Tag Archives: hand lettering

Brush Lettering


Whew! It has been quite some time since I’ve posted anything.  Life sure has been busy lately!
It’s finally starting to settle down though, so I decided to take up a new art – brush lettering.  I’ve always been fascinated by fonts (I have hundreds of fonts downloaded to my computer, and I’ve always been drawn to typography).  Last year, I took a hand lettering class on Skillshare, but that was more how to make signs using various fonts.  I wanted to learn how to actually make the font myself, so I sat down to find the best guide I could to teach myself the art of brush lettering.

What is brush lettering? It is a style of font, with thicks and thins, made by using either a watercolor brush, or a marker that has a brush-like tip (anything that will allow you to make thick and thin lines just depending on the amount of pressure you put onto the tip).

After much research, I decided on learning how to brush letter using Random Olive’s Brush Lettering Practice Guide .  Her guides were by far the most comprehensive I found – not only does it include both upper and lowercase as well as numbers, she also includes two sizes – large to start off with, and then smaller once you gain more control.  All in all, for $27, you get nearly 300 pages of traceable practice sheets as well as a 45 day guide to get it all done in!
You can buy yours by clicking the ‘buy now’ button below: (affiliate link)
Buy Now!
I sent mine off to Office Depot to print, and put it all in a binder for easy organization.  The great thing is that you can print off as many sheets as you want, so if in a few months you decide you need to brush up on your lettering (get it? brush up?), you can print off more; or if you’re having trouble with a certain letter (I’m looking at you lowercase k!), you can print off extra sheets of just that one letter.

The supplies needed to get started are minimal (but, once you become obsessed like me, you’ll see that there’s so much out there that you’ll want errr… need!

I started with a set of Pentel Arts Aquash Water Brush and Artist’s Loft Watercolors.  You could use any watercolor brush, but the Pentel Aquash brushes hold water in the barrel so you’re not constantly dipping into a cup of water – definitely a time saver when you’re trying to concentrate on forming your letters!

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When I started lettering, I started a second Instagram user account so I could track my progress (and you can follow along at TheLeftyLetterer !) I recommend this so that you can see just how far you’ve come – and there’s tons of other letterers out there with dedicated accounts so you can follow them to gain inspiration. Screen Shot 2016-02-21 at 10.27.49 AM

Once you get into it, you’ll find there’s so many wonderful supplies to assist you in your lettering.  I got into gold leafing (another post on that soon – I was trying to find a way to mimic the Minc Foil Applicator that I couldn’t justify buying….just yet 😉 )

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Hopefully soon I will be confident enough to start offering hand lettered signs in my Etsy shop!Screen Shot 2016-02-21 at 10.28.16 AM Screen Shot 2016-02-21 at 10.28.29 AM

How about you? Have you started in hand lettering? If not, why? What’s holding you back? Anything you’d like me to cover in a future blog post?

*This post contains affiliate links. It does not cost you any extra to shop via my link, but I get a small percent back to help keep my blog going. Thank you!

Skillshare – Hand Lettering Tutorial

Today I want to talk a little bit about Skillshare. I discovered this website a few months ago and immediately got sucked in. It is a website filled with all sorts of online classes in the arts; photography, design, HTML, animation and so much more! Just before my husband deployed a few months ago, I signed up for the “The First Steps of Hand Lettering” which promised an in-depth hand lettering tutorial. The class description states:

“If you find letters beautiful and want to turn your handwriting into artful drawings, this is the class for you. It will cover the fundamentals of hand-lettering – and, while it is geared towards beginners, even skilled letterers will learn new tips on what to avoid when lettering, how to create a more conceptual hand-lettered illustration and how to make a clean final drawing ready to scan.

In this class, we’ll work with different types of applications for lettering. Start with your favorite quote, title or phrase. Consider where it will end up: a poster, magazine article, book, greeting card, sign, label, or T-shirt. The focus will be on bridging this gap – on translating your idea into a beautiful hand-lettered final drawing.”

I got to work immediately and completed quite a bit of the beginning of the class, but life got in the way and I didn’t work on the class at all for a few months, but with our recent trip down to Alabama (scroll down to read my other posts explaining this), I knew I’d have a lot of free time on my hands while my husband was in his training classes, so I took my sketchpad and pencils with me, and during the day, I worked on my class. Today, I want to show you a little bit of what I learned and how far I’ve come in a few weeks! Without giving away the class, the instructor takes you through her idea process, to forming your first letters, to design tips and more before you make your own hand-lettered sign.

In the beginning, I wanted to do a beach themed sign, but I changed direction halfway through and decided on this quote: “The bad news is time flies, the good news is you are the pilot”. Our first anniversary is coming up, and I plan to turned this into a piece of framed art for his new “man cave” in our new house. The traditional first anniversary gift is paper after all!

If you want to take your own class, check out this link here. At time of original publication of this article, the link gives you $10 off your first class, but I do not know how long the promotion will last for.
If that does not work, definitely google promotional codes for Skillshare – I always see a bunch out there!
Enough talk! Time to look at some typography goodness! (I apologize for the spotty quality– my sketchbook is 9×12, so it’s larger than my scanner bed, plus, I’m left handed so I smudge everything I do when I rest my hand)

The first step of the class is to pick a simple word and write it out in a variety of fonts. This was my first attempt- and truth be told, I was beyond impressed with myself!

Until I decided that I could do better and did page 2!

Those two above were as far as I got in the beginning.  Then, two months later, I picked it back up again, and decided to do some more lettering warm ups – since I was sitting outside on an Air Force base, I picked the word “pilot”.

And one more warm up for good measure – this is my favorite of the bunch, and where you can really see that practice makes perfect.  Scroll up and look at the level of improvement from one practice sheet to the next!

The next basic step is to come up with some layouts for your sketch.  I may have gone a little overboard making them a bit detailed, but I think it made my life easier in the end.

I ended up  picking the bottom center layout, and then went ahead and made a full size sketch.

And as of now, that’s where I’m at.  This sketch above needs refining (I the airplane is too curved, I want to make it look more realistic, and some of my lettering is “shaky” and needs to be cleaned up), however, overall, I’m happy with my result.  What do you think? I’d love any or all feed back I can get! I can’t wait to move forward and finish this guy up so I can work on another one!  Let me know if you sign up for the class- it’s very community oriented on Skillshare and we can follow each other’s progress and comment/leave feedback for each other.


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