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Shadows for Your Calligraphy

Updated: Dec 3, 2021

Adding dimension to your letters can be a great way to give life to a basic calligraphy piece. It is simple once you get the hang of it and is such a fun learning experience! In this blog I am going to give a few examples of how to create shadows for your calligraphy and recommend a few of my favorite tools for it.

Begin by writing a word or quote of your choice and leave some space between the letters, so that the shadows do not become overcrowded with your calligraphy. Then, add your shadows based off where a “light source” would be coming from. If the light source would be coming from the left, the shadows should be to the right of the letters and if the light source would be coming from the right, the shadows should be on the left side of the letters. Below are examples of each.

Some of my favorite pens to use for shadows are the Tombow N95 Dual Brush Pen, Ecoline Brush Pen 738, and Ecoline Brush Pen 704. These are all shades of grey that are typically lighter than vibrant colors, therefore they serve well as shadows. You do not necessarily have to use these colors if you do not want to. I find that using a lighter shade of whatever color you are writing with works great, too. Feel free to experiment with different colors as shadows and discover what your preference will be! Below are some examples of different calligraphy pieces where I did not use a color listed above.

To add even more dimension to your calligraphy pieces you can add highlights to your letters. This is even more simple than shadows and can be done by using a white gel pen. After writing your word or quote, allow the ink to dry and use the gel pen to draw a line onto the thick strokes of the letters. I prefer to go about half way down the letters, but you can go further or even add dots with the highlights! Photographed below are shadows and highlights being used.

I encourage you to try using shadows when creating different calligraphy or lettering items this holiday season! You can write a quote out for a friend, coworker, or family member. The shadows will really elevate and add more expression in everything you make. Thank you for reading along and if you practice any of the techniques mentioned tag me on instagram @calligraphybyvanessa!

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