Lettering For Designers: Deep Dive Thin Brushpens | Sheila B | Skillshare

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Lettering For Designers: Deep Dive Thin Brushpens

teacher avatar Sheila B, Letterer + Maker

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

7 Lessons (40m)
    • 1. Class Intro

    • 2. Tools You Need

    • 3. Warming Up

    • 4. Styling Letterforms

    • 5. Using Lightbox

    • 6. Sketching & Inking

    • 7. Finalizing Design & Final Thoughts

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About This Class

Hi this is “Lettering For Designers: Deep Dive Thin Brush-pens”.

In this class you will learn about a specific type of brush-pens with thin tips. I really love using it for my lettering works for my clients and for fun.

I briefly take you through the basics of brush-pen letterings for those who have just started. You will learn how to write different letterforms using these tools. Brushpens with thin tips are a little hard to control at the beginning. But with practice and correct learnings, it gets really fun tool to work with. It helps you design really clean and elegant artworks.

I will take you through the design process that follows for a lettering work as I design a print art in this with you onboard.

  • You will learn how to come-up with different styles.
  • How to use lightboxes.
  • How to ink the letters properly.
  • How to digitize these inked arts.

If you have any doubts while following this class, I will be more than happy to help you out. You will learn new things and don't forget to upload your beautiful class projects. You can sign up and join me in this creative session.

Brushpens: I get a lot of question on brushpens that you need for following any class. So for this class you need any japanese calligraphy brushpens. You can get these in your nearby art stores. These are most of the times imported from china and go by different brand names. These are great for practicing. You can get these from ebay too. Just search chinese calligraphy brush pen set. You can easily get some similar brush pens.

For doing actual quality work or in case you don't find these, then go for some well known brands like pentel, kuretake or pilot. These are easy to find. Just make sure you get fine or thin tips. There are also some ultra fine tip brushpens, but they are just for detailing work rather than lettering itself. Thanks.


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Meet Your Teacher

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Sheila B

Letterer + Maker


I love doing calligraphy, lettering, illustrations and making things.

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1. Class Intro: Hello, this is I lettering for designers. Deep dive, then brush pens on skill share. In this class, you will learn about a specific type of brush pen with thin tips. I really love using it for my lettering, works for my clients and for fun. I briefly take you through the basics of fresh pin lettering. For those who have just started, you will learn how to ride different letter forms using these tools. Fresh pens with then tips are a little hard to control at the beginning, but with practice and correct learnings, it gets really fun, and it's a great tool to work with. It helps you design really clean and elegant artworks. I will take you through the design process that follows for a lettering work as I design a print art. In this with you onboard, you will learn how to come up with different styles. How to use light boxes, How Teoh Inc the letters properly. I will also share tips and tricks on how to transform those eat arts into versatile digital art. And that, too, in easy steps, you will learn new things and don't forget to upload your beautiful class projects. So enroll now and join with other students in this creative class 2. Tools You Need: in the previous brush pen lettering class, I taught you how to use a basic brush pen. Now, in this class, all introduced brush pens with thinner tips. This might sound obvious, but these air relatively tough to handle and control because the tips are thinner, so the difference between upstroke and down stroke is hard to achieve. We're going to write and ink a hand lettering art, so first thing we need is a mechanical or simple pencil and an eraser. This is the basic tool that is used in every art project. The next tool is a paper I usually use, a simple copier paper or sketchbook. For the drops, you can use any regular drawing paper or texture paper. If you want to add texture effect to your artwork, you can use any type of drawing paper you feel, which will be best for your our work. It doesn't need to be any specific thick paper or premium quality paper, but for these kinds of projects and brush lettering projects, I prefer a little bit thicker paper. I usually use the same quality of paper like the one in the last class. It helps if it's bleed proof. The best quality is around 1 50 g m to four brush lettering. Next set of supplies you need are thes brush pence. These are Japanese calligraphy brush pens in thick, medium and fine sizes. You get these at your nearby art stores. These are actually imported from China and go buy different brands. Names these air Great for practicing. You could get these from eBay to just search Chinese calligraphy brush pen set, and you could get some similar brush pens for doing actual quality work. Or in case you don't find these, then go for some well known brands like Penn, tell Cara Ta K or pilots these air easy to find. Just make sure to get fine or thin tips. There are also some ultra fine to brush pens, but they're just for detail. Ng work rather than lettering. The 1st 1 is a classical thinned brush pen. You can see the tip is like a thin brush. The 2nd 1 is the thinner one. This is what I'm going to use for writing. It's beautiful for invitation cards or to make lettering pictures. Finally, the last one is a bit thicker version. It's also really great to use, and it's also perfect for invitation cards and lettering pictures. Now you can see the difference between these beautiful brush pens. I wrote a simple hello to see what the down strokes will look like. You can purchase them and experience the difference. You will better understand the working difference of these brush pounds just by using them by experimenting with them, the 1st 1 that values for the rest of the class. You can write short sentences and beautiful letters with this pen. The second is the bit thicker version. The down strokes are a bit thicker but also perfect for letters and wedding invitation cards. Last one is the classical brush pens that you normally use. So these are the tools that you'll need to follow this class. If you are acquainted with how to use brush pens in general than you could skip the next lesson where we teach you how to gain control and learn basic letter forms 3. Warming Up: in this video, I'll show you how to use thin brush. Pen will practice, um, strokes, curvy lines and finally, upper case and lower case letters. Watch how closely the tip works. If you have a brush been with you, then try to follow my movements and how to control these tools. But first, how to hold this kind of brush pen? There's no difference between holding a basic brush pen and a thinner one, but as you need more control, try to hold the brush pen firmly. The method is also the same. Press the tip a bit harder when you draw down strokes and hold up the pen a bit. When you write an upstroke, it's important to master these practice strokes. Thes air the foundations for drawing different letter forms. Start your practicing by drawing simple straight lines. Push can constantly of it harder until you reach the end of the line and try to gain difference between upstroke and down stroke. If you cannot differentiate between upstroke or down stroke, try to do the extreme, which means when you are at the thin part of the line, just barely touched the paper and when you are drawing the thick part press harder this way . Your hand movement will understand and learn the difference. Practice at least two or three times to feel the usage of your brush pen. Next, I will continue with little curvy lines to draw curvy lines. Hold up the tip of your pen when you reach the end of your line and start practicing with less curved lines and then move on to more curved ones. I will write something similar to a lower case letter. Practice pushing with these strokes, and these are a few ways to practice drawing curves. Try to draw different kind of curves by varying its angle and direction along with curves. Try to draw lines with different angles with and thickness. After these, when you feel confident about the holding of your pen and working with it, continue practicing with some similar form of an O. Try to draw Oh, in continually like you are writing a word with only oh, in it. This will give you feel about how you should write whole word, then work with a little flourishing because you can complete your phrases and lettering pictures with beautiful decorations. Here we're practicing everything independently. And then in upcoming videos, we will understand how to combine them together as a hand lettering artists, you have to use your imagination. Draw curvy lines as you wish, or if you don't know how to do it. You can find several practice sheets on the Internet for this, and I have also provided some of them in my previous classes, and you could check them. You can get the basics by this class, but you have to nurture your skill and creativity by yourself. Keep the habit of practicing and find ways to be different and to be unique. Keep on practicing different shapes and flourishing until you can control your brush pen and draw anything before that. There is no way to stop now. We can continue with riel letters. We will start with the upper case letters, right, the simple alphabets because this is the most common and easy method toe. Learn how to use your brush pin and to learn writing with it. Here I will show you how you can write from a to H, but you can write it until Z, of course, repeat it until you feel like it's easy for you to write. You can follow my brush lettering class toe, learn each of the letter forms and you can also follow my practice sheet from Project Section of this class that will help you practice and understand how a letter form works. The difference between up Strug and down stroke is the basic of any calligraphy tool, and the process of writing uppercase letter is the same as you create any shape. While practicing, you can vary the style of alphabets and experiment with different curves and angle. In the process. You may come out with something interesting and have fun while practicing. Enjoy the creative freedom. Let's continue with the lower case letters. In lower case, I will show you from alphabet A to F lower case or curvy ER and more interesting to create than upper case as they have more scope of creativity. But in the same time, they're harder to draw and control, and you should work on maintaining right and consistent curves. Try to create lower case letters with varying style and curves, practice all the alphabets when you've practiced these alphabets, try to transition the letters to each other. First, write some simple words like how grades or love, for example, and start with small words. Or you can practice something like a B, C or F G H. I chose How D e f and leg here. Keep in mind to take a pause after around every letter or else your hand will be tired and your letters will be wavy and ugly. Repeated three times. At least try to build a practice routine, warm up with practice strokes and try to get perfect at it. You can try different styles off letter forms and start with these basics, and eventually you will develop your own style of letter forms. 4. Styling Letterforms: in this video, I'll continue with the basics and how to practice some short sentences, and I'll show you two different styles of writing. First, you can start with really simple sentences like levy so much or have a great time. For example, you can also choose any small quote you'd like. I will go with Feel yourself greats. Now I'm showing you the basic style. It is the more classical and common style of writing, and it's also the most used lettering style while riding. Just make sure you take a pause, often between letters, and try to write every letter slowly and not too fast, and you do not need to hurry. Try to maintain the curves, angle of each alphabet and the consistent spacing between each words and each alphabets and try to work on details and always keep basics in your mind if you need to. You could use guides and spacing and angle, but it can be time consuming if you don't hold the pen correctly or try to write in a hurry than your artwork will become wavy, irregular and just ugly. Every mistake you do here will affect your artwork. This the first style. I enlarged the upper side of the letters and write the next one smaller. I think it looks lovely for a lettering project, and this is the creative freedom you have at your style to your artwork. And you can add your personality to your design and you can change the way you draw, and you can create a new style every time. You could still make it unique. Just use your imagination here. I'm trying to transit between letters. Slowly, you can separate them and right just a few ones next to each other. Try every form and repeated a few times. This is the second style. This is something similar to a natural handwriting from the old ones, right, the first letters a bit larger and transition the next one's cursive. If you want your sentences to be in the line, use your ruler and draw thin draft line with your pencil. You can use different styles to depict different moods, different eras or different theme. You can use them to add connection between words, use them as ornaments or make your artwork look beautiful. As part of the practice, choose any theme culture, mood or anything and try to understand their essence and reflect them in your hand lettering artwork. In this way, you will learn about different inspirations and how to reflect them in your design work. So these were just two versions for a same sentence or phrase, but you could try tones of style. Get inspiration from the Internet, get inspired by other designer styles. But don't worry. If you don't know how to start it or which style you'd like to practice, just keep trying. After some practice, you will start understanding and lastly, always repeated a few times before you write a sentence and you'll feel how to curve the strokes and the lines. 5. Using Lightbox: in this section, I'm going to show you how to use lightbox for sketching. There's no built in lamp to my table, so I used an eliminator under it. It has really strong in perfect light, so I use it, and these things were great for sketching. You can buy one on Amazon, or you could use a D. I Y version of it. The good thing about using light boxes while doing lettering is you can come up with new ideas at a faster rate by Iterating. Just a few things. You have the freedom to overlay each dropped and compare different elements. Before you work on any design, try to play with different layout and elements of design. So let's see how it works for sketching purposes will need our mechanical pencil. You can use any regular pencil for this purpose. Then you will need eraser and a sharpener. Lastly, any regular paper to sketch on here. I'm using a few pieces of copy paper that I cut in half First, which on your lamp or lightbox, of course, and picture paper above the copy glass here, I'll show you a common mistake. During sketching. I just rode a simple ABC to demonstrate it. So when you start writing or sketching a word or a sentence, you have to write the letter strongly. Otherwise it will be too light to trace. As you can see here, you won't be able to see it clearly on other piece of paper that you put above the original one. So there are two solutions for this problem. The first solution is that you can write it twice to make it darker, and this way you could see it on other paper. The second solution is that you could put extra pressure while writing or right with darker pencil. In this way, also, you could see the design on the other paper and trace it easily. As you can see, tracing will be easier in the case of bottom two, as it is easily visible, while the top one is not recommended. This could come in handy when you're tracing detailed artwork Now. I had wrote a sentence in advance from the final quote that we're going to write soon for the print design I'm using for this class. It is on Lee with the heart. I sketched some stars around it to make it look more beautiful, and it's a great practice to use illustrations and drawings of simple, easy elements related to your words or phrases. I will now put another piece of paper above the original one you'd like to copy. Now I will start tracing it. You can see here that it is easily visible, and now I can trace it easily with keeping all details. While tracing, you can use paper tape to stick the corners. It will be handy while tracing well detailed artwork you can choose. If you'd like to copy the original calligraphy with your pencil or write it on later, you can copy it if you want more refinements or you wanna ADM or elements to it. Here, I'm tracing with pencil. Tracing is a time taking process, but you have to be patient at this stage and work slowly and work on details. The other way is that you can write it directly with your brush pen above your lightbox table. Both methods air good, but I think it's more comfortable if you just copy it first and then write it gently with your brush pen. You can avoid any error by tracing first with the pencil and giving MAWR effort. Now we'll continue with our final phrase 6. Sketching & Inking: So now, as we know how to write letters continually and how to sketch are lettering pictures, let's write a whole phrase. Finally, for the print design I was talking about, I chose a beautiful quote from the Little Prince, written by Antoine de Saint Exupery. It is on Lee with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye. I sketch my final phrase in advance. That's what I'll copy to my other paper and rewrite it with my brush pen, which is also called Thinking process. So there's no role how to compose your words for a lettering picture, but it's always a good way to start. If you follow the most important rules of design, like balance, margin spacing and other basic stuff, you just have to use your imagination and sketch the words next to or underneath each other . You can erase them with your eraser. This is why I recommend pencil sketch First. You can correct your mistakes before moving on. The main thing is to try to position the whole picture in the center, because I think it looks the best if it's symmetrically aligned after the sketching we're going to rewrite it with our thin brush pen, so I try to copy a similar riding like the one I sketched earlier. You can use tracing method after initial sketching. If you are looking for refinement or playing mawr with the designs, don't worry if it's not the same, it's This is the best way that you can practice sketching your calligraphy pictures. In this way, you can slowly become expert in hand lettering. At this stage, feel free to experiment and to add creative flair to your design, try to write the words irregularly in large or make them smaller and extend your ending lines. Make connections and try to add a concept to your design. And this will add meeting tear artwork, which will help you in explaining your design in front of your client or audience. And if you feel like you messed up, just go back and erase your word and try to correct it beautifully. I recommend writing some important words from your quotes. A little bit bigger. They'll catch the eye, follow the hierarchy process. The important element deserves more attention, and the lesser important elements will get lesser attention. So it will have less space in the design you could see here. I'm sketching with full control, and I'm giving it all the time it requires. Remember, hand lettering is a piece of art, which demands a certain amount of time in each of its process. You will have to give all the time it needs to add perfection to your artwork when you finish, write down the name or where your phrases from this is optional, but I usually like to credit them, So this is how it looks after sketching. Now, when you're happy with the sketch, start rewriting it with your brush pen. It will be a bit longer writing for a starter, so make sure you take a pause after each letter and write it slowly. Your hands will be tired. And don't worry if it won't be the same as your sketch. Just try to follow the lines While I'm working on banking. I would like to share some tips to improve your brush pin lettering. First is try to break every word you write. Every work can be broken into alphabets, work on single alphabets at a time and try to do it in single strokes and practice simple strokes and work for consistency. Go slow and do it with all your control and explore various hand lettering. Artist's work. See them and learn from them and do deliberate practice by delivered. I mean, train yourself with a purpose whenever you practice, do with a purpose and in given time frame. Lastly, keep your mind and eyes open to the world and travel a lot. Traveling more will make you a better designer. Inspiration is everywhere and make a habit to find them and turn them into your artwork. So these were the few tips from me. I hope these will help you in learning quickly. Come back to the print arts now. I will quickly finish the thinking process. Now. I'm finished with the process when you're ready with the phrase erases sketching lines and you can scan it to your computer for further process. In the next video, we will work on the computer and transform this basic ink into a versatile arts 7. Finalizing Design & Final Thoughts: in this section, I'll teach you how to finalize a design and do a lovely lettering. Art in Adobe Illustrator These days digitalize ing a artwork is norm. If you want to do it for a client or sell it on Etsy, even if you want to explore different styles and variations, it's the best option. You can even make it print ready This way. Let's first see how the final result will look simple and beautiful. In this video, I will share my process. If you're new BTO illustrator, feel free to try whatever I'm showing here. That way you will learn really quick, and if you already know how to use it, then you might have your own workflow to do this type of work. I hope you also find it helpful. First, I will open your original scanned lettering artwork in Adobe Illustrator. Scan it in 306 100 dp I to get detailed image. Then I will create a new document by pressing control and or by going to file menu and then choose new option here, I will select an a four size document. You can choose any size as per your requirement and we choose C m y que. Basically, if you want to use it, just online. Choose RGB, then C M y Que is the color mode used for printing purpose and R B G is for online viewing . Now we're going to copy the original lettering image that I scanned. You could copy by selecting the image and then pressing control. See in PC and command, see on a Mac, then paste. It's in new document and resize it. You can pace by pressing control V in PC or Command V in Mac. Next, I will move the image outside the art board and then we're going to vector. Rise are lettering with the image trace option. You can find it inside the Windows menu or at the talk after selecting a J pig image. So select the image and then choose the black and white logo option from the present option . And make sure your preview section is ticked to see the results immediately for tracing black and white image. I prefer black and white logo option as it gives the best result in case of black and white image. We don't need the white part, so just tick ignore white. In most cases, we don't require a white part. You can check all other options as they are useful in different projects and explore them to understand how and when to use these specific options. Keep preview option to see their final results. After tracing, it is important to take a closer look to see every part of the writing is vector rised correctly, and the Tracy needs to be closed to the artwork. Otherwise, it will lose its handmade feel. If the result is not as you expected, you can roll back and change the options to see which one works best. You can see that the letter why is not perfect, so I'm going to refine it with the threshold function. If you're happy with it, click expand at the upper menu, and it's vector rised. If you're unable to follow this part, you can take your time and try it multiple times to get a hold of it. Now we have some transparent vectors that we don't really need, so you can easily select and delete them with the Magic Wand tool. But before using Magic Wand Tool double click on the writing to select that layer only now I would like to move my calligraphy right in the middle of my art board. So select the artwork and align in horizontally and vertically under the O linemen. You make sure it's aligning to the art board. I'm going to add a cull arised background to my lettering. Now this is the part where you can actually play with different colors and effects before you finally go with the best design. For that, choose a rectangle tool from the tools. If you click once anywhere in the document, a pop up window will appear where you can enter the dimension of the rectangle that you'd like. You can edit the size any time through the pop up window. I will set it to the A four size, which is 21 by 29.7 centimeters, and after typing the measurements, click on OK and the rectangle is ready. Next, I will align it in the center under the align window, but the background layer is above the traced artwork, and that's why it's not visible. So I will have to goto layers panel and arrange it accordingly. I'll bring the background layer down and trace layer at the top. But as both are black, you are still unable to see the artwork. Next, I will change the color of the writing to do something else to see the difference between the background and the phrase. Now I will change the color of the background. I chose some pastel yellow shade that I think it's going to match with the quotes. If, after selecting a color, you see the gray color than you will have to set the color window C M y que from grayscale Now select the hand lettering and change the color. I think some browned, dark, golden or sand color would be beautiful with the background, so I chose some color like that. Keep on checking with color, combination or shades. Whatever looks best for your project, I'd like to change the color of some words, also a bit darker to highlight them. So I click inside the layer and select my words. Then change the colors. You can use color to show the importance of any word or part of your design to set them apart from the rest of the design. As I'm doing here, I'm using darker shade to show importance of these two words. If you find a lovely shade, you can easily modify the other words with the same by selecting them and use eyedropper tool. Select the eyedropper tool, then pick the color and drop it where you want to change. Now it's time to change the color of the author, but before that, I think the name should be somewhere else, so I'd like to move it a bit aside. Just select the calligraphy and double click to get inside the layer. Now select names and move it with your mouth somewhere else. I'm trying to balance the design as it is a vector. Now you can edit it in the way that you'd like. By adjusting the credentials, I'm balancing the negative space of the artwork after, if you're happy with the whole align in the center of the art board. So we are about to complete the artwork. It's just some decoration with stars that are missing. I think they'd look lovely. If I add some little stars here. I could use the fentanyl for this. Just draw a line from two points and change the inside color to the strokes I'd like to change the lines to Round Corner so I could modify this under the stroke window. Here I am creating one line with pen tool and I'm using same line to create stars using selection tool. And you could duplicate them by selecting the line with your mouths and holding the vault key at the same time. Move and rotate them as you wish. And finally, it has to be a star group. The lines we just need to put it somewhere and make a few copies to finish the design to make duplicate. You can select the object by holding Ault Key and you could drive the object modified the size and the strokes as you wish, and it's ready. Lastly, I'd like to change the color, so I just click on the color of the strokes and modify it to the darker brown. When you're happy with it, select all and group the artwork and save it with shortcut. Control s in PC and command s in Mac. You could save it in different four months as per your requirement. If you want to use it for web or social media, then make sure to save it in the smaller scale and size. So that was how you designed such print arts. Using then brush pens. You can actually do more with it. In the short class, we've had a chance to experience the thinner version of brush Pen. We practiced initial strokes, and slowly we moved on to creating complex shapes, alphabets and letters. And finally, in the project we combined, all are learning to create a beautiful artwork. In between the learning process, I shared many tips on creating better hands, lettering, artwork and how to use a light box. So overall, I have covered many things that you may find useful while working with brush pens. In my upcoming classes, I will cover more advanced methods of using Brush Ben different techniques, and we will do different kind of projects together. But the project you will be doing for this class is that you will be creating a hand lettering artwork. It can be just a word or a complete phrase, and you could choose your favorite quote. But the tool you will be using is thinner version of brush pen. Because this class was all about using thin brush guns. You're free to choose the dimension, theme, style and effect that you want to add in the artwork and be creative and enjoy the process . Lastly, digitize it in Adobe Illustrator and share the final artwork with skill share Community. I hope you guys had fun in this class and I would love to see how you come up with something great. You can start working on the project as soon as you get a grip on such brush pens. Use the learning from this class and you could follow exact steps that I taught you. Or you can come up with something creative that you feel could be amazing, as I mentioned earlier. Enjoy the process and creative freedom. So I hope you enjoy the class. You could leave a positive review if you find it helpful. If you have any suggestions for my classes or something you have doubt about, you can write it in the discussions. Thanks again for joining me and see you in my next class. Bye.