Students learn how to write a modern calligraphy alphabet using Crayola broad line markers.

Required Time

180 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 4 to Grade 9


Art Techniques


calligraphy downstroke upstroke


Crayola Broad Line Markers Crayola Marker & Watercolour Paper - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12") Lined Paper - 21.6 cm x 27.9 cm (8 ½" x 11")

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MODERN CALLIGRAPHY – Fancy Letters - Step One

Step One

Downstrokes are always thick.

  1. Practice making downstrokes.
    - hold the marker at about a 45° angle from the paper
    - apply pressure on the downstroke as you pull the marker towards you
    - use the flat side of the marker
MODERN CALLIGRAPHY – Fancy Letters - Step Two

Step Two

Upstrokes are always thin.

  1. Practice making upstrokes.
    - you may want to rotate the marker so you are holding it in a vertical position
    - press lightly on the upstroke as you push the marker away from you
    - use the tip of the marker
MODERN CALLIGRAPHY – Fancy Letters - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Practice making thick and thin strokes.
  2. Fill a page with:
    - thick straight lines
    - thin straight lines
    - loops
    - ovals
    - compound curves (combinations of thick and thin lines)
MODERN CALLIGRAPHY – Fancy Letters - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Use the alphabet sheets to practice making letters.
  2. The more you practice, the better your letters will be. 
MODERN CALLIGRAPHY – Fancy Letters - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Practice joining the letters together.
  2. Work to keep the letters on the same angle.
  3. Focus on using light pressure to make thin upstrokes, and heavy pressure to make thick downstrokes.
  4. Write your name and other words.
  5. Practice, practice, practice!

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • write an alphabet in modern calligraphy using Crayola broad line markers; 
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment, perseverance and creativity.


Have students:

  • write famous quotes, poetry stanzas, or song lyrics using modern calligraphy;
  • use modern calligraphy in other media texts, for example, the Powerful Posters lesson available on this website.


  1. Print copies of the practice alphabet, enough for one set per student. (Downloads - PracticeLetters.pdf)
  2. Prepare sample exercises on chart paper.
  3. Gather, and make available, books about lettering, for example, Little Book of Lettering, by Emily Gregory; Adventures in Lettering: 40 exercises to improve your lettering skills, by Dawn Nicole Warnaar; Creative Lettering: Techniques & Tips from Top Artists, by Jenny Doh; Doodle Art and Lettering with Joanne Sharpe: Inspiration and Techniques for Personal Expression, by Joanne Sharpe; and Hand-Lettering (An Interactive Guide to the Art of Drawing Letters), by Megan Wells.
  4. Download, and display, images of calligraphy quotes from the Internet.


  1. View several alphabets in one of the books, for example, Hand-Lettering (An Interactive Guide to the Art of Drawing Letters), by Megan Wells.
  2. Introduce the challenge.


The Challenge

  1. Write an alphabet in modern calligraphy using Crayola broad tip markers;
  2. Demonstrate technical accomplishment, perseverance and creativity.

The Process

  1. Ensure that everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    I know I am successful when I have:
    - written an alphabet in modern calligraphy with a Crayola broad tip marker
    - made thin upstrokes
    - made thick downstrokes
    - kept the angle of the letters the same
    - connected letters to form words
  3. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  4. Observe students as they work. 
  5. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.
  6. Provide lots of time for students to practice writing the alphabet.


  1. Have students work with a partner. 
  2. Ask them to share their work:
    - choose the letters that are especially well made
    - explain what is effective about those letters
    - describe what works for them as they write the letters
  3. Share ideas with the whole class. 
  4. Ask students to tell how they might use their calligraphy skills.


  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting
  2. Observe students as they discuss their work – active listening, insightful contributions, supporting ideas with evidence found in the artwork and from personal experience.
  3. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads – Calligraphy_tracking.pdf)
  4. Have students continue to practice writing letters over several weeks. After each session have them put a check mark beside 3 best letters and explain their choices.