How to Create Lettering Practice Pages in Adobe Illustrator | Jen Duvall | Skillshare

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How to Create Lettering Practice Pages in Adobe Illustrator

teacher avatar Jen Duvall, Creator/Maker

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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

14 Lessons (25m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Materials Needed

    • 3. Typography Terms

    • 4. Pick a Font

    • 5. Open Illustrator

    • 6. Creating Visible Lines

    • 7. Duplicate Lines

    • 8. Optional Quick Tip

    • 9. Create Letter Layer

    • 10. Printing

    • 11. Change Letters

    • 12. Save File

    • 13. Practice Tips

    • 14. Class Project and The End

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About This Class


Practice makes progress, right? Right! You've seen lettering worksheets all over the internet, but maybe you have a specific font you want to study. Or maybe you just like the DIY approach. I'll show you how to quickly create a template to make your own worksheets using any font you want! You'll be able to make traceable worksheets and also guideline worksheets so you can really solidify your learning.

Let's start practicing!

Class Info:

Adobe Illustrator Trial 

Free Font Sites:

Suggested Fonts:
Serif -
Sans-Serif - 
Script - 
Sun Valley

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Jen Duvall



If I were a piece of art, I'd be mixed media. I'm kind of all over the place - in the best way possible. I love to dabble in anything creative that looks interesting. By profession, I'm a web manager. About three years ago I decided I was heading down the wrong career path so I learned how to code. I did the really scary thing and jumped into a new industry and I'm so happy I did. I've learned to trust my gut and follow my heart (what weird analogies, right? guts and hearts... it sounds like innards...anyway.)

In addition to web stuffs, I love photography, lettering, digital art, doodling, painting, reading, cooking, and baking. Oh, and I love my dogs. All three of them.

My next dream is to find my side hustle and maybe find some focus for my creative endeavors.

See full profile

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1. Intro: Hi, I'm Jen. And welcome to how to create lettering Practice pages in Adobe Illustrator, You're an aspiring hand, Lederer. You've probably noticed that there are quite a few Resource is out there for finding work sheets of to practice particular fonds or styles, particular script fonts. But the problem with some of these resource is is that you're kind of stuck with whatever the artist has decided to create. And this course I'm gonna show you how to take any font or lettering style that you find anything you find inspiring. And we can create our own guidelines and work sheets so that you have a lot more flexibility in your practice. Will be able to use these worksheets in a number of ways. First, to learn how to trace the letter forms, then by using it as a reference page and finally ah, to FREEHAND with no reference in just by memory. This is a pretty quick course, and you don't need to know a whole lot about Adobe Illustrator. I'll walk you through all the steps you need in order to create your own worksheets. So let's get started 2. Materials Needed: he will be going over some materials that you'll need for the class, The first being a divvy illustrator. I'm using CIA six, but any version will work here. Check the links in the closets below. If you need a free trial. Second would be paper. Any paperwork you want to use something that's gonna be a little bit see through because we will be using it for tracing. But anything you have on hand will be great. The third printer again. Anything will work in the fourth, your favorite pencil or pen. You will be burning through some serious lead. With all these practices, eso use what you feel comfortable with and something that's budget friendly. See of the fancy art pencils for when you're ready to start lettering, full composition pieces on. Just use what feels good for right now. 3. Typography Terms: okay, We're gonna get started with just basic typography terms. As a disclaimer, this really isn't a typography class. They're arson. Excellent ones on skill shares. If you'd like a broader view of it, please go check those out. I'm only going to be using the very, very basics that will need to create the worksheets. 1st 1 we're gonna have it is the cap height, which is gonna come at the top of most of our capital letters. Some may go just a tad bit over, but we'll find that out. As we create the sheets, the next one is gonna be the baseline. Just gonna run across the bottom of most of the letters. Of course, some letters will go beneath that. Like why J? But for the most part, it's the basic baseline. And last is the X height. The X height is gonna come to the top of a lower case X on. We'll just sit there on top of that and knows you're gonna be the three lines that we're gonna use to create our worksheets because we can get a gist of where these letters air gonna fall within those guides based off of those three lines 4. Pick a Font: Okay, so now it's time to pick your phone. And, uh, there are literally no limits here because as long as you confined to the cap piped, the baseline and the X height are guidelines will work with it. If you need a place to get started looking for some standard fonts, I've got some upon the screen now. I'll also had those in the class notes section for serve. We've got Baskerville or Gara Monde are too good Standard options San Serif, where you don't have the little edges on the ends of the letters Aerial. Obviously, Geneva is also a good choice. If you want to study just some basic letter forms for script, there's gonna be so many different kinds of days just because there are a 1,000,000 of them online. I've picked a couple here that I liked of Malaria and Sun Valley thes are beautiful script fonds, but there is an endless amount of these thoughts online, and so just keep that in mind, as you're looking through to find something that you might wanna study. Most of these funds should be uploaded on your computer or easily available online to get you started with downloading a few free fonts to start practicing, I am going to show you a couple of my favorites. The 1st 1 is da font dot com, and as you can see, there are a ton of categories to search for. You can get into San Sarah, Sarah or in the script styles. I like the hand written one. If you go in and see that as you start scrolling down, you confined some options. Thistle area was one that I had talked about earlier. Theis Custom Preview is really fun because you can start seeing how the letters will look and how they'll connect if you want to get an idea before you start. So that's so much fun. Another one that I really love is squirrel. It works in much the same way where you can search based off of the type of thought that you're looking for. The's are going to be updated frequently as artists add their their new work, and this would probably be a good time to just throw it in. A little reminder that we're not actually trying to copy these thoughts perfectly. Were just using these for inspirations were not really stealing anybody's work. We just want to get an idea of how these others air formed, how they connect with each other and learn more about, uh, letters in general and get some practice drawing them. So as long as we just take these as pure inspiration, there is no problem there. So I hope that helps you start narrowing down your choices for the font that you're gonna pick through practice. You know, it could be a little daunting as there are so many different options out there. But just pick something you love. There are no limits here, and you can practice as many as you want. Happy found hunting. 5. Open Illustrator: Okay, We're gonna jump into Adobe Illustrator. No, just one note. If you have previously had the application open before and just downloaded some new fonts, you might want to close the APP and then reopen it so Dobie can install those new fonts for him to go ahead and open mind here when we're gonna open a new file by file New Command. And I'm gonna call this skill share going to keep our options really simple here because they don't need to be complicated. Stick with. Letter says that that's what you'll be printing on. And the orientation should be set at landscape so we can fit more letters on the page and hit OK, And you can see my art Burke has shown up here. First thing we're gonna do is go to the type tool in our menu. Yours may not look like mine, but it's the tea. Or you can hit t on your keyboard, whichever's easier. Then up here, we're gonna actually select the phone that you decided to pick for your project. I'm going to stick with basketball, since that's what I'm working with. And the font size is going to very greatly depending on your preference. And what for? You picked for this one. I happen to know that 85 works for me. Um, somebody go ahead and put that in. But I'll show you how to change that later. There's going Take your type tool here and drop it around about where you think it should go. We can change that to later and start keeping some letters. Really? Doesn't matter what you type here. Just kind of give me some space in between. Um, the only thing we need is to make sure there is a lower case, X because we need that. Find the X height for obvious reasons. Um, now, if you're looking at this and giving up, it's not right size. Just go ahead and select it. James. A thought appear. It's really easy to go ahead and change it. Depending on, um, you're gonna want to make sure it's big enough that you can see the detail in the letter, but not so big that it's overwhelming to draw each letter. Ah, so I'm gonna stick with 85 here just cause I know that I kind of like that size. I'm gonna come over here and grab the selection tool because the, uh, blind of letters is just a little too close to the top For my preference, I'm gonna pull that down just a little bit. And the next thing we're gonna do is create our guidelines that will be using for the rest of the practice pages. If you don't currently see rulers up here like you can see minor missing right now, go to view rulers and she rulers or command are now you can see there, Poppy appear on the top and on the left. And to get the guidelines, you're just going to click and drag. And I'm not just kind of eyeball this to gauge about the top of the upper case letters and drop it there, and that's gonna be a cat fight. So we're gonna repeat click drag, and this one's a little bit easier, cause the type tool has kind of shown us exactly where the bottom is. Click and drag. Drop it there. And then now we're going to get the X tight from the top of the lower case. X were just kind of wanna make it sit right on top of that and then drop it there. And now we've got our guidelines set. So in the next video, I'm gonna show you how to turn these guidelines into what will be our practice sheets. And I'll see you there. Thanks. 6. Creating Visible Lines: Welcome back in this video, we're going to take the guidelines that we created in the previous video right here and turn these into something we can see on actual printed page. We were to hit print right now on this document. Those guidelines would not show up. They are just there within the program to help us guide artwork. What we're gonna need to do is actually draw over them to make sure that they will show up when we need them. Ah, the first thing we're gonna do here is if you haven't already, make sure you're smart guides air on because this will help us and enormously. And here. So we're gonna go view and make sure that down here, smart guides is checked. Uh, next thing, grab your type tool or tea on the keyboard and just kind of click near the X. We're just gonna delete out our letters because they served their purpose for now. And then we're going to grab the pen tool just right here, or pee on the keyboard shortcuts. I'm gonna make sure that the stroke is black. You can slouch that here. If color isn't showing up in your panel over here. A good way to do that is just come over the window, make sure that color is selected, and another one that might be very helpful for us here is that stroke would be selected as well. So now that I've got the pin tool and I've got my strokes, like did you can see that that interact is your Intersect cemetery is showing up. And that's because you've got are smart cats on. So I'm gonna click and just drop my first anchor point there, come to the other side where you can see intersect and drop the 2nd 1 And now we've got our first guideline down here in my stroke panel. I'm just gonna bump that up to two, so it's a little bit more visible. Now we're gonna need Teoh selects off of that. So grab your selection tool. You can hit V, grab it in your menu. Another nice shortcut is if you need to, you can always hit command, and it will just go back to the last selection tool that you use, whether it's the black hair tool or the white errors. Well, asshole, it is that going forward because it makes it a little bit some apps. Simpler. But I'm gonna go back. Teoh the pen tool and give my excite line. There we go for that one. Something hit, Command. Click off of it. Now we've gone right back to our rentals. We can start it over again here and intersect and drop it. And so now I go back to my selection tool we have are three guidelines are cap heights are X height and her baseline and they will show up now on a printed document because we've drawn those in. So in the next video, we're gonna create these dept going down the page and I'll show you how to do that. 7. Duplicate Lines: Now that we've got our guidelines actually showing up on the printed page, we don't need to these blue guidelines anymore. So in order to just take those away, we'll go up to fume, come down to guides. You can click hide guides. You can see that. That just leaves us with the three guides that we created before. Now, in order to get these to duplicate down the page that we can use more than one line of her page. Use your selection tool here or click V on your keyboard and slept. There were cap height and then click shift. Select that Excite shift, Select the baseline. And now we've got all three selected. At this point, a really easy way to copy. This is toe. Hold down your option key and drag straight down. Um, before I have not released either the option key or my mouse key either. If you you should see that green line that helps you line it up. But if you get off line or somehow everything goes wonky, just click shift and that will get you right back in the center of that line. So we're gonna bring that tear and drop that there. And now a super easy way to continue the duplication is to hit command T. And that will just duplicate your last action. You know, I'm gonna do that one more time here. No, we've got four perfectly aligned guidelines here that we can use for our practice page in the next video. I'm gonna show you a really quick optional tip that will help us as we move forward in our practice. 8. Optional Quick Tip: Okay, here is my optional quick tip that I find really helpful when I start, Teoh get a lot of practice pages floating around. If I'm looking at them trying to get some ideas about, ah, where it can improve or just need to reference a page, it could be really helpful to keep track of what won't. You were using what size it was and also the date that you did it. Just you can watch your progress. So you might have wondered why I didn't create 1/5 row of lines here at the bottom. And that's because this is where I like to document where my practices. So you grab your type tool again. It's right here or tea on the keyboard and sort of just truck. They need it by clicking. I'm gonna drop and drag a little box down here, and we certainly don't need 85 point here. So let's get with something like, uh, 20. And I just put in fonds sighs eight practice type, which I actually talk about a little bit more in a later video. And if you're printing out a bunch of the same pages all at once, which probably will go ahead and fill out the font type and the font size, Um, and then put in your dates later. Again. This is so great. Because you can look back and see how far you've come and know that the practice is really doing its work. But hopefully this will help you in the future. And in the next video, I'm gonna show you how to actually get to the place where we can start printing these. 9. Create Letter Layer: Okay. And now we're gonna begin creating the page that will be used for tracing for the first phase of our practice. The first thing I want to do is just you can see that this text box is still selected from our last video. So I'm gonna grab it a selection tool with B and just click off of that s O that is no longer selected. Next, we're gonna wanna come into our layers. I've got a short cut over here. If you don't have something like that, go to window. Select layers right here. And that's going to give you this. This is layer one, because we've only been working on one layer. Go ahead and call this guidelines. And then if you select this icon here, we're gonna create a second layer Coldest lovers. And as long as this one is highlighted, that's the later we want to be working on. So we're going to stick with that, and I'm just gonna hide that layers panel for now. Gonna come and grab the type tool basketball. My fault is still selected, and I'm gonna come back from 20 points to 85. I'm gonna drop the type tool around about where it needs to be, but it's not gonna be perfect. And I'm going to start with a capital A. But you can do any letter you want. This is gonna work for anything you want to do, actually, kind of suggest you play around with working with letters, not in their correct order, because it can be kind of fun. Uh, but obviously we're not lined up here, So I'm gonna grab the selection tool and drag this down until you see that Intersect eyes that's gonna drop it directly on the baseline and so that we know that it's in the right spot. Grab type tool again by clicking tea and just place it there and type out a couple or a lot of A's. I'm putting a couple spaces in between just so we're not typing on top of each other. Grab the selection tool again, and you're gonna click and hold down the option key and drag to make sure that it's perfectly line click. Also, click the shift key, and that's just gonna learn. If you can see that, that just gives us a perfect alignment right there and drop it then we're going to use our fund short cut again of command D and coming on D. So now you can see that we've got four lines of perfectly aligned letters that we can use to trace and begin to learn this letter form. And we've also got These are two different layers here. So I can turn this off when we've just got guidelines. Turn that on. Now we can see both in the next video talk about how to actually get these printed so you can begin your practice. 10. Printing: Okay, so we're finally ready to start printing out our practice work shades. The first you were going to do because it is right here and available is the traceable sheet, the one that you can see with letters. So if you're looking at your layers panel, both of these eyeballs will be selected and you can see both players high this room. Then we're going to go up to file, imprint or command P and in your print options. You've got a couple of different options here. I'm going to make sure that we can. For this one, it doesn't matter, because what we want is we want to print all layers, and then you would just hit print. Um, cancel that out for right now, so that would print out this entire page. Now, to print the blank work sheets, the sheets that you're gonna place on top of this one and use as your which are actually going to draw on. I'm gonna come into this layers panel and uncheck the eyeball. Hi. That panel would come back into our print options again, and here we go on lee visible layers. So that is only, and you can see in this preview here, we no longer can seeing, um So if I go back to all layers, you can see that the A's are showing up there. Visible layers gives us that blank page, probably gonna print out more than one of thes simply because you're going to be practicing a couple of different ways that I'll explain. In a later video, I would go ahead and print maybe 3 to 4 of the blank pages and then one of each of the letters that you're working on and then we'll be able to get started seeing the next video . 11. Change Letters: Okay, So you've probably started printing out your tracing papers and your blank guidelines. And if you've already started practicing, that is so awesome. Take a picture, share it in the class notes. I'm sure we all love to see it, But eventually, you're probably gonna want to draw something other than the letter you pick to set. I'm gonna show you how to change letters within the same font family. The first thing you'll need to do is make sure you've got your selection tool selected. And it's like the second line and just hit. Delete. You're lying Too late. Fourth on, uh, but to keep everything in line on here, grab the type tool and just click next to the A and mainly to leave thes out here, pick the next letter you want to work on, go crazy. I'm a pick a lower case be. And then again, just kind of copying what we did in the last video. Um, leaving a little bit of room in between each letter. Then once you've got those all done either hit, You're actually I'm sorry. Do not hit the V because that will take to the actually had to hit the selection tool here , Uh, drag. Keep the option key held down. And the shift he held down to keep everything in line. And just wait until you can see that intersect green line there that we know that it's a baseline and drop it there. I didn't do that right. Try getting eso dragging with the option tea and the shift key from bringing in town. And there we go. And now we can actually do the command d Manti. And now you have a brand new letter to work on. This trip is gonna work for anything within the same found family and in the same size that you're working with. Any time you want to move to a different thought, you're gonna need to re establish your cat height, your X height and your baseline. But for right now, this is how you create new letters within the phone family. And you can start repeating this process until you get the entire alphabet boot upper case and lower case down pack. See in the next video 12. Save File: Hey and welcome back. This stuff might seem obvious to many or maybe not, but I think it's really, really important to save your file. You're gonna come back in here and you're probably not gonna want to do every single letter , upper case and lower case on the first run through. So go ahead and keep these guides set up and save your file. Come up to file, save as we're gonna leave it as Adobe Illustrator. And my personal suggestion is that you would name it the font that you chose and then just do a dash practice and save. That gives us the option to come back to this file later so that you don't have to do every single letter on the first run and print every single page. It also gives us the opportunity to come in in print more God funds if you find that you want to practice a certain letter over and over again or just need to practice and things ever never against him again, maybe an obvious step, but it will save you a lot of work in the long run 13. Practice Tips: So now that you've successfully created your first lettering, practice page worksheets, I thought it be a good time to tell you about how I used these worksheets in my own personal practice. The first step is pretty simple. You lay down the page that has the letters on it and then put a blank guideline page over top of it on begin to trace with pencil. If you have a light box, it could be helpful to see the letters a little bit better beneath it. But for the most part, most printer paper is gonna be pretty visible if you're put printing with black ink. So that's not really going to be an issue. As you trace. Just pay attention to the nuances of each letter where it falls within the guidelines in just the basic shapes. Because next you're gonna take that piece of paper with the letters on it and set it on the side. You leave it there for reference, but then you'll begin just freehand on a new blank guideline sheet. And this is where the little box at the bottom can be really helpful because now you can label, um, your practice type as either tracing freehand with reference and then lastly, Freehand without reference for you. Take your page away and you actually sit there and draw the letters without being able to see them. What's really fun after that is to bring the pages together and find out where you made monuments of mistakes or you miss the mark. Or maybe you hit the nail on the head, and the really important thing here to remember is what we're practicing is for hand lettering and perfection is not necessarily what we're going for. I think the beauty of hand lettering comes in the imperfections because we wanted it to be perfect. We could just use cloth, and I think you confined your impersonal style within those imperfections. Sometimes I'm drawing out letters, and I realized that I made it way different than the original thought. But I like it better, and that's that's the fun part for May, because then once you have that style, once you have those letters ingrained in your head, you can take them and use them anywhere without reference within any composition. Um, and I think that's that's going to be the most fun. So what? I can get to be a bit tedious. It is very, very rewarding. In the end 14. Class Project and The End: Okay, so that's it. Go start drawing some letters for the class project. This is going to be pretty easy. Just upload a photo of your finish. Worksheets, Bonus points. If you want to show us some actual practice pages where you've started drawing or even if you just want to let us know which fonts you've decided that you want to start practicing. I have really enjoyed this. Thanks so much for joining me.