Watercolour Letters - Three Different Styles to Make Your Words Stand Out | Beatriz Nácher | Skillshare

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Watercolour Letters - Three Different Styles to Make Your Words Stand Out

teacher avatar Beatriz Nácher, Colourful Lettering & Calligraphy

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

10 Lessons (57m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Materials

    • 3. Basics of 3D Letters

    • 4. 3D Letters: Shape and Colour

    • 5. 3D Letters: Details

    • 6. Galaxy Letters

    • 7. Balloon Letters: Shape and Colour

    • 8. Balloon Letters: Details

    • 9. Class Project

    • 10. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

In this intro course to watercolour lettering, you'll learn how to draw letters in three different styles, that you can use in many different projects.

First style is 3D lettering, and we will recreate those lovely wooden letters with light bulbs, but in a much more colourful way.

Second style, galaxy letters. Watercolour galaxies are one of the most beautiful things you can create with watercolours, and when applied to letters, they look amazing. You'll be able to fit the whole universe in a word.

And third one, balloon letters. Every time I post balloon letters on Instagram, I get tons of requests for a tutorial, so here it is! This one is a bit tricky, but I'll guide you through each step, so you can successfully draw letters that look like they may fly away at any time.

In this class, we will take a look at all materials you need to get started, and it includes templates for all three styles. So don't worry if you are just starting with hand-lettering. I've got you covered!

Ready to have fun with lettering? Go grab your watercolours and let's jump into the first lesson!

Meet Your Teacher

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Beatriz Nácher

Colourful Lettering & Calligraphy


I'm Bea, and I am a hand-lettering artist and calligrapher from Spain. I started learning how to draw letters 4 years ago, as a way to let my imagination run free, and it was one of the best decisions I've ever made!

My passion for lettering and calligraphy started when I came upon a brush calligraphy video on Instagram.
Shortly after, I decided to start my own account, followed by my lettering business, Bealettering. This has given me the chance to work in many different projects, creating content for companies and custom art for people all over the world, participating in on-site calligraphy events, and teaching hundreds of students the amazing art of lettering.

The style I developed is colorful and happy, matching my optimistic personality. And that's also what I try... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Hello and welcome to my first Skillshare class. I'm Bea, a hand-lettering artist from Spain. And I'm here to teach you about one of my biggest passions, watercolor lettering. Earlier this year, ,I started a new passion project. It's a series of Instagram posts featuring different ways to draw a letter using watercolors. Some of those styles soon became your favorites. And I got a lot of requests to make a video tutorial. So here it is. In this class, you'll learn how to draw incredibly good-looking 3D letters, galaxy letters, and balloon letters. If you have some previous knowledge working with watercolors that's great. But if you don't, don't worry, this is a beginners-friendly class. I'll be guiding you through the materials and supplies that we are going to need. And I'll be showing the exact same steps that I follow when I draw these letters. So you can recreate them at home. And later you can use those letters for any project you like. As for hand-lettering, don't worry if you're just starting because I also included templates for each one of the styles that we're going to create. So you can focus on having fun with watercolors. Are you ready to learn some cool new styles? Let's get started! 2. Materials: Before we start, we're going to take a look at the materials that we are going to use in this class. First thing we're going to need is obviously watercolour paper. And it doesn't have to be the most expensive watercolor paper in the market. But you cannot use regular copy paper because it's not meant to work with watercolors. This is the one I use, and it is 300 grams per square meter. But if you have 190 grams per square meter, it's going to work perfectly fine for the size of letters that we are going to draw. But you want to look for fine grain watercolor paper because we need a smooth surface to be able to draw all the details we want to add to our letters. We're going to need brushes. Of course, I am using watercolor round brushes and the sizes depend on the size of your letters, but I normally use in a size 4 or 3 for the letters, and then a size 0 or 1 one for the small details, We'll need pencil and eraser glass of clean water because we need to add water to the watercolors and also to clean our brushes. A mixing palette, a paper towel. And of course, watercolors. We cannot paint watercolors letters. Without them, but there are different options. You may want to work with this kind of watercolors that are dry. You can activate them by adding a little bit of water, mixing them, then using the palette and adding more water until you get the consistency that you're looking for. These ones, the ones that I use on the time, You can tell by the way, this looks, it's probably three years or four years old, but I love this watercolors. Or you can choose to work with watercolors, inn tubes- The consistency is more liquid, it's not completely dry, but still you have to add water and dilute them with a little bit of water to be able to work with them. Okay? You cannot paint straight from the tube. And we have another option, which are these liquid water colors. You don't need to add more water because they are pre-mixed. But I find it a little bit more difficult to get darker and brighter colors with these ones, but, just so you know that you can use those ones. And finally, we are going to use some white paint, acrylic paint to add some finishing touches and details. But if you don't have this kind of paint, you can use a white pen. Under the project and Resources section of this class you can find a PDF guide with the exact same brands that I'm using. Of course, you can use whatever brand you prefer. You can also download a template with all the lettering styles that we're going to use, so you just have to choose or pick a letter and then trace it on watercolor paper and you're ready to go. Just make sure that you are using the website version of Skillshare because you cannot find that PDF in the app. So whenever you are ready, go to the next lesson and less start drawing 3D letters. 3. Basics of 3D Letters: Great, so we're going to start with 3D letters, okay? And this is the template that you can download from Skillshare's website. I have already drawn the volumes on each letter. But if you have no idea how to create 3D letters, don't worry because I'm going to share with you the process that you can follow whatever the letter you are drawing or creating. You can use this method with block letters like here, but you can also use it with the letters that you've written with a brush pen, for instance. And it's also really useful if you don't know where to place your shadows in a word. To illustrate this method, I have here two pieces of paper. One is tracing paper, so you can see what's going on behind this one. I have here a letter R, that as you can see, has straight lines, curved lines and diagonal lines. And we have a letter here and also the outline in the other piece of paper. So in order to draw the volume or the shadow of a letter, you have to put one on top of the other and then slightly move the piece of paper that is on top, in this case the tracing paper towards one of the corners of the paper. So we can, move it towards here, here, here, or here in a diagonal movement. So let's say that I want this R to cast a shadow or have the volume on this side. So I have to move the paper towards the opposite direction. So as soon as I start moving the shadow or the outline of the letter that is underneath, starts to show. And this is exactly what we wanted because this is the shadow of this letter. Something important here that I want you to notice is that if I move it in the exact same direction, as the diagonal stroke, in this direction, this part of the layer is not going to cast any shadow or we're not going to see its volume. And that's because diagonal strokes. Don't cast any shadow if we move in the same direction of diagonal. So we have to take that into account because it may look a little bit weird. In this case if we want this part to also have a volume, we are going to move it towards that direction or this direction. So let's say we are going to move here. And now what we have to do is trace. Just like that. Okay, so now I'm going to move this here so we can see better what we did. And if we leave it like this, we can fill this part, and then we have created a drop shadow. And if what we want is a shadow, we can stop there. We already have what we needed, but if we wanted to create a volume or a 3D effect. Then we have to connect this point with this point. Okay? We connect that. And of course, this little line that we drew will not be visible anymore because it's behind the volume. And just like that, we have created a 3D effect. This point and this point, we are going to connect them. So same here and here. Connect these two. And we connect these two. And you can see that these lines are exactly the same direction as we were moving and they are all parallel to each other. And what happens with this point? This point, is a little bit behind and that's because this curve doesn't have any end point like here. We have an angle here and this vertex, but curved lines don't have that. So when we have a curve, what we need to do is to draw a line that has the same direction as the lines we were drawing, connecting the dots, but we have to draw it slightly tangent to this point. Ok, so as if we were just starting the curve on that point and then we draw the rest. And once we have it, we can fill it up. And check if it looks correct, and more or less it does. And I'm going to draw an S, an L, and a K, here to show you how different letter forms behave. This S has also a diagonal line and two curves here and here. So you can see those connections that I've made there. L is really easy, pretty straightforward. And then with this K, you can see that as we are moving towards that direction, this diagonal casts a bigger volume than these diagonal. Okay? This is going to be thinner and this is going to be thicker because the stroke is almost in the same direction. 4. 3D Letters: Shape and Colour: So now the fun begins, I'm going to use just one color for each one of the letters, so it's kind of monochromatic. But I'm going to use a lighter color and darker color to create contrast and add shadows. And since we are trying to recreate those wooden letters that have light bulbs inside, we can also draw some small circles. And I'm going to start by filling this part, the volume of the letter, with a very light colour. Let's talk a little bit about the colors we're going to use. If you have enough colors in your palette, you can choose a really bright colour like this yellow, a bright light color like this yellow. Then this orange yellow that is a bit darker. And then this color here that is even darker. Okay, and we can play with those three colors, but what if you don't have different values or different shades of the same color, then you can use just one color, like this pink over here. We have ta really intense and saturated pink here. And I can work with this color. But if I add a little bit of water, I will have this color. And if I add more water. I will have a really pale. And this also works. We have a really light color, a medium color and a darker color. And the same applies to this purple. I can use this as my dark color and then add a little bit of water and have a lighter color and add more water and have an even lighter color. And now it's time to start bending. So we grab some color and carefully start filling up everything while the color is still kind of wet, we're going to draw some shadows. So let say that the light hits this letter from the side. So everything that it's on the opposite side will be darker. So we are going to use a darker color. And we can blend them. Just add in a little bit more of water if it is too dry. Same here, there should be some darker color here. And all this part will be really dark. Now for the light, we're going to use a really, really light yellow. And now until we wait for it to completely dry, we're going to paint the next letter. I need to activate these ones because they are dry. I'm going to use some pink. And here the light will hit in this direction. So this part of the letter, this side of the letter should be darker. than the top. This top part, and this top part are going to be lighter, and them I'm going to add a lot of water and also paint this little circles in pink. Because why not? It doesn't have to be 100% realistic. So you can play with that. And then letter K is going to be... purple. And we then go back to these letters that are a bit dry and add some more darker color. And then the same with the yellow. And make this part here just a bit darker, and also this. And then for letter K, light will be coming from the top. So this should be dark And this is also going to be dark. And then we're going to blend towards the top of the letter. And we create a gradient. And we're going to do kind of the same here. 5. 3D Letters: Details: Now that everything's dry, We're going to give some volume to those little light bulbs. So take into account where the light comes from. If the light comes from here for this L from, the top right, then we will create the volume by adding, a slightly darker color at the other side. We do the same with purple. In this case, it's coming from the top. And, for S, light was coming from this direction so... Ok, that one wasn't completely dry. So if that happens, just Make your brush dry, and remove the excess of paint. Then we wait until it's dry again and then we can draw. Now we are going to outline the letters. So to do so you need a really small brush. or you can use a fineliner. Grab your darkest color, and go over the edge. Now it's completely dry and we can paint this. And now we have just one step left (actually two). And that is to add an extra shadow. And where are we going to add that one? Well, if, you have these letters that have those light bulbs inside this it's like a thin wall. This part of the letter it's a little bit pushed inside the letter. So this world is going to be creating a shadow here, or the wall itself is what we are going to see. And also a little bit here, and also a bit here in here. So we will be drawing a shadow there. This one over here, this one over here. And over there, any creates stronger 3D feeling. And I, so these light bulbs can have their own shadow here. Now, what I'm going to do is, since I'm working with watercolors, I'm going to erase all pencil lines, including these ones that I've just made. And instead I'm going to use a grayish, really light gray. Something like see if you can see it better here. It's really like light. Make sure everything is dry and erase the pencil lines. And then carefully draw these lines. Okay, so take into account where the lights come from. If the light is coming from this side, we are only going to have those shadows over here. And over here. It's So thin and light that I'm not sure if you can see them, but it does make a difference in real life. Probably you can see it better here. I'm just going to redraw the ones for the L. Remember, light was hitting from this direction and here the light was coming from the top. And last but not least, we are going to use some white acrylic paint to draw some lights for those lights bulbs. So opposite to where we draw the shadows just at these lines. If you don't have acrylic paint, remember that you can use any white pen. And this is how our 3D letters look like when they're finished. 6. Galaxy Letters: The second style we are going to learn is how to draw galaxy letters. I picked this kind of Typewriter font to illustrate this example. But you can choose whatever font you like. Just make sure that there's enough room inside of the letter to draw our galaxy. You can see that I'm pressing really hard against watercolor paper. So you can see pencil on camera. But if you are doing it at home, don't press so hard. Really thin lines, something like that, should be enough. And it will make it easier when you are finished to remove all pencil lines. So let's start with letter I (I said A in the video, sorry!) We're going to use three colors. For this one, I'm using pink, okay, it's the same pink I used in the previous video. Then our purple. And then we need black. Okay, grab your black. Now with clear water, we are going to paint inside the letter. Make sure everything is wet. You don't want it to be too wet, If you see, pools starting to form in the letter then maybe it's too much and you should wait a little bit until it dries. Okay. We want it just a little bit wet. That's too much. So you can always remove the excess of water with a paper towel. Now, pick pink, add lots of water to it. And just tap on different parts of the letter. And before it dries, do the same thing with the other color. So we wanted the letter to be wet, so both colors mix really well. You can leave some areas unpainted if you want, but should look something like that. Now we are going to wait a little bit until it dries, but just a few seconds and before it completely dries, we're going to grab lack and go over the outline of the letter, stopping every once in a while. And you see that the black paint will flow into the inside part of the letter. You can also tap inside the letter a bit little bit. And don't forget this little dot. And right now, it may seem that everything's going to be super black and we are not going to be able to see what we painted underneath. But once it dries, that black will not be so dark anymore. So wait until it's a little bit dry and then add a second layer of black doing the exact same thing, going over the edges. Now before it dries we are going to tap again. But this time, just using water. clean your brush until there's only watter and then tap. And you see how small drops of water start forming, and start pushing the paint. towards the edges. Just add some of them randomly all over the letter. And if you feel like there's not so much color visible anymore, you can always go back to pink and some more drops, but don't overwork it. Okay, now we have to wait and let the colors work its magic, because if we start touching it a little bit too much, all colors are going to start blending together and it's not going to be a galaxy. So trust the process. It may take some tries until you get your desired result and these letters will never look exactly the same. We have to wait until this is completely dry to see their results. So we are going to start drawing a T over here. And for this T, I'm going to use different colors, I'm going to use blue and black, and maybe a little bit of green as well. So first step, clean water. Second step, tapping. And while it is still wet, Go over the outline. And now the I is starting to dry up. And you can see that it doesn't look as dark as it did, anymore. So don't worry if you think it's too dark and you've gone to far. When it dries You can always see that black is not that dark anymore. And you can play with different layers, different drying times between each layer and see what works best for you, for what you're looking for, for your watercolors. Okay, so now I just added a second layer of black and it's time for the water drops. Okay, And for the last letter, we are not going to use black, but two different colors, for instance, pink and purple and make a different kind of galaxy letter with has slightly different colors. You can even try to add some white paint, some dots, and sometimes that looks like clouds. So it's a really nice way to give that Sky or Galaxy effect. And before we move on to the next step, we're going to let it dry. So this is where it looks like when it's ready and you can see all those textures that we can only get if we let water drops in there and then don't touch it until it's completely dry. Now the only thing that's left is to add stars. Every galaxy needs stars Stars. And we're going to grab some white paint that we have here. And then paint just the smaller, smallest stars. And now we're going to grab a really small brush and randomly paint bigger stars. And this is it. I hope you had fun experimenting with different colors, with adding black or just a darker color. And enjoy your galaxies. 7. Balloon Letters: Shape and Colour: So now we're going to talk about balloon letters. And for these ones we really need a reference. So I'm going to show you some of the images that I have saved in my iPad. But just so you know what we are looking for, can easily find these online if you Google balloon or foil letters plus the letter you're looking for and you get many references because these baloons are really common. So as you can see here, we have a complicated mix of darker and brighter areas. We have really, really bright almost white areas here and here. That's where light hits and also some parts over here. But since it's not a flat surface, it's curved. You have also a bright area on the other side, so a little bit over here and also a little bit over here. And the darkest area is somewhere along the middle of this letter. Ok, so we are going to draw letter P, A, and U. And we are going to draw it in a blue color because you can choose any color you like. Since we are working with watercolors, We start with the lighter color and then we are going to build up darker colors by adding more layers. So keep your reference image close and let's start drawing. This is the template provided, but as you can see, it's really easy to sketch these letters. And for the color, we're going to start adding a little bit of this blue here. Okay, so this would be like the darkest color. We can try a little bit here, is a really dark, saturated color. And as we add more water, we will get lighter and lighter colors. Okay? And if we add a lot of water, we will have a very light blue. Okay, this one, that is going to be our 'white'. So with this very light blue, we are going to paint over our letters. And we're going to let them dry. When it is dry. We're going to apply the second layer of color, a little bit darker. So we're going to mix it with less water. And we are going to paint over the whole letter except for this super bright areas. Ok, so basically, almost the whole letter again. We are going to apply a third one to continue adding shadows and contrast to our letters, always following the reference image. Okay? So right now we have more or less all the lights and shadows that we wanted and we just have to add the darkest color. So I'm going to mix a little bit more of watercolor for this, to get that color over there. And just draw these dark lines. 8. Balloon Letters: Details: While everything dries up for the next step, we're going to use the same paint with almost no water to draw the outline of the letters that is supposed to be darker than the rest of the letter. If you look at this outline, it's in a darker color and we're also going to draw some bumps like these ones. So don't draw a straight line. Draw these little bumps because it gives more realism to the letter. So almost no water here. Just a little bit. We want to draw a really thin, defined lines, with these bumps that I was talking about. So next step is adding creases and that's what makes it a real balloon letter. Creases are these dark lines that you can see over here. And they are formed because there's air inside a balloon and that creates inner pressure. So the surface has to bend or to wrinkle, creating those creases. We're going to draw them exactly in the same place. They appear mainly in the areas that are bended or curved, not in the straigh ones. And we're going to draw first the main ones that define the direction of those creases. And then we will add a small ones in-between. It's really important that you use a really thin, really thin brush. And again, we are using almost no water to get really sharp lines. So these are the main ones. And then we are going to draw the small ones in between. Okay, looking good. And now it just to add a little bit more contrast, I'm mixing an even darker color and I'm going to draw a really thin line in the middle. And also some double lines around the edges, which are supposed to be that dark line that you see over there. And then we're going to create the line here. And when we get here, we're going to go like this. And you can make some of the creases a little bit more intense. If you want. Then, then these thin double lines here create more volume. Really small details. Let's blend a little bit the end of this line with the rest. If you need to blend, just add a little bit of water and it should blend pretty easily. And same here. Okay, so here's our first balloon letter. You can also add, if you want, a little bit of white paint for the white creases. Just a little bit of white paint to intensify those. And that's how our balloon letter shoul look like more or less. Remember that until you get to the part where you start adding creases. It looks more or less like a balloon, it has some volume, but is that intense dark blue color what makes them come to life. So I'm going to do the same process for the other two letters. I'm going to speed up the video a little bit more so you don't have to stay here forever watching me, painting creases. So this is how our balloon letters look. Remember that you can try it with different colors if you follow the same steps, starting with a really light colour, that, as you can see, almost looks like white. We don't need to add white paint to it. And try to create as much contrast and... add a lot of creases. And of course I was forgetting another important thing, which is the string. So we are going to draw a little piece here, at the bottom of the letter. And then we will attach the string. Ant that's it! We have our balloon finished, and ready to fly! 9. Class Project: For this class project, we're going to create a piece of lettering using one of the styles you've learned. If you don't feel like drawing a whole word, don't worry. It can be as easy as just drawing one letter. That can be the first letter of your name or a friend's name. And that's perfect. But if you feel inspired, let's take a look at some examples of how you can incorporate these styles in your compositions. You can create a really cute postcard and send it to your friends. Or you can use the balloon style to make something really happy that cheers you up every time you look at it. Or if you have some basic editing skills, you can scan your letters and create a digital piece that you can print on different surfaces. By the way, if you manage to complete the whole alphabet, you can then use it to create basically any word you want without effort. And if you're wondering, yes, that's what my passion project, #bealettering_abc is all about. Last week, I reached letter T, So six more letters to go. Wish me luck! And the most important part, when you're ready, take I a good picture of your piece and upload it into the project section. I love to see what you come up with. And every month I 'll be sharing on Instagram my favorite pieces. 10. Final Thoughts: Congratulations, you've made it to the end of this class. I really hope you enjoyed watching these videos and that you learned a lot about watercolor lettering and you're ready to start applying it to your projects. If you found this class useful, it would mean a lot if you could rate it, or leave a little review. It can be just a few words. And if you're interested in learning another style, let me know in a comment and I will start working right away in our next class. You can also find me on Instagram, @bealettering, for more tutorials and inspiration. Thanks again for watching and see you soon! :)