1.12.2017

How To Get Started With Hand Lettering

Hi friends! I've been posting a lot of my hand lettering progress over on Instagram and it seems like I'm getting a ton of questions regarding it. I figured I would do a blog post so that all of the information lives in one place. Thank you to everyone who has complimented my progress so far :) I'm having a blast learning the art of hand lettering - it's actually really therapeutic for me.

Now keep in mind, I am by NO means an expert. I just started dabbling in this new hobby the week of Christmas...so less than a month ago. I have a lot to learn. And a little disclaimer - I consider myself a creative person but not necessarily an artsy person. I can't draw to save my life, so if you're not the best at drawing, don't think that you can't learn how to letter!


I'm gonna set this post up as a Q + A of sorts, so let's get to it! 

What resources are you using to learn?

I've used 2 resources so far:

1. The first one I used was the e-book called The Brush Calligraphy Guide + Workbook by Dawn of Dawn Nicole Designs. I bought the e-book and had a hard copy printed at Kinko's. This guide helped me learn the basics. 

2. The resource that I have used the most (and would recommend if you only want to get one) is Hand Lettering 101 by ChalkFullOfLove. This book is not only gorgeous (see below) but it is SO helpful. I struggled with the techniques described in the first e-book guide, but the "faux" way to do calligraphy (go in after writing a word and manually add the thick downstrokes to each letter) that is taught in Hand Lettering 101 works well for me.


What pens do you use?

I read article after article that said it takes some trial and error to find your favorite pens, and I have to agree. I've tried quite a few but my favorite have to be:

  • Pigma Micron 05 AND 08 (I use these to write the words out first)
  • Tombow ABT N15 (I use the felt tip side to go in and trace the words and add in my thick downstrokes)
I tried using brush pens, but I had trouble with them. My strokes were very shaky looking. I'm hoping to start using brush pens as I get more comfortable and have more practice under my belt.

What paper do you use?

When I started I was just using scraps of regular (cheap-o) copy paper. Since becoming more invested in the hobby, I purchased a (cheap-o) sketchbook from Amazon. I think it was like 8 bucks, honestly. Here is the one I'm talking about.

EDIT: I have since learned that using "marker paper" is better to help prolong the life of your pens! Here is an example.

How did you get started?

I picked up a pen and tried. And let me tell you - I was no good at first. Like I mentioned, I tried a lot of pens. I tried Crayola markers. I watched a lot of hand lettering videos on Instagram. The biggest thing is not expecting to produce beautiful letters right out of the gate (although you might - which is awesome). Just like anything else it takes practice and dedication. Below is a comparison of where I started vs. where I am now. And that starting picture isn't even my VERY first time - my first time (I don't have pictures) looked like plain cursive, honestly.

How often do you practice?

As most of y'all know, I have a PACKED schedule. I am taking 5 classes, working 2 jobs (one is my own business which is a full time job on its own), applying for grad school, volunteering/shadowing in the SLP field, I'm a wife, dog mom, friend, blah blah blah. That being said, I don't sit around practicing for hours a day. I totally would if I had the time but I don't. So I wake up 20 minutes early every morning and make a cup of coffee and sit down with my pens and sketchbook. 20 minutes doesn't seem like a lot of time, but doing it every single morning really adds up. Remember that post I did about showing up? I'm showing up to my sketchbook every morning and it's paying off. Plus it's a very relaxing way to start the day!

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If you have any questions, please feel free to comment below and ask :) I'm a newbie and have a lot to learn, but I am absolutely loving hand lettering!

xo, Jess

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