Brush Lettering Basics - A Stroke by Stroke Guide - Create Your Own Brush Lettered Art Piece | Brookelle Jones | Skillshare

Brush Lettering Basics - A Stroke by Stroke Guide - Create Your Own Brush Lettered Art Piece

Brookelle Jones, Botanical Illustrator | Lettering Artist

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17 Lessons (1h 28m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Materials

    • 3. Holding Your Brush Pen

    • 4. Upstrokes & Downstrokes

    • 5. Curvy Strokes

    • 6. Loops

    • 7. Circle/Oval

    • 8. A-F

    • 9. G-L

    • 10. M-R

    • 11. S-Z

    • 12. Connect Your Letters

    • 13. Spacing

    • 14. Another Tip for Spacing

    • 15. Drills, Warm Ups, & Words

    • 16. Composition & Project Process

    • 17. Wrapping it Up!


About This Class

A beginner level class on the basics of brush lettering taught by Watercolorist and Lettering artist, Brookelle from Soulfully Printed Art & Design.  

Have you ever wondered how people can make words look so beautiful?  And have you ever thought, “I could never make something that pretty by hand..”?

My goal for this class is to show you that YES, you CAN make something beautiful and artistic, even if you don’t consider yourself the artistic type.  (I know this, because I had the same thoughts just a year and a half ago!)

I want to break down the very basic building blocks of brush lettering for you, so you can see, understand, and apply these simple concepts to create something you love.  

The fundamentals we will cover:

  •  Lettering Material Suggestions
  • Brush Pen Technique
  • Basic Calligraphy Strokes
  • How strokes form letters/letter connections
  • Introduction to composition
  • and I'll show you my own creative process as I complete the class project!

By the end of this class, you will be able to create a beautiful, hand-lettered phrase that you can hang on your fridge, frame, or even gift to a friend! 

Whether you have been lettering for years, or haven’t ever picked up a brush pen--you can gain something from this class.  Mastering the fundamentals will give you a strong foundation on which you can build your own unique, artistic style.

Let’s get started!!


1. Introduction: Hey everyone, welcome to Brush Lettering Basics, a stroke by stroke guide to create your very own brush lettered piece. I'm Raquel and the creator and owner at Soulfully Printed art and Design, and I've been doing watercolor and brush lettering for about a year and a half now. I'm mostly known for my watercolor floral designs, as well as my uniquely textured, messy brush lettering style. I'm really excited to show you how I got from this point, to where I'm at now. All using basic strokes of calligraphy. We're going to go over the best materials to use, how to use your brush pens. We're going to talk about the basic strokes of calligraphy and how they form letters so that you can create these beautiful words. We're also going to touch on composition so that you can make a beautiful layout for your lettered design. I'm super excited, I hope you are too. Let's go. 2. Materials: Let's talk paper. One of my favorite brands of marker paper is this Rhodia brand. They've a lot of different kinds of paper like dotted or grid. I use this dotted paper because it helps me to write straighter and helps me with composition if I need to even things out. It's really good for practice, especially doing our basic strokes. I'll be using this paper for this class because it's a lot easier to follow than just a blank piece of paper. It is really good on your brush pens because it's marker paper so it's not going to make them fray as much as some other paper might. This is Canson Marker Paper. I really love this as well. It's really similar to the Rhodia. It just does not have any guidelines. A lot of the time I will letter on this and then scan it in so I can digitize it and put it on products or do other things with it, mess around with it in Photoshop. This is super nice because it's plain white. It does not hurt your brush pens and it's fairly thin, so it's see-through. Sometimes I'll create a composition on my Rhodia paper, the dotted paper, and then I'll trace it with this paper. Then if you wanted to have a finished project or something like a quote that you wanted to frame or give to a friend, I would use this Strathmore Marker Paper. It's thicker than the Canson and so it's better that way for a finished piece and it's also good on your markers. You can also use Bristol paper. I don't have any of that on hand but it is really great for your markers as well. If you don't want to go to Michaels or you don't want to order any of this from Amazon, which I always get it from Amazon, it's usually cheaper, but if you don't want to get any of this artist paper, if you're not sure if you're going to stick with lettering, then I would use premium LaserJet Paper. It's just printer paper but do not use regular printer paper. It will destroy your brush pens. Unfortunately, I learned that the hard way. Now I'll talk to you about the brush pens that I use and that I think are best for beginners. Well, before the brush pens, just pencils because you can erase pencils and you can't erase pens as you all know. So if you need to sketch something out, then use a pencil first. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. I don't think there's a right or wrong way with that. But I mostly just use this pencil that I found in a drawer. I don't even really know what kind of pencil it is. Sometimes I'll use this Tombow 4H. Apparently, it's more artists grade but I don't really pay much attention to that with the pencils. The first pen here that I would recommend if you are beginner letterer, and you haven't used brush pens before as this Tombow Fudenosuke. This is the hard tip so the tip of the pen is not super flexible. It's more stiff and so it's easier to control. You can get really nice thin lines with it, as well as those thick ones. It's just easier to control. I really loved this one in the beginning. I still use it quite a bit. But for a beginner, this is the pen I would recommend. There's also the Tombow Fudenosuke Soft Tip. This one is basically the same, besides the tip, obviously. It's softer and more flexible so it's harder to control. But you can get a more messy look with it. You can get thicker lines if you need that. It's a pretty good option too, I really love it because I'm a fan of the messy look. Then this pen, which I'm sure you have heard all about and possibly even tried, is the Tombow Dual Tip Brush Pen. It comes with a brush tip right here on the side and it's a lot bigger than the other Tombows, so for bigger projects, it's better that way. But you can get those thin lines as well as really thick down strokes, which is fun. These do fray a lot easier, I have found, especially if you're using bad paper. So don't do that with these pens because they will not last if you do that. Then the other side is just a monoline bullet tip so you can do what you want with that. In the beginning, this pen was a disaster for me. So if you really don't like these, that's okay. You do not have to use them. Well, I started using them and then it was just a nightmare because I hated them and they were really hard to control for me so I didn't use them for six months. Now I can use them just fine. This is the Pentel Touch Pen. It's basically like the Tombow Fudenosuke. It's got a little bit of a different feel but it's very similar and they come in a lot of different colors. It's a smaller brush pen. If you like working with colors, this would be a good option for you to try. This is really good for beginners. This is the first pen that I used that I really felt like I was starting to get somewhere with my brush lettering. These pens are actually pretty new to me. I really like them. They're super juicy and really huge, even bigger than some of the Tombows that I've used before. It's the Color in Marker. I just found it at Michaels and they're just super juicy, super awesome, really fun. However, they do fray pretty easily so definitely keep that in mind if you're going to buy them. Need to use really great paper with them. Then this here, last but not least, is probably my favorite pen to use as I've developed my style. It's awesome. It's a Pentel Brush Color marker pen. I think they come in different colors but I usually just work with black. It's got real bristles and ink in here. I think this ink is water-based, that Pentel uses. You'll have to squeeze this a bit. It's already coming out for me but you squeeze it and it releases the ink into this area, which then goes into your brush and so you can get really creative with it. I love the messy look, as I've said, so it's probably my favorite one to use. I definitely don't recommend you to use this as your very first brush pen though. It's definitely hard to control this because of the bristles. It's basically like a paintbrush. Those are the materials that I wanted to go over with you guys. If you have questions about these materials or other materials that you are thinking about getting, then please post in the discussions, or in your project those questions, or if you have suggestions too that have helped you, please post it there. We'd all love to see that and benefit from that. We're going to move on in the next video to using your brush pen for success. 3. Holding Your Brush Pen: Now we're going to talk about holding your brush pen. It might seem like a funny thing to cover in this class, but it's actually super important. Holding your brush pen correctly is probably just as important as what paper you use in preserving the life of your brush pen. We're not going to hold a brush pen like a normal pencil, like if you were writing a grocery list or something. I would probably hold it pretty perpendicular to the paper. But in brush lettering and especially with these brush pens, you'd just be more on its side because you want to be able to utilize this flexible tip as well as not crush the tip when you're writing with it. If you write this way, they can get ruined really easily, like if you're holding it like a regular pen. Hold it more in its side and that way you can utilize this thickness and you can still get the thin lines. You can still get those thin upstrokes. A trick if you need it, I mean, this is not the only way to hold the brush pen. But this really helped me, especially in the beginning. I don't always do it now, but I definitely recommend starting this way. Trying to put the pen here in between your thumb and your pointer finger instead of me resting on your pointer finger. Rest it between the two this way and that'll help keep it sturdy and it will help you to not write with it too perpendicular to the paper. It will remind you to keep a pretty wide angle here when you use your pen. It helps with control too, doing your upstrokes that way, which we'll go over in just in these next videos. But holding your pen is very important. If you take anything from this portion of the class, nobody, please do not hold your pen straight up and down like this. If you hold it that way, you're going to be wasting a lot of money buying new pens and ruining more pens and buying new pens. Practice holding it correctly and you will be much happier with yourself and with the results. 4. Upstrokes & Downstrokes: All right, now we're moving on to the basic strokes of calligraphy. The basic strokes are what make up the letters. Instead of writing letters, which is what a lot of people think can lettering is, you're actually drawing them, and to draw them, there's a lot of little pieces that you need to create the final piece. A lot of small little steps, little strokes that are going to help you out. A couple of reasons why I suggest that you practice these basic strokes very often. Number 1, they're going to help you gain muscle memory, which in the beginning you probably have close to nothing of, and that's okay. That's why we're going to practice these strokes. You're going to train your hand how to move your arm, all of that fun stuff to help you create that muscle memory so that later on you don't have to think so much about it. It's okay if you have to think a lot about it right now, it's totally normal. Number 2, basic strokes are going to help you form consistency in your letters, which is important for you once you're able to start finding your own unique style, it needs to be consistent to an extent. So if you're practicing these basic strokes, your letters are going to be a lot more consistent. The first basic stroke we're going to go over, and we're going to learn today is the entrance stroke, I call it an upstroke a lot. It's also an exit stroke to use it all the time, very important to know. Now remember, as we do these strokes, do not hold this like a normal pen. Keep a wide angle from the paper. This first stroke is the entrance stroke. We're just going to do a thin diagonal line moving upwards. You're barely putting any pressure on your brush pen right now, so a very thin line and you can just make it more straight if that's easier for you in the beginning. Add a little curve to it. It's okay if you're shaky. Sometimes I find that certain parts of the day are really not great for me to letter because I am shakier. Or if I haven't eaten enough. The shakings will get better with practice and as your muscle memory gets better. But we all still shake sometimes and that's just how it goes. Something that can help you if you're shaking a ton and you are really frustrated with it, instead of going so slow you can make more of a flicking motion with your pen. I'll show you how that works too once we start creating our letters from these strokes. But that also helps just to get things rolling. It's not a bad thing to have to go over this again to make it more straight later on once you're doing letters. So don't worry about it if it's too shaky, don't even worry. The next one that we're going to go over is basically the opposite of the upstroke, it's a downstroke. When we go down in calligraphy and lettering, the downstrokes are always thicker while the upstrokes are thin. This time we're going to add full pressure and make sure, make sure, make sure that you're not holding your pen upright like this, especially when you're doing these downstrokes, because it will destroy your pen. So make sure you're holding it at an angle. We're going to add the full pressure and just go straight down. I would say you'll probably find this easier than the upstrokes because it's easier to not be so shaky when you're adding all that pressure, and when you're drawing towards yourself, I found it's easier that way. But yeah, just both of these strokes are in every letter that you're going to draw. So do not skip these. I mean, you might already have these done pretty well, but definitely still warm up with them. We can even combine them here, do an upstroke that thin and then pick up your pen, and then we'll do our downstroke. If you want to practice alternating, that can be really helpful. Those are our two first basic strokes of calligraphy. We'll learn some more in the next videos. 5. Curvy Strokes: All right, so now that we've learned the down stroke and the upstroke, we're going to kind of combine them to make some curvy strokes. So this first one is an under turn stroke, so we're going to start with the full pressure, it's like a U, should come pretty naturally. Once again, make sure you're holding your pen at more of an angle. We're going to get full pressure on straight down, but this time we're going to start curving this way as we lighten up the pressure, and go straight up the upstroke, being thin and a clear difference between your down stroke and your upstroke. This part here is probably tricky for you if you're just barely beginning, so you can take it slower as you lift your pen and you might make the mistake of lifting the pen too early like that, or to late like that. But it's really helpful to just take it slow on that curve and slightly gradually lift up the pressure. That wasn't a great example, but slightly lift it up as you're curving, don't lift up your pen here and then try to change it because when your lettering you're not going to want to lift it at that point, you will lift your pen a lot, but not at that point. So practice this one a lot. It's okay if you're shaky up here, I think the most important part of this right here is the transition between thick and thin and that's what the stroke really helps to teach your muscles how do. Also, something that I should mention, a lot of this work isn't done just with your wrist in your hand like handwriting is, but kind of with the whole range of motion with your arm, and so that can help you with decreasing the shakiness if you're using your arm instead of your wrist, it could help you out for sure. Keep that in mind, it's not just a finger hand movement, it's kind of your whole arm. You'll notice that sometimes I go too light and don't get the upstroke. Totally not a bad thing to just go over it again, so there's the under turn stroke, the overturn which is basically the opposite of this one. I'm sure you can guess it, but we're going to start lightly on the upstroke and then as we transition over, we make it thicker for a down stroke, and we want to make sure that transition happens right here, so we're going to go up, then transition down and do this as many times as you need to. For a while, about every single day, I would do all these basic strokes that we're going over right now. I would do just a page full of each stroke because I knew that's what I needed to do to get more consistency of my lettering and it really helped a lot. We're going to go slowly around this curve as we add the pressure and feel free to pause these videos if you need more practice or rewind, whatever you need to do to be successful, please do it. For this next stroke, it's just a combination of these two. It's the compound curve which you'll use very often, so we're going to do our down or overturn and then it switches to an under turn. It's a combination, kind of helps you to get both of those transitions in one movement. Take it as slow as you need to, if it helps you to go faster, maybe in the end part to flick it and go for it if you need to go over it again because you're shaky, that's fine. There's still a clear difference between your up and your down strokes. Awesome, so yeah that's our under turn, overturn and our compound curve. 6. Loops: The next strokes we're going to learn today are pretty fun. There some loops. We have an ascender loop which is going to be above the base of your letter. Let me give you an example here. Here's our letter d and I will give you a letter g. An ascender loop is going above this here. This is our ascender loop. It's going above this base of the letter. The descender goes below this base here. You can use it for while, a lot of different things. But we're going to first start with our ascender. It's going to be moving upward. We start lightly as we go up. Then we got to make that transition to thick. It's like that. If you need to fill anything in, there wasn't a great transition. I can fill it into make up the difference. Light, go around the loop, down. These are where a lot of people really love to use a lot because they can totally change the style of your lettering depending on how big your loop is or how thin it is, you can totally give you a lot of creative freedom there. Practice that. If you need to pause the video, please do, draw a few lines of that one. We're going to move on to the descender. This time we're starting with a full pressure. Then we're rounding as we lift the pen lighter up. Down and then start lifting. This one is fun to do for a little flick motion. To give you that really thin upstroke. But if you're not there yet, that's totally fine. We're building muscle memory. Just to lighten up slowly. This transition right here, just gradually. You get there. All right. That's it for the ascender and descender loops. In the next video, we're going to learn the circle/oval, stroke. 7. Circle/Oval: This next stroke we're going to do is the circle or oval stroke and it's exactly what it sounds like. I'm going to show you a little something though with this pencil first. If I were to be drawing or writing the letter O, I would probably just start at the top, connect the two at the top like that because I don't really care what it looks like, it's just hit my handwriting. It's not my lettering. But in lettering. So typically hear in your handwriting at least in mine, I would connect it at the top. When we're doing this with a brush pen and there's going to be a slight difference that will make a big impact in your lettering. So instead of starting here at the top and connecting them there, I'm going to start down, up and around, and then I'm going to connect it here, at that spot. I'm going to show you why with this pen. A couple for you and then I'll explain. In these two, this one, specifically this middle one, you don't really see where they connect as well because I'm connecting a thin upstroke with a thin upstroke. Here I'm trying to connect this down stroke that's thick with this awkward thin upstroke. So I found that when we start a little lower with thin and then rotate around, there's less of a weird connection point here. If there is a weird connection point though still, if you went off like that. A lot of the time, the letters you create with this are going to have, if it was an A, it's going to have something there. It will cover it up so you don't need some at the end of the world, you don't need to worry too much about it. But starting on the side rather than the top has helped me a turn. This one is tricky because we've got the two weird transitions right there and then we're lightning up here. It does take a lot of practice to have smooth transitions between your up and your down between your thick and your thin. But like in the other strokes we'd been doing, it's the same thing, you just need to go slower and make the pressure gradually change rather than suddenly change it because it doesn't work quite as well that way. Make sure it's a gradual change in the pressure you're putting on your brush pen. It's gradual. If you do need to go back in some of these have a little gaps here and you can always go in and fill in what you need to. If you feel like you botched it, chances are it could be salvageable, so don't get down on yourself if you're not doing it amazingly. Those are our basic strokes, so we went over our entrance stroke. We went onto our full pressure or down stroke. We talked about our curves, so the overturn, the under turn, and we combine the two with the compound curve. We talked about our ascender loop and our descender loop, and we finished off with our circle or oval. In the next videos I'm going to show you how to create letters with these basic strokes. If you want to take a break and practice these some more before you move on to the next video, please do. If no and you just want to jump right in, then let's go. 8. A-F: All right, so now we're really getting to the fun part of lettering. Probably why you wanted to take this class in the first place. We're going to make pretty letters with the strokes that we went over in the previous videos. I'm going to be using a series of the pens that I showed you guys in the beginning and the materials video, just so you can see some more, some different pens in action and get an idea of what they look like. I'm going to do my best to show you guys stroke by stroke, how these letters are formed. Some letters are one stroke, and so most of them consists of a bunch of different strokes, but a lot of the letters also are one continuous stroke. On the letters that I can, I will show you them separately and then put together. If we start with the letter A, and I'm not always going to start with an entrance stroke because sometimes we have that and sometimes you won't but I'll here for the letter A. I'll take my thin and trend stroke. Then we're going to use a circle. Then we've got a bit of a compound curve, not a 100 percent. You don't have to this little thing here. It's just something I like to do. Here it is combined to make a beautiful letter A. You'll notice as you're starting to draw the letters now, you might think that you want your circles to be a little more round or thinner. Like say, you wanted to be a little bit of a different shape. Totally great and that's really good that you can see that. Maybe you want it to be rounder instead. Two totally different styles. But as you kind of see what styles you like, you can adjust your practicing the basic strokes to what you want your letters to look like. Like if I want my A's and B's, D's, all of the letters that are similar to this one if I want, and I'm going to want to do a similar circle in all of them. This circle, I'm not going to use a circle like this for an A and then for the D use a circle like this. You can practice the different variations of strokes as you get more familiar with what you like and what you want your letters to look like. Let's do another little A for you here. Make sure you're picking up your pen between each stroke. It's tempting to keep your pen on the paper because in cursive, and when you learn cursive in grade school, it's like the challenge to keep your pen on the page for the whole word. But lettering is the opposite. Let's pick up our pen as much as we can in between each of those strokes. Because then you can reposition your hand and get a better angle at what you're doing. Let's move on to the letter B, and we can do this a few different ways. I'll show you a simple version first. Our entrance. Go to a simple down-stroke. Then a circle, and this circle does start opposite of the circle we learned earlier. If you need to practice that a bit more, go for it. I find this one's actually easier than the one we practiced. It should come pretty naturally and then an exit. That's good to combine those. It'll look like this. Like cute little purple B. We can also use an ascender loop. We did that. We would have the ascender, the circle, and the exit accidentally. Put that on the same line, but just like that. You don't always have to add these exits strokes either. I think it's good to practice them so that when you do want to use them, you can. See right there that one's like incredibly shaky. I'm going to see if it's salvageable. These color pens are harder to go back over the letters, because you'll see that it's a bit darker and kind of looks funny. Especially with the fitness yuki pens, you can go over those a lot and it works out really well. Letter C. This is one that's kind of its own stroke. It's a circle, but it's just not a finished circle. If we want, we can always add an entrance. You don't have to. But we're going to do that for right now. We're going to do our circle, but we're not going to finish it. You're going to stop it right there. C is kind of fun too, to practice that flicking motion. If you want to experiment with that at all. You can also add an entrance stroke and then turn it into the C. Just be careful that it doesn't get too big and look like an E. Now find as we go through these letters, so many of them depend on these smooth transitions, between our thick down strokes and our thin up strokes. That's why, or one of the reasons' why we want to be practicing our strokes all the time, even without the letters. Now move on to letter D. Got an entrance, circle. We can start with the simple one first. We'll just do kind of like up here with the same a turned into almost a compound curve, but not quite. Let's combine them. Pick up the pen after each stroke. Kind of color that in. We can also do a loop. Let's combine them now. Now we're going to do E. E is another one that is all one continuous motion. It's kind of like an ascender in a way, but it's going to be shorter. You can start that ascender from down low. You can start it from up high. You can even start it here and just cover it up. There doesn't have to be an entrance to it. But yeah, like I said, so much of this relies on smooth transitions between thick and thin. We can even add a little curve to it at the end. We're going to do F. F is an adventure, because it is a very a long continuous motion. I'll start here with an entrance. We've got an ascender that turns into a descender. We can add our exit. Let's put it together, like that. Oftentimes, I will not do the ascender loop. I will just do this, because I like the look of that F a little bit more just depending on what I'm going for. Sometimes there's not even an entrance and that's totally fine too. All right so that's A through F. 9. G-L: All right, moving on to G. With the G, we will have a circle or oval stroke and a descender loop. We're going to put them together to create a beautiful G, I really like doing the letter G, not sure why. You can always add the entrance, we can have our exit going up instead of down, to better connect with the next letter. In some of these, I don't have a ton of space. But if you want, you can create more space between the two, that gives it a different look as well. H is one of my favorites. We're going to start with, we'll just do a simple one first, [inaudible] entrance, a full pressure stroke, and then a fine, nice little compound curve. If we put them together, there's our H. You can also have more fun with it and do the ascender loop, but coming from down below. Do a little H like that without the loop and if you need to do your little flicking motion, please do. I like singing the alphabet in my head to remember what's next. I, is very simple, we've got our entrance, we have our down stroke that turns a little into the under turn or even a compound curve if you wanted to, and then a dot. Connect them this way. A lot of the times I won't even use the entrance stroke, not even an exit, just totally depends on what look you're going for. But just a typical I, is pretty simple to do. You can even start your entrance down below if you're trying to do some fancy stuff. Let's do the letter J. J is nice because it's pretty simple. It's basically just a descender loop with an entrance stroke, so let's do an entrance, descender loop. We will combine the two for the letter J and put a dot on the top. You don't always have to use the entrance stroke, just descender loops. If you're practicing your strokes then it should come pretty easily. Now let's do letter K. I really like the letter K a lot. There's quite a few strokes that go into this one. We start with our entrance, and I'm going to do an ascender loop, then the little circle and then just a little curve there. Let's put them together. This here could basically just be under turn or a form of it. It's definitely not the same as these up here but it's similar. We can also just do simple K like that or sometimes instead of doing the circle version we'll just do that. There's so much you can do with the letter K, I love it. We can even just, the three short strokes and make it really cute K. Letter L is really great because like J, it's one stroke. It's just an ascender loop. How big you want to make that loop is totally up to you. This is what I would say is a typical L, like our E, but it's going to be taller and longer. If you need to be slower on this transition, then please do. We could have our start be up higher or we can keep it down low. You can also do an L as just a down stroke with a little tiny exit. We wanted an entrance it would look a little bit like that. All right, so that's G through L. 10. M-R: Moving on the end. For this little segment, I'm going to be using the Ecoline brush pens. They are so juicy, super fun, I didn't actually talk about them in the material section, but they're really great. I start with "N", I'm going to do a little bit of an entrance, put pressure, got an overturn and then a compound curve. I don't need that entrance stroke all the time or the exit. We can also do a little loop, that didn't happen, do a little loop for the stand here, these pens, and our "N" is going to be very small, we're just taking out the first overturn. Let's do a compound curve there or we can just do an overturn. Do a little loop. These markers are so juicy, it makes me really happy. I don't use color turn but I like practicing with color because it's just bright and happy. We've got "O" and "O, " so it's two O to sing the ABC song. I don't remember what's next, so O's are really fun, because you can do a lot with them even though it's just a circle, so I've been just doing a simple "O" lately where it's just a circle, stroke or an oval stroke and then just with a little excess stroke off of it to connect with the next letter. But something that a lot of people do and I did a lot in the beginning, and if you really like the loop style, this is really good, instead of starting over here, you're going to actually start clear over on this side of the "O." Just going straight down, instead of finishing the circle, you're going to just do a loop through it, and now access your connector for the next letter,, so that's fun. You can do that, you can also do an entrance stroke through your circle. I've been doing that lately, it's pretty fun, or you can just do a plain old circle. That would work just as well, so that is "O", and now the letter P. This was my arch nemesis for a really long time because I just hated it. But my business name soulfully printed as a "P" in it, so I've had to deal with it, and learn how to do the letter P without painting it. Don't love it, but I don't hate it, so we're making progress. We'll start with an entrance stroke, down stroke, add a little circle, and then an exit, so we'll put them all together here, and there is a nice little P. You can also with your circle, come around. I was talking and doing at the same time and it was a struggle. There we go, do it again, so we can come around the other side of the down stroke and that's fun too. We can also make a really big circle. There's a few different ways to do the letter P. Now we'll do "Q", I really enjoy doing the letter Q. That's fine, you can do a lot with it. Start with a circle, descender looped backwards one. Now we'll just combine them together, you can also bring the loop in this way if you want to get fancy, or you can just bring it all up that way. Probably make it a little bit longer so it's legible, and then we'll finish this video with "R." I also love the letter R. This page is full of awesome letters. You can do a lot of different versions of the "R". This one is what I've been doing lately that I really like. It's just a simple, classy way to do it, so we'll start with an entrance stroke, and then I'll do a little full pressure, but lift up your pen after and I do another one, skips it. Shape, you can also do a little loop, then stop there, and then do that full pressure with the under turn. Something else I did for a long time, which I really liked was, and it's super easy, is that just go up, over and down, and then there's also this thing a lot of people are doing, which is like a printed "R" which I really like. This one here is definitely my go-to at the moment. I really like it. I did this one a lot when I first started, it's just not my style anymore. There are some ways to do the letter R. 11. S-Z: To finish up the alphabet, I'm just coming right back to my Tombow [inaudible]. This one is the soft tip though. We're going to go from the letter S. When I first started, I just did a normal printed S, which totally works. Then I would just follow it through like that and sometimes I still use that, just depends on what I'm going for. I can add entrance stroke to that. Also, I really like this S here, so we're going to start, then entrance and then come around. This transition here is important, you don't have to worry about this because you're picking up your pen. You'll just go thick and then transition though you can do the same thing, just a more traditional cursive style. Yeah, that's basically the S that I use a lot, really like it and it works for a lot of different things. But then again, you can always do a more fun little loop ds, let me call it that. Now we'll move on to letter T, which is really simple. We're going to start with our entrance stroke, will give a full pressure that's turning into an under turn. Then this little do Hickey here, the cross on the T. You might be wondering when you're crossing letters, if it should be thick or thin because it's going sideways. Usually I just make them like an upstroke pretty thin. If you're getting fancy with it, let's give you an example. Usually I would just do something like that. If you want to get fancy with it, you can change the thickness as you go, it's totally just up to you, but I usually just keep it fairly thin. But here's our T. You can also just have a straight cross on your T, that's fine too. The consistency and like the movement of the cross thing coming as a name, but I don't know what it's called. I've found if I start down, go up a little bit, and then come back, that it usually looks pretty good. Depending on what other letters I've got around, it can cross a differently. There's our wonderful letter T. We'll move on to U with our under turn. Then we've got another under turn in a way, just not going quite as far up. If we connect the two, we get a lovely U, you can add our entrance stroke on there. There's U, just doing a few different styles, it can also just be done that way, and as your gain muscle memory and you want to get a messier look, you can move a little quicker and get those jerky lines, I really love those. But there's our U, we're going to do V. There's a few different ways you can do a V. I am very plain Jane when it comes to the letter V, I just go with it. Some people like to do a little loop or two on them, to connect to the next letter, if that's you, that's great. I typically just stick with, yeah, and then, you can do what you want with the top there, make it more grounded as well if you want more of a cursive look. Now W, the same thing as a V. I'm really plain when it comes to them. You can do an entrance, then you can go under turn, another under turn and kind of just do a little flip to do there, I don't known what you would call that an extra stroke I guess, you can also give it more pointed edges per different style. I made a mistake, so this is a U not a W. Because I mean, that's at least what it looks like, because I didn't just make like a distinguisher between these. It just like flowed, so it just looks like that, or that one, just a little with a longer tail. Be aware of things like that that can happen, that can make your lettering not so legible and you know what it is because you did it, but if somebody came in to look at it and didn't know what you were trying to do, then they might not be able to read it. Same thing, I just did it again. What is happening? There we go. That looks more like a W. Now X is very simple as well. We have a full pressure stroke, but we're going to go diagonally. Give a little tail. It's an access stroke, and then we're just going to cross it coming up. You can get fancy with it, you can even just do a simple, excellent look. Now Y, one of my favorite letters. I'll do an entrance, under turn, descender loop. You can play with it and make your loop really big and elaborate, you can also get smaller and more playful, or you don't even have to make it a loop. Now, last letter Z. There's a couple different ways you can do these. Well, there's more than a couple, but a couple of ways that I'll show you, different variations. I like the traditional cursive Z. I really love all the loops in it. It's kind of like a diagonal overturn, followed by another one that turns into a descender loop. I just think that one looks really pretty and it's fun. I don't write the letter Z very much so that one works when I do. You can also do more of a printed Z. If you want to give it a little more flair, you can cross it, or do the same thing with the tails, cross, no cross, whatever. My favorite would have to be that little guy right there.. Now we have the alphabet. Got a few different ways you can draw each letter. In the next videos, we're going to be talking about connecting our letters to make words and then we're going move on to drafting our class project. 12. Connect Your Letters: You definitely don't always have to connect your letters. But just because this is a class on the basics, we're going to go over it. It's good to know how to connect every letter type, so that even if you don't want to in every case, you still can if you need to. Our entrance stroke and it was just a curvy upstroke there and it's the same as our exit stroke. Not every letter is going to have an entrance and an exit stroke that look just like this and that's where just experience comes in a lot of practice with different words. Right now I'm just going to practice by lettering the alphabet for you. I'm going to connect all of the letters together and just follow along with me if you need to watch it once and then rewind it and do it yourself, that's totally fine. I'm just going to give you an example and then explain it as I go. If we start with the letter A and I pick up my pen after the first stroke. After every stroke I want you to pick up your pen. It allows you time to re-evaluate where you are on the page and it gives you the best angles to work with. Here's my exit stroke that works as an entrance to this letter B. It gives the illusion there that these are connected like cursive but like I said, we're not writing cursive because we're taking our pen off the page all the time after every stroke. We will do a little exit, which is an entrance to our C. You'll see that I made this C the exit from it is a lot longer than if I were just to letter C by itself, because this is now the entrance stroke to our next letter, which is D. Same here with that one. It's going to be our entrance to our E [MUSIC]. This here is where I'm going to show you something that's a little bit different. Most of these, not all of them, but most of them are able to have that same angle of an upstroke simply because they're coming from lower on the page are coming from that baseline and so I can keep that angle pretty consistent, mostly across the board. You also have your example here with the B that's a little bit different, but all of these have similar, consistent angles with an upstroke. Once we get to the letter O to connect to something else, can be difficult depending on how you do the, O, I'm just going to do a really simple O with no loops or anything like that really. O, and I'm going to go to the P and it's just a little tail off basically. Obviously here, it wouldn't be super realistic to keep it up this consistent angle because it's coming from the top of a letter. Not all of your connection strokes are going to look the same and act the same depending on what letters you're connecting, It's going to vary. If you're not sure how to connect a certain letter to another one, please definitely ask questions in our discussions down below.[MUSIC]. Sometimes you can do a little loop if you want to work on that W that'll connect it to my 13. Spacing: Another thing that can be tricky for a lot of people especially beginners and no matter what level you're at I think this is super important to practice consistently, is spacing in our word and between the letters in the words that we make. A lot of the time, especially in the beginning, it's easy if you're going to quickly to make a mistake like this. Let's write my name for an example. Going along here and then suddenly my spacing is just way off. I was trying to just go too quickly and I left a really big gap here. That doesn't look great at all and it's okay to have this wider spacing between your letters but you just want to make sure that they're consistently spaced. If I want to have a longer wispy look, then I can do that but I just have to slow down and realize that my connection strokes are all going to be a little bit longer. I have to focus on keeping them pretty consistent. That was a much better example. I started a little bit closer than I ended but it definitely takes a lot of time to make sure that your spacing is even. That's one reason I love these dotted books as it gives you a guide. I mean, I don't sit there and count how many squares are going to be between but it just gives my eyes a better. It's easier to look at it and see where I'm at. That's definitely some advice I would give you, find some dotted paper, you can find the lined paper as well that can be helpful but whatever works for you, do that. 14. Another Tip for Spacing: Here's a little tip for you about spacing and connecting your letters consistently and getting an overall aesthetically pleasing word or set of words. It's a really small thing, but it makes a very big difference. I'm going to write the word, let's say minimum for you. Now I'm going to dive in and show you something that's very interesting, at least to me and really changed everything for me. The spacing in this word that I just drew, honestly, I would say it looks really good. Between each letter, there's a pretty even amount of space. It all goes well together. I'm going to attribute that to the angles of my upstrokes. If I were to bring my ruler along here, I'm not measuring it or anything. I just need a straight line. You can even just use your pen or your finger. Here's a straight edge. I've got this angle of my upstroke pretty consistently throughout all of my upstrokes. See that one there, they are not exactly the same, they're not perfectly even. Because they're coming up at the same angle, it's easier for me to keep my letters at the space that they need to be to look even. That was a huge game changer for me. I was figuring out that these upstrokes, in most words, I mean, this one can be a little bit difficult because you're not going clear up here and you won't have that same angle in every single letter. If you can keep your up strokes to be consistently parallel or mostly parallel with each other, then the spacing of your words will be a lot easier to keep consistent. I'll do the same where I'll do minimum, but I'm going to do my upstroke being a little bit. I don't know what the word is. These ones are pretty straight up. I'm just going to have them go a little bit more to the side this way to create more space between each letter. I'll show you that here. You can see how this was a bit of a wispier look simply because I changed the angle, I guess, from our baseline here. The angle that's coming off of isn't quite so straight up and down, but it's a lot wider, I guess you could say. That just gives my word of a wispier or look, it gives it more space between each letter. Like this one here. Then here we want to have this upstroke going straight up, that pretty closest straight up. The word is smushed together. Not in a bad way, it's just closer together, gives a totally different fill. 15. Drills, Warm Ups, & Words: Now we're going to go over some drills and practice words that are really nice for warming up your hand, for warming up your brain, just for getting started in a project. I don't always warm up, but I rarely if ever create something that I really just love from the very first draft that takes a while to get your brain warmed up, your hand warmed up and to get consistent angles and everything else that we're working on with our letters. Here are a few drills that will help you out to get warmed up. It will just help with your technique overall. This is basically just practicing entrance and then full pressure strokes put together. It's just like a bunch of letter I. So help you to get that consistency of your angles in your rope strokes for sure. Another fun one to do is the compound curve, but just over and over and over again. Sometimes you're going to have to pick up your pen where you just try to see how far you can go without picking it up not because we're going to do that with our letters, but just to get your hand going. Another fun drill is the ascender and descender loops put together, which I really think is super. You'll notice a lot of this isn't done with any wrist movement because I'm using the whole motion of my arm to help me get this pressure, the pressure in the shapes. You can also just do two loops. Can do some big and then small, alternating, you can go down. Now there are some fun words so that we can do that will warm us up, then just get some good practice in. I really like doing the word minimum so we're going to do that one just because it's like the same two strokes over and over again and it's really fun. Entrance,give it another room. We made it. So there is a fun word that I'll warm up your curvy strokes. If you want to work on your ascender loops, hello is a very fun one to do in this way. So we'll do a center. That can be fun to warm you up. Also just start practicing some of the words that are in your quotes or phrase that you're going to letter for your project. One of the words I like to do a lot. It's not even really a quote, it's just smile more. I'll practice the word smile, or the word more. Let's see what other words can we do? I'll practice the word 'you' for some reason if I sit down to letter, just the word you just like comes and I don't know what to do that. So practice those connection. Get yourself warmed up, do a few different things. Whatever it is you want. Do the word peace. Can also letter your name, or your pet's name, or your kids names or your brother and sisters names or whatever. I used to work as a caller in a call center and I would sit there and just letter the people's names that I talked to just because I was so bored, but it really did help with my muscle memory and practicing. Repetition. I like pages and pages of random people's names. Anyways, those are just a few things you can do to warm yourself up, draw different words. Do your basic strokes, put your basic strokes together for some fun drills and that'll warm you up to start with our project. In the next video, we're going to be going over how to draft your project so before you jump to that video, practice the words that are going to be in your quote. Don't try to put them together yet, but just practice lettering them a few times and if you want to upload them into your projects section. In the next video, we will learn how to put them together in a way that's aesthetically pleasing, a way that makes you happy and not just the words put together, but to make it a bit more artistic. 16. Composition & Project Process: All ready. So now we are going talk about composition. A good definition for a composition in relation to lettering would be, the way that the letters and words are arranged on the page to create a finished piece. A lot of the time, we don't think about this, especially when we begin lettering. We want to make pretty words but we forget and not though we forget, we just don't even realize how much goes into putting the words together to make something pretty and flowy or have a look of unity, whatever it is you're going for. It's difficult to do, especially if you're just sitting down, grab the marker and start going. So that's why I'm going to teach you guys how to draft out a composition, very briefly with just a few words. That's why we're starting with just two to four or five words in your phrase, because it's a lot easier to work with a few pieces. As you get better at it, you can work on doing wander quotes, or freezes, or whatever it is that you want to letter. So my phrase that I'm going to letter for you guys. I'm just going to show you basically my process of coming up with a composition that I like and then using our brush pen to make it come to life. So definitely start with a pencil because you're going to be erasing a lot. You can use if you've got a good eraser on the end of your pencil, that's great. If not, this is a really nice eraser. I feel like it's overpriced, but it's a good eraser, so whatever. So I'm going to start my phrase. I'm going to work. I'm going to do is you're enough. So I'm first just going to do very simple versions of my letters. I'm not doing anything fancy right now. I just have an idea. I know I want it to be in a squarish rectangle shape. So that's just where I'm going to start. Right off the bat. I see empty space here. That's annoying to me. I mean, that y could fill that in. I don't know if I would want it to. I could capital e to fill in that space. I think I like the look of getting the tail of my y to be further down there. I can really bring my a over. I want to make the loop here. That's okay. It is just completely erase everything. Now I have a better idea and just have a lot of pencil marks on my page and so I want to clean those up a little bit. I'm just going to start with our week. It's in the middle. A little bit bigger. Just adjust this here. I also want to bring up the having space is not necessarily about thing like, having a space right here does not mean that, wow, my composition was terrible. No, that's not what that means. That's not what I meant when I said that I don't love this space right here. I just don't love it because I want my letters to fill the space. If that's not your style and that's okay too. So don't worry if you do have spaces that you like, keep them, that's awesome. Space can be a big, you can actually help your message come across a little bit better too. So whatever it is that you think looks great. That's what you're trying to find right here. I just had this crazy thought. So this is why it's important to pencil it out first because I have been lettering you are enough since I started like a year-and-a-half ago. The phrase that I come back to mostly when I just sit down to letter something. It's just what comes because I loved the meaning behind it. But it just is a habit now, but I've never thought that I could connect that e to the h, to give it a little space. Look at that, I totally can. This is an epiphany. Okay. So now I'm going to just take it down here because I'm annoyed with all the pencil marks. I'm going to wait on that E think. Enough. I do want to make sure though, when you're playing around with compositions like this. I want to make sure I'm not going to make it look like this h is a part of this word, because it's not. So I need to be careful that my lettering is still legible when I add loops or other flourishes. I'm not going go into any really other flourishes in this class. That's something that you should keep in mind, that you want it to be legible. Still, very important for illegible. Okay. This isn't going be my finished piece, but I'm going over with my Tambo. The reason I'm choosing this one is I lettered this small with my pencil and if I were to try to use a bigger pen, it would not work. This is a small tip, so I'm going to start here. Okay. So now I'm going to take this Canson marker paper because it's transparent. I can trace my original template. I can make a few changes here without it affecting my array or my finished piece. Just going to do that. Here. So this is going to move over. All right. So let's start with enough instead of you. I'm going to move my paper over a little bit because I want my e to line up with the g. That is a lot better. Now I got to figure out where that y is going to want to go. There I have a finished composition that started out with our pencil sketch. We moved on to using ink just mainly because I wanted to be able to trace it onto this paper. So there is a step-by-step way of how I find a composition I love. 17. Wrapping it Up!: That's it for our class today, guys, thanks so much for joining me on skill share for brush lettering basics, there will be future classes on other aspects of lettering. Please post your project in the project tab. If you haven't already, you can just post part of it. You can post the process any part. I would just love to see it. If you end up posting your project on social media, be sure to use the hashtag, soulfully printed, skill share. That way I'll see all your work in another place and can share it there. I hope you guys learned from this class. Please share your progress. Please reach out to me with any questions that you have and know that you're amazing.