Hand Lettering Style: How to connect letters to create your style | Sarah Ensign | Skillshare

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Hand Lettering Style: How to connect letters to create your style

teacher avatar Sarah Ensign, Hand Letter Artist

Watch this class and thousands more

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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

11 Lessons (55m)
    • 1. Introduction and what you need

      1:53
    • 2. Connection basics

      3:58
    • 3. Connecting to b, f, h, k, l

      6:42
    • 4. Connecting to m, n, v, w

      6:33
    • 5. Connecting to c, e, o

      10:30
    • 6. Connecting to s

      2:56
    • 7. Connecting to x, z, qu

      2:31
    • 8. Connecting to r

      8:30
    • 9. Connecting from Uppercase

      2:12
    • 10. Creating words

      4:04
    • 11. Your Word Collage

      5:23
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About This Class

Do you want to create your unique hand lettering style but don't know where to start? Don't worry! Creating your hand lettering style doesn't have to be hard. Just imagine how your lettering will improve when you can come up with your own style instead of copying someone else! Join me in this class as we explore different styles of lettering connections. You will start to notice the little details that you love. It's by combining these details that you create your unique style.

This class is for you if you are a beginner at lettering or you’ve been lettering for a while and can’t seem to feel confident in your letters. You will learn all different styles of lettering connections including my best tips and even come up with your own! I have broken down each type of connection into different groups to make it easier to create a variety of styles for each connection. In the project section of the class, I have included a 9 page workbook for you to download and print at home to practice along with the video lessons. So all you will need is the workbook and a small brush pen like a Pentel touch or a Tombow fudenosuke.

*The workbook can only be downloaded on desktop, not mobile.*

At the end of this class, we will bring it all together and create a word collage with a variety of lettering styles using the techniques that you learned. You may surprise yourself with all the styles you'll be able to come up with!

This class is one of the modules included in Your Confident Lettering Style Course. If you enjoy this Skillshare class, you'll want to check out the complete course. :)

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Meet Your Teacher

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Sarah Ensign

Hand Letter Artist

Teacher

I'm Sarah Ensign, owner/creator of Ensign Insights, hand letter artist, lover of colors, and ice cream connoisseur. 

I believe that hand lettering and creating can bring joy to your life in any circumstance. My goal is to spread that joy through teaching and sharing my process.

I am passionate about helping you feel confident in your unique style. You can start exactly where you are with exactly what you have. You don't need to have any special talents or even a lot of money. Let's create together exactly as we are! And why don't we get some ice cream while we're at it!

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Transcripts

1. Introduction and what you need: Do you want to create your unique hand lettering style but don't know where to start? Don't worry, creating your hand lettering style doesn't have to be hard. I'm Sarah from Ensign Insights and my main goal is to help you create confidence one letter at a time. Just imagine how your lettering will improve when you can come up with your own style instead of copying someone else. Join me in this class as we explore different styles of lettering connections, you will start to notice the little details that you love, and it's by combining these details that you create, your unique style. I see beginning letters struggling with certain connections like W to R or O to R. And someone asked me how to do it, I show them that there isn't only one right way. What a concept? Of course there are tips to make it easier, but the truth is you get to decide the way you like best, and that's what we'll be exploring in this class. This class is for you if you are a beginner at lettering or you've been lettering for awhile and can't seem to feel confident in your letters. You will learn all different styles of lettering connections including my best tips and even come up with your own. I have broken down each type of connection into different groups to make it easier to create a variety of styles for each connection. In the project section of the class, I have included a nine-page workbook for you to download and print at home to practice along with the video lessons. So all you will need is the workbook and a small brush pen, like a pen tail touch or a tambo foot, an [inaudible] K. At the end of this class, we will bring it all together and create a word collage with a variety of lettering styles using the techniques that you learned. You may surprise yourself with all the styles you'll be able to come up with. I'll see you in the class. 2. Connection basics: We are going to start connecting your letters. I will show you some basic tricks first. Then I'm going to show you how to switch it up and make it your own. First of all, with the basics to make your word look cohesive, there are three main things that you want to look for. That is the spacing, the curve, and the connection point. If you're having trouble connecting a certain letter, go back to that letter, and look at different ways to letter it. This could help you see different ways that the letter could possibly connect by lettering it in a slightly different way. It's really just important to experiment. The spacing is the space between each letter. You can see some of them very slightly depending on what letter it is. But you really want to make sure that they are as close as possible, especially if it's a similar letter. Then the curve is the actual curve of that connection. This looks simple, but I will show you how you could do a different angle. Let's say that curve is going to be a very sharp angle. This is a much sharper curve than these ones. You just want to make it consistent. Then the last one was the connection point, which refers to this. This is the spot where the letter before connects to the next letter. Obviously there are some letters that are different like this e to the r. You don't stop right there, and then pick it up again. This is just one stroke. For the rest of them, you're picking them up between each letter. You want that point to be in the same line as much as it can be. It doesn't have to be this line right here. This is a nice medium point, but it could be a lot higher. I wouldn't go much lower than that because you want each letter to look like it's finished. If you end, I'll show you down here. Maybe that was tricky. But if you end down here, it looks like you didn't finish each letter. They're a little bit squeezed. You want each letter to have room to breathe, and to look like it's a completed finished letter. The letters are still pretty close together, but each one, it looks like they can breathe, they're separate letters. You want the letter to look finished, not cut off. I have split all the letters into different connection groups. In the next video, I will show you the most common tricky connections, and a few different things to solve them. 3. Connecting to b, f, h, k, l: Here's how the next few videos will work. I'm going to show you the different connection groups. On your worksheet, I've given you a couple of examples and left space for you to come up with your own. I have kept these videos in real time instead of speeding them up. So you can see how slow you should actually be going. I'll be sharing some tips along the way. But sometimes I won't be talking at all. So take that time that I'm not talking to practice your sheets and come up with your connections. Really focus on how there is not just one way to do it. Notice that things that you love and don't love. That will help as you start creating words next that are specific to the things that you love. The first group will be connecting to is b, f, h, k, l. We'll be coming at these letters from this side, coming into that ascending stroke. First we are going to come from A, U, I and R. So you can see I just ended this A up higher, right where the midline is, so that it continues on in that way. Connected down there and have my ascending loop start that way. Or I might want my ascending loop to be a lot bigger and it's going to start down here instead of a higher like this one. You do want to make sure that your connection is clear. Remember, it needs to have room to breathe. This one's pretty easy as well, unlike that one. Getting from O is always a little bit more tricky. There's a really simple one. Or if you want the O to have a loop. One more. S has a few different possibilities. With W, it's just really important to make sure that you have this distinct connection stroke. If you're worried about this loop competing with the loop of the H, you can just do a straight H without a loop. Double letters can be tricky. But basically you want to make sure that your two letters are pretty much the same style. Like these ones have pretty big loop. I just wanted to make sure that there was enough space between that it wasn't squishing the loop. Guess what? This is the last one of the first group. You have made it through. If you need to take a moment to finish your worksheet, go ahead and do that. If you need to stand up, go get a drink, whatever you need to do, and get ready for the next group. 4. Connecting to m, n, v, w: The next group we are connecting to is, "m", "n", "v" and "w". You will notice the other groups that it comes from, are pretty similar to the last one, making sure that, they are actually letters that normally will connect. You can leave this space open like that, or close it off like this. Just remember if you do close it off. Make sure that the "a" or whatever letter is right here, has enough space, that it's breathing. There's enough space, to finish this letter. Same with "e" to the "v". You can either have that curve there, or close it off like that. This one is pretty similar. Just make sure that the top of your "e" isn't crowding out the connection. If I wanted my "e" to be really big like that, then I would make sure that my "n" still has space from "k". In the word "know", basically would be the one we'd be using for "k, n". Just that same thing, where you're making sure that the "k" finishes and it's not being cut off. You want to make sure that you bring this tail out far enough, so that your next word has that nice space or your next letter sorry, has the nice space in between. Just make sure that, "o" letter has that distance like always. One thing to watch, if you are going to do this completely connected, no stop, then you want to make sure that the exit from your "o", goes straight up enough. Like this one, it went out to the side and it wouldn't have worked. See this one is going out to the side. If I try to make it goes straight up, then it looks like there's a weird debit. It would have to go smoother, to not have that weird angle. If you want to do this "o", then you'd have to make sure, see here it's coming down a lot lower, so that I can go up. It's not angled out this way, this wing to go up. Double letters can be a little tricky, but like I said before, you want to make sure that the connection and the whole letter is the same. I ended this letter right here, same as this one. That's that connection point, and when you're doing double "m's" with the continuous stroke not finishing it, you want to make sure that there is an obvious difference right there. It's not just a bunch of curves, you want to be able to see exactly where the start of that "m's", make it different. Then both of your letters are the same. It's a lot easier to tell, that these are two different letters because it stops right there. If your word is looking like just a bunch of curves, then maybe try this way or make it a more obvious change with this first one right there. That's it for the second group, so finish up your worksheet and get ready for the next one. 5. Connecting to c, e, o: Now we're going to be connecting to c, e, and o. This one's not too hard just make sure that you have this space right here, giving that little room to breathe. You could connect a little bit higher like that or even give it even more space right there. This one is similar. You want to make sure it has that space and the b is ending right about where you're going to start your e. Just like that one. This one goes a little bit higher. Remember that's that angle that we talked about before. If you want to not have this little loop like these ones have, then it just comes straight out and you want it to go up so it's not flat so it still connects a little bit higher on the letter. This one is similar to the a except the difference is that you have this a sending loop and if you do a big one, then your e can be right next to it. So you'd have to come out here and then you'd just want to make sure that this is the spacing for the rest of your word, so they would be a little bit more spaced out. It's connecting in the middle right there. Okay, with f it's the similar thing as this with that big loop so you want to make sure that it has enough space away from it. Then this is the kind of space that's going to be in your word. With this kind of f you just want to make sure that this comes out far enough and you're really only worried about this being too big. With the w and v, you want to make sure that there is a distinct connection. At this one it has a loop. You want to make sure that right here it's very obvious. Even with a simpler one, without a loop, you can see that there is the obvious difference. There are so many variations for the descending loop. You just want to watch this curve right here. If I wanted a smaller loop, then see how I have to go straight up so instead of just coming out here and going up, it's a very gentle or I could not even connect. Or it could be a lot higher, and it's the same thing with a Z. Watch that loop right there. Can even do a fun little loop to connect. For this one with c, e, o you can see i did already do the e, c right there. So this one is pretty similar for some of the letters with that one. One thing to watch with your c connections, you just want to make sure that your c still looks like a c, so have that obvious curve right there. You don't want it to look like that. You need to make sure there's the obvious curve showing that it is a c. From o to c, you just want to make sure that wherever your o is coming from that it connects in the similar areas. Let's say if I want my o to not have this big loop then it needs this connection and then your letters would be connecting a little bit higher. From the o to the e, you do want to make sure that your o is connecting where you start your e. Like all double letters, you want to make sure that the two letters are very similar. This is the last one of this group. This one was a really long one so if you need to take a break this time go ahead and get a water , whatever you need to do, and then get ready for the next group. 6. Connecting to s: Next we're going to connect to s, so there are several different things you can do with your s either just having it connect to the top part right there or a more scripty S and have it lead into it. Like this one right here, this is pretty squished. Even if I go over it, it feels a little bit squished. To fix that, spread out your S a little bit farther. With this one, it works. There's still enough space right there. This one was cutting off the e, the o and w are the same where they have that loop that has to be there, or something straight like this, but it has to be there to distinguish that is the new letter. Once again here like in this one, if you want to do a more script looking S, then you want to make sure that your X stroke extends a lot farther than normal. As always, you want your double letters mapped. In this finishes up that quick group. The next group is also very quick. 7. Connecting to x, z, qu: These next groups are x, z, and q, u. They are not used very often, so I am just showing you the most common connections with these ones. Connecting q, u isn't too tricky, it's similar to the F. You just want to make sure that this stroke is a nice angle going up. That was a nice quick one. We have one more lowercase group and then we will move on to uppercase. 8. Connecting to r: Connecting to r is one of the letters that most people struggle with. This first one is pretty simple. You just want to make sure that you have this line going straight up. Even if you're doing this loop, you need still to go straight up and then loop. Same thing with the descending loop. You want to make sure it comes back and then it has that going up straight. Same with this one b to r and b to r can be very tricky, but you just really want to make sure as it comes out of the b then goes straight up enough to start the r. From the d, this one you can't have a really big loop and then think that you can just come in with a really big loop in your r. There's not going to be space for that. You could have a much smaller loop, a ascending loop on your d, and then a smaller loop on your r, but that's about it and that's similar with t. There's just not space right there for a really big loop on your r like there is over here where you can go above the letter next to it. If your word has a lot more space, then you're spreading and now it does have a little bit room for bigger loop, f to t is tricky because the end of the f wants to come straight out, but the r needs that straight up first. Really watch that curve. Just like with this one, it curves out and goes up. Coming from w is definitely one of the biggest problems that I see and that people have told me that they struggle with with connecting. One thing that you want to make sure is that you're not having two big loops right next to each other. On your w if you want to have this really big loop, then you're not going to be able to have a big loop on your r. What you can do then is go straight up and make it straight right there, or come straight over. If you want a really loopy r, then you would make your w straighter right there. You see that but it comes down first to show that here is the end of my w it's very distinct. Or you could do this r. Then you can do anything on your w because it ends first. Coming from o is another one that's really tricky because you have that loop. Then if you want to do a big loopy o, you can have the loopy o r. You want to make sure, just like this whole thing that we've been doing, you want to make sure that it goes up first. You could do a loopy r, if you have a smaller o, like that, this one's a little bit smaller, but this comes out far enough and then it's still going up to start the r. This is similar to the d or even the w where you have this loopy right here. It's going to cause some problems if your r is trying to get too close to the k. As always, you want to make your letters look as similar as you can for double. This finishes up the last of the lowercase connections. In the next video, we will talk quickly about uppercase letters, and then we will move on to words and finally, creating words that are unique to you. 9. Connecting from Uppercase: For uppercase, I have given you a sheet with the most basic uppercase letter to connect with the next letter. It's really important to remember that your uppercase letters do not have to connect with the rest of the word. Sometimes we think that they do, but they don't. Don't worry about connecting each uppercase letter to the rest of your word. Also, most importantly, make sure that you keep it simple when you're in doubt and you can't figure out how to connect it, keep it simple and maybe don't even connect it. Try to get your uppercase in a similar style as the rest of your word. But they don't have to connect. For example, A, this always that one does connect and this one does as well, but if you look at the F, I'm not going to connect that, to the rest of my word, and that looks just fine. You just want to make sure that your uppercase is similar to the lower case, so if you have a script d lowercase, you don't want to have a print letter uppercase to start your Word. You want it to be some kind of simple script, and then if you're doing a print word, then that's easy. That doesn't connect anyways. Go through this worksheets and see how the uppercase letter would or wouldn't connect with the rest of the word. That's all I have for you in uppercase, since it's pretty straightforward once you keep it simple, and the main focus is to start connecting words. We will move on to that in the next video. 10. Creating words: Now that you've seen lots of different ways to connect letters, we are going to put them to use in actual words. You can follow along with me on your worksheet as I letter each word in three different ways, focusing on changing up the connections. You can practice the ones that I'm doing, but see if you can come up with something else totally different. I know it's going to feel hard, but push yourself. This is a really good creative exercise to even do more. You're not going to like all of them and learn to be okay with that. You may surprise yourself and find a way that you love that you wouldn't even have tried. To help you, try using adjectives to describe the style or even try to make the word look like itself. Just so you know, unlike the previous videos, this is not real time. This is sped up about three times speed. Here you can see I'm using a brush pen. It's real bristles so it went along very well with the word "brush." Another thing you can do is look back through all of the different letters that you have connected and find ones that you really love. Then see if you can make a word out of those specific letters that you already found a connection you love. Then now you're just putting it into a word and seeing how the rest of the letters would connect in the word. As a reminder from the first video, the three things that you are looking for when you're connecting words is the spacing, the curve and the connection point. The spacing, you want to make sure that your letters are an even spacing apart. You also want to look at the curve of that connection between each letter. Is it really rounded, is it a really sharp angle? Changing little things like that is going to change your whole style. Then the last one is the connection point. Does your letter connect in about the same line all the way through the word? You could have a certain style that totally does not follow that whatsoever and that's okay because if you created it and you love it, then you know the rule and you know how to break it. If you're looking at a word and you're thinking, What's wrong with it? What's kind of off? Then maybe try going back to those basic rules and you might find something that you love or something you wouldn't have tried. Just because you know the rules, doesn't mean that that's the only way to do it. You get to come up with what you want to do and that is a way to get started and just remember the basics. But then eventually, because you know them, you can break them and see if you like it, if you like how it looks. Also remember, not every breastbone is created equally, so, if you're not liking something, it could be that specific brush pen you're using doesn't give the style that you love. That's why it's important to try different pens along with it. This isn't officially your final class project, but if you'd like to share some of the words you're coming up with, take a picture and share it in the project section. I would love to see the styles you're coming up with. It always amazes me to see what other people come up with that I never even thought of. In the next video, we're going to do a lot more with just one word. 11. Your Word Collage: For your class projects, you are going to choose one word and literate at least 10 different times, if not more. On your worksheet, you have a space, try filling up the whole space with as many different ways as you can think of. If you can only do 10, that's the main goal, but maybe push yourself and try a little bit more. Focus on those connections and what makes that word unique. There's a space to upload your project to share with others. I'm so excited to see what you come up with. Instead of just doing it three ways like we did last time, you are going to do 10. It could be kind of a lot, but you can do it. I know you can do it. You have all the skills that you need. One reason I'm having you fill up the whole page is because sometimes you find something that you wouldn't have thought of before when you have to fit it into a certain space, so you're going to come up with a really little tiny font that's going to fit in a little tiny area or something bigger if you're trying to fill up a lot of the space. Let that be your boundary and work with it to come up with some different ones. Here I'm trying with a different pressure on the pen, so I'm not putting as much pressure on it, and that gives a much different look, and then I am going to pull out my monoline pen and try some monoline lettering, because I can do the same basic style, but it looks different because the pen is different. Really with this, there is no wrong word. You might not like any of them except for one, and that's okay. To be confident in yourself, in your style doesn't mean that you're going to like every single word or letter that you letter on the first try. Being confident means that you aren't afraid of messing up or lettering a word that might look totally crazy. Especially when we're first starting out, we're not going to like everything that we create. Even after years, there's always going to be a learning curve, and if you have been lettering for more years, then there is still going to be a learning curve; it's just a different learning curve than when you first started out. But if you can be confident enough in yourself, you can trust your ability to letter something and then decide if that's a keeper or not. That's the part that nobody can tell you if it's a keeper, because it's totally up to you. Someone is definitely going to have their opinion about it because everyone's got their opinions. But if you can see your lettering and love it for what it is and know that it's amazing because you created it and nobody else came up with that, it was you, that's what's going to get you through to finding more of what you love and being really confident in your style but in also developing your style because it is going to be changing and growing with you as you change and grow. This is a continual process. If you do this exercise of lettering a word in 10 or more ways, if you did this next month, I'm sure then it will be totally different than what you came up with right now. The trick is to love it in the moment and don't worry because, look, I make typos too and [inaudible] try to fill in that f, but it didn't work too well. But that's okay. I'm not getting down about it. I am moving on and I'll even try that style again, remembering the f. I hope yours doesn't look like mine, I hope it has your own flair and your own personal style, and I hope that you can start seeing the things that you love and don't love, and things that you are drawn to naturally. The next step would be composition of your own with a full quote instead of just a word. But for now, share your collage of words. I'm so excited to see what you came up with, how it's different from mine and how it's different from everybody else; and finally, thank you so much for watching. I appreciate you being here. If you learn something new, you could help me out by leaving a positive review or sharing it with your friends. If you like to and you're ready for the next step, you may be interested in my confident lettering style course, so I've left the link to that below. Let me know if you have any questions and I can't wait to see your project. Thanks again.