iPad art: Quick & Easy Fonts - Make hand drawn type on the iPad with iFontMaker | Nic Squirrell | Skillshare

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iPad art: Quick & Easy Fonts - Make hand drawn type on the iPad with iFontMaker

teacher avatar Nic Squirrell, Artist and illustrator

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

6 Lessons (20m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. A quick look around

    • 3. Drawing the Characters

    • 4. Kerning

    • 5. Exporting and using the font

    • 6. Final thoughts

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About This Class


If you'd like to make a simple hand written font on your iPad to use in your apps and desktop programs, join me and I will show you how.  It's quick and easy, and a lot of fun. 

You won't need expensive complicated software, just a single low cost iPad app.

I will walk you through the process, and once you get the hang of it, the possibilities are endless!

This class is suitable for beginners and no prior knowledge is needed.

Don't forget to follow me if you'd like to keep up to date with new classes!


iFontMaker app in the App Store

iFontMaker FAQs for further technical information

My website

My other classes

Music: Vox Vs. Uke by unreal_dm (c) copyright 2011 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/unreal_dm/33707 Ft: Mind Map That!

Meet Your Teacher

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Nic Squirrell

Artist and illustrator

Top Teacher


I am an artist and illustrator living in Kent, England.

I studied Creative Visual Art & 3D Design at the University of Greenwich and loved every minute of it.

My illustrations are on many products from prints to suitcases and everything in between.

I love drawing & painting on my iPad as well as using traditional media, particularly watercolour.

If anything stays still long enough, I will draw on it.

Follow me on Instagram to see what else I'm up to!

Nic Squirrell's website

Nic Squirrell on Society6

@NicSquirrell on Instagram

Squirrell Designs Facebook page

Nic Squirrell on Spoonflower


See full profile

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1. Introduction: Hello, I'm Nic. I'm an Artist and Illustrator. Lights do as many things as possible on my iPad. In this class, I'm going to show you a quick, fun, and easy way to make a simple handwritten font, which you can use in your apps. You can also use on your desktop computer too. That sounds good. Join me and let's get started. 2. A quick look around: First thing we need to do is to go to the App Store and we need to find iPhone maker, which is this one here and you'll need to download that onto your iPad. I've put a link in the about section of the class where you can just get that straight from the iStore, open up the app. I've got a couple of fonts that I've made here. I'm going to make a new one and I'm going to press this new button up here and let's have a look at a look around at the top on the left there is things as documents which takes you back to the main screen minutes ago. The preview next to it we'll look at in a minute. Next one along on the top right is this little symbol that looks a web. This gives you a choice of different alphabets that you can use as your base. Next one along is for exporting, we'll look at that later. Section below it where it says Latin alphabet online. You've got different letters that you can use as a base for your font. We've got the capitals, got the small letters, we got numbers, punctuation and if you scroll down, you got all the extra little bits and pieces that you can put on depending on, let's say you want to include in your font. I'm just going to mainly use the first lot. Here down to the bottom of the page, this little bar here is brushed preview. See various different brushes. Start with just the plain round one. You can change the size with the slider. You've got different brushes you can try out and then if you scroll down, you've got circles you can stamp which are great for dotting the I's and J's et cetera. I'm just going to go for a slightly reform which has a bit of a favorite of mine. As well as changing the size by sliding up and down, you get the number of the size that you are using beside it, you can refer back to that if you want to and then you can change the weight of all the strokes and all glyphs if you want to and you can do it by percentage as well. You can scale your stroke weight. That's just brought everything down to the same size. In the next line along, we've got a little arrow on the left which scroll through to the next letter. If I start with the E, I can use that one's okay back to the D. You put the same one on the file button right as well. Which goes through the other way. You can produce a two-finger pinch in order to reposition this on your art board. This is a magnifying glass at the bottom, we'll just re position it for you. This one along is the text. It's actually shows you some example fonts. Let's just choose vertical for now but there are all here and if you make new front cell appear there as well, if you've installed them on your iPad. If you go along to the bottom right, you've got a little pair of scissors which has got paste or copy or clear and you've got the undo and redo and then you've got the main tool set here. The little paintbrush is literally for drawing with. Next along is the arrow that you can edit the path. These are vector paths really see you can move the little handles to change the curvature. You can rotate using this middle handle and then you can pull these out to change the size, you can copy, you can delete and if you convert, it converts it from being a line with a shape put around it to making into a filled shape, which does make it harder to edit but then again, there are some quite good things about having a filled shape as well. You need to just play around with these and at the bottom you can see this little pop-up select points and objects behind or select points only. The next one along is the pen tool and if you're fully with using the pen tool in vector applications, this will be quite an easy thing for you to do. With the pen tool we could do maybe something similar to this if you wanted that blocky look and you can just change it around as you wish. The next one along it does what it says, gesture to scale or rotate. Using two fingers you can pinch to scale down and up but you can rotate and then the last one unless you change the guides here. You can change the x height to help here with the guides, the actual height et cetera. You can use a photograph as your backgrounds. If you were to draw something out on paper, you could bring that in and you can have no guide for your background as well. If you don't want to use the alphabet, they give you a quick example just because it's good for positioning. Now we're ready to start drawing our alphabet. 3. Drawing the Characters: [MUSIC] Even though I'm just going to be using my handwriting for this one, it's still useful to draw it out on paper first because sometimes when you've got the guides on it's a little bit off putting, so I'm just going to literally write out the alphabet. I'm not going to think too hard about it, for this one cause I want it to make quite true to my normal handwriting which isn't wonderful. [MUSIC] That'll do. I'll make up the punctuation as I go along, I think. Obviously, if you're doing more fancy lettering, it's always good to write it out first and of course, you can bring it in as a photograph and trace over it if you want to. I'm going to start by just using the guide letters as a base. You literally just go in and draw. Just referring back to my original lettering that I did, I'm going to try and give it more of a uneven hand-drawn feel. This is just my general handwriting. It's crazy for me to reproduce. Using the base letters like this just makes it pretty easy to just get the spacing fairly good to style with. If you look closely at this, you can see this little artifact there where there's a gap, so I'm just going to take my brush size right down and fill that in. Some in the holes and in my finished thing. I can either put the slider backup to a 100 to get it back to this size I was using or I can just use the little highlight tap on the main body of my letter, which would just take it back to a 100 automatically or whatever I had it at. How much you stick to the base letters is entirely up to you. Of course, you can go through and do all your letters like that. [MUSIC] I'm just going to, for the sake of showing you something different, I need to bring in the photo of my small letters and just trace over those. Before I bring in the photo, in order to get the positioning right, this vertical line, to the left of my letter, is what I want to have my letter fairly close to. Well, I've got paintbrush selected. I'm just going to move the whole thing so you can see that yellow guide is going off to the left. This means when I put my photo in, I know that the defined position, of which to the left is going to be fine. I'm going to go to the pallet inside the layers, and go to photo, and then go to the library. I'm going to bring in the photo of my original handwriting. You can see it's really tiny. I couldn't possibly trace over that and get a good letter. I'm going to use two-finger pinch and one-finger drag to get that into position. It's a little bit tricky, but it's worth the fluff in the end. This is a massive amount of zooming in when you've taken a photo of all your letters together, so you might want to just take a photo of parts of the letters at a time. I want my letter to start from the baseline and to come up to the x-height, which is the small letter height, and make sure that I will need A rather than the Z. It's fairly far over to the left and I can just fetch the brushes and draw over it. Maybe adjust that a little bit to make it slightly more legible. Okay, so every time I go to the next letter, I need to go back to the, going to call this the layers because that's what it looks like to me, go close to the layers. Once I've sized the first one, the size should be fairly right. Go back to the brushes, draw over that, choose the C, go back to the layers, drag it across, go back to the brushes, draw over it, choose the D, go to the layers, pull it across, and so on. I'm just going to finish my alphabet this way. Oh, I'm happy with the capitals as they are. If you look in the preview pane, up here, you can see that actually some of the bottom of my g strikes being cut-off because it's actually going too low. I need to just edit that and bring it up until I can see it in the preview. [MUSIC] You can decide how tall you want your numbers. I'm going to have one up to the capital height. I've just got a little extra bit here, I'm going to get rid of. I do not know why that happens sometimes with the pen. Okay. Now I'm going to get rid of my photo and just use the examples. I'm just going to go on and do the punctuation. Any of these bits that you don't include will just come out as the base. I'm going to make that one smaller by selecting it and taking down the size. That looks better. Then if I go on and select the other one, it'll do. The brush will go back to the original size. Okay. I've got through all of the first lot and there's just a couple of extras that I'm going to put in, I'm going to put in some of these currency symbols. Now we're ready to look at how to make all the characters work together. 4. Kerning: Let's see what we've got. If you go up to the top and press the preview, let's choose pangram to start with which is just some presets. Let's have a look. We've got our capital letters, they look pretty okay. Small letters, some look slightly odd spacing will sort out that in a minute and let's choose sentence. In my letter spacing is quite wide and let's just bring that in a little bit to look quite like it fairly spaced up, like this. The word space is fine maybe just to take this out a bit. Now I'm going to go into the kernings. This gives you various different options of letters that may not naturally look good together and some of your letters, you may need to just change quite a few things about them, some of them will be fairly okay in case they are. You can just drag these into the position that looks good if you think that's too much of a gap between them or not enough. Quite often the F snooping in, but just go through and see what looks okay and what doesn't. These are usually pairs that often look a little bit odd together just because of the way that they work together. Depending what you've done, you might have a lot to do here or not very much. Mine are too spaced together I quite like them with this handwriting font to be spaced fairly wide apart, but just occasionally it looks a little bit strange. At the top, if you go to select it gives you a whole bunch of different options which should be a good idea to work through. I quite like most of these as they are I'm not going to change them too much. It's all about how the letters relate to one another. You just got to do what feels right for you. I'm just seeing a pattern with the R's being a little bit peculiar so I'm pretty much going to have to change only where the R's meet up with other letters. I'm going to have to change all of them all the way through I think. When you're going through these, if any of the letters look a little bit odd and you think that you want to change them completely, you can always do that. You can press done, and then just go to whichever letters you want to change and I'll try it. Now I could make that a little narrower because it looks a bit crazy. Let's go back and have another look at the kernings. Just check that one that I've just done again because having changed it, it might have changed the way everything relates with the R's but actually, that looks fine. I'm going to go through all of these and let's have a little bit of a shift around where it needs it. This is going to take a while depending on how perfectly spaced your letters were to start with, but it's well worth the effort because the end results will be so much better if you've paid a little bit of attention to this bit. That's all done. We can go back to the preview and just have a look at some of the pangrams and make sure that they still look good. What you're trying to avoid is spaces that are too big or letters that are just jumping on top of each other. I'd actually quite like to change the spacing between the six and the seven there. If you go back to your kernings, at the bottom is the last thing that you looked at. Seven is a little strange so I'm just going to check the seven. You can just type in this to a bar. It's actually the beginning of the seven that is not good 7172737475767778797 that's all of the sevens we can just leave them all along a little bit. Every time the sevens are interacting with another number, it's actually going to be fine. That's better. Done. That's more like it. Let's check the rest of the pangrams. This one's got a whole of different letters that I haven't made, so I'm not going to worry too much about that. That's all done and I'm ready to use my font. 5. Exporting and using the font: I'm going to go up here to the top right and I'm going to press the export. I am going to choose configure and build font. You need to give your font a name. I'll call mine Friday Font. I'm going to keep mine private but of course you can choose to make yours public on the website. Next thing I'm going to do is choose build online. You have some choices here. I usually just choose to open it to start with because you can do all of these things from within the web page. I'm going to choose open. I'm going to choose enter. It opens up in the web page and you can just scroll through and just make sure everything looks right. That's all fine. You can go here and test your type if you want to in this type test. Click here to edit. It's going to go back. The next thing I'm going to do is install it on my iPad. So you can go to this install for iOS. I'm going to say allow. It takes me to my settings. It does warn you that it's not signed, but that's never caused many problems. So I'm just going to press install, put in my pass code then install and it keeps warning you of this, but it's never caused many problems. So that's installed as a font on my iPad. So for example, in the graphic cap I've chosen the front. I'm going to make sure it's on my Friday Font. You can also download the font and you can save it wherever you normally save it. I'm going to save it in box. So now I've got that saved in box. I can install that on my Mac. I could install that on my computer if I had a Windows computer. So if you want to install this onto your Mac, I've taken it out of my box folder, put it on the desktop just so you can see what I'm doing. So if you just double-click it and it'll come up with the font box and you can choose install font, and then that's ready to go. You use on your Mac. I'm afraid I don't know how to install it onto Windows because I don't have a Windows computer. However, there's plenty of information, support and instructions on the iPhone make Tumblr page, address is 2ttf.tumblr.com So fantastic. You've made a font. Hooray. 6. Final thoughts: So I hope you enjoyed that. I certainly did. So now that you've made your first 100 fonts, we can go on and make many more. The possibilities are endless. It'd be really fun if you could post some of your fonts in. You don't have to post the font, obviously, post some of the results of your fonts, just write something, a quote or anything you like, and post it in the project section of the class. Feel free to post on social media using the #nicsquirrellskillshare, so that I can find it. It would be really nice if you could leave me a positive review. Then, I'll see you soon.