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

, Letterer

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Deepa Paul

Deepa Paul


Alessandro Zaccaro

Alessandro Zaccaro


Caitlin Hansen

Caitlin Hansen


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

At a Glance

  • 11 Video Lessons (1h 55m)
  • 14.2K Students
  • 98% Positive Reviews (302)
  • 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

Machi Tantillo

Machi Tantillo

Thank you for offering this class, Mary Kate McDevitt. It was a perfect way to enter the world of hand-lettering. I think the pacing of the class was great. I think the fact that you...

View all reviews