Have you noticed how hand lettering became a steady part of our life? Most likely, you’ve stumbled upon decorative writing at a local convenience store. Or saw elaborately handwritten chalkboard menus at your favorite restaurant. Bet, at a particular moment you thought it would be great to try some decorative writing. So, what’s stopping you? Even if you’re not a designer, this tutorial can be your point of entry to the wonderful world of hand lettering. Let’s get started!
What is Hand Lettering?
So, what IS hand lettering and how is it different from calligraphy? A distinction has to be made between the two. Hand lettering is a type of drawing which allows an artist to create decorative fonts. Meanwhile, calligraphy is a strict form of handwriting subject to specific rhythm and rules. At first, hand lettering might seem a bit intricate, but practice makes perfect. Follow the tips and advice in this tutorial to get started.
What Makes a Hand Lettering Starter Kit?
What makes a perfect toolset for decorative writing? Just a few things:
Paper. Absolute beginners might want to start with a paper pad designed for markers. Smooth paper surface will help to achieve the fluidity of strokes.
Ruler. It’s impossible to develop a steady hand and straight lines without a ruler.
Pencil. There’s nothing better than a sharp pencil to learn different types of lines. Baselines, x-lines, and cap-heights will help you create a stencil for your first handwritten words.
Brush pen. Beginners should choose a Kuretake Cocoiro pen or any brush pen with a medium-length brush tip. It has the optimum length to create flowy strokes and maintain control.
Developing a Steady Hand and Movement
One of the most challenging parts in hand lettering is making your letters flow in a particular way within certain limits. The above-mentioned baselines, x-lines and cap lines serve as such. Drawing your letters within the three equidistant parallel lines will help you achieve steadiness in your handwriting. The cap line determines the height for all capital letters. The x-line determines the height for all lowercase letters, while the baseline creates the guide which the entire word sits on.
If you wish to add dynamic to your decorative writing, use flourishes. Swirls, loops and decorative strokes of any type will help you create movement. Just don’t overkill it with all kinds of decorative elements. Now that you know the basic theory, let’s proceed to our free practical lessons.
Basic Hand Lettering: The Alphabet
Let’s start with something easy and familiar – the alphabet. Once you develop your personal style of writing, you will be able to incorporate letters into fonts or a logo. The only requirement here is keeping your hand lettering as creative as you can. Before you start, search for a downloadable reference which includes all the letters, then follow these steps:
How to Transition from Thick to Thin Lines?
Learning how to transition from thick to thin lines is one of the basic skills to make your hand drawn letters flow. However, this is a skill that can be learned through consistent exercise. For starters, you need to get accustomed to your pen. Practice the sequence of stroke sizes to adapt the pressure. Begin with the “hairline” barely touching the page, then add more pressure to create a more visible line. Finally, add the maximum pressure your pen tip allows to make the strokes as thick as possible.
Don’t get disappointed if your lines look shaky at first. Practice is the key to success. Using as many pens as possible to do the strokes, you will gradually develop a steady hand and understand the capabilities of every instrument you use for hand lettering. Also, don’t try making the strokes perfect, just try to be consistent. Start with separate lines, then connect them with one another to end up with a solid structure. This is a great exercise to use as a daily warm-up.
How to Create a Hand Lettering Artwork?
Now that you have all the instruments and know the basics, we can proceed to the pinnacle of our tutorial – creating a finished hand lettering artwork. For this lesson, based on the webpagefx guideline, you will need the following:
Once you’re set and ready to go, follow these step-by-step instructions:
You’re almost done. The only thing left is to erase the pencil guidelines. And voila, you can enjoy the finished artwork!
Hand lettering is no rocket science for amateurs, but rather a fun way of bringing out one’s inner artist. As for graphic designers, this is a great skill to use for work. Be creative and develop your unique style of decorative drawing. It’s always fun to experiment!