Saturday, February 20, 2016

how i taught myself hand lettering

Howdy y'all, and happy Saturday!! In case you didn't see in my last post, I'm changing up my posting schedule to be Wednesdays and Saturdays instead of Tuesdays and Fridays. Most of y'all know that I'm a sucker for lettering and calligraphy, and that I've been teaching myself to do both. I started learning to letter probably a little over a year ago, and it has become one of my absolute favorite pastimes. Calligraphy is a more recent hobby for me, (I just picked it up about a month ago) but I am absolutely in love with it as well. I get a lot of questions regarding how to letter and how I do it, so I decided to write a post all about how I taught myself to letter.

For those of you that don't know what hand lettering is, it's essentially fake calligraphy. You write something out in a cursive type font, and then bold the downstrokes with your pen. It doesn't necessarily have to be cursive, but I think that's what most people think of when they think of lettering. You can also mix and match serif and sans-serif fonts with cursive to add a little variety in your designs.

The most important part of lettering is PRACTICE. Everyone that letters will tell you this so get used to it. Like I said, I've been lettering for about a year and I've only recently really got a handle on my pen and have become really happy with my work. Don't get me wrong, I loved the progress I was making along the way, but I've definitely improved a lot. Finding time to practice really isn't all that hard. If you're a student like me, I often set out another piece of paper while taking notes in a particularly slow class and just go at it. This might not work for you if you're a college student because obviously those classes are much more fast paced, but in high school it has been the best way for me to learn.

You have to focus on the shapes and strokes of the letters or you will never get it how you want it. When I first started, I would just bold out the lines where I thought I had seen others do it. That was a really dumb strategy. As you are forming your letter, really look at how you're creating it with your pen. Then find the places where your pen was moving downwards, create a guiding line where you want to bold it, and then fill it in.

Understand that you do not have to have good handwriting to be good at lettering. I myself am pretty fond of my handwriting and think it's pretty neat, but I know a lot of fantastic calligraphers and hand letterers who don't have beautiful handwriting. Also, lettering will probably help improve your handwriting because you'll be learning more about how letters are formed and gaining control of the pen. Again, I have to stress that because in order to learn to letter, you must understand how letters are formed and this has nothing to do with your regular handwriting because most of the time we just scribble stuff out without thinking about it.

You don't need expensive pens and paper to be good at lettering. Is it nice to have them? Sure! But honestly, I mostly use just pieces of scratch paper and my favorite gel pen (the Pilot G-2 Bold). Yes, if you use a cheap-o ballpoint pen you probably won't be happy with it, but you can get a pack of 3 of those Pilot pens or a couple Sharpies for several dollars where one really nice pen can cost $10!!

TAKE YOUR TIME. This is something I struggle with so much, but especially when you're just starting out, you have to go slowly to learn how to control the pen and form the letters right.

That's pretty much it! Lettering is such a fun thing to take up, plus all your friends will be super impressed with you and want you to be their personal scribe. :) If you already letter, what tips do you have for people learning to letter? If you're new to lettering, let me know what you've learned!!

Have a great day!

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*Disclaimer: This post was not sponsored or endorsed in any way and all opinions expressed are my own.*

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