I have ALWAYS wanted to have beautiful calligraphy handwriting but never wanted to take the class or invest in all of the supplies to start. I started learning last summer and now it’s my favorite hobby! I wanted to share all of my tips and tricks for learning my hand lettering, brush lettering, and fake calligraphy all in one place.
The best place to learn lettering is Instagram! You can start following me and other hand letterers for inspiration, videos, and tutorials.
>>Check out this “How to Letter on Any Surface” post if you’re ready to start lettering on something other than paper! 🙂
This book is also great if you want to learn how to draw flowers, cactus, and other botanicals.
This is such a great place to learn and post your own creations…it’s a little intimidating at first but the lettering community is SO supportive and there are so many fun lettering challenges to help you come up with what to write. Follow hashtags like #brushlettering for even more ideas!
This was my first ever post of my lettering and I HATE it now, but at the time, I thought it was great! 🙂
Start with cheap materials and work your way up! I started with a cheap watercolor set, crayola markers, and a Sharpie. I wouldn’t buy the $70 watercolors until you try out the $5 set from Walmart. I would suggest starting with a set of Crayola Markers because they respond well to the pressure of your hand. I also would buy a black Sharpie, and if you want to try a brush pen, I would buy a pack of Tombow dual brush pens…I use these the most!
These are the supplies I am currently using:
Tombow dual brush pens Black Set or Color Set (I have the GIANT set but start out small)
Crayola Markers Color Pack and Black Set
Pentel Brush Pens
Marker Paper and Watercolor Paper for the Final Product (I use cardstock, computer paper, or index cards to practice)
I use plain food coloring mixed with water instead of watercolor too!
Dr. Ph. Martins Inks mixed with a little water and a Round Watercolor Brush (I use this instead of watercolor)
Here is a little sample of the different brush effects with the different markers:
Ok the BASICS of calligraphy hand lettering are these two things: Thick Down Stroke and Thin Up Stroke
When you are pulling your pen or brush down the page, push down really hard or make that stroke thick.
When you are going up the page, make the stroke thinner and lighter.
Here is an example of the thick down strokes and thin up strokes:
Learn Fake Calligraphy! This is really how I started out and it’s SO EASY and is super important for making BIG projects like writing on wood or chalkboards.
Below shows you the process but you basically write a word, thicken up the down strokes, and then round out and smooth out the rest.
Here are some examples of things I have made with fake calligraphy! It’s the BEST!
The other thing is to learn about bounce lettering. You can write your letters in a straight line but I prefer more of a zig-zag or bounce line. In the picture below you can see the line and how my letters are bouncing above and below the line. I pull some letters WAY below the line for a modern look.
Now what to write? Write what you love! Don’t feel like you need to drill each letter 100 times. Find a quote or joke you love and write it 20 times in different ways. I never do drills and I have WAY more fun because I am writing something funny or meaningful that I want to keep and share online.
Get inspiration from fonts and other hand letterers. I will see a letter “a” that I really love in a font or from a friend and I will practice it. I will also bookmark it on Instagram for later. Follow my Pinterest boards Hand Lettering 101 for more letter inspiration!
Learn to doodle and embellish your lettering. You don’t have to be an artist to do some fun little doodles or wreaths. Here is an example of a few things I have done recently with little doodles. Follow my Doodle Doodle Pinterest board for more ideas and start your own too. 🙂
I also like to add a little pencil shadow to my lettering where I just simply draw lines on the right side and under each letter:
Here is an example of it from my Instagram:
Practice a little every day and be patient with yourself! I’m sure my husband LOVES this but I leave my lettering stuff everywhere and I will just go write a word for five minutes and then walk away. Instagram is motivation to write but I just think a little everyday makes a HUGE difference. Use the other lettering artists as inspiration but don’t compare your beginning lettering with their professional style. It takes time to get better! 🙂
Develop your own unique style. Take all of the inspiration from fonts, other letterers, and trial and error to make your own styles. Someone told me that they knew that was my handwriting style and that was a HUGE compliment to me. Keep experimenting with new font styles and new ways to write a letter to make your style better and better!
Ok I think I have shared EVERYTHING in my brain on the subject of lettering! I’m still such a beginner but I have also learned so much in the past year.
If you start lettering, PLEASE tag me on Instagram and let me know you are learning. Let me know if any of my tips were helpful and please ask questions! Have fun learning and enjoy the process! 🙂