Hand Lettering: Introduction to Grids, Guides & Rendering Techniques | Carmel Wilson | Skillshare

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Hand Lettering: Introduction to Grids, Guides & Rendering Techniques

teacher avatar Carmel Wilson, Lettering & Illustration At Bricky House Co.

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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

10 Lessons (26m)
    • 1. Class Introduction

    • 2. Basic Tools & Supplies

    • 3. Hand Rendering Techniques

    • 4. How To Use Guides & Blocks

    • 5. Drawing The Phrase: Using Brushpens

    • 6. Using Brushpens For Rendering Effects

    • 7. Constructing Letters Using Pencils

    • 8. Adding Details And Effects With Pencils

    • 9. Adding Neon Effect In Photoshop

    • 10. Your Class Project

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About This Class

Welcome to my new class! I love hand lettering because it's as diverse as any other artform. On one hand it's creative and on the other hand it's expressive. If you are a designer, you should start learning this stuff, because it really enhances your power of expression using design.

This class is something that I would have loved to have when I started out. Because in general it's very overwhelming to learn. When you are starting out, with so much of confusion and resources arround, I would suggest you to grab any tool of your choice and start drawing some letters. Do some practice and work on few designs. You will love it more when you start doing.

In this class I will try to give you all the ideas that is required to start hand lettering, without caring much about the tools. So it’s about learning how to use the most basic tools and practices. All for designing effective lettering designs. You can try different tools, different rendering methods and differnt letterforms. You can also try adding so many effect while processing it in Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop. You will have to explore all the possibilities, The more you wander, the better it gets!

It’s for every one of you, who wants to learn hand lettering. It covers the techniques that you should follow to understand how to render different letterforms in different projects, using these tools. I will show you how to use pencils, microns and brush-pens for gaining variety of results.

It’s important to learn how to draw letters using the basic anatomy of letters and what are the different ways you can render it. You can enroll and get started with hand lettering!

Meet Your Teacher

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Carmel Wilson

Lettering & Illustration At Bricky House Co.


Lettering, creative illustration and late night blogging is what is fueled at Bricky House Co. It's nice to inspire creative people, glad to be here!

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1. Class Introduction: Hello. I've been using hand lettering for a variety of my work, so I thought about making a class about hand lettering. So in this class I will try to give you all the ideas that are required to start hand lettering without caring too much about the tools. So it's about learning how to use the most basic tools and practices. Offer designing effective lettering designs. It's for everyone of you who wants to learn hand lettering. It covers the techniques that you should follow and understand how to render different letter forms in different projects. Using these tools, I will show you how to use pencils, microns and brush pens for keeping a variety of different results. It's important to learn how to draw using the basic anatomy of letters, and what are the different ways that you could render it. So join in, take the class and complete the class project. I would love to see you all 2. Basic Tools & Supplies: Let's get started in the session by going over the tools and will use for this class. But I warn you, it's about using the tools that you already own. This way you will focus on the technique rather than the tools, so I will use a stack of blank paper. A four or any other size in which you're comfortable should be fine. You can use any regular premium quality paper a regular pencil to draw with. Then I will use my crowns for detail ing and the thinking part. I am using one micron with a thin point and another with a thicker on the other. This will provide extra variation that I can utilise to enhance the work next and will use black watercolor brush pen with black ink. Then I'm also trying some Tom Bo dual brush pens. It has a soft and hard tip that can create some beautiful lettering. It's one of the most easily available brush pens that you can grab your hands on. Lastly, I will use Sharpie markers in silver and gold color. It's the best brand for markers, so these are the tools they will use. You can use any of the new tools you want to try and whichever is available in stores in your area as Egan's IAM, using a variety of tools here. That's because I want you to understand the beauty of variation. Each tool here can create different effects, and each has its own advantages. 3. Hand Rendering Techniques: in this video, I will take you through some of the rendering techniques that are used by the designers. Toe add characters and letters. You can create your own style of rendering when you gain some confidence to demonstrate that I will first create three D letter I. First, I will sketch it with my pencil and then outline it with microns. This way you can see how a simple tool as a pencil can drop versatile letter forms, which might take hours in my computer to render. So let's say, some of the most basic ways you can render your letter forms. The first technique that I am showing you is called stippled rendering technique. Stippling is effective for many applications and provides a quick and efficient method to investigate both volume and surface models. So in this technique, we use dots to add character or dimension to our letter forms. As I'm doing this with I, I'm using dots to add this shape character and give it dimension. Stibel technique could be so beautiful to watch it. It had so much detail where you want to add more details at more dots and where you want less ad last dots. That's how it works. Lots of lettering artists use this technique quite often. It needs some patients in time to come out perfectly. Next is use of lines to render the letter firms or lime technique. In this, we use line toe add details and character tore design. Here I am using the letter T to demonstrate this technique, draw the alphabet or any shape you want to use, and then select any area where you want to add details with line and then start adding lines. You can use horizontal, vertical or diagonal lines, or you may combine them. It creates this beautiful pattern embedded letter forms. The next technique that I want you to understand is the shadow technique. It means toe. Add light and shadow properties in your letter forms. I will apply that to Capital H. I will combine it with line rendering technique. So first I will draw H. And then I will add details with line and then add shadowed to it. I'm using Sharpie marker toe add shadow. You can use my Cron's or brush pens to by adding shadow. You can add three be like effects to any shape. It adds more dimension to it, so the 1st 1 is lying and the other is shadow technique. The last technique is shading technique. You must be familiar to this technique. In this, we will use the shading effect to add details and to show depth. We start with pencil shading and then smudge it to make it softer and then add more pencil where details are required. You can also add shadow to it, but following the shape, it's not as dark as the H, but it will give you a feel of depth. So these were a few rendering techniques. You could experiment it yourself and try these techniques till you get perfect at it. These might seem a little unfinished because I'm just demonstrating their techniques to you while working on a project. Take your time and be sure about where to add details. Practicing these boost her creative thinking ability to while working on a project. Then it's quite productive. While working in the digital form on a computer 4. How To Use Guides & Blocks: in this video, I will show you how to work with guides and blocks. Understanding guides and how to use it is important. I will demonstrate it to you by first drawing five vertical lines. These will be guidelines to draw letters starting from the bottom, thes air dissenters lines, baseline X height, cap height and a sender's line, respectively. If you don't know what these are, be sure to check out my brush lettering. Starting out class, these guys are nothing but to help you keep your letters uniform. And according to typographic principles, it doesn't mean that you cannot experiment with ease. But it's just a measure how much you are changing the values and keeping every letter uniform under those values. Now I will start creating letters on the's guidelines. So we followed the same flown to create a word. We create all the letters in the same angle so that it looks consistent throughout the designs, although we can change it if there is a purpose. Using these guides can create any letter form. It can be Italian, uppercase, lower case Arabic or any other. The center line are the line that dissenters go down two if there weren't a line across the bottom of the letters. G J P. Q Y. That would be the dissenter line baseline are the line in which most letters rest picture online under the letters in this sentence, that's the baseline. X Height is also called the midpoint. It's the height of all the letters that are not a senders and D centers. Letters that do not go above the X height. R A C E M N O R S U V W X and Z When you are starting out before you gain a wrong habit, these guys can help you stay on track. Cap pines are the height form baseline to the top of the upper case letters. This may or may not be the same as the height of a sender's. Lastly, a center lines are the line that a sender's go up. If there are on line across the top of B d F h K I. That would be the Ascender line. As you can see here, using guidelines, I'm creating letter forms using the same guides. You can create mirrored letter forms or experiment with its forms. You can experiment with guides to. But you should know how you can enhance by doing it. And lastly, you should not overdo it. It should complement, not look weird. So these are the guidelines and blocks. Practice it and you will understand how to use it efficiently in your work. 5. Drawing The Phrase: Using Brushpens: Now with those learnings in this video, let's see how you can start working on a lettering work. I will use the guidelines to show you the application of it. I will design a hand rendered lettering phrase. I will be using different tools and how you can actually use different tools. You can see the guides at the background, and the flow of the design will be according to those parallel lines. The first word that I am writing is with starting with thin line. I'm working to give it the right width and consistent flow toe work with precision. You must have control over your brush pen. Keep in mind that while coming from top to down, the stroke will be thick and while going down to up the stroke will be thin. This is the basic principle of brush lettering. I'm using brush pens here to show you how you can use guides, toe lay down uniform letters. So here I have written words with you. Now I will write is where I'd here. I am trying to create some design connection to make the overall design interesting. To make your design interesting and more appealing, try to make a connection between various elements. It can be with anything you can work like letters, ornaments or any other object. The important thing is that you connect them, and that's what makes lettering interesting and more engaging. I am playing with the placement of words, trying to keep them close and make it feel more connected. Next, I will refine the sketch to make it more accurate. Refinement is so important to make designs better. This is the step where you correct all your mistakes and make it perfect looking design. So I'm quickly creating all the words. My strokes are more confident, clear and sharp here, which is making it more beautiful than what it was in the last stage. You can still refine it. If you are not happy, you can add ornaments and decorations to your artwork. I am adding ornaments to make it more connected and decorative design. I started with pencil sketch so that I have an idea of what I am creating before inking it with brush pen. You can erase pencil, but if you did something wrong with brush pen, you will have to do it all over again. That's why be careful and plan your design first. If you don't know how to use brush pens, you can see my brush lettering classes, or you can construct the letter forms using any other tools. But using brush pens is a great way to draw these letters, even for using other tools for rendering your letter forms. Using brush pens to construct these letters can be quite useful, as you will see in the coming lessons. This brush lettering drawing will be used to form skeleton for any other tool, like pencils, brush pens, microns or anything using light boxes. 6. Using Brushpens For Rendering Effects: Now let's see how brush pens can be used to hand render the artwork. This method can be used to experiment different styles and to practice the process of refinement. Now, using the Tom Bo dual brush pens, I'm trying to redefine the color and having a sense of depth to it. I will smoothen the curves of each letter form. I'm using an orange color brush pen here. It's a dual tip brush Patton, so I am using the softer side. The hard felt tip side of this type of brush pen can be used for adding finish to the lines and curves. I will follow the lines of my original artwork by using lightbox. Once I'm done with it, I will start rendering details in it for adding depth and feel you can darken the parts of the letter forms where it needs to be just like you would have done with a pencil. You have to use the brush button. You can also use multiple color for this purpose. Few color pigments add up very well with the others. This is one way to do it. You can try different tools toe Add the details in each letter form. I'm adding ingredient in each letter form with the darker and lighter shades. I'm doing it only for the down strokes, which are thick. The thin up strokes cannot be covered with details that much. You can digitize this type of design in a dopey photo shopper illustrator, but make sure that the work complements the digital medium. Try to keep the hand lettered roughness and feel intact in the final design. You can also combine a few other tools which can enhance the concept after finishing the ornaments. Here is my final design, so now we will see how we can use pencils for achieving a totally different hand rendered piece. 7. Constructing Letters Using Pencils: now, as you know how. Brush pens congee used for ham rendering a lettered work. Let's see how a pencil can be used for rendering designs. So while keeping the artwork in the background with light box, I will now draw a silhouette of each letter in ornament. I will use a pencil for this purpose. It's okay to use various tools and see how each results, even for the same design. Sometimes it helps you in creating a design that you never could have expected. This way of learning also makes it possible for you to grow multi dimensionally as a designer. Now, using the same design done by the brush pen, you can create skeleton of the design, which will be used later. So to solely use a pencil for this type of artwork, you need to draw each letter with a pencil. Then using the same pencil, you need to add details and render the final art. The last step was important so that we have a perfect designed to trace on. You can't skip those steps, so if you are not that great with letters, create a beautiful artwork, creativity and patience is really all that's required at this stage. Take all the time you need to trace as this will be the final design. So you don't want irregular letter forms? Work on consistent design and shapes throughout the work. Now, if you're following this workflow, then you have a chance to refine the design once more it can enhance something. You can also use tape and stick both pages so that it doesn't move. It will help in tracing as it will not move too often. If you want to know more about brush lettering, you can check my other classes which I've discussed about fundamentals of hand lettering, digitization process and many other different interesting topics which you may find useful in your learning process. You can try experimenting by working with different tools and techniques. This is the first class on such fundamental, So it should be easy to follow in my next class On this topic, I will cover a more advanced technique. But I recommend you experiment in this class to because the more you experiment, the more you will learn. So I will move on now and complete the tracing process that this is my final design. Now, I will use the sketch for rendering my artwork using pencil. Remember, they easing brush pens to draw letters is one way to do it. You can draw each letter directly using pencils, so if you plan to do that, let's see how you can add details using pencils. 8. Adding Details And Effects With Pencils: as the outline of the letter forms for the phrase as here is ready in this video, I will add details to it. I'm using my pencil for rendering purpose, so I will combine line rendering and shading to add details to this artwork. Adding details is a great way to enhance the beauty of your artwork and connect character to it. You can depict any theme by adding details. As an artist, it is very important to keep your eyes on details in this or any field. Always remember, God lives in detail. Attention to detail makes your artwork stand out. You can plan about the details that you are going to add and then work on it here. It might seem a little unfinished as it is for demonstrating how to do it. You can take more time and work on every minute detail until finalization. Paying attention to the detail means that you consciously work on every element of your design, Whether it is simple or complicated, Question yourself. How can you improve your design? Look at all the spacing, the color shapes, curves get really close and inspect all the details. Many times we could not see something because we simply have been looking at it for a long time. If we bring someone else on the scene and ask for feedback, most likely they will spot errors or have suggestions that we otherwise would have overlooked. So you can take suggestions from your friends or ask for feedback. They can help you in enhancing your designs and spotting any errors in your designs. Here. I'm just showing one way to add details, and it's a very minimal approach. I'm adding depth to the whole design and how it can change the way any viewer perceives it , so you can add more and more detail on any work that you do. Just don't overdo the detail ing detailing should be according to the requirement of the project, and it should look good in your project. It should complement your design. So these are a few tips for me on how to add detail ing in your design. Try to keep your eyes on different lettering. Artist's works from all around the world. Try to think how they work and how they achieve different effects. The's mind mapping will train your brain to think and innovate New techniques. Keep these in mind and I will go on and finish the detail ng work in the next video. We will digitize it for the digitization of such hand rendering lettering works. It's advised to use minimal digitization without affecting the original forms and feel of death, so that it all adds up. Absolutely. It depends on the type and kind of work you're into. 9. Adding Neon Effect In Photoshop: Once you have a design ready, you can add more details and effects to it in the digital medium. So in this video, I'm gonna finish the digitization process. First, I will import the scan design. Then I will go to the selective Layer panel and unjust the white and neutral color value this is. Make the off white background to clear white and emphasize more in rendering in the layers panel. You will find that it has created separately, or for that, and you can adjust it or change at any time. If you're unhappy with the results so you can delete this layer and there will be no effect on your artwork, make sure that your skin image is in high resolution. Next, I will invert the image because I want to work with the dark background, which will give more focus to the rendered part. Again. I will adjust the properties to match this black background. Double click on the properties icon in selective color one layer to just properties, so I will adjust the neutral value to make the artwork more clearly on a black background and then adjust the black value, make the background more appropriate for the artwork, so both the background and the main artwork should complement each other. You could be creative in terms of how you manipulate the design, the color. Or you can also add backgrounds or other design elements in Adobe Photo Shopper Illustrator . It just depends on your creativity. If you need toe, emphasize your purpose and try not to get lost in the process. Plan and research are two vital parts for successful design work. So next I will adjust the Grady Int map to give it a grade Ian effects. This will add another layer on top of the background and he will see the Grady. In effect. I'm going to change the Grady in color and adjust the color in such a way that it looks best for this artwork. You can adjust according to the result you're looking for. And after that, just click on OK and close the greedy int MEP properties. Next, I want to make rendered apart more stand out. So for that, I'm just gonna just the neutral value from the selective color properties and then see what looks best. Yeah, I'm not happy with that result, so I will duplicate the selective color layer to apply the same effect. On top of it, it will double the effect, and the artwork will become brighter. Just keep on experimenting with these options until you have the result that you're looking for. You can see these options change the feel of the artwork so you should experiment in photo shop because it has amazing tools to work with. I tried to explain new tools and techniques specific lettering. You can check my other classes to learn more about the tools in photo shop and illustrator . If you're a lettering artist or a graphic designer next, we'll add textures to it. This is the texture that I want to add. First, I will resize the texture image here. It's showing in violet color because they are three adjustment layers on top of this layer . Then I will experiment with different blending modes. It can give you this beautiful blending effect, but you're gonna have to check with which works better. There are so many modes, but on Lee, a few will really look good. Okay, I think vividly is working well and almost gives perfect blend. And the result is ah, vibrant artwork, which is what I'm looking to achieve, create a mask for a texture layer. Why I created math player is what you will see in a few minutes. So next time we'll keep the original artwork aside and work with the textures and these effects. For that, I will select all the layers other than the texture and then duplicate these layers. This will make one more copy of these layers, and then I will merge these layers and group the duplicated layers. Name it as original and then hide this layer. So in this way I have one save copy, and now I can experiment without any fear. Next, I will create a new layer and then start working with the mask layer. Click on the mask and select brush tool with white background. Adjust the brush, size and hardness according to your requirement. Then start working on it. Work on this part of the mask. So after you finish, unlinked the mask and then adjust the texture layer. Then you can double click on the mask to fill with the foreground, which is black. Next, I will invert the background and foreground color, then select the brush tool and start working where I want to add textures so you can see it is adding some amazing effects. And it is also giving a sense of a three D effect. Work with brush where you want to apply the texture effect after finishing this part. Next, I will crop the art board to delete unwanted areas. Ah, and then lastly, I will adjust the curves layer and give the finishing touch to this artwork. You can see here how rendering is enhancing the whole artwork. You should also start working with different rendering types and add some amazing effects to your artwork. Keep the original effects and rendering intact. 10. Your Class Project: So for the project, you're going to design and digitize hand rendered artwork. You can choose any quote, dimension, any style that you want. This class is all about understanding different rendering techniques used by lettering artists and how to apply them in an artwork. Use the tools and techniques taught in the class. Try and experiment with different rendering styles and techniques. Try different ways to digitize your artwork. But while digitizing, make sure that you keep the natural form and feel alive. The rendered hand lettering artwork that you will create should be, according to a specific look. Share your projects in the project section. It's great for me and to see you learning and doing creative projects. And I'm excited to see your chosen rendering style, your design and your final artwork. So if you're a beginner and you want to understand the basics of hand lettering first, then you can check out my class brush lettering, essentials starting out and a few of my other classes. Enjoy the project and leave a positive review to the class. If you liked it, this will help the class in reaching other students and help them in learning these techniques to so thank you for enrolling in this class. See you soon in my next class