Chalk Hand Lettering Effect in Photoshop

Molly Suber Thorpe, Calligrapher & Graphic Designer

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8 Videos (32m)
    • Chalk Hand Lettering Effect in Photoshop

    • Sketching

    • Take a close look at my sketch

    • Set up your document

    • Build the chalk effect

    • Adjust the background

    • Adjust the chalk lettering

    • Export for print and web


About This Class

Scan a pencil sketch of your hand lettering and, like magic, turn it into realistic looking chalk lettering using Photoshop. This is a super fun, fast, and easy technique for beginners and pros alike. Neither chalk nor previous Photoshop knowledge is required. (I promise that it looks so much like real chalk that people won't believe it's just pencil!)

Make sure to check out the links I've shared below for chalkboard background textures, a scanner app, my new resource website, and more.



+ Skills & Topics Covered:

  • Tips for pencil sketching hand lettering to optimize it for this faux chalk effect
  • Using Photoshop's Smart Filters to give it a chalk lettering look
  • Changing the brightness, darkness, and color of your chalkboard background and faux chalk lettering
  • Exporting your art for print and web


+ Tools Required:

  • Hand lettering supplies:
    • A good ol' trusty art pencil. I prefer a dull 12B pencil, because it makes such thick, soft strokes, but any pencil as soft as a 6B will work
    • Tracing or layout bond paper. In the video, I use Borden & Riley #37 Layout Bond.
  •  Software:
    • Adobe Photoshop (I'm teaching with Photoshop CC but you can follow along with older versions too; no previous experience is required)
  • Hardware:
    • A computer, obviously! I am teaching on an iMac but you can follow on a PC, too
    • A scanner (best option) or a scanner app like CamScanner (second best option)


+ Chalkboard Background Textures:

You can always do a Google Image search for chalkboard backgrounds but be aware that if you plan to publish and/or sell your design, you must be sure to know the image's licensing rights.


+ Check out my two books!

     1. Modern Calligraphy: Everything You Need to Know to Get Started in Script Calligraphy

     2. The Calligrapher's Business Handbook: Pricing & Policies for Lettering Artists (new!)

+ Follow my Instagram and tag me in your projects: @plurabellestudio

+ Sign up for my Workshop News Bulletin to stay informed about my upcoming classes.

+ Visit, my newest venture: a massive online resource guide for lettering artists and creative freelancers, with 1,000+ recommended supplies, books, online classes, and helpful links.


22 of 22 students recommendSee All

This class is so, so informative. I've been using Photoshop for a long time, but only for photography, and this as taught me some skills I can use in all sorts of future projects.
Great lesson! Cool lettering turned out the first time. The essential lesson for designers, decorators, and anyone interested in current trends
Molly does a great job explaining the subject matter in a clear and concise manner, and you get to meet her adorable kitty!





Molly Suber Thorpe

Calligrapher & Graphic Designer

I work as a freelance lettering artist and graphic designer, specializing in hand-lettered branding and spot calligraphy. Most of my work starts as ink on paper but ends up being digitized for a variety of applications. Just about all my non-work hours are spent on creative endeavors, from knitting and Tunisian crochet to illustration (which I'm slowly but steadily learning!).

>>> See my portfolio

I'm lucky to have worked with some awesome clients over the years, from Go...

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