Modern Brush-Lettering & Calligraphy: From Sketch to Screen | Cat Coquillette | Skillshare

Modern Brush-Lettering & Calligraphy: From Sketch to Screen

Cat Coquillette, Artist + Entrepreneur + Educator

Modern Brush-Lettering & Calligraphy: From Sketch to Screen

Cat Coquillette, Artist + Entrepreneur + Educator

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10 Lessons (59m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Supplies

    • 3. Letterform Practice

    • 4. Brush Lettering

    • 5. Script Lettering

    • 6. Scanning

    • 7. Removing Backgrounds

    • 8. Color

    • 9. Saving

    • 10. Bonus Metallics

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About This Class

Interested in learning modern hand-lettering skills AND learning how to bring your lettering artwork onto the computer?

This class is divided into two parts:

  1. Hand-lettering basics: supplies, techniques, and two different lettering styles
  2. Scanning our project and learning simple editing in Photoshop


You'll Learn Brush Lettering:

  • Supplies recommendations for brush pens, paper, and a scanner
  • Hand-lettering basics in six simple strokes
  • Modern brush lettering techniques
  • Modern calligraphy techniques

/ / / / / / / 

You'll Learn Digitizing Your Project:

  • Scanning best practices
  • Erasing the paper background
  • Playing with color and texture
  • Incorporating metallic textures into your lettering
  • Saving tips for maximum resolution


Class Resources:

Additional Resources:



Interested in licensing your artwork like I do? Check out my Skillshare class:

Meet Your Teacher

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Cat Coquillette

Artist + Entrepreneur + Educator

Top Teacher


Hello there! I'm Cat Coquillette.

I'm a location-independent artist, entrepreneur, and educator. I run my entire creative brand, CatCoq, from around the world. My "office" changes daily, usually a coffee shop, co-working space, or airport terminal somewhere in the world. 

My brand aspires to not only provide an exhilarating aesthetic rooted in an appreciation for culture, travel and the outdoors, but through education, I inspire my students to channel their natural curiosity and reach their full potential.

CatCoq artwork and designs are licensed worldwide in stores including Urban Outfitters, Target, Barnes & Noble, Modcloth, Nordstrom, Bed Bath & Beyond, among many others. I'm also a keynote sp... See full profile

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1. Intro: Hello, my name is Cat Coquillette and I'm back for my seventh skill share class, which is all about brush lettering. I'm the founder of Catcoq, which is my illustration and design brand. I create a lot of brush lettering, calligraphy, and topography pieces which are sprinkled throughout my portfolio. My brush lettering style is modern and on trend, and I'd like to incorporate humorous, inspirational, and relatable phrases, which is a big part of why my work sell so well. I use a variety of lettering styles like delicate calligraphy, thick brush lettering strokes, watercolor, umbrella effects, loose and gestural handwriting with ink. Oftentimes I'll incorporate illustrated elements like flowers or leaves throughout. You don't have to have good handwriting to be a great lettering artist. My own free hand looks like an anxiety teenage boys. But when I sit down with intention behind my lettering, it can turn into something beautiful. What makes my class today different from other lettering classes, is that it's divided into two parts. First, I'm going to teach you lettering basics from sketching out thumbnails, to lettering techniques with the brush pen. We'll create a piece of hand lettering artwork that we'll use in this second part of this class, which is learning how to scan in your artwork and enhance it in Photoshop. I'll show you the optimal scan settings to use, and how to remove the paper background so that you can have a transparent file so you can swap in different backgrounds and textures. In my work, I also use the transparent background file for apparel, clear phone cases, and stickers. While we're in Photoshop, I'll also show you how to play with different colors on your type and tada mask in a variety of textures. When we're finished, I'll show you how to save your high res file on your computer. Everything will be in an easy to follow step-by-step guide. This class is for all levels, and like I mentioned, we'll be using Adobe Photoshop to edit our work. If you don't have Photoshop, no problem, you can sign up for a free trial online in just a few minutes. The best way to get your artwork digitized is through scanning. If you don't have your own scanner and you aren't quite ready to invest in one, just Google artwork scanning services plus your city name, and you should be able to find a business that offer scanners for use. Whether you're a beginner or an advanced lettering artist looking to expand your techniques, this class will have you covered. I'll begin by laying out the supplies I use including brush pens and paper types. Then we'll dive right in, starting from thumbnail sketches, to laying down our first brushstrokes on the page. We'll cover the key techniques of brush lettering, including sensor of wide brush strokes and basic brush calligraphy. I'll even show you how I add in a few you spot illustrations, and embellishments to make certain words pop. As a special treat, I'm including a bonus video at the end of this class that shows you how to weave metallic gold textures in your final lettering pieces with Photoshop. This is a little trick I use to create modern accents within my artwork, whether its a little touch of copper or rose gold. When you enroll in my class, I'll even give you a variety of JPEGS that contain a range of metallic tones for you to work with, totally free. I'm also including an extra, extra bonus for you guys today. I've put together a basic brushstrokes worksheet that you can download and print on your own so you can practice. It contains the six basic brush strokes that make up the bulk of hand lettering. Once you've mastered these strokes, you're on your way to creating your own gorgeous hand lettering projects. My primary source of income is through art licensing. I create original paintings, digital illustrations and lettering pieces, and then I scan in my artwork, edit and enhance it digitally and send over the high res files to companies like Urban Outfitters, Target, ModCloth, Society6 and over 50 other brands. They turn my artwork into wall art for your home, as well as on products like phone cases, tote bags, apparel, curtains, rugs, leggings, beddings, tapestries, you name it. One illustration can be replicated thousands of times on a variety of products. All right. We are covering a lot today, but I promise it'll be easy to follow along. You can pause at any moment to take notes or skip ahead if you're eager to move on to the next section. If you have any questions, you can post them in the discussion thread down below. I read in response to everything you post. Don't forget to follow me on Skillshare. Click the follow button and you'll be the first to know as soon as I launch a new course, or have a big announcement to share with my students. You can also follow me on Instagram @catcoq to see my latest works in progress. Ready to pick up techniques to create captivating and modern brush lettering pieces, hit enroll, and let's get started. 2. Supplies: First things first, let's walk through the supplies that we'll be using in today's class. These are all of my recommendations, but if you have another brand that you prefer instead, that's totally cool too. There are a ton of options for brushes, paper, and paint out there. I'm pretty flexible with my options for what to use. All right, so let's dive in. Let's get into calligraphy brush pens. I'm not loyal to just one brand. Instead, it really depends on how much I feel like spending at the moment. I look for a variety of brush sizes and I like to have a few options when I'm working. The color really doesn't matter to me that much as the value. I want a really dark hue so that it's easier to clean up in Photoshop when I scan it in. I do have a few favorites that I like to use. One of those is Pentel, and that's this brush right here. What makes Pentel so special is that tip and see, balance it against my forehead is really malleable. It's almost like a paintbrush. Here's my nice finger. My hands will be completely dirty by the end of this class. But what happens here is the paint collects here in this space. When you squeeze it, more paint will come out. You have a lot of control with your brushstrokes and how much ink is actually going out on paper. This is one of the better ones to use, but I also have some that are a little bit more rigid and fine which could be great for calligraphy as well. I usually work with black brush pens. Like I said before, it's easier with Photoshop when I am removing that background. But every once in a while I splurge on a nice bright green. I actually bought this one because it's a much fatter pen and it's nice to have a variety of stroke weights when you're working. Some much thicker brushes and some very fine brushes as well. That is a quick overview of brushes. Let's move on. Some people for hand lettering prefer to work with actual paintbrushes and India ink. If you're following along and you don't want to use brush pens, you can always do the old-school route as well. In fact, a lot of my brush lettering utilizes this too. For today's class, we'll be working just with the brush pens to simplify things. But if you're following along and you want to do India ink and brushes, you can do that as well. Every artist needs to have a good sketching pencil and eraser. We'll be doing some thumbnail sketches before we get started with our lettering. All right, now moving onto paper, Strathmore is usually my go-to for calligraphy like this. It's great to have a really smooth paper. For this one, thick Vellum Bristol hot press, these are all words you should look for when you're looking for your paper. Strathmore is usually my go-to for art paper, but when I'm here in Thailand, I just buy whatever local brand I can find. I brought this over from the States. Thick Bristol paper is both high-quality and affordable. When you go with Strathmore, their products are acid free so that any projects you do, paintings, calligraphy, whatnot will always remain resilient as the years go on and that paper won't yellow. All right, and for the scanning and editing portion of this class, you'll need access to a scanner and a computer with Adobe Photoshop installed. I added a link in the class description for a free trial with Adobe Photoshop. It really only takes a couple of minutes to set up. My preferred scanner is an Epson V550 Photo Scanner. Last time I checked, it was around a 150 bucks, which is a pretty great price considering the quality of the scans. However when I travel, I use a Canon scanner that's lightweight and easy to load into my backpack. I'm filming this class today in Thailand so we'll be using the Canon, which is this guy. It's really lightweight, it's easy to travel with, and it still has a great quality of scan. Either way, this one's a little bit cheaper if you're going to be ordering your own scanner. I'll also be working on a Mac today, but you can follow along with a PC just fine. Like I mentioned in my earlier video, you can always use a scanning service in your neighborhood nearby. If you Google scanning services and your city name, you should be able to find one pretty easily. All right, so now that we've got our supplies laid out, let's dive into some actual lettering and practice. 3. Letterform Practice: All right, it's time to get into some lettering practice. For this, I'm going to be using my Ecoline brush pen, and it really doesn't matter which one you're using, you're just going to be looking for a pen here that has a really fine tip and a thicker base. The reason we look for those two things is it's great to have some options for the way that we're drawing on the page. The main gist of hand lettering is it's all about those thick and thin strokes. You can achieve this in two ways; by angling the brush as you draw which is at an angle on the paper and number 2, by alternating the pressure you apply when you draw on the paper. There's one big takeaway from this class today it's this, light up strokes and heavy down strokes. This is how you get the variation in weight and how you get a true brush lettering or calligraphy fields your projects. Let's dive into some practice. You can either use a paintbrush dipped in ink or a brush marker like I'll be using right now. We're focusing on the technique here which applies across the board so you can pick whichever you feel most comfortable working with. Again, I'll be using the brush pen just because I have it on hand and it's simpler. The first thing we're going to do is the simplest. It's your angled downward stroke. Watch him doing this on my paper. I'm going to be holding the brush at a slant and bringing down a heavy stroke on the paper. I prefer to angle at a slant so that its diagonal and not in a straight line. This is because my hand lettering is always slightly angled like we're learning to do when we're learning cursive. So practice this a few times until you get the hang of it. Again, heavy pressure on paper and pull it down. I'm not holding it straight up and down, instead it's at an angle like this. Pressing heavy on that paper. Now the second stroke is the complimentary of our first stroke. We're going to do a light upward stroke. I'm still going to be holding the brush at an angle, but it'll be very lightly applying pressure to the paper. You'll notice the stroke is significantly thinner than my heavy downward stroke. We really want that variation. You'll also notice that I'm adding a slight curve. This is because in practice, the majority of the time I'm doing this upward stroke, it's usually at a curve. Now, let's practice using both of them together and write to some ns, that's the lowercase n. We're taking both things that he learned and blending them together. Thin up and thick down. It should look like this. Now let's try the inverse of that and try some lowercase Us. It's the same as the n, but we're going to be doing the inverse. It looks like this. You'll notice that I'm doing that really thick downward stroke, holding the brush at an angle, keeping it light on the upward stroke, and then heavy again on that downward stroke. Remember, always light pressure upwards and heavy pressure downwards. Let's take it to the next level and do some loop to loop. This is basically a bunch of connected cursive lowercase Ls. You can draw them separately or fuse them together. Remember, really light upward stroke and then come crushing down with that heavy stroke on the base. Light upwards, heavy downwards. I'm going to do a few that are connected together. Really light pressure, heavy pressure, light, heavy. It looks like that. That's how you're going to be getting those really great thick and thins. Last but not least, let's dive into some Os. A lot of people have trouble with these shapes and maintaining the thick and thin, but it really just takes some time and practice. We've already mastered all of these basic shapes to get us to this point. If you've made it through the first five steps, you're going to get this one too. It just might take some practice. The Os will look like this. I'm starting over on this corner of the O so it's going to start with light, thick, light again and then I'm going do a little extra loop to loop on there. Again, lights, thick, light. Light, thick, light. Sometimes they like connecting them like it did the first one with a little extra curly Q, and just to add some flourish, a lot of lettering artists like to work on a grid to make sure that their letter forms are perfectly aligns. I usually keep a ruler handy and I sketch out a really light horizontal line on my paper for the final. For these it doesn't really matter we're just doing some practice but it's just something to keep in minds. Now if you want some extra practice, try writing the word minimum on your paper in lowercase. This will utilize all of the strokes that we've learned. Plus it looks really cool when you absolutely nail it. As I mentioned before, I'm not too concerned about the color of ink that I'm working with. I usually wind up doing most of my lettering and black. I color this later in Photoshop on the computer. If you're not concerned with your originals, you can just pick whichever color you'd like. Now that we know the basics of letter forms, let's dive into creating an actual brush lettering quotes. 4. Brush Lettering: All right, let's try an actual brush lettering projects. Our first project is going to be brush lettering the words," YOU GOT THIS." I'm going to be keeping it fairly simple and using some sans-serif letter forms. The goal here is to get comfortable using our brush pens and learning how to transition from practice paper to the real deal. Before we get started, we can do some practice too. So now that I'm using a new brush which is a pentel pen, I'm just going to practice some down strokes and up strokes just to get a feel for it. So it's a good thing I'm practicing because I'm not totally used to using this pen right now. So heading downwards, then upwards maybe some horizontal lines, cool and with this pen, you have to squeeze it to get more ink to fill up in that canister so I'm going to show you. See how it's filling up in there, I'm going to hold my hand under. Yeah, so you squeeze it to get that ink to come out on the brush. So let me practice some letter forms and I know I'm going to be doing the phrase, "YOU GOT THIS." So let me practice some O's. Cool, maybe something a little bit more some straight, some T's. Again, we're just having fun with practice and learning how to use this brush and feeling comfortable with it. So some loop to loops. Awesome. I'm going to try the words, "YOU GOT THIS". You can even practice some fun squiggly horizontal lines and maybe some dots. Cool. So again, having fun getting loose with those letter-forms and practicing using that new pen. All right, now let's try our actual thumbnail sketch. I like to do thumbnail sketches before I do my real painting on the paper and I just helps me get an idea of composition and the way that the letter forms are going to be arranged on the page so let's go ahead and get started. When I do a thumbnail, I start by sketching a rough rectangle on my page, doesn't have to be perfect just something that shows me what the orientation is going to be up the actual paper and the words are going to be, "YOU GOT THIS." So I'm going to write it down just so I can see the letter forms, see what they look like and get them visual on paper. So the way that I'm going to do this composition is going to be starting with that O of got and it's going to go right in the middle of the page like this on my thumbnail. So I can go ahead and fill in the G and the T. Real quick, the reason I started with the O in the center is because that's going to give me a nice center axis for the composition to make sure everything stays centered. So I can go ahead and fill in the O of "YOU" and this. So it's a little bit uneven but it's giving me a good idea of what that composition will be like on my actual page, so as long as the O of got stays in the center then I'll know that everything else is going to be fairly symmetrical on that page. So let's go ahead and dive in and see what that looks like on our real paper. Now that I've got that thumbnail for reference, I'm going to go ahead and be looking at my thumbnail while I sketch on my actual paper. So I'm going to start with that O in the middle and then fill that in. You can see that I'm drawing very light because I want to make sure that those pencil marks don't show through in my letter forms. It doesn't have to be perfect, cool. So I've gotten everything placed on paper the way that I want that compositions to be and the next step is going to be the fun part, getting out our brush lettering pens. So I'm going to go ahead and work with my pencil pen just to try something new, I've already worked to the green one so time to have some fun here. So what I'm going to do is just keep in mind that I want those heavy downward strokes and those light upward strokes, you guys are going to get super sick of hearing me say that over and over again, but it's really important. All right, so let's start with that Y. First, I'm going to do a few practice strokes. Maybe squeeze a little bit more ink into that center canister perfect. Here we go. Squeezing a little bit more ink. You can see that when I'm squeezing ink, I'm doing it off to the side and that way you won't accidentally come out onto my actual paper. All right, I've got the "YOU" finished, now time for the G. When you do horizontal strokes as a general rule of thumb with brush lettering, it's great to keep those light the same way that your upward strokes are light as well. So that crossbar on the G, I kept it very light. Time for another O and T perfect. Now just a little bit more and I'll be finished so that heavy downward stroke on the T, light crossbar, heavy downward, heavy downward. You can see that my letter forms aren't perfect. That's totally cool, it's part of the fun with brush lettering you can keep things really unique and S. S's are tricky so I'm going to do this on my practice paper first, just to get used to having that fluidity with my hands. In some ways you can even out those letter forms a little bit so for my S, I'm just going to very lightly even out that stroke on the top where it got a little bit to brushy, perfect. Another cool thing with brush lettering is you can add some fun flourishes so I'm going to make some little ding baddie things on the GOT. It can feel really gestural and fun just whatever mark you'd like to make just have some fun with it. All right guys "YOU GOT THIS" and it's a really simple piece but it's just a great way to practice with hand lettering and getting those basic brush forms down. The one thing we're really focusing on here with those light upward strokes and the heavy downward strokes so as you can see here that's pretty consistent with the way that we wrote out these letter forms. Things don't have to be absolutely perfect and if it's your first time, they won't be if so don't worry about that if it's not. Now, that we've gotten the hang of doing some simple brush lettering forums and the Sans-serif form. Let's move on and learn a little bit of basic calligraphy. 5. Script Lettering: Our next project is going to be utilizing some different techniques. Specifically will be working in cursive, not sans-serif. I'm going to be using my brush marker again for this lesson to create the phrase enjoy today. The first thing I'm going to do, you guessed it, is do a really quick thumbnail sketch. The first thing I'll do is write out the phrase, enjoy today. This just lets me see the letter forms, I get an idea of character count. You'd be surprised how many times that you're doing some really intense cursive lettering, and you realize that you've misspelled your own name. You can't concentrate on too many things at once, otherwise it gets a little crazy. I like to look at my actual letter forms before I get going and that way I don't misspell something very obvious. With enjoy today, I want to be doing a mix of cursive and a little bit of bounce lettering as well, and then I'm going to incorporate sans-serif from our previous lesson, that sounds complicated, but I'll show you what I mean with my sketch. First thing's first, in cursive, I'll go enjoy. I'm really liking this composition, I think it has a lot of nice qualities to it, the combination of cursive and sans-serif, so I think this is something I'm going to want to go with. Now I'm going to do my thumbnail sketch, so a rough rectangle and we'll have enjoy. I'll do some bounce lettering with that sans- serif, so it'll work in and out, weaving around those forms on enjoy. I think that feels pretty cool and I think that's going to be the one I'm going to go with. Let's get started on our Bristol Paper. I've got my Bristol Paper out and I'm going to go ahead and tear off a piece. I want to pull over my thumbnail sketches, just so that I have that for reference, and here we go. Remember, sketching really light. That feels pretty good for a sketch. It doesn't matter that it's not perfectly centered on the paper because when we scan it in, we can go ahead and reposition it later. I'm going to set aside my pencil and plot my pentel brush again. Again, the first thing I'm going to do is do a few practice strokes on my thumbnail pad just to make sure that I'm getting used to using that pen. I'm going to practice some upwards, downwards. There's a lot of ink in that brush, so I think I'm ready to go. Here we go. Remember that really thin upward stroke, heavy downwards. I'm going to squeeze more ink on, remember I'm doing that off to the side. Cool, looking pretty good, I'm going to go ahead and even out that line, it's a little shaky, perfect. Now for the today. Remember on a cross bars they should be pretty thin. Just a little bit more ink on my brush. Awesome. We're going to thicken that downward stroke just a bit. I'm liking the way that's feeling. I'm just going to add a few little flourishes because that's my thing. Now that we've done a little bit of practice with some sans-serif, a little bit of cursive. I hope you guys feel like you're at a good place. If not, it's always a great thing to do a little bit more practice. You can never do too much practice when it comes to calligraphy and brush lettering. If you didn't get it right on the first try, no worries, there's a lot of paper out there, so you can do a lot more practice until you get to a point that you feel comfortable with. Now let's learn how to do some digitizing. 6. Scanning: Now let's dive into scanning best-practices. Scanning is super simple to do, but there are a few ways to get the most bang for your buck. I prefer to scan my work rather than photograph it for a few reasons. One, it's easier. I don't have to mess with camera settings or get the perspective exactly right. I don't have to worry about lighting and I can scan at anytime of the day regardless of if it's sunny or not. Two, it's really easy to scan. My flat bed is 9 by 12 and the paper I'm working with will fit on top without having to scan it into two pieces and fuse them together. If you want to learn how to do that, check out my other Skillshare class called From Paper to Screen: Digitally Editing Your Artwork in Photoshop. In that class I'm scanning in detailed watercolor paintings, so it's much more in depth than this class will be, since we're just going to be scanning in a simple hand lettering piece. Like I mentioned earlier, I prefer to use an Epson V55O Photo Scanner, but I'm traveling at the moment, so I've got my lightweight scanner with me, which is a Canon CanoScan LiDE 220, which I bought for 80 bucks on Amazon. The colors are in desaturated or as deep as they are with my Epson, but it's really easy to add that back in digitally, and I'll show you how. I scan my paintings at a super high resolution, like at 1600 DPI and the files are huge. I do this because I print products like tapestries that are massive and credenzas, rugs. Basically, anything where the original artwork is scaled up. If you don't do this and most of you probably don't, then you can get away with scanning at a lower resolution. So the 600 or 900 could be the right scan size for you. Let's do some prep work before we dive in. For this one, I'm just going to be standing in, "Enjoy today." You thought this was a great practice, but for this, I just want to pick one to move forward with, and I think this one looks cooler. So let's go ahead and prep it for scanning. Make sure your paper is completely clear of pencil marks and debris. Before you erase, just make sure that that ink is completely dry. Second, let's take a look at your scanner. It's important to clean your scanner bed before every use. You'd be surprised how much grit winds up in there and dust, erasers scraps and dried flex or paints. Now that the ink is completely dry, the pencil marks have been erased. It's time to go ahead and position on the flatbed scanner, close the lid, and open up our scanning now. Everyone's scan program is going to look a little bit different, but the main thing to make sure here is that your output resolution is pretty high, I'm going to keep mine at 1600. You can check some of the other settings here, but to be honest, most of these are just defaults in the advanced mode and color mode here really won't matter that much since we're only doing one color, general rule of thumb, it's great to keep it on color. I can go ahead and click scan. Scanning my work take several minutes and it usually hold my hands over the lead to make sure my paper is pressed tightly against the glass. If I'm multitasking and I don't have time to stay in one place, then I'll just add something heavy on top of the lid. Now that we've got our lettering scanned into the computer, let's open up our file in Photoshop and have some fun. 7. Removing Backgrounds: First things first, I've scanned in, enjoy TODAY and what I want to do is open it up in Photoshop and remove this white paper background so I can isolate the type. Let's go ahead and dive in. The first thing I'll do is go ahead and open up my file, it's saved to my desktop so I'm just going to drag it in Photoshop. I'm going to go ahead and rotate it just so that it's the correct orientation. We'll go to Image > Image rotation, and 90 degrees counter clockwise. Perfect. I'm going to zoom in a little bit, I'm doing that by pressing Z and pulling into my track pad. What I'm going do is just to make things simpler, I'm going to highlight everything and I can do that over here with this tool. You go ahead and click the Marquee tool and Select. I'm going to take everything else and delete it. I want to go to Select > Inverse, so Edit > Cut. Now the step is to remove that paper background. You can see it's a little bit gray. That's just what happens when you scan it in, and tap those words, enjoy TODAY, be completely on a transparent background. It's a pretty simple process and it just requires a few tools and it really won't take us that long, so let's go ahead and learn how. The first tool I'm going to use as my Magic Wand Tool. You can get that by pressing W on your keyboard or going over here on the toolbar and selecting it. The Magic Wand selects similar colors. Up here on the top toolbar, you see this area called Tolerance. You can adjust that tolerance to be high or low. Since we're working with a black and white image, it's going to be pretty simple to select the white away from the black. I'm going to go ahead and put my tolerance at about 30. I want to make sure contiguous is turned off. Contiguous means areas that are touching each other. You can see when I zoom in to the type here, this white area within that D is not touching the other white areas. By having contiguous turned off, it'll make sure to select that inner area as well as the outer areas, even though they're not touching each other, so I'm going to zoom out again. Now that you have a basic understanding of what the Magic Wand Tool does, let's dive in and actually use it. With W pressed, which has the one selected, you can also go over here on your toolbar. What we're going to do is just click the white areas within our art board, and to select multiple areas at once, you just hold down Shift on your keyboard. I'm going to first Select the background here. I'm going to zoom in. Now going back to my Wand Tool, holding Shift down, going to select even more areas. That pretty much got it all, holding down Shift, just get a little closer. As you can see, we started with the widest whites and now we're getting a little bit of grays. Perfect. I think that's close enough, so I'm going to zoom out by pressing Command minus. Now what I want to do is invert my selection so that I can isolate, enjoy TODAY, from that background. To do that, you go to Select > Inverse. It doesn't really look like much happened on the screen, but what happened is instead of selecting that white, now the black areas had been selected. Now what I want to do is make a mask out of enjoy TODAY. What a mask is in Photoshop is it basically hides certain areas of your layers. They're still there, they're just hidden underneath that mask. Why this is better than deleting is that way if we ever accidentally selected something and erased it that we don't want to erase, we can always get it back later with that mask just by uncovering it. To make a mask, since our area is selected, I'm just going to go down here on my layers panel and click Add Mask. Within Photoshop, the transparent areas are indicated by this gray and white checkerboard pattern. Now what I'm going to do is just crop in really tight around that composition. You can get to your Crop Tool by going over here on the toolbar. This little square it says Crop Tool and you can also get there by pressing C on your keyboard. Right now my crop default is at a square. I'm going to go ahead and clear that just by clicking Clear and other ratio is back to blank. Now I'm just going to click and pull this little marquee around My Type and get it as tight as possible. I'm going to go ahead and up here, click Delete cropped pixels, and that erases everything on the outside of my cropped area. Everything that's grayed out right now. Then you press Enter, and that's it. Now we have enjoy TODAY, it's been isolated from our background. You can see that with a transparent background indicator. Now we can have some fun with it. Now what I want to do is create a new document. Drag over my transparent, enjoy TODAY, and then that's the one we'll be working with. To do that, I'm going to go to File > New. It's at 16 by 24 inches right now, but I want to have it be a perfect square. I'm going to have it be 30 inches by 30 inches at 300 dpi RGB color. Press Create 30 by 30 is pretty huge. I mentioned earlier I work on these giant sizes because I use print on demand decides, so sometimes they get printed as huge tapestries. But if you're just going to be printing this at home, then you can do a smaller size like 15 by 15. Now I'm going to using my v tool, which is my move tool. You can get that over here on the toolbar. I'm just going to click, and drag it over. Now I want to back up a little bit. I want to use my Transform tool and make it a little bit smaller so it fits in that art board. I want to go to Edit > Transform > Scale, and now holding down my Shift key I'm going to click it and drag it to fit inside that art board. The reason I'm holding down Shift is without it, it can skew and get really crazy. I want keep it proportional to the way I painted it. With Shift holding down, I can click it, scale it down, center it and press Enter to set the transformation. With that background isolated, you can see we can turn our background layer on and off and you can see how it's completely removed. Because our mask has done its job, it's removed that background, we don't really need it as a safety anymore, I'm going to go ahead and flatten that by creating any layer down here at the bottom, selecting both together by holding Shift and merging them. Going to Layer> Merge Layers, can turn it on and off. Now that we have the background completely removed, we can do some fun stuff like playing with color and textures so let's get started. 8. Color: In this video, we're going to walk through all things color. I'll show you how to optimize the color so that the tones are really deep and saturated. We'll explore color palette variations and I'll show you some tricks to adjusting the colors to create a variety of options. I'll also show you how to spot edit color so that certain areas can be adjusted separately from the rest of your type, so you can have some letters blue and some red. Photoshop provides so much flexibility when it comes to color and it can seem a little bit daunting at first, but once you get a hang of the ropes, there are limitless possibilities so let's go ahead and get started. The first thing to do is to go ahead and turn on my background layer so that we have a simple black type and white background illustration. I'm going to go ahead and zoom in a little bit so command plus. Right now, it's pretty simple. It's really close to what our actual illustration looks like, so black type, white background. But I want to try the inverse of that so I want to see what this looks like as white type on a black background. The first thing to do is go ahead and unlock my background layer. You can do that just by clicking the lock and it breaks it. I'm going to select both of these together and group them. You can do that by clicking and dragging them into a folder, which puts them into a group or you can press command G on your keyboard. I'm going to title this black type. This is just to stay organized. It's great to work in folders if you have a lot of layers on your layers palette, and that way it's not too overwhelming. Right now I want to make a copy of this group so that I can do a different variation without overriding my existing one, which is the black on white. I can make a copy of this by hitting command J and I'm going to title this white type. I'm going to turn off my black type layer, hit the caret to toggle down and see the individual layers and I'm just going to inverse both of these. It's really simple. I'm going to do command I to invert my black to whites and now it's pretty simple. I do the exact same thing. I can hit command I on the type and it inverses. Looks pretty good. We have our white type on our black backgrounds and all we had to do to do this was utilize our inverse tool, so let's go ahead and close that folder down. You can toggle between folders like this by turning the eye on and off. They're not disappeared, they're just hidden. It's a great way to try some different color palettes, see what you like, and then keep those options categorized and then you can delete them later if you don't like a certain palette. But it's great to have some options to begin with. Now, let's try turning our black type into a bright minty green turquoise. I'm going to go ahead and make a copy of my black type layer and I want to bring it to the front so I can just click it and drag it all the way up to the top. I'm going to toggle my caret down and now we're going to play with color balance and hue and saturation. I want to make sure that my layer is selected and then go up to image adjustments, hue and saturation. You can also get there by hitting command U on your keyboard. Now, what I want to do is colorize my type, so you click colorize. It doesn't look like much happened on your screen, but that's because it's so dark so let's bring the lightness up a little bit. There we go. I mentioned that I wanted a really saturated minty green so let's pull up the saturation. Nice. It's red right now so I'm going to bring the hue further to the right until I get something that feels, there we go. Cool. You just press okay and that's a really great way to explore color palettes and see what you like. I'm going to go ahead and rename my layer mint type. Close the carets and now if I want to see what that mint looks like as the background color instead of the type color that's simple to do as well. I'm going to make a copy of my white type layer and bring it to the top and toggle it down and I'm going to do that same thing with hue and saturation, except we'll be doing it on that background so command U on your keyboard and we'll do the exact same thing. Click colorize, bring that lightness up, bring up that saturation, and slide that hue until we find a great shade. That feels pretty good. I want to make it a little bit brighter and less saturated. Nice. As you can see when you zoom in to those letters enjoy today, it looks a little bit muddy because it's that white type on that black background. It just doesn't look that nice on mint so the simple way to change that is to play with your transparency effects. With that layer selected, I'm going to go up here where it says normal and choose screen as a transparency effect. What that did is it brought out that background color, I'm going to zoom in so you can see, into that type a little bit so some of the darker areas of that lettering now have that background color coming through. That's what screen does essentially it's a transparency effect. Now when I zoom out, it looks like I really painted with a white brush going on turquoise paper. I'm going to show you what it looks like before and after that effect. By pressing command Z, I'll undo my previous action so there it is before, and if I press command Z again, it redoes my immediate action so before, after, before, after. Now I want to show you one more thing which is changing the color between enjoy and today. I want to have enjoy be bright blue and I want today to be peach. I'll show you how to do that separately. I'm going to make a copy of my original black type layer and start there. I'm going to select that command J to copy it and bring it all the way up to the top, toggle down my caret and the first thing I'm going to do is separate enjoy from today and put them on two different layers. That'll just make it easier when we're coloring them. To do that, I'm going to use my Lasso tool. You can see it over here on your keyboard. I'm going to click it and do the Lasso, just standard and now all you have to do is pull your cursor around and select enjoy. Now I'm going to cut that out by doing edit cut. Now it's completely removed and now edit paste special, paste in place. It's exactly where it was before but you can see over here its made a separate layer so you can turn enjoy on and off or today on and off and now that way we can edit them separately, which is going to be great because we want those two different colors. I mentioned I want enjoy to be bright blue so I'm going to go to my hue and saturation, which is command U. Turn on colorize, bring up the lightness, bring up the saturation, and play with my hue until I get to a nice bright blue. That feels pretty good. I'm going to make it a little lighter and press okay. Now I want to do the same thing with today, except change it into a peachy pink so command U, click colorize, bring up the lightness, bring up the saturation, and play with my hue a little bit. I think I need to go to the other end of the spectrum. You need it to be a lot lighter and a lot more saturated. Press okay and now I'm going to go ahead and close that caret down. Now when you turn on and off your layers, you can see all the variations that we were able to create. As you can see, it's really simple to spot edit your color as well. Again, limitless possibilities. You can do a lot with Photoshop, especially when it comes to playing with color. All right, we've made some really cool color options now it's time to save. 9. Saving: This lesson is going to be pretty quick and simple. I'll show you how to save your file depending on your desired output. So without further ado, let's jump in. The most important file you're going to save is your working file. Your working file is what we've been playing with so far in Photoshop. This is the Photoshop file that contains all of your colors and textures, layers, everything that we've been working with so far. It's called a working file because we're able to edit it later on. So we can save it as a working file and then open it a day from now or a week from now and we'll still see all of those layers there off to the side. We'll still be able to make the same adjustments that we made just now. That way a week from now I want to add another color option, all I have to do is open up my working file and I can do that, so let's do that save first. I have my file open, I'm going to go to File, Save As and I'm going to call this enjoy today. Very creative. Over here on format, you have all of the different options. So Photoshop file is the way we want to save it right now. The extension should be.PSD, and that indicates that it's a Photoshop file. When we do this the saved default is for layers to be turned on. Just keep everything there, don't touch anything and press save and now it is saved. So if we go to our desktop, we can see it here as a PSD. I can even close this, re-open it by double-clicking and everything will look the exact same, which is perfect. It's exactly what we want. That was pretty easy, but the thing is, you can't upload a Photoshop file to Instagram or Facebook or your website, you need to save as a JPEG or PNG for that. So I'll show you how to do that as well. The simplest way to differentiate the two is a JPEG is a flattened file, whereas a PNG you have the option to have a transparent background. So I'll show you what I mean. First, I'm going to save a JPEG. I'm going to go ahead and save this blue and pink one because it's my favorite. I'm going to go to File, Save As. So I'm going to call it enjoy today, blue, pink. The default is that Photoshop extension, but I'm going to go ahead and change that to a JPEG. You'll see up here that it's changed to a.JPEG. Go ahead and click, ''Save'' and press ''Okay''. Now, when I go to my desktop, there it is. It is saved as a completely flattened JPEG. If I open up this guy in Photoshop, you'll see over here on the layers, it's completely flattens. I don't have that differentiation between the background, and then the type layers, it's just one big layer. You can turn it on and off, but that's how it exists. So that's what a JPEG does. If you know that your artwork is final and that's the way you want it to be saved, then JPEG is the way to go. I'm go ahead and close this and show you how to save as a transparent PNG. So say I want to use this exact same thing, the blue and the pink, but I don't want that white background saved, maybe I'm going to print it as a T-shirt and I want that background removed. The first thing to do is to go ahead and hide these other layers, toggle down my carrot and turn off my background layer. Now the enjoy today has been isolated from that background, you can see with the gray and white checkered mark indicators that that's transparent and go to File, Save As, keep the same name. You can do that just by clicking pink, blue except I'll change my extension to PNG and press ''Save.'' So now you'll see it on my desktop, except when you look at that file, you can see that it's transparent. I am dragging it over half down in the background. So here it is in contrast to my JPEG, which has that white background. Transparent background, white background. So if I open up my PNG in Photoshop, it looks like this. Similarly to my JPEG, it's just one flattened layer, the only difference is there's no background. All right, so that's the basics of saving. Just don't forget your working file, which is your PSD file is the most important one. You can always save over JPEGS and create new ones, as long as you have that working file where all that information is still retained. One more quick thing. As you remember, my file size right here is 30 by 30 inches at 300 DPI, which basically is massive. For example, if I want to share this on Instagram, it really doesn't have to be that big. I'm going to show you how to make a smaller file size. I don't want to do that on my working file because again, this thing is precious and I don't want to reduce the quality in any way. I'm going to go ahead and make a new document, that's the right size for Instagram. So let's start by going to File, New and I'm going to make my Instagram 10 inches by 10 inches at 150 PPI. Cool. What I'm going to do is go to my pink blue JPEG, click it from the desktop, drag it in and as you can see it automatically sets to those proportions, so press ''Enter'', and there we have it. If we want to check our file size, you go to Image, Image Size and you can see what it is in pixels with your PPI or you can change that to inches and see the same thing. So this is a much smaller file size, 10 by 10 at 150 PPI, much smaller than our original. If we go back to our original and check the file size, Image, Image Size, you can see it's much bigger, 30 by 30 inches at 300. So that JPEG is absolutely massive, whereas this one will be much smaller. So real quick, before we save it on Instagram, I want to make sure I get credit, so I'm going to add my name at the bottom just by typing it in. So you can get that by going to your type tool, which is down here, or by pressing T on your keyboard, click in anywhere and I'm going to type in CatCoq because that is my Instagram handle. You can highlight everything by pressing ''Command A'' and changing the color up here by clicking this rectangle. I want my color to be the same as this pink, so all I need to do is bring my cursor over, the eye dropper is defaults, click anywhere and press ''Okay''. Now I want to press my move tool and I need that to be a little bit bigger. So I'm going to use Transform, like we did earlier, Command T, you can also get there by going Edit, Transform, Scale. Holding down my shift to make sure it's proportionate, I'm going to click it and drag it to be a little bit bigger. I'm going to just tuck that in the bottom centered, press ''Enter'' to start the transformation and we're good. If you want to change the typeface, that's really simple too. Just press T to get your type tool back, click anywhere in your type, highlight it and go up here to the top. Mine is defaulted at Brandon Grotesque because that's my favorite typeface and it's the last one I used. I'm going to change the weight to bold, awesome. Now I am going to save this for Instagram by going to File, Save As, I'm going to click ''Enjoy Today. Blue, pink,'' and write low-res just so that I know that that's the low resolution file, change it to a JPEG and press ''Save.'' Now when I go to my desktop, you'll see all the different options. We had our original JPEG, which is high-res and now we have up here our latest one which is our Instagram file. I want to show you what the file size of both of those files look like. Wow, it is a huge difference. So our Instagram one over here on the right, it's not even half a meg, whereas our high-res JPEG is 8.8 megabytes. A huge difference in file size, which is great because you don't want to be uploading massive file sizes to your website. Before I close my working file, I just want to make sure I save it. We have learned a ton in Photoshop. These are just a few tools in Photoshop, but by using them, you can make some really great differences and changes to your hand lettering projects. I've got one more video for you guys and it's a bonus to show you how I use metallic textures and my topography as well with Photoshop. So if you'd like to learn how to do that, let's go ahead and dive into our last video for today. 10. Bonus Metallics: As part of the bonus for enrolling in this class and providing eight high-res texture files so you can add metallic accents into your type lockups in Photoshop. I did this for my modern watercolor class as well, and it was a huge hit, so I don't want you guys to miss out. First things first, you can download these files by clicking the Your Project tab beneath this video. Once you're there, you'll see a section on the right titled attached file. You'll find all of the metallic textures right there. The metallics I'm providing are four colors; gold, rose gold, copper, and silver. I'm also giving you two options for each, foil texture and flat sheen. I incorporate both into my work depending on what I think it looks best for a particular illustration. You can create some really cool digital effects with metallic texture on your brush lettering, so let's learn how. First things first, I'm going to open up the folder. I want to do rose gold texture for this one, so I'm going to click my rose gold, simply drag it in, and release it. Then using the Shift key, I can pull it and make it a little bit bigger and even rotate it like this. To set the transformation, press Enter. Right now it looks like a big blob of rose gold on our screen, but I'm going to show you how to mask it around the type so that it looks like that type was actually done in a metallic ink. What I want to do is go ahead and copy my original black type layer by doing Command-J, bringing it up to the top. I'm going to re-title it now before I forget, "Rose gold texture." Toggle that caret down, turn on my layer first, and click that rose gold texture and just bring it right in. I can even bring it underneath that type so I can see what I'm doing. Now I want to select that type so I can make a mask for that rose gold texture. It's really simple to select what's actually on this layer. I'm going to hold down Command on my keyboard and select the layer. As you can see, that's pretty simple. Everything here is selected. Instead of making a mask right away, I don't want really crisp edges, I want it to blend in a little bit, so I want to smooth out my selection a tad. I'll do that by going to Select, Modify , Feather. I just want to one pixel feather. Again, it's going to be really, really slight. It just helps it blend into the paper a bit more. Press Okay. Now I can go ahead and hide this layer. Select my rose gold texture layer, and go down here and just click Mask. There we go. Now we can see what it looks like with a metallic texture in there, which is really cool. I want to show you one of the cool things you can do with masks. By breaking the link, just by clicking it in the middle, you can select your texture or select your mask separately. If your texture is selected using your move tool, which is V, you can move that metallic sheen around your type like this. It almost feels like it's shining. You can also move your mask around by selecting your mask and moving it around like that. But for now, I want to put that link back in place. That way, when I select either of these layers, they move together, which is what I want for now. If you want to see what that same thing looks like with gold type, I'll show you how to throw that in as well. I want to use my gold flat texture, select it, bring it in. I'm going to rotate it, make it bigger, and press Enter. Now we can transfer the mask by making a copy of this layer, Command-J, clicking my mask, and dragging it on top of gold foil. I can go ahead and delete that bottom texture. Now you can see what it looks like with a gold sheen as well. By clicking that layer on and off, you can see the difference between that rose gold metallic and a smoother gold finish. I told you it'd be pretty simple and I hope you have a lot of fun with those textures. Thank you guys so much for taking my class today. I hope you learned a lot and are inspired to pick up a pen and brush and create your own hand lettering. Feel free to comment below if you have any questions or comments about what I covered today. If you want to learn how I monetize hand lettering pieces like this, check out my class, a step-by-step guide to art licensing. Sell your first piece of artwork online. This is my next step after creating artwork like this. In that class, I cover all the basics for opening up your first online shop and making passive income through art licensing online. If that interests you, you should definitely check that class out next. Last but not least, you can follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest at catcoq. Don't forget to follow me on Skillshare by clicking the Follow button up top. Thank you guys so much for taking my class today, and I will see you next time.