Digitizing Calligraphy: From Sketch to Vector

Molly Suber Thorpe, Calligrapher & Graphic Designer

Play Speed
  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x
15 Videos (1h 53m)
    • Trailer

    • Selecting A Word or Phrase

    • Supplies for Sketching Script

    • Determining Your Lettering Style

    • Drawing Imitation Calligraphy

    • Refining Your Chosen Sketch

    • Tracing Your Refined Sketch

    • Calligraphing with Pointed Pen

    • Inking with Felt Tip Pen

    • Scanning

    • Photoshop Step 1

    • Photoshop Step 2

    • Photoshop Step 3

    • Illustrator Step 1

    • Illustrator — Finishing Touches


About This Class

In recent years calligraphers have felt an increased demand for two unique skills: modern flourishes that are elegant (without looking like they came out of the eighteenth century) and digitized calligraphy that can be used in print and online in the form of logotypes, advertising, title treatments, printed stationery, and beyond. In this course you will learn my favorite techniques for both skills as you are guided through all the steps of creating your own flourished, calligraphic logotype.


Learning natural, purposeful flourishing techniques is important for any calligrapher or lettering artist, but especially for those who combine script with graphic design, as it is in high demand for calligraphy’s application in logo design, book covers, magazine title treatments, and just about all other forms of hand-drawn script.

What You'll Learn

  • Sketching. We’ll start with sketching, covering the basic rules of drawing script letters, and examining opportunities to add flourishes. You will learn to recognize the difference between purposeful flourishes — those that enhance a design — and extraneous ones — those that distract and impede legibility.
  • Adding Flourishes. With a polished sketch in hand, you will then calligraph the design, with emphasis on learning special techniques for calligraphing flourishes.
  • Ink It. With the help of a lightbox we’ll ink our polished sketch using traditional calligraphy supplies: a pointed pen and black ink.
  • Digitizing. Then the computer fun starts! We will bring our design into the computer and polish it further in Photoshop, then vectorize it in Illustrator. I’ll teach you some special techniques for making sure your final logotype retains the integrity of the stroke contrast, including the charming imperfections of the fine hairlines, that it had as ink on paper.


What You'll Make
In this class you will design a word or very short phrase in a flourished calligraphic style to be used as a logotype (or any other sort of type treatment). We'll then walk through the digitizing and vectorizing process.




Check out Molly Suber Thorpe's new how-to guide: Modern Calligraphy: Everything You Need to Know to Get Started in Script Calligraphy (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2013)

Looking for the Calligraphy I class? It's Molly Jacques' Introduction to the Art of Modern Calligraphy


379 of 384 students recommendSee All

Excellent lesson. I learn so many new techniques as how to transfer the sketch to digital calligraphy. I used to re-draw, re-scanned and re-photoshop. Now I know how to do this and save time. Great tips. Thank you so much for creating this video. Very helpful.
Very complete. I enjoyed the whole class lesson. Thank you. I even enjoyed the personal touch of the teachers facial imperfections, Thank you for being so detailed with the programs you use. I am going to start with the Name ; John F. Kennedy, for a new stamp being issued in February.
Very helpful and informative :)





Molly Suber Thorpe

Calligrapher & Graphic Designer

Molly Suber Thorpe is an award-winning graphic designer, calligrapher, and bestselling author. She is credited as a driving force behind the modern calligraphy movement and achieved renown for her book, Modern Calligraphy: Everything You Need to Know to Get Started in Script Calligraphy (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2013). Since its release, Modern Calligraphy has sold over 60,000 copies, been translated into Chinese and Spanish, and was named an "Amazon Favorite Craft Book" of 2013. Her book’s success led Molly to develop calligraphy workshops, which she teaches to sold-out classes as time permits.

Her work has been featured in The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, Martha Stewart Weddings, Los Angeles Times, Country Living, Buzzfeed, and Style Me Pretty. Her client list includes Google Cultural Institute, Martha Stewart Weddings, Michael Kors, Fendi, J. Jill, and Victorio & Lucchino.

Molly graduated from UCLA's Design Communication Arts program with a concentration in typography and layout design. Prior to that, Molly studied art history, comparative literature, and creative writing at The American University of Paris. After spending nearly a decade in Los Angeles, Molly currently lives in Athens, Greece with her partner, a fashion photographer, and their incorrigible Bengal cat, Mr. Marlowe.

View Molly’s full portfolio at plurabellestudio.com.