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

, Letterer

About the Class

My name is Mary Kate McDevitt and I'm proud to welcome you to my Skillshare class, where we will cover the first steps of lettering.

If you find letters beautiful and want to turn your handwriting into artful drawings, this is the class for you. It will cover the fundamentals of hand-lettering - and, while it is geared towards beginners, even skilled letterers will learn new tips on what to avoid when lettering, how to create a more conceptual hand-lettered illustration and how to make a clean final drawing ready to scan.

In this class, we'll work with different types of applications for lettering. Start with your favorite quote, title or phrase. Consider where it will end up: a poster, magazine article, book, greeting card, sign, label, or T-shirt. The focus will be on bridging this gap - on translating your idea into a beautiful hand-lettered final drawing. 

I believe the first steps of lettering to be the most important - and yet, these are often rushed through (or skipped entirely!). By building a new routine around a well thought-out concept and layout, you will position yourself to make faster and smarter decisions when it comes to lettering.

This class will be broken down into 4 units: 

1. Researching and Brainstorming. You'll learn how to research and brainstorm ideas for your hand-lettered phrase, as well as different possible applications. 

2. Sketching. You'll learn how to sketch out concepts that fit your idea. 

3. Exploring Styles. You'll learn how to develop a clear concept and explore styles appropriate to the application - all while keeping your style. 

4. Finalizing. You'll learn how to 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

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At a Glance

  • 11 Video Lessons
  • 8.9K Students
  • 97% Positive Reviews (151)
  • Self-Paced Online Class

Class Project

Hand-letter sketch your favorite quote, title or phrase

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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, ...

97% Positive Reviews

Aleia Walker

Aleia Walker

Creative Enthusiast Seeking Specialist Skills

I love the class! It is very helpful, I feel like I learned a lot and I will continue to use the skills I developed in this class! The only problem is that because there are so many ...

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