So you want to learn hand lettering???
If you look around…hand lettering is everywhere!!! It’s on the to-go cups at Chipotle, it’s on the packaging in our cupboards and it’s on the mail we receive online and at home. I first noticed hand lettering around 2011 on Instagram. Seeing all the amazing talent out there in the hand lettering community nudged me to try my hand at it.
My first lesson was watching a Skillshare class by Mary-Kate McDevitt. The basics I learned helped to get me started. I soaked up all I could from that 45 minute class.
Newsflash…..you don’t have to have good handwriting skills to be a good hand letterer. Unbelievable, I know, but so very true. That should encourage so many of you out there who think you could never create beautiful lettering like others out in Instagram.
So first off here’s the advice I give beginner hand letterers:
Start with the basic tools to get started
Friend, if you want to get started and you don’t have all the fancy new pens yet…don’t worry. Just get started with regular printer paper, lined paper, or graph paper and a pencil or favorite pen. Ballpoint pens, pencils, and gel tip pens are what I used when I first started lettering.
Once you’re ready to invest in some good pens you may want to start with the Fudenosuke small brush calligraphy pens by Tombow. These brushes come with a hard tip and a soft tip. For me the hard tip brush pen helped me gain better control & consistency when practicing my strokes…this is especially important to have as you’re learning to master the basic strokes. A great brush lettering set by Tombow is the Beginner Hand Lettering Set. This set has all the basic lettering tools to get you started and you can find it on Amazon or the Tombow Website. This particular set includes an eraser, pencil, 1 Fudenosuke brush pen, Twin Tip Black permanent marker, larger black dual brush pen and a gray dual brush pen .
Take a Skillshare Class
You can find so many great and helpful lettering classes on Skillshare. You can get 2 months of classes for FREE just by using my affiliate link. The first class I ever took was Hand Lettering Essentials for Beginners. If you check out my resource page here on my website you can see some other great classes that I highly recommend that are Skillshare.
Practice your strokes consistently
I know you’re eager to start lettering actual words and phrases but having a good foundation of how strokes for letters are created it so key in growing in your new creative skill. Getting the basic strokes down is going to help build a good foundation. Even just practicing the light upstrokes and thick downstrokes will start you on the right path. There are so many great and free resources out there to get you familiar with the basics. You can pick up free brush stroke practice sheets by Dawn Nicole here to get you started.
Learn about different lettering styles
I love learning about different lettering styles and if you just take a few minutes to google “lettering styles” you will find a plethora of great styles to glean from. One great exercise that I picked up from Stefan Kunz is to try writing one letter 16 different ways. By doing this it really get’s helps you to expand your creativity and explore different styles. Here’s an example of one I did a year ago:
Follow Hand Letterers on Instagram
There are so many creatives you can follow to be inspired by. One important thing I need to emphasize is to make sure to learn techniques and tips from other letterers but be careful to not cross the line and copy them exactly. When you’re first learning it’s easy to get caught up in another’s hand letterers style of lettering but the ultimate goal is to develop your own unique style and flair. Here are some awesome people I recommend following: Stefan Kunz, Brittany Luiz, Krystal Whitten, Kelly of Kelly Creates, and Amanda Arneill.
Join Lettering Challenges on Instagram
One of the ways I have really grown in my lettering style is by participating in monthly lettering challenges on Instagram. There are so many out there you can join…they are fun, light-hearted challenges, inspirational quotes, scripture, TV Shows quotes to a mixture of doodling and lettering challenges. The great part about them is that you get to see everyone else’s entries and gives you encouragement that you’re not the only beginner out there. You can find these challenges by going on Instagram and searching hashtags like #letteringchallenges or you can find a compilation of all the challenges at @letteringchallengehq.
Have Fun and Remember Community Over Competition!
Hand Lettering is such a fun & relaxing creative outlet, at least for me it is. The thing that can drag you down is when you allow comparison to stop you from posting your lettering. You will find that the lettering community is one of the most encouraging communities you’ll find! So don’t let your insecurities keep you from sharing what you create….we have all started at the beginning so you’re not alone!