Tag Archives: the art of hand lettering

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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