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Crayola Markers: A Great Tool for Lefty Letterers

 

I think I may need a pentervention.

If you follow me on Instagram, you already know about my recent obsession with Crayola markers. I can’t help it — there are just so many great things about them! They’re inexpensive, they come in tons of colors and, most importantly, they’re fantastic for lefties because THEY DON’T FRAY.  As any lefty who has used a traditional brush pen knows, they fray after, like, two uses.  Before I started using Crayolas, I had pretty much given in to the fact that I would be stuck using the smaller, firmer-tipped pens forever.  I thought I would never get to make those big, juicy strokes that righties got to make with their brush markers unless I wanted to waste beaucoup bucks on markers I could only use a few times.  Then, I saw the Crayola light.  They were on a big back-to-school display at Target, and a pack of ten was only 97-freakin’-cents!  I’d seen others using them on Instagram, and knew it was a sign to give them a try!  The awesome thing about Crayola tips is that they aren’t “brushy,” so they can handle our “pushing” strokes without damaging the marker.  They’re nice and firm, which makes it really easy to get those thin upstrokes without feeling like you’re fighting your pen.  All it takes is a minor adjustment in between strokes.

 

Here’s how I use them to create thick and thin calligraphy strokes:

1. Hold them as you would your normal brush pens.  If you need help with your grip, read this post!

2. The same principles apply as with other brush pens — more pressure on the downstrokes, less on the upstrokes.  If you need help with pressure, read this post!

3. This is where it gets a little different. As you’re making your thick downstrokes, the fine point will sort of get “smushed” up.  See how the tip is pointing slightly upwards in the photo below?

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If you attempt to make a thin upstroke while the tip is pointing upwards, it’ll turn out thicker than you’d like because you’re using the broad underside of the marker.  Rotate your marker in your hand until the fine point of the marker is pointing slightly downwards, like this:

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That way, only that fine point will touch the paper on your upstroke, making it nice and thin.  It seems like such a small thing, but it makes all the difference.  Check out my Crayola videos on Instagram @theinkyhand if you’d like to see “The Marker Roll” (I literally just made that name up) in action!  For much more information about using Crayolas for calligraphy, check out this amazing Crayligraphy website!

Faux Calligraphy: A Beginner’s Best Friend

I’m going to kick off this blog exactly how I kicked off my lettering journey — with faux calligraphy!  It’s a great way to learn what your letters should look like once you make the jump to brush or pointed pens.  All you need to start is a pen or pencil (nothing fancy, anything you have lying around the house will work!) and a piece of paper. I’ll be using this cheapy ballpoint pen that has lived in my checkbook since I got it on our honeymoon!

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I’m not sponsored in any way, but my favorite pens to use for faux calligraphy are Gelly Rolls.  They’re inexpensive and the colors are vibrant and beautiful, even on dark paper!

First, write your word in cursive, paying attention to when your pen is moving downward.

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Next, look at your letters and visualize where your pen was moving downward as you wrote them.  These are called downstrokes and I’ve illustrated them here:

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Now you’re going to make those parts of the letters thicker.  If you’re a lefty, you’ll want to start with the last letter and work backwards to avoid that dreaded smudging!  The first step is to “double” your downstrokes.  This is where you can start to get creative.  You can make them as thick or thin as you want, depending on the style you’re going for.

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Next, fill them in.  You can use the same pen for a classic look or go bold and use a color or even a pattern!

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Sometimes I’ll go over the rest of the lines (the upstrokes) one more time to make them more even. And that’s it!  Once you’ve got this down, you can use this knowledge to help you form letters with a brush or pointed pen.  The basic rule of calligraphy is lighter pressure on the upstrokes and heavier pressure on the downstrokes.  And now you’ll know which is which!