How to do hand lettering easily

do hand lettering easily

How do you learn to do hand lettering easily? Our guide outlines how to get started with this beautiful craft trend for stylish hand lettering.

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Hand lettering is all the rage! All you need for artful writing is pen and paper and a little time to practice. We’ll show you how it’s done – including a free exercise sheet to download.

The latest DIY trend on Pinterest, Instagram etc. is hand lettering. This is a special type of calligraphy in which the individual letters or words are artistically drawn. That means: You first choose a word or quote, then choose a nice font and then think about how to arrange the words (in a circle or stacked) and which font size you want to use for which word.

Hand lettering looks complicated, but it’s easy to learn. We will show you what you need for artistic writing.

The basic equipment you need to do hand lettering easily

Nobody is born a hand lettering professional, but success can only be achieved with a lot of practice. Therefore, especially at the beginning, you have to rely on guidelines, preliminary drawings and the eraser.

So to start with, anyone who would like to try their hand at hand lettering needs a ruler, an eraser and a pencil. Pencils with the hardness grades HB, B or B2 have particularly soft faces and are therefore easier to erase.

But those who are gripped by hand lettering fever naturally want to paint the beautiful, colored pictures that one constantly see on the Internet. In theory, of course, you could just use the felt-tip pens that you already have at home. However, you are more likely to achieve quick success if you invest directly in a few so-called brush pens . The tip of the pen resembles a brush, so you can vary the line width, which is very important when hand lettering.

The right paper

If you choose a paper that is too thin, the color shows through and the result is just not nice. If you take one with a rough surface, it can even break the pencils, as this will fray the fibers. So paper with a smooth surface that is relatively thick is ideal. The good news: Most of the time, this applies to normal copy paper.

Tips and tricks: this is how you can do hand lettering easily

Your best friends when it comes to hand lettering are tracing paper and transfer paper . Even if it looks very simple with the professionals on Instagram and Youtube: It takes practice to record lettering beautifully and without errors the first time. However, especially at the beginning, you will register yourself, misjudge the distances and keep improving your sketch.

This is exactly where the tracing paper comes into play: After you have drawn a first draft that you like using guidelines and consistent touch-ups, you can trace it with tracing paper and then transfer it to a clean sheet of paper with transfer paper.

Only your faultless draft is then put on the new sheet – without leftover auxiliary lines and eraser marks. Your result will then look neat and beautiful, as if you had painted it all of a sudden without any mistakes.

Practice creates masters!

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Workshop sheets can help you practice your hand lettering skills

Calligraphy professional Ursula Thoms was also unable to start with perfect calligraphy and layouts. “At the beginning I bought books and watched some tutorials on Youtube. After about six months I attended a workshop for brush and hand lettering. Here I got some tips and then it was: practice, practice, practice It doesn’t work without it. It’s really just a matter of practice, “ she says.

Tip: Transparent paper can also be of great help when practicing. If you have already bought an exercise book, you can put tracing paper over the template and trace the letters first instead of tracing them directly. This way you can get a feel for where the letter gets a fat stroke and where it gets a thin stroke.

Learn hand lettering: Success in just 15 minutes

However, anyone who thinks it would take forever to draw beautiful hand lettering is wrong. Ursula remembers how long it took her to be satisfied with her drawings – spoiler: not long. “If you have the technique, you should practice about a quarter of an hour a day. The more you practice, the faster you get success. After 2 months I suddenly felt like it was by itself.”

This is how it gets artistic

When Hand Lettering the effect of the word can often change by simply changing the tracking distance of the letter spacing. If you increase or decrease the distance, the overall picture looks completely different than before.

Great effects can also be achieved by playing with light and shadow. However, another popular trick is also switching between different font sizes or even fonts. In order for the end result to look really good, you will hardly be able to avoid transparent and transfer paper here.

If you want to deal more easily with different flourishes and other decorative elements such as floral wreaths, you can be inspired by the seemingly endless examples on Instagram and Pinterest . You can simply save it, print it out and trace it, or if you are more advanced, trace it slightly modified.

Alternatively, you can of course order a guide for this. It saves you from searching the net and provides lots of inspiration and exercises.

Brush and hand lettering courses

If your fingers are now itching to finally get started with hand lettering, then visit a workshop. For such a workshop you have to plan around a day and a little over $100, with the material costs often included. However, many community colleges near you might also run courses.

The advantage of a course is undoubtedly that you get specific feedback and individual tips from professionals. 

The subtle difference: hand lettering vs. Brushlettering

Brushlettering is a modification of calligraphy. Instead of a pen, however, a brush and watercolor paint are used for brush lettering. With a brush and watercolor, the words appear softer and great color gradients and other effects can be achieved.