the same. But if I have to write a word for example, hello, I write it regularly. If I want to thicken the downstroke in the letter h. If I take it on the right side it is the same that on the left side because I don’t have a letter near it. Now, since there is a lot of space between the letters h and e, I can choose the right side of the h for the downstroke. I will not thicken the left side of the letter e because that will make the letters h and e too near.
Similarly, I can choose the left side of the letter l for the downstroke but that will make it too near to the letter e. So, I choose the right side of the letter l.
For example, I would have taken it on the right side. This one, I have a lot of space between the letters. So, I can also choose the right side. If I take in the left side, both letters will be too near. I have to choose the right side. Also, I can choose the left side but it is also the same. Both letters will be so close that it will be impossible to read the word so I can choose the right side of the first and second letters l.
But if I write another word, hi. I have a lot of space between both letters. So, I can choose the same left side for the downstroke.
Designhill: How can we improve with spacing between the letters?
Sofia Riccardi: Some sheets are special. Perhaps you saw those sheets on the internet. They have some lines, and there is a line alignment. It has the x line. When you do lettering, for example, I do an A. The last stroke has to end in this line. So you will make sure that the space between the letters is the same. So that’s the trick you have to and the letter always should be in the same line.
So, hopefully, you learned the basics of how to do fake lettering properly. You should undoubtedly practice your lettering art to master it.
You can also build a collection of your lettering art and post it on PrintShop by Designhill. Just start your online shop at PrintShop to display your lettering works.
Then, you can even start selling the artworks to the clients to make money. This platform also helps you promote your artwork.
Fake lettering is all about creating the lettering art using a different tool other than a conventional brush pen. Lettering expert Soffia Riccardi advises the artists to practice lettering art carefully and they can do it with the use of ordinary pen, ink, and pencil. She advises on using thin upstroke and thick downstroke professionally.