Have you seen those cool videos showing someone creating a beautiful, frame-able script writing saying and thought to yourself, “maybe I should try that”?
I did. And, I did.
And I worked and worked on it, and my writing looked bad.
And then, it looked okay.
And then, it looked kind of cool.
And then, I decided to share my information with you – as a non-expert, but as someone who is getting a little bit better and would love to share some helpful tips for those who are brave enough to try new things.
Hopefully, these are helpful tips.
What I Learned About Letter Art
- It’s hard. And you won’t be good at it for a while. Sorry, this is real life. I’d say practice every day for 2 weeks before you expect your letters to even start to look good, and even then, it won’t look great (mine didn’t at least).
- Like anything else, it takes practice. Lots and lots and lots of practice. If you want something that looks nice, you’re going to have a lot of scratch work that doesn’t look nice.
- Don’t be fooled by watching experts whip their writing out in mere seconds – they practiced A LOT before they became good as well, and they have probably practiced doing whatever they’re showing you many times before they show it to you – plus, their videos are probably sped up a few times over to make it look like they just whisked out some gorgeous lettering. They probably took their time with the actual real-time version.
- You don’t need expensive tools to start this hobby. It’s as cheap as a stack of computer paper and Crayola markers, which means you can try this hobby out for less than $10.00 or so. If it’s not for you, not much was wasted. Buy printer paper that works with your printer and if you give up being a scribe, you can just have extra printer paper that will get used.
- If you love it, you will really love it. It’s addicting. I find myself starting at about 8pm and sitting at the table still lettering as the clock gets close to 11pm. And, I had no idea it had gotten that late, and all I have to show for it is a bunch of scratch paper and random words like “random”, or some song lyrics. That’s kind of how you know you love it, you will run out of things to write and start thinking of learning poetry and quotes.
How to Get Better at Lettering Quickly
Beginner Brush Lettering - EASY
How I got better at brush lettering - tips and secrets
Short Cuts to Better Hand-Lettering
While you can just write your heart out as much as possible, there are some easy ways to get comfortable with hand-lettering quickly.
- Use a Template – Maybe one day when I get good enough I will put out my own template of letters that you can practice with, but for now, I’ll just refer you to someone who knows what they’re doing and has them available now. You can use these templates (or ones like these) and print them out so that you can start getting comfortable with the squiggles of the letters and how they should be formed. Squiggles is the highly technical term, I’m sure there might be a better one but that’s what I’m using.
- It’s All About The Ups and Downs – When I was little I was obsessed with learning calligraphy and I bought one of those pens with a cartridge. That lettering had nothing to do with pressure and up and down motion, it was all in the writing and the angle of the pen. But, in this style of writing, you have to push hard on the down-stroke and lift up and use the light point on the upstroke to get the desired effect. Practice these ups and downs CONSTANTLY. Like, watch a marathon of Game of Thrones (just not season 8 because that was really bad) and just do your ups and downs the whole time you watch it. You can throw letters in, m and w are specifically good for practicing the up and down and pressure/flow for each.
- The Angle Counts – The common thread with this hand lettering and traditional calligraphy is that the angle matters for both. There isn’t any one specific angle you have to use, but tilt your pen so that you have good control over it and can easily push down harder on the down-stroke and go lighter on the upstroke.
- Copy Styles You Like – I have to be honest that I don’t like all the styles out there. For a while, I was practicing with watching someone’s work because they gave good instructions, but my writing was starting to look like theirs and I wasn’t crazy about it (their writing) – so that’s kind of futile. I’d say only watch and practice and copy those handwriting styles you actually LIKE, otherwise you won’t be happy with the results. That might sound obvious, but I found myself bouncing through many YouTubes for a while and watched some for the tutorial information but didn’t really love the teacher’s outputs. Save yourself the time and find examples to copy that you like, and tutorials to watch that you want your stuff to emulate.
- Go Lighter & Then Darken – A little trick I found is to not worry too much about your hard pressure on the down-strokes. If you go slow enough and light enough and make letters that you like, you can re-emphasize the larger down-stroke afterwards by going back over your work. You can’t however, go lighter, so pay close attention to going as light as possible on your little light, upstrokes. I find the best script writing has the very fine, ultra-thin lines that really make it look beautiful and delicate in spots.
- Accent Colors – When you are done with your initial color, the accent colors really add something special. They kind of take whatever ordinary thing you did originally and make it like, a little magical. I think, at least. If you are using the Crayola markers, it should be easy to do this. Just take your darker accent color and go over a bit of the bottom with it. I’ve also seen people do some cool shading techniques, but I haven’t mastered those yet enough to talk about it. Mine looked like some ugly shmears on what may have been okay lettering, so I am not going to recommend you try this until I know how to do it.
- Cut Loose – If you can get to a point where you kind of free-flow your pen, where it’s not super rigid and you are kind of having fun with it, you will find your writing looks so much better. This artwork is so fun because to me it feels like the pen is an extension of your emotions, so if you’re feeling bottled up you will see it in the results, if you are feeling relaxed and light you can see a sort of playfulness in the strokes.
If you are interested in the set of Crayolas I used, these are the ones that I have (from Amazon):
I hope you find this easy and fun, and hopefully these tips help you make the most of your lettering experience!
If you have tips as well or tried these and they worked, please let me know below!