How to Do Calligraphy with Pencil: Ultimate Guide for the Beginners

You might be wondering, ‘is it possible to learn a technique by just reading?’

Then let me tell you through my experience, ‘Yes it is.’ You can learn to do calligraphy with a pencil by JUST reading this article and investing your time and practice. And it’s pretty easy to do calligraphy with pencil rather than a brush pen.

How to Do Calligraphy with Pencil

The word calligraphy itself means “beautiful handwriting“. But it is not just writing for artists instead every alphabet, every word or every line that a calligrapher writes is just like a unique artwork for any other artist. In calligraphy you are never bounded by limitations, in fact, you can add your very own touch to this skill as well. This is the main beauty of this technique that beginners can expand its variations, and build new styles as well. 

There are different tools available for many types of calligraphy; but for beginners who are in the early stage of learning this technique “a single pencil and paper” are enough. This is the biggest advantage of pencil calligraphy over dip pen calligraphy, that there is no mess of ink and no need for special pens or papers. This can be done in the simplest and easiest ways possible.

So let’s begin:

What Tools will You be Needing for Calligraphy

What you need for pencil Calligraphy

If you want to become a calligrapher it is obligatory for you to have some knowledge of the tools you are going to be working with. Here is the list of all the regular calligraphy tools that you will be needing while doing basic pencil calligraphy.


So far pencil is the most underrated and important tool in calligraphy which can do most of the work alone, especially in the case of pencil calligraphy. You can create calligraphy with a variety of pencils but HB, 2B, 4B, 6B are most effective. Because in addition to having a soft-core they make perfect thick strokes as well.

For adding creativity and attraction to your calligraphic design you can use colored pencils colors as well.

There are other pencil tools available i.e. dip pen, for dip pen calligraphy and mechanical pencils, for lettering but we don’t need them on a beginners level in pencil calligraphy.


Beginners can use any cost-effective and easily available paper for practice. Remember the purpose of this paper is to practice and it should not cost you anything. Once you have achieved your Purpose you can move forward to other better options.

But do not spend your money on expensive for a piece of paper at the start. This will take you nowhere.

I will repeat, Invest in PRACTICE, not in the tool.

Read Also: The Best Paper for Fountain Pens


A ruler helps keep letters in a line, nice and consistent. But this can also be achieved by using calligraphy practice worksheets that are easily available on the internet in PDF forms, which you can download and have them print on your printer.


It is handy to keep an eraser on your work desk. In the beginning, one can make errors in pencil calligraphy. And an eraser will be helpful when they do so.

Calligraphy with Pencil: Step by Step Guideline

Gather your confidence and with the aim that “you can and you will” let us begin.

Set Your Workplace

Keep in mind that calligraphy is a big source of relieving pressure. So a well-set workplace with everything you need in a proper manner is a big thumbs up. This will keep you motivated and you will keep practicing without any intrusions. This workplace can consist of a desk, a comfortable chair, your tools and some of your favorite work accessories.

It can also have a plant so you could inhale fresh oxygen that will keep your mind fresh.

Learn This “BASIC RULE”

The most important and first step while doing Pencil Calligraphy for beginners is to remember one single rule that is:

  • keep stroke light or Thin while moving upward
  • keep stroke heavy or thick while moving down

If you want to learn calligraphy lettering quickly, you have to become a master of basic strokes first i.e. thin upstroke and heavy down-stroke.

Basic Rule for Pencil Calligraphy

After practicing these strokes you will learn how to connect two letters which in reality is a piece of cake. All you have to do is to connect the end of one stroke with the start of the other. The same practice will be followed in joining two alphabets.

Make sure to keep a padding paper under your worksheet for getting a smoother result. If you don’t have padding paper you can use your textbook or any smooth surface as well.

Just keep ‘Practicing’

After having all the required tools and reading the basic rule, it is up to you how much effort you will put into this skill to learn it. The only effort that you can do here is to practice your basic strokes.

basic strokes for calligraphy

Remember that it is not your time to run after tools yet. It is proven that “no tool, no matter how expensive it is, has the ability to make you a master of skill until and unless you devote your time and effort to that skill.”

If you have the guidelines, you will have confidence and enough motivation to practice strokes over and over until you reach the point of perfection. The point where you will be confident enough in trying your new calligraphy styles and feel proud in showing them to others.

Frequently asked Questions

Following are some frequently asked questions I came across, during my lectures and teachings. Have a look at them and before practicing yourself to be sure about the things you should follow and things that you should avoid.

Q: Which Pencil is Good for Calligraphy?

This is probably the first question that appears in the mind of beginners, “which pencil is good for Pencil Calligraphy?”

And it’s an important question because ”PENCIL” is the basic ingredient of this recipe, so we have to take a moment and see the role of the pencil in our calligraphy to make a better understanding of the perfect kinds of pencils for this role.

The pencils used in calligraphy have to make light strokes and heavy strokes (with heavy pressure).

Thus a pencil which have the ability to do both of the above mentioned tasks will be a perfect match for this technique.

calligraphy pencil

I will say any pencil in the range of B degree is perfect for your Pencil calligraphy. It can be HB, 2B, 4B or even 8B (but there is a chance that you can find working with 8B pencil a bit hard, so you can keep your range up to 6B as well). Because in pencil calligraphy you have to apply pressure for making thick strokes, and these B degree ranges work perfectly under such circumstances.

But in the case of hand lettering, you need pencils that have an H degree range. It can be 2H. 4H, H or a mechanical pencil. Because in lettering you do not need a heavy stroke. What you need is a light and easily removable stroke.

Keep one thing in mind USE NON SHARP EDGES. I repeat do not use a sharp edge in any type of calligraphy because a sharp edge will break down when you will apply pressure in a down-thick stroke. And it will create a mess that no one desire.

Q: How to Hold the Pencil While Calligraphy?

This is also the common question that appears in the mind of the reader or beginner and the answer is very simple.

“Hold the pencil just the way you feel it’s comfortable for you.”

There is no need to make any grip adjustments. This is a big advantage of Pencil calligraphy and lettering over dip pen calligraphy (which is yet another type of modern calligraphy) that you don’t need to hold the pencil at a fixed angle or position.

How to Hold the Pencil

In dip pen calligraphy, the basic idea is to keep the hand under when you are writing but in Pencil calligraphy, you do not have to follow such obligations. You can hold the pencil in any way it seems easy to you or even just like the first day when you learnt how to write.

Q: How to Get Straight Lines While Lettering?

This is yet another question, because even a sentence written in calligraphic style will not look presentable when is not in a linear manner. There are many ways by which you can achieve straight lines in calligraphy.

How to Get Straight Lines

  • By practicing on calligraphy worksheets or practice sheets which have all the necessary gird lines on them that you need.
  • You can use a ruler to make your own custom lines, but this is recommended for beginners only (because at an experts level no one except those irritating lines repeating on your page)
  • Using another page under your line as a reference ruler is an effective and suggested method for beginners who don’t have access to either of the above mentioned.
  • Working on a light-box will be a suggested to create your calligraphic masterpieces but in the future.
  • Using laser beams to get a straight line is also an effective method, but, once again leave it for the future use.

Q: How Long Does It Take to Learn Calligraphy?

It can take two weeks or even two decades if I say so. Because anything that comes under the heading of “start” can not be learned completely and thoroughly. There is always room for betterment and improvement.

You cannot say I have learned all of the calligraphy in two weeks or even more than a years. But you can say that I am learning many more ways on how to write simple 26 alphabets into beautiful, attractive and creative Calligraphic designs.

Remember, just like technology which is in a constant race of evolution. Calligraphy is also evolving in a creative manner. Let me make it clear for you, you can say;

“I know how to write 26 alphabets in many calligraphic styles.”

But what you cannot say is;

“I do know EACH and EVERY possible style of calligraphy for these 26 alphabets.”

It is impossible to achieve or even think of. So do not waste your time in calculating the average days that you will be needing to master this skill, instead spend your energy in creating new and different styles of calligraphy.

Q: How to Become an Expert at Calligraphy?

There are two things that will make you an expert at calligraphy:

Practice More: We all have read this quote many a time that Practice is the only key to success.

Believe me, in this case, it is.

Before become an expert, never consider yourself as an expert:  If I give you my example, let me tell you that I have been doing calligraphy for 6 years; now and I am not even close to the level of perfection

This is the attitude you need when you are learning any new technique. And only this attitude will make you eager enough to learn more and more with each passing day.

By doing so a day will arrive that the world will consider you as an expert and let me set a reminder for you, this is not an endpoint either.

Enjoy Your Pencil Calligraphy!

I will say that the purpose of this article is to “educate you” and “provide you with a proper guideline” on how to do Calligraphy if you are a beginner. Now it is up to you, how will you implement this in your routine life and begin your learning journey. And if you do so you will see yourself improving with each passing day.

Maria Tanish

Hello World! Tanish here, a student of Fine Arts. Drawing was my passion from an early age but I also love to do some DIY projects to spend my leisure. Even I work as a writer, to share my knowledge about the ins and outs of drawing and the art industry itself. As an artist, I always wanna share my experiences with you all.

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