Pen tool for lettering: Vectorising scripts with the pen tool using Affinity Designer | Ivana Maric | Skillshare

Pen tool for lettering: Vectorising scripts with the pen tool using Affinity Designer

Ivana Maric, Lettering Artist & Designer

Play Speed
  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x
14 Lessons (1h 41m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Class Project

    • 3. Affinity Designer Quick Tour

    • 4. Software Adjustments

    • 5. Pen Tool

    • 6. Point Placement

    • 7. Optical Corrections

    • 8. Setting Up the File

    • 9. Guides

    • 10. Monoline

    • 11. Adding Weight

    • 12. Retrace

    • 13. Refining

    • 14. Colors and Exporting


About This Class

In this class, you will learn how to take your sketch of a script lettering and turn it into beautiful vector curves!

This class is for anyone struggling with using the pen tool to vectorize their lettering. I see a lot of people avoid the pen tool (I was one of them!) because it's hard, confusing and takes a lot of time. If you ever got frustrated by the pen tool, I made this class for you!

Even if you are not interested in scripts, you can still benefit from the class and learn how to work with the pen tool. You never know when that perfect client comes knocking and they ask for vector files.

You'll learn all about vectors and the pen tool and how to place your vector points, how many points you need and more. We'll go through a three-step process of applying all of that on a piece of script lettering. 


I will be using Affinity Designer for this class, but you are free to use any other vector drawing program as long as it has the pen tool. The method I’m teaching in this class doesn’t rely on any special features found in any specific software so choose whatever you are comfortable with. The only thing you have to be familiar with before starting this class is a little bit about how the software of your choice works.


If you ever wondered how to bring your sketch or Procreate artwork to vectors, and deliver vector files to your clients, create cut files for sale or even try out font design, this is the perfect class for you!

This class is ideal for intermediate levels and anyone who wishes to get better at working with the pen tool.


1. Intro: My name is even a marriage, and I'm a freelance lettering, artist and designer. In this class, I want to walk you through the process of victories in script lettering. By using the pen tool, we will cover how to work with the mental in case you've never worked with it before, where to place the points in the first place and a three step process to help you get the best results each time, Sit down to victory eyes your script lettering. When you finish this class, you will be able to confidently victory eyes your lettering with the mental create no goes for clients, create clean cut files that don't have too many points and much more. I hope to see you in class. 2. Class Project: for the class project, you're going to let her your favorite ice cream flavor. In script lettering. You can use pencil and plain paper, sketchbook, calligraphy, pointed pen brush, Ben or your I bet, anything you have on hand, just try to keep it around two words or less to make this process easier. And that's overwhelm me. I mostly use pen and paper or my I fed to draw my sketch, and I just want to quickly show you how I do it. But if you want to study script lettering in more detail, be sure to check out many other amazing classes here on skill share with a pen and paper. I usually likely draw my guides first and then start sketching first. I like the sketch, the word, and then I end the weight. I'm roughly searching for the right letters and exploring different ideas, and I'm not really worried about having the same angle, same weight or hide to the letters. You will say that all of that could be fixed later. You choose how much time you want to spend on your sketch when you go through the process of fact arising with the mental you're going to see that there is no need to spend too much times catching, but it's totally up to you. Vectors have the quality of being very clean and their decisions to be made in the victory izing process that don't depend on your sketch at all. But we'll talk about it a little more in the later video. For now, just get your idea on paper or on my bed and make sure the word is roughly balanced and that you are happy with it. Everything can be corrected leader, so don't worry about making it perfect in the class project. Show your sketch writing or even a time lapse video. And if you have any questions at this stage, feel free to ask anything in the community section of the class. Since we're not doing any live tracing where you need a good clean photo and white background, we can make do with just a regular photo. The most important thing is to try to take a photo as leveled as possible, so it's not distorted. If you're working on, you're. I bet you can just export the photo and email it to yourself, or if you're using a Mac and an iPhone, you can use airdrop, which I usually use because it's a professed. Keep your sketch ready. Somewhere, as in the next video, I will quickly walk you through affinity designer, in case you want to follow along with me. 3. Affinity Designer Quick Tour: If this is the first time you're using the vector drawing program, I would definitely recommend that you try affinity. It's very easy to learn very beginner friendly, and there are tons of great tutorials on their website. There's also free trial, so you can try before you buy. If you already used other programs, I just want to quickly go over a few things about affinity that might be a little bit different. One of the most useful features an affinity are personas. So what that means is that depending on what you're doing, you need a different set of tools. So instead of having everything available all the time, it split into three different personas. The 1st 20 stroke or so no, the 2nd 1 is pixel persona, and the 3rd 1 is expert persona. The drop persona is on by default, and it has all the tools you need for drawing vectors. This is where we will spend most of our time. The pixel persona has all the tools for rest or editing, as well as some really great texture brushes that you can use to add a well flavor to your lettering. The last one, the expert persona is used to export your artwork in a variety of different formats, since we're mostly going to export only one art board, we can also use the export option in the file menu, but we're going to talk about it more in a later video. Affinity has one million plus assume, and it works flawlessly. This is a really great feature that we can use for lettering because you can really get in there and adjust the points. Players work a little bit differently in affinity. If you take a look at my layers panel, we'll see that I don't have any layers added. And in affinity, you don't need layers to draw. So if I select the rectangle to and draw one rectangle and then another, you will see that they are both on a separate layer. If I add the layer before I draw and then start drawing, you can see that all of my shapes are contained inside this master layer, but still on their own separate sub layers. If you forget to add layer before you draw, you can always select the sub layers and group them using command G to form a master layer . I'll go over how I manage my layers when we set up our working file. This is probably my favorite feature whatever you have drawn on your art board. If only one of those shapes they selected, you can use the node tool to select the points on Lee. On that shape, it will not select the points on the de selected shape. Also, if you press space while working, it will remove all the handles and points from view so you don't have to de select your curb every time you want to see how it looks like when you use feel an affinity designer, the film mode that is owned by default is alternating or even odd feel mode. That means that when you overlap your curves like this, it will punch a hole in the fill. All they have to do is select the other film owed the winding, non zero feel mode after drawing and those holes will disappear. There's a large selection of live shapes that you can draw and just really easily like the cock tool, for example, which you can adjust to your liking after drawing. And there is a hidden Catto as well, but I leave it up to you to find where it is. All strokes can have variable pressure. The pressure panel, located in the stroke panel, is very easy to use, and it lets you see what happens to your curve immediately. This is really helpful if you want to add a little variation to flourishes, however, were not going to use it for our main lettering. Masking shapes is ridiculously easy, an affinity. You just drag the layer you want to mask and wait for this shoreline toe appear and just drop it there, and that's it. If there is any panel that you might be looking for or it's missing, just go to the View Menu studio and you should be able to find it here. Everything else is pretty much the same as in the rest of the vector drawing programs. So you are free to use any vector drawing program you're familiar with, as long as it has the pentacle. In the next listen, I will show you a few changes that I make to any program that I use that make working long hours with mental, although easier 4. Software Adjustments: There are a few adjustments that I usually make to make Invicta rising easier, and I want to take you through those adjustments before we start. First, let's talk about the keyboard shortcuts. The default keyboard shortcut for the pen tool is peaky, and since all the other tools I usually used to draw are far away from that key, I changed it. So it's closer to the rest of them. And I don't have to lift my hand all the time to get to the peaky. To change your keyboard shortcut for the pencil in affinity designer, go to affinity designer preferences and choose keyboard shortcuts. And under the tools menu, find the mental. I chose us to be my new keyboard shortcut, but you can change it to any other key that you think will work for you. I usually place my hand so that my forefinger is on the S key. My middle finger is on the a key. My little finger is on the ship in My thumb is on the space case, which in between the space, the all turkey and the Vicky, we'll talk about what these keys are for in the next video so don't worry if you don't know about these other keys yet. The next adjustment I want to talk about is the nudge distance value when drawing curves. Sometimes it's a matter of the smallest adjustment, which makes a huge difference in your curves, and trying to move the nose by a very small amount can be really hard by using the mouse. So in these cases are usually use the arrow keys. Go back to the main preferences menu and choose tools. Here you can adjust the nudge value to whatever works for you. I usually have it set to 0.1 pixels. That means that when I use the arrow key to move a node, it will move by a 0.1 pixel, and if I used the shift key along with the arrow key, it will move by one pixel. This can be a real life savory times. Okay, that's hold from the preference panel. We can close it next. We're going to turn on our navigator Navigator lets you navigate around your file quickly, But if it's kept on all the time, I've found that it's a really great resource to keep an eye out on my work in a smaller scale. Sometimes you can concentrate on the details too much that you forget to see the whole picture. But if you keep checking how your work looks like in the Navigator, it's such a small size you can catch any issues a lot sooner. You just take a peek to the navigator from time to time and check if it's looking good to turn it on. Go to view studio and choose Navigator. I usually keep it in the lower left corner, but you can place it anywhere you like. The rest of the options are pretty much as they are by default, but you can always adjust. Any preference is to your liking. In the next lesson, we're going to cover the pencil in detail and I'll show you how to use it. 5. Pen Tool: in case you never worked with vectors are mental, and you have absolutely no idea what it is and how it works. I want to show you the basics of how Victor's air constructive and what we used to create them. If you are already familiar with the mental, feel free to skip this video to the next lesson. Now, if you want, you can follow along with me, or you can watch the lesson first and try out that bento later by yourself. Whatever works best for you first, let's talk about what pictures are anyway. There are two types of graphics vectors and rest. A graphics rest. A graphics are created with pixels, the little rectangles that contain color information. And if we zoom into this image, we can see them here. The number of rectangles in an image is what we call resolution. So if an image is 1000 pixels wide and 1000 pixels high, that means that there are 1000 rectangles in the image with and 1000 more in the height totaling in one million rectangles in that image. The problem with this is that the number is fixed and you can't change it after without the loss of quality with vectors. What you see is a graphical render are actually mathematical formulas and because of that there endlessly scalable and sharp and light in terms of documents size. That's what makes vectors a format that is always used for a logo design. For example, if you want to deliver a logo to a client, you would always deliver a vector version because they would have to be able to use it in many different sizes without ever losing quality. Now let's see how to draw these pictures. There are three tools that we use to draw vectors, pinto move toe or black arrow tour and the no tool or white arrow tool. They're all located here in the tools panel. So here is a move to here is the no tool. And here is the pencil. With the mental, we draw with the move tool. We, of course, move things, and with the no tool, we move the candles and adjust the curves. We'll get to the details in a minute. Right now, I just want you to know which tools were going to use now little like the pentacle and I walk you through how it works with the mental selected quick anywhere on your dartboard. Now you created a point or a node. We call this note a sharp node. If you click and drag, you will pull out handles from the node and create what we call a smooth node. If you hold the shift key while you drag your handles, there will be perfectly corazon Tal, perfectly vertical or even at a perfect 45 degree angle, which is very important for us, and we will be using this a lot if you look closely. The sharp known is represented by a little rectangle, and the smooth node is represented by a circle. The ages of the handles are represented by smaller circles. This is useful to know, because you can immediately tell if you're curve contains a sharp node when it should have a smooth no the other way around. Now, if you d select the know that you just drew by pressing the escape key, you will see that there is nothing there yet. We didn't do anything. That's because the picture is defined by at least two points. Now let's see an example of this. If I click once and then click one more time somewhere else to create another node, I created a victor line, and its direction and shape is defined by these two knows. In this case, we used to sharp notes, and we got a victor line. If I used to different kinds of nose like, for example, to smooth notice like this, I will create a curve because I redefined the nature of these points. I redefined the curve in its direction as well. If I go around and get back to the first point I created, and I wait for this little circle next to the mental click again and dry, I created a clothes shape in this case, a circle with a stroke outline. If you look here in the swatches panel, you will say that the black is selected as an outline and the fill color, they said to none with lettering. It's always a good idea to work with feel rather than a stroke, so you can spot balance issues more easily and compare little weight. I usually draw the rough sheep with an outline first and then switch to fill for refinements. You can modify the nodes at any time during your drawing and change their type sort of speak. You can turn a sharp note into a smooth note, or vice versa by using the no tool. So let's select the no tool. And when it selected in affinity designer, you will see a panel on the top with additional options for the tool. Here, you can see the convert options for the nodes. You can convert to sharp node, smooth node or a smart node first to do exactly what you think. So let's select one of the smooth nodes here and click sharp. Now we changed. It's too sharp node. If I click the smooth node, it's back to smooth. Smart nodes help draw smooth nodes with just a click rather than click and drag. But I usually never used this function for lettering because I want to have full control of my handles while I traced letters. Or you can change the node type by using the old key and the note tool. So with the no till selected click on the note to select it and while holding the bulky drag one of the handles, this will create a sharp note with two handles. We will be using this a lot in drawing letters, especially on the corners. So it's a good idea to remember this keyboard shortcut. If you pull the handle to where Iwas affinity will automatically reverted back to smooth metal for you, you can also add additional knows two curves by simply selecting the no tool and clicking anywhere on the curb. You can delete notes by selecting them with the no tool and pressing the delete key or the backspace key. If you want to break a closed curve and make it open again, you can use break curve action in the control panel that is visible after selecting the no tool. So I select the no tool again, and in this section here we can see actions, break curve action, close current action, smooth curve joint curves or reverse curves. Most often, I only use a break curve action. So the way it works is that you select the known where you want the break to happen and just press the brake curve. Now we have an open curve. I'm just going to switch to stroke so we can see it. You can do the same if you want to close this curve back so you can select the endings. Ending knows and click closed curve. As I mentioned, we're not going to use this much for littering. But I thought I mentioned it just in case you ever needed. There is quite a bit to remember here. So I created a low Chee Chee for you that you can point out and keep somewhere near. If you ever need a refresher at any point during the class, this is the basis off what we're going to use to draw our letters no than their handles. If you never worked with the mental before, play around a little, see how it feels. The more you work with the mental, the more natural all of this will come to you. So don't worry if you're having a little trouble in the beginning, it's completely normal to skip practicing and playing around, and you will get there in no time. In the next lesson, we're going to learn where to place these points. So our curves always look good 6. Point Placement: Now that we know how to use the pen Tal we're going to try and backed arise this and person sketch in a way that I used to work before I found out about point placement. So I'm just going to start by selecting the pen tool and make sure that the stroke is set to black and I'm just going to start adding points around his shape. Okay, so I will switch to, like, Phil and set ill mode to non zero. Now, this is not a wrong way to do this. It's just unnecessarily hard. So I would spend a lot of time trying to adjust the handles and the curves to where I want them, and they would never look as good as I want them to. I want to show you the easier way to do this, where you don't have to guess where toe place your points, How many points you need for a certain shape And what kind of handles do you need? So let's delete this for now, and we'll come back to it now. Don't be scared. This is going to be really easy. I promise. What I have here is a certain function drawn in two dimensional space. I drew this function using the pen tool. And what we need to figure out is where are the relative maximum and minimum points of this function or the extreme appoints of this function? If we were to look for the absolute points, we would be looking for the highest and the lowest. But in relative terms, we need all high points and old low points. So on this example, I'm just gonna select the circle. Make sure that I have the outline selected. I'm going to start with the lower. So all the low points. So this would be a little point. This here would be a little point this and this for the high. We have this one, this one and this one. Now, if I select this function that I drew with the mental and so like the new tool to reveal the points that create this function, you would see that these points match These are the lowest among off points needed to draw this function. So what does that mean in terms off lettering? If we take a look at this oval, where would we find the high and low relation points. So if I select the circle again, this would be the high, and this would be the low. Now, if I do the same and select the current with my no toll and reveal the points, you will see that there is in fact, a point here and the point here. But with this elbow, we also have these two left and right points. Some artists like to use only the high and the low for victory izing lettering, but I prefer to use the left and right also because it's easier to manipulate the curves in this way. Now let's see another example. If you ever have issues with figuring out where these points would be, you can help yourself by drawing a rectangle around your shape. So I'm just gonna draw a rectangle that is the exact same size as the mobile. Something like this. And now you can see the places where these two shapes touch. So these this is where are extremely points should be. Now it's doing the rectangle and you see the points match again. Now let's try a different slant. So the top extreme a point would be here the left, one would be somewhere here. So try to imagine a rectangle touching the mobile. So somewhere around here, this would be the low and rectangle somewhere around here. Now, if I select the curve with the no tool, you can see that these points match again. So for lettering, especially the script lettering that is usually slanted to the right, you can count that most of the letters will probably have their extreme appoints a little bit lower on the left side and higher on the right side because of this slant, and in this way you can manipulate any curve that you want to achieve. So rather than adjusting the angle on the handle to adjust the angle off the shape, you can do the same by adjusting the position of these points. So if I move thes even lower and move these two points closer, you can see that the angle of this oval is now much steeper than it was before. This is the highest amount off points needed to draw a vector shape. But that doesn't mean that we need four points for each shape. So in the example of this flourish, you can see that this is one shape and you would draw this shape with one flowing stroke. But there is no way that you can draw this shape with only four points. However, we can still find all the high, older, low, all the left, all the right points off this shape because we're not looking for the absolute values were looking for relative values. So we need all of the highs, all of the lows, all left all rights in order to draw this shape. So let's select the circle, and I'll do the same as with the ovals on every starting point, there is a point. So here would be the first point, the left one again. Try to imagine a rectangle so rectangle would touch somewhere here somewhere here. Then again, here, here somewhere here and again at the end of the curve. What's it like this curve with the no tool, and you will see that the points match again. It's really hard to guess exactly where to place your point without measuring, but we don't have to, because we're going to adjust the curve many times before we're happy with the with how it looks so If you come close like this, you just fine. And if any time you can't get the curve to look just right, try to move the the point a little bit left or right on the extreme to try to adjust it. I've already mentioned in the mental video, and you might have noticed already that all of the handles are perfectly horizontal. Were perfectly verticals. We don't have a situation like this, for example, to make sure that you always use a perfect angle for your handles while you draw with the mental. And while you adjust the handles always hold the shift key and the angle will not move. Also, a good practice to draw beautiful curves is to alternate between horizontal and vertical handles. Now, if you take a look at this example, you will see that I have horizontal vertical, horizontal, vertical horizontal and here I have cars until again, the same situation is on the other side as well. So horizontal, vertical, horizontal and then horizontal again. It's not always possible toe alternate, and if you do have a situation like this where you can't alternate the handles, you can put another point in the middle here that will not be on the right angle. This will shorten the horizontal handles and make it easier for you to manipulate this long curve. This is not an error when doing lettering, but it's a good thing to know, especially when drawing the spine often s. For example. Always think of your curve as being created by these two handles together. So if you want to adjust this curve, you adjust both of these handles, so try not to extend one of the handles too long and keep the other one too short. That will create these kinds of problems here, where you can see where the point is, and it's not smooth transition between the points. You should try to keep them at the same length if you can, and always try not to cross them. I think this if you find yourself doing any of these, check if there is maybe a point missing here, or that the points are not on their extreme of these air. Usually the main reasons why crossing handles happen. Okay, now let's go back to our M percent from the beginning, and by using the point placement, let's try to victory. Rise this shape. So the way I work usually is to set my stroke to black. And with the mental, I would do a first pass over the shape that I want to victory rise, thinking only about the point placement. Now I'm trying to imagine my rectangle around this shape. So this is where my top point would be here somewhere would be. From that point, this section here is not on the extreme of so if we draw a rectangle, none of the sides would touch it. So we don't put the point here. This is where the rectangle would touch this shape. So we put point here on the corners. There is always a point, so he doesn't matter if it's an extreme appoint or not, it's a corner point. And you always add a point there. And a sharp point in this case again, on this section here, big rectangle would touch here. So we put a point here Sharp points on the corner Here is the the little point again. This section here if we draw a rectangle around this sheep, none of the sites would touch this curve here, so we don't need a point here. And the first point is somewhere around here. If we were to draw a rectangle around this shape, it would touch here. So the top would be here right here. Wasn't corner points here again. A corner point here. I'm still holding shift for for these corner points, the last ones here and finish back where we started. Okay, so this is the first pass that I do now. I switched to fill, and I said my film owed to non zero. And with the note tool, I would go and adjust the curve. So I know that this curve is created by these two handles. Now, I can already see that this handle is way longer than this one. So I'm gonna extend this one first two somewhere around the length off this one, and it's still not very good. I still think that I missed my extreme appoint a little, so I'm gonna drop this point a little bit lower. Where? Okay, Now, let's try to add a little more group here. Now they skirt is created by these two handles, and since they're around the same length, I'm gonna pull them both. No, by a little. And check if my curve a smooth the same goes for this curve here. So this seems to be too high. So I'm gonna a little weird, a little bit down and maybe even this top point needs to go a little to the right. Okay, Now, this girl looks a lot better, and this one could be a little bit better. Okay, This girl here. So with these two handles like this in this section here, we can see that this handle would almost cross with this one. And this one is far longer than this one. So we need to correct that. I will shorten this one a little bit and make this one longer. As long as you're happy with your curve, you don't have to match your sketch perfectly. Make sure that the victor version be smooth and clear. It doesn't matter if it's not completely according to this kitsch. Okay, so let's try the long curve here. So both of these handles are short, and I'm gonna pull them together to get to the curve that I want somewhere around here. Now, before I commit to this curve, I need to fix this problem here where my handles are crossing. So I'm gonna shortly them like this. And now I see that this point should go a little bit higher to be on the actual extreme. So I'm gonna just thes check if the curve smooth. Uh, just a little bit more. Okay. No, this side. Same thing. Okay, this one very long, this one shorter. So I'm gonna cool this one a little bit and cool this one in, Or maybe maybe it okay? No, it's it's a smoker. This curve seems to be working pretty well, so I'm gonna leave it like that, and all that's left is this curve here. So again, I select the point, and again, I can see that this is a very long handle. This one is very short, and I'm gonna pull this one to be longer. Now, this is a handle that it's not on. Ah, perfect angle. And that's okay, because it's ah, corner point. Okay. No, it's more. This one here, check the curve. Seems ok, and I still need to correct thes points here. Okay, I can see that this curve has a little bump here, so I'm gonna pull this handle in a little bit and that's it. We're done by working in this way, you are done much faster than if you try to guess where to put the points and how to work the handles. You still feel like you're not confident enough to move to the next lesson. I included a worksheet that you can practice with. I included all the shapes way used in the listen as well as an entire lower case alphabet. Go over to the project materials and download the file. Once you load the work, she to your vector drawing program. Just select the mental so like the stroke and trace the letters with the stroke. This is just so you can practice thinking about point placement while you work with letters . If you have any issues with the worksheet, or you can figure out a certain letter, I also included ah sold version off the point placement so you can always reference this version if you run into any trouble and to finish your practice strong. I also included this ampersand a sketch so you can have a little bit of fun, not just the exercise. When you're done, please take a screenshot off your point placement practice and shared with us in the project section. If you decide to share it on Instagram to please tag me at Lepic Narsil, I don't miss it. In the next lesson, we're going to talk a little bit about optical adjustments when drawing letters. 7. Optical Corrections: this is going to be the last thing I talked about before, finally diving into our sketch. And those are optical corrections in lettering. You might use all of your points correctly and have all your handles right. But there is still something off about your letters, and you can put your finger on it. Are bringing is tricky and to exactly the same shapes can seem uneven to our eyes. So the see an example. I'm going to draw a rectangle, and I'm gonna copy this rectangle and rotate it 90 degrees. Are they the same weight? The rotated one seems just a little bit heavier, doesn't it? These kinds of issues need to be corrected when drawing letters, especially in the vector form, because Victor's air so clean and sharp that these small things add up to large problems in a piece of lettering. I think of it this way. If you see something a bit off, whether that's an angle size with or anything else, that's your brain playing tricks. And no one ever said we have to stay perfectly inside our guides. Let me show you a couple of examples, but keep in mind that these mostly happened in different styles and not script. But I'm hoping this will make you trust your eyes more and not the guides. So this is an adjustment that we have to use very often in almost every style of lettering . If you look closely, you will notice that the O and the A seem tiny weight smaller than the rest of the letters , even though they're perfectly aligned. This usually happens with the letters that are round or sharp, so we use an overshoot to correct. For that. That means that every letter you draw that is curved liken oh, or pointed like an A. You need to extend a little bit over the height line or a baseline in case off me, for example. Now this is a sample with an overshoot, and how much are you going to overshoot is entirely up to you. There's no exact formula for this. Just trust your eyes. Letters like the P R will have this straight to curve joins, and in some cases we need to play around with the handles and point placement until we get that joint to feel more natural. Otherwise, you will be able to see we're joins. Like in this sample here with a lower case H on the left. All the thickness is the same throughout the letter. And you can see that because the curb joins with the straight line here and it looks really heavy. Overall, what we would do is been the joy which makes it feel more natural and not so heavy. We already mentioned the stroke thickness at the beginning off our video and you can see that here in the upper case, T very well. The same thing happens with the cross bar on the upper case A. For example, if the stroke is horizontal, it has to be a little bit dinner mathematically to a fear the same thickness as the rest of the letters. There are many more of these corrections, but I think you get the idea. Just always trust your eyes and train them to see these differences don't rely on measuring because in many cases that doesn't work for letters. You are now ready to act, arise any style you want, just like with the ampersand. Just follow your sketch and refine keeping the points in the right places. I use this method for all of my lettering except for the scripts. And that's why, for our class project, I chose script styles so I can show you that, too. So in the next lesson, we are finally going to start working on our ice cream flavor lettering. So it your sketch ready? 8. Setting Up the File: Now it's finally time to start working on our ice cream flavor, So get your sketch ready if you haven't done that already. And open up, affinity, designer or equivalent, we're going to set up our file first. So first go to file new. We're going to create an instagram graphic. So for type, you can choose the document units. You can leave in pixels color format can be left at our GP and for the document dimensions . We're gonna choose 3000 by 3000 pixels. And for a DP I I usually choose 144 for routine A screens. We can check the Create Art Board as well. Click OK, and now we have our file open. Before you start working, it's a good idea to save your files somewhere. So we're gonna go to file, save as pick a name for your file and click safe while working. Make sure to press control s often to save your work. At this point, I do this unconsciously every 5 to 10 minutes or so and especially if I made some big change that I like then I I always like to save next we're gonna bring our sketch inside affinity. I have my sketch ready on my desktop, and I'm just going to drag and drop it inside. Or you can go to file place and locate your sketch on your computer. Once you have your sketch in, place it on your cardboard so it's roughly centered and we're going to name this sketch lier skitch. Next, we're going to lower the opacity on this sketch to somewhere around 20 to 30%. It depends on your image. Choose the value where you can still see your sketch, but it's not in the way while working. When you happy with the A pass ity of your sketch layer, you can select the layer and click. This will look icon. This way we make sure that the sketch doesn't move while working. Next, we're going to prepare our layers. If you don't see the layers panel, go to view studio and find layers and place the panel somewhere where it's not in the way and you can still see it clearly. I usually keep it on the left side here. Now we're going to add a couple of new layers on top of our skitch. So with this icon here we can add a new layer. The first layer is going to be for our guides. The 2nd 1 it's going to be background. Next one monoline Next one. Wait and the last one retrace these air also roughly all the steps that we will go through to victory eyes our script. If I have illustrations in my sketch, I would add one more layer for that. But in this case, we don't need it. In the next lesson, we're going to draw our guides. 9. Guides: by this point, you have your file ready, your sketch imported and your layers already. Choose the guides layer and choose a pencil. You can draw any kind of guides you want to with the mental, but always keep them on a separate layer so you can turn them on and off as needed, and lock them so they don't move. For my lettering. I need to horizontal guides, one for the baseline and one for the X height of the letters. And I'm going to use a pencil to draw my first guide. Okay, I'm going to check the angle. Okay. And now I'm going to use the move tool, old king, and quick and drag to make a copy off my guide to see the guides better. I'm going to select both of my guides and choose a bright color for them so I can see them . I usually choose some kind of magenta color because I always work in black and white for the lettering with script lettering. You can also create vertical guides to make sure your letters are roughly at the same angle . Just draw the 1st 1 at an angle that you think fits most of the letters somewhere around here. And by using the altar key again, make a copy once you coffee one use command J to make additional copies. And we can also copy the guides to our capital letter. Once you're happy with your guides, look the guy's layer and let's start victory izing. Just remember, the guides are just that they are there to help, not constrain us. In the next lesson, we're going to trace our lettering using only the stroke. 10. Monoline: There are a few different methods that you can use to victory eyes, your scripts. But for me, this one has proven to work the best. I will use the same process as I use for sketching. I will draw the lines of the letters first and wait and then retrace. There are a couple of reasons why work this way with scripts. The 1st 1 is the things. If I was to trace, this catch is an outline. First, it would be very hard for me to keep the thins consistent and even harder to make any changes to the letters later. Which brings me to the second reason. No matter how good years catch is, you will always have to polish it in the electorate phase and by drawing the letters as stroke lines. First, you can fix these things quickly and easily. Let's start and you'll see what I mean. Select the monoline layer and choose the mental. Make sure your stroke is said to black and that all of your previous layers are locked. Choose a stroke thickness that could be closest to the fins. I'm gonna choose one point and then I'm gonna start Spectre rising, you can start anywhere you like. And sometimes I go in order of the letters. And sometimes I pick easier letters first and leave the harder ones for later. In this case, I'm going to start with the capital scene. No, just like with the M percent at the first pass. I'm only thinking about point placement and just placing the points on their extreme. Once I come to the end of the letter, I will stop. I will approximate where to add the point on the future thick stroke. You can choose to put it on the left side or on the right side or in the middle. It doesn't really matter. I traced each letter separately so I can adjust the spacing if needed. But if all the letters were made from one line, it would be much harder to make these kinds of adjustments. So now I'm going to use the no tool and try to match my curves. You can slowly build on your curve on and make adjustments as you go. You don't have to finish each curve and then move to the next one. You can work on this one a little bit and then moved to this one. Whatever works best for you, any angle adjustments, letter spacing, curves or letter with adjustments should be done at this stage because as we move through the process, it's going to be harder and harder to make these kinds of adjustments. So if you see something that you want to fix in your sketch, you can easily do it now with just the monoline. Okay, on the age down stroke and on the down stroke, we're going to have to use another point here. So I'm going to use extreme appoint here. I could go and add just one more here, but because this is such a long curve, I want to be able to manipulated better. And we see that thes handles are not alternating. So we can add another point in the middle that is not horizontal or vertical. So I'm gonna add this one here. Okay, The next shape is the age, so I just please my points and then we find, because this is a curve here, we need a little bit of an overshoot, so I'm gonna make sure that it extends a little bit down below the baseline. I'm just trying to get smooth curves. Okay? No, the oval. Make sure to escape each time you finish withdrawing one letter so you can have, um separate. She okay? Oh, is also going to have a little overshoot, and here it's Well, now, if you can see that my handles are still horizontal and vertical, it doesn't matter that the lettering is on an angle itself. Your points can still do the job if they are horizontal and vertical. That part was very confusing to me when I started. Okay. Now, in this starting stage, you're free to call p any shapes that you can. So we're going to copy this. Oh, here. And we're going to copy it to the A as well. During the process, we're gonna go over a lot of steps, and by the end of the process, we're gonna make a lot of changes to the individual letters. So at this point, it doesn't matter that these ovals are exactly the same. We're gonna fix that later. Okay? The next one is the sea. Also, the connections don't have to be perfect right now. We're going to take care of that in a later step for the down stroke off the A. I'm going to start with a point and drag. My handle's roughly in the direction off where their stroke is going. So I'm gonna pull it somewhere here and then continue with the extreme appoints as before for the tea. We don't need the middle point like in the age, so we can use the extreme appoints all the way around because the tea is not ending here, but its continuing towards the e. So we can use the alternating handles in this case for the E. I'm going to trace it according to the sketch. And then I'm gonna move it up because if you can see that my sketch is going a little bit downwards, uh, toward the end. But I can see that I have enough of the below the baseline to fit this space here, so I'm just going to trace it and then move it. Now I'm going to adjust the overshoot and bring it a little closer to the rest of the letters. Here is little. Okay, so now to the l with these flourishes, I wanted to include a couple of flourishes in my example so I can show you how to victory eyes them too. But you don't have to use them in your class project. - Okay , so the first step is done. Now, before moving to the next step, be sure that you're completely happy with your work. Look for any inconsistencies in your letters and try to ask yourself these questions. Are all of my letters roughly at the same angle? Are all of my letters roughly the same with Are there any awkward, empty spaces between letters or, in my case, are some letters too close to each other? So what I can see here is that the space between the H and the O is larger than the space between the O and the scene, and I can easily correct that. But just moving my letters a little bit to the right and adjusting the connection. Now the l needs to go a little to the right as well, and maybe even a little bit more. You. No, it's You can also turn off your sketch and your guides to check the balance of your piece. And I'm constantly looking here to see if there are any issues. So what I'm seeing here is that the l seems to be on a weird angle. And when I took here, I can see that I am to correct that as well. I'm gonna turn my guide stuck on but not the sketch so I can check my angles. I think this space between the sea and the O could also be a little larger. And the angle off the Elvis still not right. So I'm gonna move this point here and adjust curved to match this single better. It's also a good idea to make a break at the end of each of these steps. Risked your eyes a little bit and come back to check if everything is as you want it. One other thing that you can do to check your curves is to select the entire layer and from up the stroke. Now here you will be able to see any issues with your curves. The thicker the stroke, the mistakes get more visible. Okay, I think my curves are okay. I'm gonna pull back the stroke too. One point and double check. If there is anything else that I can do to make this beast better When you happy with your monoline version? Moved to the next layer called weight. And in the next lesson, we're going to add fix to our letters, make sure to share your monoline version in your class project. 11. Adding Weight: now, before we move to adding weight, I just want to show you what would happen if we were to outline this stroke and just pull the points to add weight. If I select all the curves on my monoline layer and go to their expand stroke, select the No. Two and reveal the points, you will see that all our hard work is gone. There are randomly added points all over, and if you were to try and pull out the fix, you would first have to clean up all of these points. So if I try to move this one, I would have to go in here and move these two also and try to make this fit here and then somehow try to mash this curve here. The same thing would happen if we were to add weight manually and use the Pathfinder to merge the shapes together. That's why I add the weight manually, and then we trace everything as a final step. Even though this may seem like a lot of work to go through all of these steps, it's significantly less than actually trying to fix all of these added points and fiddling with the handles endlessly, the results will never be the same. And I haven't found any other method that gives me the same results in a relatively short amount of time and far less frustration. So I'm gonna undo what I've done here and go to my weight layer. We can also add this catch back just to make sure that we're adding the weight that we want . So, like the Ben Tool, you can also lock the monoline layer so it doesn't interfere with our adding weight and then start in this part of the process. I'm not really worried about point placement or anything. I'm just adding the shape that will roughly give me the weight off this letter. I'm also not concerned about having my curves be perfectly smooth because we're going to retrace all of this layer. It doesn't really matter. Okay, now that we're done adding the weight to all the letters to check that all of the weight is the same across the letters, I would usually go in and draw draw a circle, cholera it in magenta so I can see better. And I would pick a weight that I think iss good and then I would check the rest of the letters. So the age is okay. Here on the thickest part, the stroke can be a little bit thicker. Okay. And now the next one you don't have to perfectly match. They just need to be roughly the same. Wait. Just look for the the kiss part of the stroke and check there. You can also match the flourishes with the thickness, but I prefer to have them a little thinner than the rest. The upper case letters will always have a little bit more weight to them because they are larger than the rest and have more white space. Here. You can use your best judgment to try and match the upper case and lower case. In the next lesson, we're going to start retracing our final lettering. 12. Retrace: Now, before we start with the retracing check that your monoline stroke is that the weight that you want? So just go back to your monoline layer and play around with the thickness. Do you want your things to be super thin, or do you want them to be a little bit thicker? I'm gonna leave mine at very thin. Now select your on the line layer as well as your weight. You can delete this. You don't need it anymore. So So, like the monoline layer and the weight layer. And lower the opacity to around 30% for 25. Lock both layers so they don't move around and you can turn off your sketch. Now we have a template that we know we're going to be happy with. We already took the angles with the weight of the letters. Now all we have to do is redraw it. So there are no awkward connections between the six and the Fens. Using everything you learnt so far. Go ahead and retrace your work. But this time, by working with filled shapes. Okay, Now, so like the retrace, clear and then tool, make sure you don't have anything selected here while you draw, because it will be easier to see what you dio without the stroke or the fill. Since this thin is very thin, it's easier to work this way. Now that I have my points placed on both sides off our template, I'm gonna fill it with black, select the film owed non zero and with no tool again, adjust my curves for the oh, I drew two different ovals the outside oval and the inner oval. I'm going to select both of them on a still and I'm going to use Pathfinder. Just abstract the shape. No, I can go and adjust it further. - Okay , so now that we're finally done retracing everything, we can turn off our template and our guys and take a better look at our lettering. Now, at this stage, you can still make some changes. Like I forgot to add a little think part here. So I can easily do that just by fooling the point on the inside a little bit and I adjusting the handles. Okay. Now, in the next lesson, we're going to take a closer look and see if there is anything we missed or we see anything that needs improving 13. Refining: by this stage. You have been staring at your screen for a very long time, and it's a good idea to take a break if you can. Your eyes are already tired and you may not see everything clearly. So the best thing to do is to either take a break or ask someone else for feedback. Because you can't trust your eyes if you're tired, especially because you're already so close to the final piece that any further changes will be really minor. So come back with fresh eyes and take another look. I've done the same on now, coming back to my work, I can see that there are still some issues. Like, for example, I still don't like the spacing between these three litters. I'm seeing that this line is maybe two straight. I can see a bump here, and my bins are not consistent over the lettering. So what I'm gonna do now is select the retrace layer and make a copy. I will turn off the original and rename this to retrace to In this way, you don't have to be afraid of making any changes that you can come back to. You always have the original to fall back to. I'm also going to turn on my guys, and I'm gonna start refining some of these letters here. I'm mostly using arrow keys to make my adjustments. Okay, now, this angle zing seems to be better. I feel like this. Oh, is not following the angle off the letters. So I'm gonna try to adjust it a little bit because we spend all this time making sure that our points are on the extreme and that we have as little points as possible. We can know make changes more easily. This girl here doesn't seem to be smooth. So I'm gonna check my handles here and see if I can make it better. Do you do like this? Now? This is a situation where you can check your point placement. I tried to adjust the handles and it didn't work, so I'm gonna try to move. Mike points a bit here somewhere. And now you can see that this curve looks much better then it looked before No . Okay, but I like to do to check my work is to add a black background and change the color of the letters to bite. So When we started our project, we added a background layer. So click on that layer and so, like the rectangle tool, Create a like rectangle and select your letters your last retrace make of coffee again. And let's change it to three and change the color to white. Okay, Now let's check if everything is still looking, OK? No, Maybe this part here is too thin. So I'm just gonna slightly just a thickness with my arrow keys. Okay. You can ask yourself some questions if you're not sure what to do about your lettering. Is the weight consistent throughout my lettering? Are there any curves where you can see the points where there's, ah bump somewhere like I showed you in the example of the flourish? Are all these fins consistent? Is the angle consistent in all the letters? Speaking of angle, I think this oh, might need just a bit more of an angle. Okay, just go over the letters as much as you think is necessary. But don't spend weeks on it either. You can also print it out and see the printed version shows any issues. This is especially useful if you're working on a logo for a client, and it would be a great idea to print it out and multiple sizes to check for any issues. I'm just gonna go over everything once again and check if all my handles are correct. And if I can see any issues up close. Yeah. No. Okay. Okay. I think I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. Andi, In the next lesson, we're going to add color and export our final artwork. 14. Colors and Exporting: Now that you have a back dries lettering, you can play around with it. Add colors, embellishments, textures, shadows. Whatever you want. There are many options you can use here and feel free to play around. To finalize my work. I would add color to the background on the lettering. And since we're talking about chocolate ice cream, I'm gonna think some chocolatey color. This, for example, and for the letters. I'm gonna pick a lighter, creamy color. So something like this to finalize, I add a little bit of noise to the background for texture. So the way to add noise. It's just like the background go to fill and click on this circle here, which says, Switch to noise and then add a little bit off noise. I don't know if you can see it, but there is a little bit of texture to the color now. Or another thing that you can dio is to overlay your littering over a picture. So let's add another art board by using the onboard tool and click insert onboard. Now I have my image ready on my desktop. Not a very good A management they will do. Okay, No select your lettering and just make a copy. And since we have a letter background, I want a darker letters here. Now we want to export it so it's ready to share in the class project or on social medium. The easiest way to export your work is just to select the our board that you want to export . Go to file and export twos, PNG or JPEG. Check how big your if I will be, especially if you added a lot of texture and effects to your lettering. Because we edit noise in this case are file is pretty big, and we need to make it a little bit smaller. So what you can do is to lower the quality to around 90% on that will take care of the file size, and when you're done, just click on the export and save it somewhere on your computer. The only thing left to do is to share your work in the class project section. And if you're gonna share it on social media, please tell me at the door I'm so excited to see what you made