Hand-Drawn Typography: Create Your Own Font | Kyle Steed | Skillshare

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Hand-Drawn Typography: Create Your Own Font

teacher avatar Kyle Steed, Professional Doodler

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

4 Lessons (33m)
    • 1. Trailer

    • 2. Practice Makes Progress

    • 3. Sketch it Out

    • 4. Viva la Vector

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About This Class

Welcome to Hand-Drawn Typography 101. This course is designed for anyone interested in learning how to make their own hand-drawn font. Even if you've uttered the famous words; "I can't draw", this course is for you. We will cover the most basic fundamentals of drawing and then learn how to use those skills to make more complex shapes and figures with an emphasis on making hand-drawn typography.

In this class we will explore the basic foundations of what a font is, and more importantly how do we begin to make our own. 

What You'll Learn

  • Inspiration. You will be challenged to draw outside the box and start keeping a sketchbook with you at all times.
  • Sketch it Out. You will draw the letters and numbers that will make up your new hand-drawn font, challenging you to develop your own sense of style.
  • Creating Your Vector. You we will take your new hand-drawn font that you've sketched out and learn how to scan it in the computer and vectorize it.

What You'll Make

We will also talk about what the different styles of fonts are. You will see that even though there are thousands of other fonts out there, by finding your own unique style you will be able to create something that is one-of-a-kind. But most of all, I want my students to take away the realization that drawing should be fun. By the end of this class you'll walk away with a distinct font to create worlds with. 

Meet Your Teacher

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Kyle Steed

Professional Doodler


I make my living doodling, whether it's giant murals on the side of buildings, icons for a web project or even designing my own custom fonts. I use everyday tools like pencils, pens and paper but my unique creativity & vision set my work apart from the rest.

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4. Practice Makes Progress: Hi, I'm Kyle Steed and welcome to hand drawn typography 101 Thank you so much for signing up and being a part of this. I'm really excited. I want to share my knowledge about making hand drawn fonts. So without any further, do you know we'll just get right into it. Assuming that you're watching this video, you've been to the website, and, um, yet I have a pdf download for you that you can. You can either use it in conjunction with watching this video, or you could just reference it. Keep going back to it as you work. Um, since it's all self paced, it's just up to you and what works best for you. But basically, I just wanted to start off with just a the basic understanding of what makes a font of fun and kind of if you think about it like the anatomy of a phone. So when we're talking about fonts and typography and stuff and especially around creating them, you just need to know a few basic things which is you have your baseline, which is where I think of it, like the ground, you know, And that's where you walk on. That's kind of the same for a fun. It's just where the thought will sit and so everything will have this kind of consistency to it. And so your letters won't be jumbled and, you know, all over the place. And so that way, when you're typing and out and you're using it, it looks a lot smoother. Trust me of I've made some that are kind of wavy and anyways, so you have your baseline, Uh, you have what do you else you have? You have your caps height, which that's the height of your capital letters. Generally, you don't really go beyond that. Sometimes with lower case H is and tease, you might extend just above that have have the visual symmetry and balance to things. You have your X height for your lower case, so excite will be like the top of your A or your see your your e You have your ascender, which with your lower case D's and what h you'd have the leg or the arm of those would be the A senders and then sorry, a senders and your D senders would be like your lower case p. And why that come below the baseline. Um, what else you got? There's really a lot more to it. I'm just kind of just wanted to cover the really basic stuff for you. A minute posts are all have some. Resource is posted on the class for you if you're really interested in and getting full on , uh, anatomy of a of a fought and learning what everything is. So let's say we talked about that inspiration. This is probably the biggest question anybody ever gets asked anywhere, because we all want to know what inspires us and, uh, without sounding too cheesy. It's, uh, it's all around us. You know, It's, uh it's on the old building that they're you know, that they're going to tear down with the type that's been there for 100 years. It's it's hanging in the store window. It's, uh, it's on the design ball. You know, even though we don't, we're not limited to sit at our computers for inspiration. We actually encourage you to get up and to get outside to take a walk, ride your bike. Ah, just drive somewhere. Go explore something different because I guarantee you, no matter where you have. But there's just inspiration out there just waiting for you to find it. And, um and part of my process with that whole deal is I like to document. So with having my phone and the camera on my phone, I just, um, able to easily wherever I am, probably most of you are. It's just easy and accessible to capture that. And then from that, you know, you can reference that later. If you're sitting at home and you're working on something and you're what was that cool thing I saw? You can pull that up and you kind of look at how they did the letters or or whatever and just kind of gain inspiration from that. So I definitely recommend exploring and, um, just get outside. It's healthy for you to, um That, uh, is the second thing we're going to talk about and, um, sketching if you don't have a sketchbook. Um, I highly recommend you get one. I guess it's not a prerequisite for this class, but it would definitely be of help. And if you're really serious about continuing on, um, making fonts or just drawing or doing or whatever you want to do. It's great to have one on you at all times. I've kept a sketchbook for consistently for about over 10 years now, and I just have piles of them at home. So it's really cool for me now to go back and look, you know, 567 years ago and see what I was doing back then and where I've come to now. So I really encourage you to get one. I wouldn't be so concerned as to what kind that you get. I don't think that's really as important is just having something that you can pull out if you're at a coffee shop. If you're excuse me if you're at a coffee shop or if you're traveling somewhere or, you know, if you're just at home, I try and keep one with me at all times. And, uh, yeah, just a pen or pencil, obviously, to draw with. And again, it's It's not so much about the kind of tool that you use. It's just how you use it. I've used everything you know. You have your basic yellow number two pencil. I also had these Derwin their graphic pencils, so they come in different varieties of hardness is in the lead. And I had those for 10 years. So, you know, and then I have, like, basic pins and stuff that I used to. I can cover those more later, and I posted some on the website as faras. Resource is where you can go and purchase, son. But any local arts art supply store craft store should have what you need and just keep it . Keep at it. Um, the last thing I wanted to touch on was practicing. That's the only way to get better. There's really no secret to success on. That's especially true when it comes to typography. Um, it's just sitting down and doing the work. And it's not that I think I don't think practice makes perfect. I think practice makes progress. And part of the beauty of hand drawn typography or just making anything with your hands is , uh, that it's okay to make mistakes. And I think we learn from those mistakes and we can get better from making mistakes. And I think you just sort allow yourself the freedom through this process through this class to make a few mistakes and be okay with it. I think the quote unquote term of hand drawn typography lends itself to that. I think that's great. I think as I've embraced that more in my own work, I've come to just find a lot more joy and what I'm doing and knowing that I'm not like putting so much, so many constraints on it to try and make it perfect. So I just will leave you with that and again, just thank you for being here. And I'm just really excited. So we'll see you next time. Thanks. 8. Sketch it Out: All right. Welcome back. Um, so now that we've kind of got our creative juices flowing and our creative muscles a little bit warmed up from that first exercise, this is where we're going to spend more time getting to actually draw in fonts, which I know you are very excited about. So, um yeah, let's just get right into it, I guess. Um, so some of the things that to keep in mind while you start the sketching process is, um you know, just think about the kind of style that you want for your fun, you know? Do you want a Serra phone? Do you want a san Serif? Is this gonna be more of a display fun? Do you want to try and make one that's more just like body copy for text? Do you want it to have lots of different different flourishes? Is this a script style? Uh, just these things, you know, you kind of process and think about while you're sitting down and sketching and you may even sketch a few out. You don't like him and you start over and you know that's okay. I think revisions are part of any creative process. So don't be frustrated if you end up having to go back to the drawing board a few times during during this sketching initial sketching process, it's I don't think I could tell you how many times I've started over. It's tough. Um, so yeah, I just think, um, you know, you want toe again to emphasize just the the good foundation that you wanna have with setting up a grid, you know, 1st 1st of all, it is really gonna help you just carry on the thought throughout this process from initial sketch on to scanning it in. And then when we get into a vector rising it later on, it's just make your life easier. So, um, having that and then, um, the thing that the word that I like best to talk about a hand drawn type is this whimsy about it, this character and just this playfulness that it has that that a lot of other fonts don't really offer just because they're just they're so perfect looking and they're just so that's just the best way to say they're just look so perfect and neat and tidy. And that's I think that's the great thing about Fonso is that you have so many different options to use in just a variety of different ways, but I just like to bring character into it and all that I do. So I really hope that you find your own style in your own sense of style and let that just bring that out in your work because that's that's only going to be better for everyone else . You know, when you make something so people will recognize it is something that you've made that don't add value to it. It was awesome. So don't be afraid, Teoh Branch out to try something new, even if that means that you know, you you ended up not liking it down the road. Maybe you weren't something from that. And then you can you can build on that and start over and try something new. But, um, but really, we just want to focus on actually getting, um, you know, all the characters this week sketched out. Um, you know, I could say it might take you an hour, but, you know, it's hard to judge its Some funds have taken me a couple of days. Teoh sketch out and others have just come, You know, really fast it all depends on your idea where you want to take it and what all do you want to do with it? So, uh, yeah, I just say don't be afraid to start over. And I'd say, Just don't be afraid to try trying to things with it. So I just wanted Teoh give you guys show you a little bit about please. Some of my past working kind of alive come to, um just my process and how I will sit down and sketch out. So this was, ah, font that I did not too long ago and I just used a Sharpie for this one. And so this kind of just broke the rules of starting with a pencil to sketch, but I kind of this was the style that I was I wanted. And so you can see this was like, the first draft that I went through. And I mean, you can notice, even on some of these over case like I didn't stick. I was trying to keep to some sort of a baseline here, but even they see and and the DEA's came up above it. But again, it's, you know, it's all about the end result that you want. So that was the first draft. And I went and I did a 2nd 1 where I was pairing the upper and lower case together. Just so I could, um, try and keep consistent style all the way through. And, you see, I mean, I even here in the queue, I wasn't excited about that one. So I just right next to it, I just tried again. And then I think this was this was the final one that I ended up on. Um, yeah, just mawr again. Just pairing the upper and lower case together. And I'm really just going about 33 blocks high on the upper case and only too high on the, uh, on the lower case on. Then you've got your you're dissenter here that comes down on the J. P and Q in the wise. Yeah, and I just, you know, for the why made it a little bit different. It's almost got this cursive flair to it where it would surround here at the bottom. And that's, you know, there's a little bit of that here in the lower case K. But I just kind of like that, having something that's a little bit different in there on, then just continuing on to do some of the numbers and and the additional characters, the ampersand. I just spent a lot of time on these because I think, um, these are the characters that you really get to have fun with when you're making your own font to make the font its own and give it its own special character on these air. Just you can see just fully extending the set out. So it's there's a lot of different characters to go through here, so but enough about that. I just wanted to kind of show you kind of get some of some of your own ideas out there. And, um so, yeah, I'm just gonna spend a few minutes and I'm just going to start sketching some stuff just so you can see it in action as I go through it and and you So we'll just do, let's say, 5 to 3 five here, And if it helps you, you can just draw. Or if you just see that line, you don't have to draw just keep your based on in there. And then I want to say that this middle line is are gonna be are excited. And so maybe you want to draw, you know, like a Sarah. And so we could I just do this, Really, It's just about making it your own. You know, you, um whatever style you're going after when you're going for more classic style may be a more modern style, a slab style. Uh, you know, it's really completely up to you, however, you want it to look. And, um, I think it's fun to remember that while there are so many other fonts already available that you're drawing in so you get to you get to make it your own and you get to decide, uh, what it looks like on the once you're done with it. Yeah, I don't want to spend too much time on this because this is definitely part of part of the , uh, the lengthy process of of fault making. It's just you just sit down and you just you just go for you. You can see that a lot of my lines are really, really rough and sketchy at this point. but it's just for me. It's more about getting getting an overall shape and and feel. Let's go down here just getting the overall shape and feel of the fun done now and you'll notice. I mean, one of the challenges that you'll you'll face in this process is consistency. You know you want, um, as free as it is with a making something that's hand drawn and you can if you want it. I mean, you could make every character different, but when you actually go to use it, you want to have you want to make sure that you have consistency through it. So anyways, I will. I will leave you to it. And, you know, please, just post your poster works in progress. And don't be afraid to Teoh ask for feedback. And if you get stuck with something, or if you're you know, I think hoping by this point you've you've got your your idea for for the kind of style that you're looking for going after. But maybe you'll Maybe you'll see somebody else's work and be inspired by something, and maybe you want to try something different, and I think that's OK, too. So awesome 13. Viva la Vector: So for this process just for showing you how go in and scare my work is I'm just gonna use this example this fault, my Sharpie. I just use this is an Epson the 30 just a basic flat. And it's USB. Yeah, so I just basically just laying here on the glass, as is kind of get it straightened up. And I'll just open the, uh, the scanner from my desktop, and it will do an overview first just to recognize what's actually laying on the scanner, and then you'll get a preview of that on your monitor, depending on how old or New Year's scanner is. It depends on how fast it along that it takes. Sometimes they can take a while, and then you just drag a selection around the part that you want to scan in. I do's black and white and the highest amount of Gray's this one, this particular Scanners 1000 that I always do 300 DPR because that's the minimum till print. I just feel what it gets enough detail out of my scan that is good enough to back to rise. I just scanned my desktop location, but that's just a personal preference you couldn't stand save to whatever location you are . The name of it is up to you as well. I try and keep consistent naming with if I know the name of the fund like I'm calling this one Sharpie with a Y instead of an I e. And so I'll just say like Sharpie fallen scan. And then I always use the PNG format. Everything else, like image, correction and all these other options I just leave off. I don't really concern myself with that, since I know once I scan it and I take it into illustrator, it's deals and only black and white values. Yeah, and so once I had my area selected and I just hit scan and then this is just gonna scan and say right onto my desktop, All right, so after we scan the scanner phone and we get this PNG and this is the really nice 300 dp I version, there's a couple different ways that you can take this and I don't really know one methods better than the others, you know, just kind of. I always think it's just a personal preference. You could drop this image into illustrator. You know, you can You can walk it down and then you can just take your time and go over. Just get your pen tool over here, and then you you can literally just sit here and and trace your shape. So this is this'll is one method. This is obviously the the long method, um, which is tedious, but the advantage here, uh, over live tracing is that you get I feel you. You kind of get, uh, control. Um, a little bit greater control. Maybe over. Well, I've traced because you do. Um, you do get to control how maney anchor points that you want and something to keep in mind when you were when you're thinking about taking this vector into a fault, Uh, application. Such a fault lab photographer is that it's actually better toe have fewer anchor points. Um, then a lot. And, uh, so we'll be turned in the past day. I just turned it down to help see to trace it. Right. So I'm gonna select that. And I could just use this, this exclude option, and there's that a and I mean, you can see maybe have I don't a dozen or so anchor points for that one character. And, um, you know, I prefer I use just a mouse with the pencil and some people prefer and are really good at, like a wake on tablet. But I've always just as long as I've done this. I've always just been very comfortable with the pen, so that's the first method, and maybe that's more like a traditional method. But it is pretty lengthy and it takes a lot of time. Uh, there's an application out there, which I'll provide a link to In the Resource is section. It's called Coco Po Trace, which is very funny, name to say, but it's a really simple well, I'm tracing feature. Basically, it works the same as Life Trace and illustrator, but you just drive that for you. Drop in European G image that you got when you scan, and this is another reason I prefer 300 dp. I just It pulls out more, um, just mawr detail in it. So I didn't just scan this image at 72 dp, I would have been a much smaller file, and I might not get some of the finer details which would This style of thought probably won't notice much of a difference because it's pretty basic. And there's some really thick, heavy lines here. But if you had one that was really intricate, you might want it. You mean you'd obviously want to retain a lot of detail? So but this is I mean, this is perfect just for this style of hand drawn fun that I want to retain a lot of these falls and I don't really want to spend time cleaning them up in Illustrator. So Dragon Drop and Boom, it does it. So that's exactly this is perfect for what? For what I wanted to make with this farm. And then it just gives you the option to save. So do that. And it gives me this nice vector. E P s file E P s just stands for encapsulated postscript. It's not really necessary to know that beyond that it is a factor. So when I drag that into illustrator now, uh, you can see I switch over to outline node that what it's already potted and given me all of these anchor points, uh, again, it may be a little heavier on the anchor points then if I just had done this by hand But I think it doesn't really nice job if you I just show you a side by side comparison. I mean, this is the This is the scan of the original woman I sketched in my journal here from the right. And this is the vector arised version just from from that cocoa trace that. So I think it does pretty good. But again, I believe it all comes down to personal preference and just a few little nit picky items When you drag it into illustrator to begin with, you will notice that gives you the C m y que color mode. So I just switched that rgb since this is always going to be within the web and as we all know, the Web only deals with the three red, green and blue color values. So I do that, uh, and that I on group everything when you when you first open it, the E. P s files all group together. So I will actually on group that And then I spent time just Teoh break apart all the compound path so that makes straighter so finicky and then I'll just go through in select every character and the Pathfinder is the exclude option. And basically, that just takes just to show you really in detail what's happening here. Explain a bit. So in reality, what this be is made up of three separate shapes. So you have this shape and then you have to shapes here. But what happens when I select him all? And I had the exclude function? It is now it's It's excluded the two shapes inside of this bigger shape, and that gives us our be so you won't need to worry about using, exclude on, say, like this. See which, if you will get again and outlined mode. It's just one solid shape, so that's fine. But everywhere. But there's a shape inside of another shape. You want to exclude those, and that's why I go back and forth. It's just part of my process. I toggle all the time between the outline mode. Yeah, this regular view so I can see if there's anything going on, and especially with the lower case I and J as well you wanna make sure those Air group together. So later on, if you're ever working with this file and you want it, uh, make you want to take it into fault Lab photographer, Another piece of fought making software. You're right. You would grab both the dot and the in the actual part of the J. And not just like if this wasn't group. And I just selected this, you know that that's not the whole over Case J, okay, And then so you can just I mean, this is you just keep this process going and And the great thing, though, is even though that cocoa po trace app did a really good job keeping a really close if I wouldn't say perfect, But it did a really good job of holding true to my style that I drew. Then if I come in here and like to see this on the P like that little part, I don't know what that is, so I can just select that real quick. Oops, sorry. You have to use the direct selection tool. So you just like those two dots and then I can just come back and fill in that gap and all I'm doing there is just being picky again. I just wanted to make sure that that wasn't part of it. I don't know why Sometimes and live trace and stuff. You get these funky little dots. It might be something that was on the paper that picked up from the scanner. So yeah, I mean, this is this is part of the process, and you just will go through, and I just I'm all everything you know, I don't really know what this is about over here, so I'm gonna just kill those dots and keep at it. And over time, you know, if it if you feel like it's taking a long time, that's OK. You can step away, take a break. You know, you don't have to get it all done in one sitting, but yeah, just I wanted to show you really? Maurin depth on how I'll take something from this image from the scanner and then getting it into illustrator. So again, I'll post links. The resource is for the cocoa portrays app and even for some other articles and stuff that deal with taking your phone in fact, arising it. Thank you