Learn to Hand Letter! | Brush, faux, embellish! | Hand Lettering for bujo, notes, life! | Jessica Owinyo | Skillshare

Learn to Hand Letter! | Brush, faux, embellish! | Hand Lettering for bujo, notes, life!

Jessica Owinyo, Creative Entrepreneur

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10 Lessons (39m)
    • 1. Welcome!

      1:33
    • 2. Pens

      2:43
    • 3. Fonts

      2:40
    • 4. Anatomy of Lettering

      2:23
    • 5. Muscle Memory

      7:37
    • 6. Rhythm

      3:43
    • 7. Seeing Pattern

      5:29
    • 8. Shape & Embellishment

      8:38
    • 9. Hand Lettered Life

      1:32
    • 10. Challenge!

      2:18
41 students are watching this class

About This Class

Hand lettering is a really fun way to spice up your daily tasks and life! I use it absolutely everyday, and can tell you from experience, you only get better with time! + I am a left handed letterer, so if you've been looking for help with lettering as a lefty, you're in luck!

It can be overwhelming to start from scratch, but I've got some tips to help you get better, fast! I'll go through the basics, teach you some technique, and then give you some fun embellishing tips for your lettering that you can use right away with any pen!

I love to see how personality and imagination come through the creativity of hand lettering. It's such a rewarding skill, and I hope I can be of service to you in your journey to hand lettering. Let's see your handiwork... Literally!

Don't forget to download your workbook! Have as many as you like, and remember, practice makes better!

If you want to know how to use your skills in bullet journaling, I tell you all about how to bujo in 3 classes I teach right here on Skillshare!

Transcripts

1. Welcome!: Hey guys, it's Jess from Generally Ginger, and I am really excited about this hand lettering class. I'm going to take you through some of the basics of hand lettering, as well as just some techniques, brush lettering, felt lettering, some practice tips, and ways you can use hand lettering, and then also some really practical embellishing tips that you can apply to your handwriting and see instant results today. I hope you join, and just know that hand lettering is really only as complicated as you make it. I have been hand lettering for years, and I back in the day did not even know if they were these terms and specific sciences to hand lettering. I progressed and got better, and better, and better with practice without knowing any of that. You don't need to know all that, but I know there's analytical minds out there who might want to. In any case, it is helpful to know those things. I'm going to walk you through them just briefly and then we're going to get down to it and practice. I've got a workbook down there that you can print out. Really helpful stuff on there. Some exercises that I'll walk you through to help you get better, same patterns, and creating your own hand letter works of art. Just remember, that practice does not make perfect because when your hand lettering, everything's a little different and there's beauty in imperfection. While it doesn't make perfect, practice does make better. Join the class and let's get started. 2. Pens: I'm just going to walk you guys through the pens that I am going to use today and why I like them or what types of lettering I'm going to use them for, in case you are looking for pens or you just want to know which ones to use when. These two are brushed lettering pens, this one is about a medium tip, I would say. This one is Tombow pen and it is a little bit bigger. The difference is, is this one's going to provide less flexibility and this one more for obvious reasons. I'd like to have both just for the different options. This one, Tombow pen, again does have a bullet tip and we'll use some bullet tips today. I'll show you. This has different sizes on each side, bigger and smaller. This is a Zig Memory System pen and of course the micro pen, and if you've watched my Bullet Journal class, you are probably quite familiar with this because I talked about it a little bit. This one actually leaked, so I don't use it but I just thought I would show you because it still has the wrapper on it where this one has just worn off because I've used it. But this is the one I'm going to use today and it's actually a 0.05. That's my favorite size to each his own really on that part. This is a prismacolor pen. I won't be using this one today, but I did just want to bring it up and show you it does have a bullet tip on one and then a chisel tip on one which is nice and wide and definitely has its place. But I did want to bring it up mostly because if you haven't bought one, they are somewhat expensive. The difference is all of these are water-based ink, and this one is alcohol. This one will bleed through most papers while these will not. If you're using really thick card stock, you're welcome to use these, but they will leak through anything thinner. I use my pens a lot for bullet journaling, so I cannot use prismacolor pens for that purpose. A good way to know if it's alcohol or water-based, if it doesn't say it on the back, is the smell. If you open it up and just give it a whiff, it should not have any odor or very, very faint if there is in water-based pen. An alcohol-based pen will always have an odor to it. Think of a sharpie. A sharpie will waste there, and it definitely has a scent. There you go, that's definitely a good way to think of it. I'm just going to pretty much use these today, and if you are wanting to know just so you're familiar with them and when I'm using them for what technique. 3. Fonts: Real quick before we get into anything, I'm just going to walk you through fonts, really quick. I'm not going to do anything extensive or really detail. This is just the basic of the basic. Font identification, mostly so that when you hear these terms, you're familiar with them. Or if you see a font that you want to try out or work on, you are able to pick it apart a little bit. This first one is, many of you have probably heard serif. Serif, the big indicator of a serif is these little tick marks here at the bottom, or any part of the letter if its a D, and it overlaps right there. These tick marks right here, that's a major identifier of a serif font. This is sans serif and it does not have those ticks and that's the main identifier here. This one is a script font which you are probably pretty familiar with already, which is what we're going to be talking about most of the time today, and it's just more formal, more of the cursive type family that you probably grew up practicing like crazy. Then of course this is geometric, and the reason they are called geometric is because you could draw a shape around any of these letters and it would perfectly fit. Perfectly even on all sides square, the triangle, the Os are perfectly circular. It does lend itself to a definitely a more modern and simplistic look that others don't, where you have a more stately look or formal look. That changes the way a font acts and looks, and that's how they are classified. Speaking of which, that's how they are identified in a type face. Now a typeface is a consistent type style letters that share similar design aspects. If you consider the width, the slant, the style of it, that's how you get a typeface. The serif is a type face, they have this similar characteristic here. Same thing with san serif script and geometric. They all share that commonality of being able to fit into a shape and they're all geometric. Those are the four most common ones that I hear and work with and familiar with myself. There are definitely way more out there and so much more to learn. But this is just, again, crash really quick basic course on, for identification so that, you can use it as a tool for you in your lettering. 4. Anatomy of Lettering: I am just going to walk you through the anatomy of lettering just because I know some of you will have a little bit more of an analytical mind and you might want to know. This is just some basic labeling here I've done and this is not completely extensive or conclusive, but the most important things are here. The down stroke is this heavier part here. If you think about it when you start, you're going to go here, you're going to come down and then you're going to go up. I've labeled the up stroke over here because same thing in the g. You go down and then you go up. The ascender swash and the descender swash. The swash is basically just when you are going to finish a letter and you're going to curve it, or that loop that you are seeing. The ascender is when you're doing your down stroke here and you come up not here, you're coming up with the ending swash. Descender, same thing, coming down right before you finish. The counter is in between the connecting point and you're going up, so it's going to be an up stroke and it's going to be lighter. The stem is the thicker down stroke. I most often identify it when it's the start of a letter. The shoulder, of course, is the bump here in your turn with the letter, lets see and then the weight. The weight is pretty darn important thing to note and think about and it's just the width here of the letter, so you have a heavier weight on your down stroke, you have a lighter weight on your upstroke. That is something to definitely pay attention to and keep in mind because we're going to use that next. The other thing I just want to point out and have you keep in mind because we're going to reference this again towards the end of this lesson series is the mid stroke, and that's the middle part of any letter. We're going to play with that a little bit later, but here it's the e, it's the k and the k right here, the e right here, p right here. You can do it. For the most part you can also work on it when you're doing script fonts, but for the most part we'll use it with printing. This is just, again, basic overview. You can make it as complicated as you want, but again, you don't have to know all this to do hand lettering and to get good at it. Let's move on from this and get to the fun stuff. 5. Muscle Memory: Here we are, onto the fun stuff. Let's start practicing the hand lettering. Muscle memory. I am a huge believer that muscle memory is one of the key components in hand lettering. I've just seen over the years, my hand lettering gets so much better. I think a lot of that has to do with muscle memory, and just your hands and your muscles have an incredible ability to learn and remember, and just do it almost without you thinking about it. So if you keep practicing, you definitely can get there. What we're going to do here in the first three lines segments here, we're going to use brush lettering. If you have a brush pen that has this king of tip, go ahead and grab that. If you don't, hang on a sec, I've got another way for you to work on this. The first two rows here are about the weight of your pen. Here you're going to have a heavier stroke, here you're going to have a lighter stroke. That's what I want you guys to practice, is putting more weight down and just getting familiar. What does it feel like to have that more weight? Then on this one, I want you to practice having less weight. Practice is just a huge component in this. I still am not so great at my ups strokes with my brush lettering, so practice is great. I do want to encourage you, when you do the thinner strokes, go from the bottom and to the top because that's how it is when you're actually lettering. If you get used to doing it down, which for me is a lot easier to do it down. But that's not really helpful because when you're working in your actual lettering, you're going to be using the light in your up stroke. So practice these, get a feel for it, print as many as you like because the practice is really going to make the difference for you. In here, you're putting these two strokes together. We're going up with a light stroke, down with the heavy stroke, up with a light stroke. That's why I wanted you to practice here with the light up. Up with the light, down with the heavier, up with the lighter. You're just going to want to practice that over and over again, and your hand will start to catch on. I promise. Even if it's super bad at first, you'll get better. That's the way it is with anything in life. If you don't have a brush pen, that's okay. I'm just going to show you a couple of other ways to do this. If you have a thick and thin double-edged or double-ended pen here, you can do the thicker in the middle and the lighter on the outside, so I'm going to do the lighter on the outside first. Just go ahead and put some decent pressure on that, and then definitely on the other side, and then you just going to put the heavier one in the middle. When you start, start gentle, come in heavier and then wisp off a little bit to connect those. So you still can accomplish the same look with a different pen. Lastly, with this one, of course I don't have a dual ended pen. I'm just going to use the one size here. I'm going to go up. I'm going to go ahead and just come down like a regular stroke, but I'm going to make the middle one wider. See how I outlined it there? Then I'm just going to color it in. A lot of people are probably familiar with this technique as for lettering, and I'll show you how to use it a little bit more specifically here in a minute. Again, a similar look, and you can change if you want a thicker or thinner, doesn't have to depend on your brush pen. It can depend on whatever you want. Let's go ahead and bring in your practice sheet. I am just going to show you how to put into practice these upper techniques before we move down to here. I'm a left-hander, so I got to have it over here. With the brush lettering, if you're just going to write maybe your name, or something, or whatever you want, I'm just going to write hello. I'm going to go up. Down is the heavier stroke, lighter stroke, up, down, up, down. See how that's consistent? Remember the muscle memory. Yes, I'm writing, "hey". Now we've got one done in brush lettering and I'm just going to go ahead and do the same word in this pen here. It's a little bit different, but that's okay. Then I'm just going to do the down strokes in the thicker. See how that changes it and gives it a similar look? I did it a little bit differently. I apologize, but I'm not you sticking to the lines so much. Now with the full lettering, this is flattering but this one is even more so, where you can control every aspect of the lettering. I'm going to do it again down here. Again, I'm going to do it a little bit differently. I've done my initial, now I'm going to go back, and I'm going to make the down strokes nice and thick. So this is a down stroke. It's a little bit more forgiving too, because if you a make more mistake, you can just stick that inside of the down stroke, and it's really no big deal. Here I left a little bit more space than I think I want, so I'm just going to cover that up and I'm going to go on the outside of this one. I'm just going to also fix this curve a little bit. Then I can color it in. I even colored it in with this one, nude, because it's easier to color it in with this one. There you have it where it's thicker and thinner, and again, you have a similar look, but this way you can control. Look how thin the upstroke is and look how thick the down stroke is. One more thing, if you want to, you can grab a thicker bullet tip and make your down strokes thicker. You can write the word "initially" with this pen, totally fine, or you can do it with a thin and then decide to make it thicker later. Totally your call. But again, you're changing your lettering every time and you just have a lot of control over how you do it. 6. Rhythm: We're going to move down to the second half here, and for the second half, you can use any bullet tipped pan. I'm actually going to use this tip here, it's nice and light. So with this one, this is where we're really going to work on muscle memory because I want you guys to start taking notes of patterns and rhythm and just feeling it as you go along. So when we trace this one, we go around and then it stretches a way out, and then you start the next one, stretches a way out, so just think about it. Think through what are you feeling when you're tracing it, maybe it's tiny. With down here, I notice a lot of times when I'm doing these taller loops, which looks like an owl, or you might use it in a D. I noticed that a lot of times I'll end up going up quickly and down quickly, but I'll stop. I'll take a break up there, come down, up, come down. Just to give you kind of feel some patterns, some rhythm, whatever it is for you, the consistency is really important because again, in a font, if you're working on a lettering set, it's going to be consistent if it's the same font, they're going to consistently have a similar feel, similar slant, similar shape. Just trying to get you guys familiar with that, this one has big gaps in between and it's stretching, so it's going up and over, up, and over, thinner, closer together and this one is a little bit probably more out of what our minds are taught to do and that's bringing you nice and wide and we're also not crossing up here, we're crossing way down low. For some of you, this might be a little bit outside of the box, but if you just keep practicing, again, print as many of these as you want, and just get familiar with those shapes. If you move super slow, it might not actually be worse for you. So if it's not helping, you're having a hard time with your going really slow, try speeding up and just see how your hand feels a little bit better and that might help you. Down here is the last part of this practice sheet and I think this one is a little bit outside of everybody who grew up doing cursory handwriting's box because we were always taught to stay within those lines, always taught to go up and meet this mid-line, take all of that away you got to blow it out for hand lettering because a lot of the hand lettering sets that we really like in the fonts that we like aesthetically. Don't stick to a straight pattern. Calligraphy definitely does. Calligraphy is a lot more of rigid and thought out and practiced, very beautiful, but hand lettering is a little bit more free flowing, so keep that in mind and I just want you to practice with these two. Getting yourself to go outside the lines to not have the same line each time. It's not just that you're going outside the lines, it's that you're not meeting the same planes every time. So here we're way above, way over, way below, way over. Now we're too short, it's okay, just let it happen and then with this one, we're going to do loops and even in Vs, I want you guys to notice patterns if you can feel the consistency be flow of it where this has a very loopy pattern to it where this one's very much up and down. 7. Seeing Pattern: We're now onto seeing the patterns page and if you have this and are able to bring it up on your computer and just listen to this portion, that's great, or you can print it out. Printing it out, it's definitely better. But I do have a quick challenge for you in this just to see how you do, if you want to be extra challenged, you can try this. What we're going to do is we're just going to go through these five fonts that I grabbed, and I'm just going to look for the patterns in the slants, the weight, slants and squashes, we're going to consider the weight, see the patterns and then we're going to try it. If you really want to challenge, pass this and try to look for the patterns in slants on your own. You can mark up the page as much as you want and then press play and see how you did. But either way, we're going to do it together. I'm just going to grab a pen here. When you look at this first line, what we can see is that there are definitely, it's a really a slant and it's consistent. We can see here how everything is going along these planes here. Everything's curving towards the same direction, at the same angle and if you pass lines through it, you can see that a little bit better. Everything else is that the spacing we've got this L here and there's equal distance between each one, they definitely take a dip and move to the next one. Those are some notes to take with that one. What about this one? What about the slant and squashes? What about the curves? How is it different, this one? Now we've put stroke service. You can probably see pretty easy. This one goes up and down, kind of like the loops that we tried earlier on the practice sheet, very up and down that T goes straight up and the S is pretty straight up and down. The other thing to know is, I just want you to be able to look and see here they have their down stroke, upstroke, down stroke, upstroke, down stroke. Everything a little bit closer together and that's the other thing to know. Down here, I wrote consider the weight for a reason because I just want you to note this is a print. This is not script lettering, but it's print and that's still a part again, lettering is to do print, and you can put the weight in different areas to change the look of your letter. You can do it on just one side like so, or you could do it on both sides. For instance, this O only has it on one side, but if it was a different type of font, you could widen it and make it on both sides and it changes the look of the letter a little bit. So just take note of the width and remember the width is how wide any stroke of the letter has, particularly the upstrokes and down strokes. See the patterns. This one, let's see here, if we put our stroke in it, it's little bit similar to that top one. But there's one very, very key difference and hopefully you already noticed that they're really close together, it's very slanted, probably a little bit more like your own handwriting. Things are very close together, whereas up there, things would be a little bit more like this. The E's will be further apart, that would be a little bit further apart. You see the difference how close and how far apart that can really change the way your lettering looks. The last one here is the reason I did it is just because this one can be a little bit hard if you're not used to it, it's the longer stretching out. It's not a super great example, but when you look at these, they are more stretched out and they're also short. Just try making more distance in between your letters when you're writing. Just pick a word you're really familiar with, your name is a great one to start with and just write your name with stretching out your letter is more. If I write Jess, I might write it like this normally, but I'm going to stretch it out, and just put in that counter right there, which is this piece right here in between. I'm going to put more and I'm going to stick it out there a little bit farther. I do it faster because it makes it a little bit more consistent when I'm doing it the same uniform in-between each one. If you do it faster, your muscle memory will kick in and it will work. I hope this actually was a helpful exercise for you, and my intent was really so that when you are working on handwriting projects or you see a style that you really like and you're taking inspiration from it, you want to try to make something on your own that you can look at it and pick out the characteristics. Was the slant? What's the weight? The spacing? That way it can help you develop your own, if you know the different components that make up that font or style. Hopefully, that was helpful to you and hopefully it threw you back to the last lesson and these loops and different things I had you try, because they will come in handy when you try different fonts. 8. Shape & Embellishment: On to the last lesson here. This is really the fun one that you can have instant gratification with, if you know what I mean, where you will apply this right away and get results. I really like this one. Remember back in I think it was the first video, I talked about the mid stroke, and that comes into play right now. The mid stroke is that middle part of any letter right here or right here. When you change the placement of it, rather than it being just in the middle, which is where we're pretty much always used to it being, if you move it up or down, it really changes the personality and look up your letter. Up here we have it high and over here we have it low. Look at how different the letters in your font can look just by moving the mid stroke. Really easy. Now, what if you make your letter wider or skinnier? That totally changes the look. Then if you combine these tips by moving the mid stroke low and making it wide, it can give a silly look. Then over here you can make it skinny and tall. Then put the mid stroke up high, that changes the look altogether again, or you can do it a different way and do the mid stroke high on a wide letter or low on this skinny letter. There you go. Look at how easy and how simple it is. It's just moving that center line to a different location and making it consistent with all the letters. Totally changes the look of your font. Easy-peasy in every time. The midpoint on the Y right here is near the bottom where these two meet. We want to put it towards the bottom. So fun. The next is the embellishing tips. Again, instant gratification, I love it. The gradient fill is the first one we have here. I just want you to think of that one basically if you've ever shaded in something even if it was in a coloring book, you put more pressure down when you're wanting it to be darker and they use gradually lighten it, which is a little hard to do with a marker. But same idea with the gradient fill. You're just using lines. Instead of putting pressure and getting lighter, you're just going to go closer and then gradually get farther apart as you go up, and it'll give you that look. Here, it's super simple. You just put a line in the center here. Especially fun if you grab a color and just do it with a color. Really fast embellishment, brightens up your wording, and gives it some complexity. The diagonal line, so just make sure you have that straight edge so you can make the consistent movements. If you do it close enough together, you don't have to be super [inaudible] about the distance between each line, but that's up to you. The chevron fill, similar idea to the diagonal lines, but this one can go awry pretty quickly if you get your points messed up. What I recommend doing is just grabbing a ruler or a straight edge and putting a line straight down the middle part of your letter there, which is with a pencil. In that way when you take your pen, you're always hitting the line and your chevron won't go awry. Because if you miss that line, your points are off, your chevron is going to awry and is not going to look all right inside your letter. Just a tip there. Then you can always erase that pencil mark here. The shadow. This one can be slightly tricky for some so I am going to show you a couple examples of it. This, I really like how it can just be a very finishing look. Can maybe up the professionalism or finishing look of your letter, so I use this pretty frequently. The key here is to pick two planes that you're going to have a shadow. When you're casting a shadow, usually it's from an angle if you're going to see two sides. But with lettering if we do it straight on, it just doesn't look quite right so we always want to have two. It's coming from one side or the other, underneath or below. You don't want to have it coming from just one side. You want to make sure it's coming from either above in this side or below in this side. Here, the light, if you will, is coming from above and it's casting down this direction which is why we have a shadow underneath and on this side because there's light here and there's light here. Now if you want to, you could do the shadow on the other side where the light is coming from the bottom come in the side. We wouldn't want light over here because the light's being cast on the bottom and on the side, so we're going to go on the other side. There you have a shadow on the upper side. Now, I don't personally really care for this type, but if you want to, you're welcome to do it this side. This one just makes more sense and you're going to see it most commonly in all of signs and billboards examples. This is the one you're going to see, is below and on the right side. It just works with the I flowing, aesthetically, it's more pleasing, but again, it's totally up to you. One little thing you can do to make this even more fun is to add little tick marks like these diagonal lines to the shadow. Just try to make sure they're roughly the same length and they're all going the same direction even when they change planes. If you need a straight edge to help you keep this, that's totally fine, just use that. Try to keep the same distance between each mark. That gives it a 3D look, so that's fun and easy way to up the embellishment there. You can also use this with script fonts. I will show you that real quick. Just remember where your light is coming from. The easiest way to do it again is, if you want to draw a little pencil out to help you remember, that's totally, remember, the light's coming from above so we're going to go below not on the side. Below the side. Here we go. It can work with script just the same as with a print. This one obviously is like probably the most simple and easiest, but it is a little deceiving. This actually can be a little bit difficult to pull off because leaving this inner space as a mind trick for us. When you're doing, say, an E and you go to make that mid stroke, a lot of us go like this, and then you're going to ruin your empty space here. That doesn't work for this look so you have to be very purposeful about leaving this empty space there. Same thing with the R, we would tend to across this and make it come over here. Got to be intentional. I've had plenty of times where I've done this where I've been starting a letter base and maybe I'm doing the word love and I get to V or I get to E and when I went to do this cross piece, I crossed it and a ruined the whole thing so now I don't have empty space anymore. Well, you just got to be willing to either color it in into a shadow or to just do horizontal stripes and just roll with it. 9. Hand Lettered Life: Here are just a couple of ways to use hand lettering in your daily life, how it can just make things really fun and energetic, and show your personality in whatever you're doing throughout your day. This is some ways in how I use it in my life apart from business. This is a journal that I worked through. I study my Bible, and when I take notes, I like to just make it fun. This is a really simple way to do it. It's just have a fun title or heading every time you're in a different part of your notes, and then, you can just do your regular handwriting, but that just spices it up a little bit. You could do a little bit more fun with your titles and headings that can just spice it up and make things a little bit more fun. That's how I do it when I journal or when I study and take notes. I use it all the time in my bullet journaling. If you are not familiar with my bullet journaling class, I showed you a little bit of that stuff there, and in all of the different headings I use, just all throughout my bullet journal. Here, I have a couple of other ways you can use your hand lettering. If you want to address an envelope, you can just use a different font on every part of the address and just make sure it's legible so the postmaster or post man can deliver it properly. Then also, of course, you can make a card for your friend or whatever it is, or even maybe a little inspirational thing to hang on your wall. 10. Challenge!: Guys, it's challenge time. I like calling it a challenge instead of homework because I just think homework, it's not as fun as a challenge. Here's your challenge is actually two-fold. First thing I want you to do is think of a song, lyric or a verse or a quote that inspires you, encourages you, challenges you, whatever. I want you to hand letter it using the techniques we learned or an idea that you have. You have got more skills in your toolkit now. I want you to apply them and make something that is beautiful to you and put it up somewhere. I want you to put it up on the wall or tech in a different journal or put it on your desk wherever you are going to see it pretty often. Part 2 is I want you to letter something every day for a month. You can start on the first of the month and finish whatever you want to do, but letter every day of that month, and then the end of the month, I want you to re- letter the piece that you started with, if you say you hang up, the averse, quote, whatever it was. I want you to redo that and you can change it up a little, but it would be really good if you tried to do the same thing. Do not copy it, just use the same style, and then I want you to see how you have progressed. Maybe you go back to the very first day you started and compare the last day of that month and just look at your progress because I guarantee you, you have gotten better. That is one of the beauties of any skill, but especially this one is just very tangible and you can see your progress. Really I can tell you from personal experience, practice makes better, not perfect because we are a hand lettering and that's part of the beauty is that every stroke is a little bit different than the last one. They do get better every time. I hope that you do this and that you are encouraged when you see your progress. I also hope that I get to see some of the work because one of the great things I love about hand lettering is you are seeing everybody's different personality and style come out in it. I would really love to see what you guys come up with, and things you are going through the class of me, it was a blast.