The First Steps of Hand-Lettering: Concept to Sketch (Lettering I)

, Letterer

Student Projects View all projects →

Huyen BlueButterfly

Huyen BlueButterfly


Amber Stanton

Amber Stanton


Suzanne Osborne

Suzanne Osborne


Class Project

Hand-letter your favorite quote, title or phrase

About the Class

Style a phrase you love. Share it forever.

Count us among the thousands transforming our handwriting into artful drawings. In this 2-hour class, the talented Mary Kate McDevitt reveals the first steps of hand-lettering and inspires us to concept, design, and letter words for any use—a poster, magazine, t-shirt, or anything else we imagine. Plus, the impressive class project gallery speaks volumes for her clear guidance on common missteps, conceptual illustration, and digitization. We're sharpening our pencils.

Learn by doing.

Find a quote, title, or phrase that speaks to you, and develop an illustrative concept that matches its mood and tone. Using your favorite drawing materials, create a hand-letter sketch that's meaningful, lasting, and inspiring.

Watch 16 video lessons.

  • Researching and Brainstorming. Research and brainstorm ideas for your hand-lettered phrase, as well as different possible applications. 
  • Sketching. Sketch out concepts that fit your idea. 
  • Exploring Styles. Develop a clear concept and explore styles appropriate to the application—all while keeping your style. 
  • Finalizing. Finalize a drawing that is ready to scan. 

Also see: The Final Steps of Hand-Lettering (Lettering II).

More Information

This is a beginner-level class, which means no prior lettering skills are required to participate. You'll need all your favorite drawing materials; sketchbook, paper, tracing paper, pencil, soft pencil, pen and micron pen.

Level: Beginner

School: Design

Related Subjects: Typography, Lettering, Hand Lettering

Master this class with a Premium Membership.

Only $9.95 a month.

Start Free Trial

or purchase this class for $20

At a Glance

  • 11 Video Lessons (1h 55m)
  • 12.3K Students
  • 98% Positive Reviews (260)
  • Self-Paced Online Class

About the Teacher

Mary Kate McDevitt

Mary Kate McDevitt


My name is Mary Kate McDevitt, and I've been working as a full time freelance letterer since 2010. I've had the privilege of working for a number of great clients, including Nintendo, ...

98% Positive Reviews

Sarah Eiring

Sarah Eiring

The class was very educational on the specific process of hand lettering and the tools required. Mary Kate McDevitt was wonderful when going through her mental process and the way she ...

View all reviews