Making Your First Brush-Lettered Quote. | Lilah Higgins | Skillshare

Making Your First Brush-Lettered Quote.

Lilah Higgins, Brand Design & Business Coaching

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7 Lessons (33m) View My Notes
    • 1. Welcome

    • 2. Tools & Tech Used

    • 3. Terms (Face + Slide)

    • 4. Practice Strokes

    • 5. Styles & Preferences

    • 6. Kerning & Spacing

    • 7. Negative Space


About This Class

Create gorgeous, flowing words and letter combinations for your art or digital design work.

Learn an art form that lets you add your personal touch to your online space so you stand out among all the others.

Use hand lettering to capture and evoke certain feelings and sentiments in your work ... festive, passionate, bold, spirited, nostalgic, raw, free, wild, even fear or intrigue ...

Add a personal touch to your gifts, stationery, greeting cards, tee designs … anything you love to make for personal or business use.

Design a logo for yourself or clients, or your dream greeting card line - anything you can imagine - with lettering that you created and nobody else has

Combine lettering with your skillset so you have an advantage over the competition.

Enhance your illustrative work.

Find a style that is your own.

Learn the fundamentals of hand lettering to build a business.

Find a creative outlet that is super fun!


1. Welcome: Hey, and welcome to for the love of lettering. If you're in this course, it means that you treasure the art of hand lettering as much as ideo and you're ready to learn for yourself how to create words, letters and alphabets so that you can implement them into your original art and digital design. I'm so excited to help you learn the faded art of hand and brush lettering and show you my tricks for digitizing your own lettering so that you can use it in your personal brand, your business brand or your online. Before he began, I'm just gonna walk you through how this course and booklet works. Each module is going to teach you the terms and techniques behind hand lettering, but remember these lessons or just to get you started until you put pen to paper and start to develop your own style of lettering. Remember, you have to learn the rules before you could break them, and we love breaking rules. This is what brush lettering is all about, and that's why it's so much fun. Obviously, it has origins and calligraphy, but it's a much more personal and flowing and messy form of calligraphy. Now it's important to be in the right place and mindset when lettering, so make sure that you find a comfortable desk and comfortable desk. You will sit on the desk, so make sure that you find a desk in a comfortable chair to sit at. It's important that you're a little bit higher than the desk. Then maybe you would normally sit, you know, at a computer, but you want to kind of hover over the lettering a little bit. After you start to practice, you'll notice that your stress levels can affect your lottery, So try to find a quiet moment after maybe after the kids are in bed or the house is buttoned up for the night and settle yourself. It always start your session with a few practice strokes that you can remind your brain of the pressure and how it feels to drag your brush across the paper. There is a flow to hand lettering, so if your body in your mind or sporadic your hand lettering will look the same. This is supposed to calm your mind, not agitated. So if you find yourself frustrated, take a step back and maybe come back to it later. I have attached a separate little bonus video in here to walk you through these steps, but I'll walk you through them in here just to show you what I do to prep before I hand letter. So here's what I suggest you do when you start. You take a few deep breaths and get your body relaxed and let it kind of fall with each breath. Adjust yourself in your seat until you're in a comfortable posture. Not too rigid, because you don't want to be stiff, but you wanna You wanna have your posture correct. Grab your brush or the tool you're going to be using, whether it's a marker or a pen and let it kind of fiddle around in your fingers to get a feel for the weight and so you can have a little more control over it, but the pen to paper and add pressure. You can use your practice sheets or billing paper. Exhale when your down stroke, hold your breath on the upstroke and release your breath as you release the brush. If you've ever shot a gun or bone marrow or even a camera, you'll recognize this technique the up strokes are generally the hardest to do. So. If you execute on that pause between your inhale and your Hexcel, you'll get the steadiest strokes. Remember, if it's stressing you out, take some time away and come back to it later When used correctly. Hand lettering can be a form of meditation and can really calm yourself down. Remember that right now, as you're practicing, this is about getting the techniques and helping your and helping to train your brain. And so it's not about getting the perfect alphabet quite yet. That's what's so fun about hand lettering. It's not a confined art that has a lot of rules and rigid techniques. You can really, really run with it, I promise. By the end of this course, and after a lot of practice, you'll begin to love the results of your lettering, as which is you love the practice 2. Tools & Tech Used: this video, we're gonna cover the tools and tech we use to hand letter effectively. And Ah, this is a suggestion. There are a lot of tools out there, but these are my favorites. So first you need a pencil and eraser. So I used Pink Pearl and just any number two pencil. And I use the Stetler Tripolis fine liner. So this is, ah, dry, safe pen, which means it won't smudge after you write with it. It's great. 11 it They come in a much different colors, too, and then I use prisma color brush markers so they've got a finer tip on that one end and brush tip on the other end, and you get pretty thick with this brush tips. That's really nice. Next is Ah, this is from Amazon. This was a kind of a set of a bunch of colors, has really thin end and a really thick end as well. This and is full of ink, but it does break down pretty quickly, so not a long term solution. You can also just use a regular paintbrush. I recommend a five or a six, something that's maybe a little more fine pointed than this as you're starting out and any type of guy you recommend Higgins eternal ing. When this tool is my favorite tool, this is a pin. Tell brush fine point pen, and this is great because you can get kind of that reflect. But you can also squeeze. The ink is actually in the pen, which means that you can squeeze and get more. You can get a really thick line or a really thin line because the fine tip of the point you can pretty much use anything for this course. This is just what I recommend, but it needs sort of pen that is your favorite. That you could news really well is good enough. As far as paper goes, you're gonna want something heavy at least £100. I used the Excel multimedia bike, Anson and I love it. I use every size that they have. They've got the small piece, but they've also got a bigger full size pad. This one is a hunter's £98 so at least 100 if not close to 100. So as far as tech goes, we use adobe capture, and this is a great app that will enable you to photograph your artwork, do a snapshot and then you could upload that right into Adobe illustrator. Bring used the app over. This is where we're going to implement our work. This is where we can add in our text and make it totally custom and usable for social media . You can see more about how to get your artwork online in the Wilshire editorial, and that will help you If you are actually sitting at your desk and want to get a little more detailed in your work and little bit more clean. That is a great option as well. But if you don't have illustrator, it'll be capture combined with over is a great option. 3. Terms (Face + Slide): so there are a lot of techniques you use in your own handwriting that is going to be implemented into your hand lettering. You just don't know yet. But we're gonna show you this video will cover the terms will be using in the course so that you actually know what we're talking about. So this is an important one, so don't skip it. This video, we're just going to cover all of the different letter term, so you'll see if you downloaded the notebook or if you bought a print version, you'll see the page that looks like this. You have to learn the rules before you can break them. This basically is showing you kind of the basics and how letters are composed and lined up next to each other. You can see the first half the you can is all along the lines where it should be. The second half is all different, and that is where brush lettering turns into tons of fun because you don't have to stick with the classic him Letter early classic calligraphy as on the left side. You get to you break the rules so we'll cover all the points in this diagram so you could become familiar as I'm talking in the course you can understand. Um, what I'm talking about The 1st 1 is the a center line. This is basically as high as you want to get. And like I said with hand letter and you can get higher than this. But it kind of gives you a good guide. The next one is the waistline. This is the top of your lower case letters. So as you can see, the the and the you and you and the and and and can are all below that line, or at least right up to that line. And then you can see the letters in the lower case. Letters in break and them are all kind of dragon and not following those lines. The next one is the writing lines, the bottom of your letters. Again, the lower case letters are meeting this, as are the main parts of the upper case letters in the calligraphy side. And then on the the right side, you'll notice that they don't follow those lines. And the final is the dissenter line. So this is where your wise dropped down your jays drop down all of the letters that have any sort of flourish at the bottom. Those are down to that dissenter line, as you can see it in the break them area. It doesn't have to be down to that, or it could be passed that if you wanted it to be, and the first part of a letter we're going to cover is the descend er. So this is any line that drops below the writing line. The exit stroke is any stroke that ends a letter that doesn't continue into the next letter . So it's the last, generally the last letter on a word. The next one is the counter, and this is that is the space inside of any sort of letter that has a loop that closes also the stem similar to the dissenter but doesn't drop to the dissenter line. This is in a sender, swash. This is anything that is above on the Ascender, which is the opposite of a dissenter, obviously, and is more of a flourish that adds to the letter. The tail is similar to an exit stroke but doesn't always have to be. The end of the word can be something that's in the middle of a word that connects one letter to the next. This is the leading stroke. So it's where you begin. It can be on any letter, Um, and doesn't have to be at the beginning. Doesn't have to be in the end of the middle. It can be any of any starting point on the letter, basically. And finally, this is the Ascender. Obviously anything that goes up to the center line or just past the waistline. And that's your basic letter terms. So what I do talk about stuff in the course that is, You can reference this if you need to remember what is what. Basically, once you learn the rules, then you don't have to follow them. So this is a very, very loose guide. When it comes to brush lettering, do you have the ability to not follow the guides so enjoy 4. Practice Strokes: this video, We're going to just go over some practice strokes. So we've got a couple different categories here and feel free to copy this page and print out multiple times. If you bought the tangible workbook, um, you can either put on a copy paper or you can download it here in the module. So we're gonna start with pressure strokes, thes air strokes, that air going down as you're going to add more pressure as you go down. And they don't have to be tapered at the top of the bottom, but they can be stylistic preference. Really, this exercise is just to get you in control of your brush. You can do thick lines by England, your brush down and get some texture in there also taper the top of the bottom. So use the practice freehand space to do different styles and have a little fun. - Next we're gonna do is the pressure and release stroke. So any time you're going down, you're pushing your adding pressure. Any time we're going up, your really seen pressure, you're gonna do it as light as you can. So the goal with ease strokes is to get thick as you go down and it's thin as you can as you go up. As you're going through these, don't be afraid to start and stop if you need to, especially as you're practicing, the next section we're going to do is Oval Stroke. So this is for anything like a D or an A or B, anything that has a round shape in it. And so you'll see. We start going from right to left, and you're gonna add pressure as you go down the left side and then up light. Touch the right side. Feel free to get creative with these. They don't have to be perfect circle. You can have them be more oval or, you know, even flat, and you can get kind of a stick as you want on one side. It's the Knicks you want are very anywhere in between. - For the next part we're going to do leading an exit stroke. So this is really good exercise to help with your fluidity. So again, light on the upstroke, think on the down stroke and try and get it as fluid as you can without picking up your brush. If possible. - The next thing we're gonna practice is descend er strokes. So these are anything like a why or a P or an f Anything that goes below your riding line in your waistline again, you're gonna start at the top. Pressure on the down stroke less pressure on the upstroke. Let it very in between. As you're practicing for this, we're gonna use the Tripolis fine liner. I'm gonna show you how to do what's called faux calligraphy. So you're gonna actually outline the shapes you see here to practice, and then you're gonna fill in the part that is thick. This is a really good way if you have trouble with the brush and you're not very practiced with it, but you want to accomplish pretty lettering, you can go in use curse if use, you know, just regular handwriting and then fill in where you would put the down strokes. It's a nice little trick. Then you can also do a variant. So if you do, you know you do your down stroke with your brush. And then if you can't get that upstroke like you wanted to, you could go back in with your fine point pen and add in the up strokes. Remember that there are lots of ways to practice thes strokes, but this is a really good way to just get you. Ah, your hand in the mood and your mind in the state it needs to be. And you'll see every single letter that you can create can be found within these practice strokes. And so, for example, here lots of ways you did, you know, just the thin outline. Then you can go back in and add the thickness to it, and then it gives that effect that is, brush lettered. But those thin lines are very, really consistent. So feel free to watch this video as many times as you need as you're practicing again. If you want to print out multiple pages of this practice page, you're welcome to do that and download on below. Have fun and I will see you within the individual letter videos 5. Styles & Preferences: remember that this isn't calligraphy. This is brush lettering. So it's Mento. Have your personality and mood injected into it. There aren't many rules that you can break if you're intentionally doing it, so readability is important. But it's actually about super necessary. For example, a sign in the wedding that's directional and telling people how to get to the reception and the food pretty necessary. You should make it readable. But a sign on the mantle is not as important to be read, especially if a lingering glance what you're going for, it can just be pretty. So here's some styles and preferences in your lettering. I'm gonna kind of walk you through how you can use your different letter in, but also the different techniques in the different styles within lettering. So the 1st 1 in my favorite way to incorporate lettering into my work is in my local designs, so you can see how stale editing that's not brush lettering that's actually choose a pen and added that texture in paired with another font. And then I also have legacy leather, which is totally hand lettered except for company, obviously, and the night illustrated in that feather and, um, this is almost classic calligraphy, but it has more of a modern Western spin on it, and I was really, really fun with wild and grace that one is actually what they call folk calligraphy. So it's similar to classic calligraphy but doesn't use the calligraphy nip, which is the pen that is, you know, pointing. It's really classic looking. I did this so I, you know, penciled out the words and then I penned them in. And then I filled in the thicker parts with, uh, I think one of the Tripolis fine liners that I use, um so doesn't have to be fancy with a clear if you bend. What if you know the down strokes are thicker, the up strokes or thinner you can do what is called folk calligraphy. The next one in the middle was in common grounds. I was a coffee shop that's local, and it's actually based off of the owners handwriting, which is all over the coffee shop and so totally fun to take her style and incorporate that into a more brush font that could then be used in her logo. Also, she works hard early. This one was tons of fun that is brush lettering. But we used the technique of overlaying an image, and we'll show you how to do that. In the tutorial section of the course, you can take any sort of picture, any sort of texture and overlay it. So it makes adds that really cool watercolor effect. Even though it wasn't watercolor, so brand elements these could be used in social media on your website. That ready to make an impact is actually a button on one of my current clients websites, so you can do all kinds of stuff with hand lettering. This is promotional materials so you can see it's laser engraved on a wooden box we've incorporated into photography and also printed in on boxes and products and gift cards and all kinds of stuff like that product designed. So we got mugs and tease you conduce do blankets or snuggies or I don't know whatever else you put cool stuff on a picture for your grandma. Anything you could think of invites imprint. So Ah, this is part digitized, part hand lettered invitation on the left Tons of fund incorporated my hand lettering but also used fonts also used um, different digital techniques to incorporate all that. The middle one was used with a brush and mixed with a pen, and so I used the brush for the thick parts pin for the thick parts. It's an interesting twist on how you can incorporate your brush work with your pen work and then mama Boss totally brush tons of fund. Adul those Sprinkles on there and make a mess. Uh, one of my favorite prints that we've had in our shop before. A few of my inspirations for you want to check out the different, um, some really different styles of hand lettering. Lindsay's letters is great. She does kind of fun and whimsy stuff. Molly jocks. She is my hand lettering idol. She's amazing. She is very, very clean. Very, um, classic work. She calls it Modern calligraphy. Um, and it's anywhere from classic calligraphy all the way up to brush lettering, and her stuff is gorgeous. Ah, also Lizzie. From this unscripted life, she does a really, really, really, really interesting take on hand lettering, as you can see in her logo, which was hand lettered by her, um, definitely breaking the rules, definitely having fun and um, not necessarily readable all the time. You really have to stop and look at her work, which I absolutely adore. 6. Kerning & Spacing: so the spacing and lettering is called Kerney. If you spent any time on design websites, you'll learn that Kernen is kind of a frustrating point for some designers because it has to be perfect or it's really noticeable. So Kernen is the space between each letter and helps create balance. Went off centered letters are straighten up, and this also goes back to negative space. So, for example, Oh, actually, So, for example, in my shirt, you got weak to make the A's create a little bit of awkward negative space, so actually moved them over. So it's not spaced correctly, but with the negative space. But with the negative space that's there, it looks balanced. Here are some examples in Kernan, where white spaces are used to your advantage and not as a distraction. So good Kernan matters. And I'll tell you why. This is a funny way to understand why Koerting is important. Keming the results of improper Kerney and so you can see that the are in the end, are smashed together, making the world look like Keming. And it's funny because, um, there's just a lot of ways this can go wrong. So Kernen is important in that it makes your message clear, and it helps to balance out your word and make sure that people are able to read it. So basically, it's the spacing between each letter. Here's some examples of a wrong turn, a good current and bad curd. Good curtain. You can see those lines on the bottom image. They give you kind of an example of what a good current looks like. And it's not always exactly spaced out the same amount you've got, like different spacing that helps your brain balance out the word. Here's a good example with script you can see in the this, and that is the the I. The upstroke of the eye goes into the S, so that's why it's not an acceptable form of currency. If you look below, you can see how the words flow together and there's no overlap. There's nothing that feels to squish together. And then these are just some funny and memorable ways to remember why Corning is important . As you can see, it looks like spam restaurant, and it looks like mega F word. I will refrain from cussing in this course, and also probably my favorite bad. Carney. Never. It's massage therapist, but it looks second says, Massage the rapist. So let's and learned as you are, um, spacing out your letters, practicing your words, Just make sure that you are creating appealing lines and, ah, word that feels composed. 7. Negative Space: making sure that your words are balanced is an important step in hand lottery. Oftentimes your lettering is great and your pressure's great. Your strokes are great, but it feels off balance and it doesn't. You don't like it at the end, and that's part of having it bounced, Is is creating something that's pleasing to the eye. So we call this composition in the art world, and this is when you can look at a piece and your eye goes exactly where you want it, Teoh. And then you lead the eye on a story. So a good way to test this is to take your favorite painting, um, turning around. Close your eyes and then flip it over fast and look at it. Where does your I go first and then watch where your eye looks. And this There's intentionality in art pieces where they want you to be looking on a certain path, and it it's a way for you to take in the information, and there's a real art to that, so it takes some practice when doing that with your hand lettering. There's also something we call negative space or a white space, and this is not actually have to be white. It can be any color, but basically it's the opposite of the object in the picture. So if you have a picture of, say, a bowl of fruit, the negative space in the white space is the table the fruit is on or the background behind the fruit. And sometimes these spaces can be composed in such a way that your eyes actually led off the paper. And so, in your lettering, you have to be careful about where you're leading the eye. So say you're writing the word play. You write your word P L A. Why? And then you draw a line pointing off of the paper that's going to confuse people, and they're going to stop looking at your arts. You want to make sure that you're creating the holistic piece that is, you know, uh, composed in such a way that you're helping people to linger. You're you're helping people. Teoh sit and stare at your piece, and it keeps them interested. So just be mindful of the negative and white spaces that you're creating as you hand letter . And remember, there's no shame in penciling before you hand letter. You can get the general shape of what you want to dio see how the composition is a race at a few extra lines. Or remove some lines that are distracting and leading your eye off of the paper and then go in and brush letter. So here are some examples of good white space and bad whites based. This lesson is on negative space, so it's also called white space in design, and it basically refers to the space that is the opposite of the main focus of your design . So referring to like a bowl of fruit, you have a picture of a bowl of fruit. The negative space would be the say, the counter. It was on the wall behind it. Anything else that's kind of not the main focus on these spaces can be distracting in a way . So here's a really good example, is kind of like our Class 101 Um, do you see faces or do you see a vase? So that's where negative space can become a distraction or can be used in ah, useful way. In this example, you see negative space used in a really interesting and intriguing way. CNC on the left. Ah, for the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. It's a fork, but it's also, uh, wine bottles. So it's an interesting way to you. Shape and design, um, and kind of used that negative area that you know, would normally just be between the tongs of the fork toe actually make a point and the one the right to the moon and back. I just loved this one because you still can read that it says Moon. But it's actually a visual picture. And so it's using that extra white space, that negative space to tell a story. So in the case of lettering, it's little less obvious where the white spaces and where it's not. And so this is an example of poor white space. So white species, um, telling a story. It's It's pointing your eye in a direction when you, you know, flip over that painting and look at the painting. Where's your eye going where? Where is it being led? Are you? Are you adequately revealing the whole picture and helping people actually want to stick on it so you can see the A. You know, the tail it comes out the A is totally leading your eye off and then ate a few. For sure. I back down that the tale of the bottom of the A on the right side is leaving your eye off the page, and you never really even read the word. Um, so it just doesn't feel composed well, and, you know, maybe you're not sure why, but it's usually usually has to do with the negative space surrounding the main object. Another bad example of whitespace negative space used poorly. A Z you can see the are interacts with the D in due and right, and it actually leads your eye down. And so you miss, do the It just looks like the right thing. And so, you know, if it takes that much effort to look at something and trying to figure out how to read it, um, usually are. It's usually because of the negative space and the distraction of the set up in the composition of the words. This is a really good example. I found online bad use of negative space, so it's hard to read. It's not pretty. It looks weird. It's off balance, your eyes distracted. You don't know where to look. It doesn't give you, you know, a really comforting, really beautiful thing to look at and to kind of cleanse your palate. These air Some examples I found online of excellently used white space and negative space. So, as you can see there tucked, the words are tucked right up into each other. But there's no there's no part where they intersect. There's no part where they feel like they're squished or they feel like, you know, they forced him in there. It's all perfectly placed, perfectly balanced. Um, the only thing I would say is the S and just could be moved Ah, back just a little to fill that space between it and the B. But besides that beautiful, beautiful example of how to use negative space to creating aesthetically pleasing arrangement of words, this one was tons of fun. I loved how the negative space in the main imagery you can tell it's you can look at it and you can say, Oh, there's like layers there, and it's I mean, it's just a black and white image. But you can look at it and, you know, with the A, you can see that there's that. It almost feels stacked. And so there's really interesting, ah, ways that white space is used here and the are you can see it looks like the loop is coming out in front of it. But then it's not for of the eye on the and so it makes just an interesting thing, and it keeps your I kind of looping back around and, um, staring at the image because it's aesthetic and it's it's pleasing to the eye, this one by Sean West So good love his stuff. This one is really a really simple example of how you can continue to keep looping your viewers back into your lettering. And so there's literally a loop and you go, you know, you h hustle. You're able to read it, you're up through the tea and then you're back down through the S. And then you continue to go around in circles and you just want to stare at it all day. And, you know, maybe before this training, you don't know why. But that's because it's using the space. It's filling and the space around it in a way that is attractive and fun to look at this one was also good. I loved how they put the A Y in the D. These tend to make awkward negative space. If you're not careful on so really interesting way, and you can see my eye starts about on the V. And I looked back up through the top of the V and then you're at the age and then you're back around happy. You look back around, that s sky lead your eye down to the D and around again. Those are just a few examples. Obviously it takes practice. It takes the eye to know, Um, you know what looks good and what is easy for you to interpret. And so this takes a lot of practice. So give yourself a lot of grace. Is your planning out your letters where whether you're doing quotes are just seeing awards and remember, it's OK to pencil in a race single back and and find that balance. Find that that negative and that that balance between negative space and the space that your letters were filling to create something that's aesthetically pleasing and fun to look at