Block Lettering: One Way to Add Creativity to Your Hand Lettering Layouts Using Typography | Shelley Hitz | Skillshare

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Block Lettering: One Way to Add Creativity to Your Hand Lettering Layouts Using Typography

teacher avatar Shelley Hitz, Watercolor and Lettering Artist

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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

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Supplies Overview


    • 3.

      How to Create Block Letters


    • 4.

      Block Letter Alphabet


    • 5.

      5 Variations to Add to Your Block Lettering


    • 6.

      5 Ways to Mix It Up!


    • 7.

      Next steps


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About This Class

Do you love lettering? It’s amazing how the interest in lettering has simply exploded over the last couple of years.

In this class, I will teach you how to add block lettering in many forms to your lettering that will add creativity using typography.

I have been using block lettering since I was in elementary school. I would add it to my handwritten notes to my friends as well as the notes I would take in class. However, I recently added block lettering to every single coloring page design I created for my book, Broken Crayons Still Color.

You could say I love me some block lettering. LOL

I enjoy combing different types of typography into the same layout.

Whether you are creating coloring book pages, handmade cards, or art pieces you sell on Etsy, this is a skill you can use for years to come.

When you enroll in this class you will get 3 different block lettering practice sheets that you can download and use over and over. You will also get blank practice sheets in both a large and small size to use as you practice as well.

You will then learn 5 variations to add design to your block lettering to make it stand out. Finally, I will share with you 5 additional ways to mix up your block lettering to get your creative juices flowing.

Click enroll, download your practice sheets, and let’s get started.

If you want to know when I release new classes, make sure to click the "follow" button on my profile here:

Meet Your Teacher

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Shelley Hitz

Watercolor and Lettering Artist


Ready to learn the art of lettering and watercolor, the easy way? I know what it's like to be a beginner. And I know what it's like to battle the inner critic. The fear, self-doubt, and comparison.

But, I have learned to embrace the artist in me and have re-discovered the joy of creating art.

Art can help you:

Relax and have fun. It's been an amazing form of self-care for me. Discover the power of color. Creating art can bring you so much joy. Create beautiful pieces you can display in your home or give as gifts. And so much more!

I'm passionate about teaching others and love seeing each of you have the courage to embrace your creativity and choose to create art.

In my classes, I will take you step-by-step through the learning process and cheer you on in this... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Intro: Do you love lettering? It's amazing how it has just simply exploded online and beyond. Workshops, different classes and so forth toe. Learn the art of lettering, brush lettering, modern calligraphy, hand lettering. Whatever you call it, it has exploded. However, I want to teach you in this class. How? Toe ad block lettering and many different variations to your lettering. Teoh add flare and creativity in different forms of typography. High Mighty Michelle, heads of an author and illustrator And I grew up in the eighties, and so in the eighties we didn't have cell phones, but what we did have was pen and paper. And so I wrote a lot of handwritten notes. Anyone with me here, just a few of the notes I found in a box tucked away somewhere that were written decades ago. Crazy, right? We wrote note after no, after note after note and many times in these notes, I would use block lettering, so I have been lettering in block lettering for literally, almost my entire life. But it was the summer 2016 when I wrote my book Broken Kranz still color, and at that time I really sensed I was to create the coloring pages for the book. It was gonna be a coloring page for each chapter. I thought, What? How am I going to do this? That's when I found Focal a graffiti, which I've taught another class on that as well as I remembered my love for block lettering . I just looked, and every single one of my designs has some form of block lettering in it You can see in my main design. I have block lettering right here, and what I love to do is I love to combine different types of typography into the same layout. So whether you're creating coloring book pages, which I teach you how to do that an easy coloring book design or you're creating handmade cards that you just simply want to give to friends and family or you're treating art pieces that you can sell on Etsy learning the skill of block lettering can be a skill you can use for years to come. When you enrolled in this class, you will get my lettering practice sheets, so I've created a lettering practice sheet with the upper case and the lower case letters, as well as one style I am really loving at this current moment, so you'll have three different practice sheets. You'll also learn five different variations to add design and flair to your block lettering to make it stand out. But I don't stop there. I also share with you five ways to mix up your block letter. Once you have the basic letters down, there's so many ways you can actually vary it. Mix it up and I'm gonna go into that in one of the videos. So click and roll download your practice sheets and let's get started. 2. Supplies Overview: in this training video, I am going to talk about the supplies that you'll need. So for this particular class, you really only need a pencil, a pen and paper. So you literally can do this with any paper in any device that you have laying around at home. So you can just use your regular pen that you have unions. A pencil. This is a Sharpie fine, ultra fine point that you could find just about anywhere, and then the one that I love. The pen that I love the most is the micron, and the 05 is a really great size. But you can get a pack that comes on Amazon, and you can get a variety of sizes. 05 is the size of the tip and so you can get the pack and you get different sizes of tips. But this is my favorite, but you can use just use whatever you have on hand. As far as writing goes, This is not a class that requires expensive tools, and that's what I love about it. You can also use just regular like Rayola, super tips, markers or even, you know, whatever markers you might have on hand. They don't have to be brushed lettering, markers. They can be any kind of marker, any kind of pen or pencil. And that's what's so fun. You can get started with what you have on hand at home right now. Now, this is kind of cool. At Walmart, you can get thes plane index cards four by six inches, and I think they were less than a dollar. So you can get 100 of these. And these air just really great for practicing. The thickness isn't great, and it's not the best paper in the world. But I just I like it because I don't feel like I'm wasting expensive paper for practicing, So this might be an idea for you. If you feel that same way now, you can also find just card stock. So this is some card stock that I've gotten also at Wal Mart, and so you can get something like that. You can even just use regular copy paper for this class again. Use whatever paper you already have on hand. I am almost certain you probably have some notebooks that you are not using and you have paper somewhere, laying around. Now This right here, this cancer in marker paper. This is specifically to be used with obviously markers. And I'm not recommending you get these for the class. But I have these Tom Bo rush pen markers. So eventually, if you do want to get into brush lettering, I love these markers thes air, the ones that that you'll see a lot of him letters using on instagram. And these work best with this marker paper because what can happen is the tip. And let me just get a piece of white paper against this so you can see the tip of this can get frayed if you use it on other papers that are not as smooth this water or this marker paper. It's so smooth. And I really just bought it to use with my Tom biomarkers because they're expensive markers . And I didn't want to waste that investment by getting frayed tips. While we're on the topic of Tom Bo, let me also just mention if you are getting in to be getting brush lettering instead of getting those Tom Bo markers. I just showed you the dual tip the best ones to start with, typically for beginners are these hard and soft. And I got this in a pack on Amazon there, the food and a Suki, um, pens. But I actually put little little tags on here because I had a hard time remembering these air from Japan and has Japanese on there. So the more black one is the soft Pim, you can see the tip is like that. And then the more purplish one is the hard pen. And these are definitely me. Show you the tip on this one. These air definitely better for beginning because you can get more control out of thes But the's air not required for this class either. I just want to mention it. Since I did mention that Tom Biomarkers and then another one of my favorite papers is this skansen mixed media paper and I have a big one. It's 11 by 14 inches and then I'll cut it down into smaller sizes. And this is good with pretty much any type of any type of medium says on here, you know, Krilic, watercolor pen and pencil. But really, the basic thing is to use whatever paper you have on hand, you may have different notebooks and you know I bought Let me grab this real quick. I bought this inexpensive notebook at Walmart, and I love it because it says yes, you can. And when I was first starting art, I had a lot of mine blocks. And so if you're having that, too, and you're you're struggling with with, you know, just getting into art I also have another class here on skill share, all about how to just giving yourself permission to explore that creative side. And it's all about affirmations. But it was This was just a really inexpensive notebook, and so you can use something like this to if you get a notebook like this. What I like to do is I like to take two of the pages and glue them together. So this one has the two pages glued together. It makes it a little thicker so that if I do use markers and things, it doesn't bleed. But again, I just want to tell you, don't go out and buy a bunch of supplies, use whatever pens, whatever supplies you have on hand gets to get started, and I cannot wait to see your results. So that's pretty much all you need. And so let's get started 3. How to Create Block Letters: in this video, I'm gonna cover how to create block letters. And all you need is a pencil and a pen and a paper for this for this video. So what you'll do when you create block letters, I want to I want you to think about how you print letters. So, for instance, the capital A is like that. And so what you'll think about then is tracing around that letter. So you're going to bring this down, uh, down. And then you're gonna have a small opening in the center. So if you can see what I've drawn, this is the outline. And then what I've done is I've drawn the outline. I'm gonna put this in another color. She can see it better. So this is the outline around that letter. So you just want toe right? The letter first, and then you could draw around it. So that's basically how you practice and I'm gonna have. I'm gonna walk you through each letter upper case and lower case and give you practice sheets that you can use to trace if you want. So basically, I just want you to start with the pencil. And if you're using these guidelines, you can see I actually went outside of it once. I did the outlines, so probably want to create your letter smaller than the guidelines. That way, when you trace around it, it stays in the guidelines. And if you would like more background on typography and what all these lines mean, I go into that in my class folk calligraphy, how to get started with brush lettering the easy way. So I recommend checking out that class if you just want to familiarize yourself with these lines and so once you have that in pencil, then you're gonna take your pen and you will think again. Once you have your ink, then you can erase your pencil marks. So that is the basics. I mean, it's really that easy. Just erase the pencil marks here will. Quick, You just wanna wait till your your ink is completely dry? Probably started a little too early. It's smear just a little bit, but that's that's how easy it can be to create your block letters. Now you will notice here I forgot the little a little stand there, so that should be there as well, and you'll get used to it. The more you practice and the more you do it. But basically you're just going to write the letter in pencil. Then you're going to draw the lines around the letter, and then you're gonna Inc that outward outline that you've created and then erase your pencil. So that's a really easy way to get started with block letters. And in the next video, I'm gonna take you through actually what each letter looks like in the upper case and lower case. And then you will also have those practice sheets available in the project area. Just click on the your project in the class and you'll see the downloads on the right hand side. If for some reason you don't see them, probably just need to log in on your browser on a mobile device or on your computer. All right, let's get started 4. Block Letter Alphabet: Okay, so now we're going to do the alphabet. And I have two different sheets. This is the upper case, and then I have a sheet for the lower case, and that way you're you can have these as downloads to look out in tow, practice with. And what I'm gonna do is I'm just gonna go ahead and ink them out. I've already drawn in pencil just to make sure I had everything correct for you. But now I'm just gonna think it out for you and just show you how each letter is created. So we're gonna start with a and we've already done this one, so you should be somewhat familiar with it. And then I'm gonna go ahead and speed up this video a little bit so that you can just watch as I create these letters and enjoy way E. As you can see, my letters are not completely perfect. Messed up the X right here. They aren't like computer generated images, but that's one of the things that really makes this unique. I remember when I was in high school we have passed notes because we didn't have texting in the late eighties early nineties, and I would do a lot of block lettering in my notes. So I'm able now just to do the block lettering by memory. And yet you may need to continue to write out the letters and outline around them first. All right, so now I'm going to go into the lower case letters, the lower case letters. A lot of them are the same. A lot of them are the same as the upper case. They, some of them, are different. So I just want to go ahead and do the lower case for you as well. Again, we have the A and just like in my faux calligraphy class, you know, there are a lot of different styles, and so this is the style of a I've chosen for this particular class. You could do a different A. You could do an A that looks more like this, which that's actually kind of a fun A. But you know, you can do different styles. I'm just showing you one particular style with these practice sheets that you can get comfortable with, and then you can always vary it up. And in the next videos the next to videos. I'm going to show you even more ways you can add extra flourishes. Embellishments how you can add extra flair to your block lettering. But for now, I just want you to learn the basics. I just want you to get comfortable with how the letters are formed, and that way you can add these into your coloring book pages that you're creating. You can add these into cards. You can add these into your lettering layouts for logos, for fund quotes like If you do those for Instagram, whatever you're using your lettering for, you can add in this block lettering and it just really add something fun and special. So again, I'm going to speed up the rest of this video while I do the other letters. And the this practice sheet will be in your project area. You e all right. There you have it. We have both the capitals and the lower cases, and you have these practice sheets that you can download. You can practice and really, it doesn't take that long to get proficient at the block letters, so let's go ahead now in the next video, let's talk about some different variations you can add once you get comfortable with the basic block lettering 5. 5 Variations to Add to Your Block Lettering: OK, in this video, I'm gonna show you different variations you can create once you have the basic block letter . So one of the easiest things to do is add stippling. This is a technique you can use with coloring books. And basically, stippling is just adding dots. So it's just we use this thicker marker so you can see it better than the Migron. Just adding dots. Stippling is basically a pattern of dots, but how we're going to use it with the block letters is we're gonna actually put those dots around the block letter, and this looks really cool. I did this recently for the outside of my journal, and I created letters and then I just did the stippling around it. You can put the dots as close as you want. You can make them smaller or larger. You just try different variations. But I just think this is a really easy way to add a little extra flair to your letters. So that's the first technique. The second technique is to have a full outline around your letters. Okay, so we have now another A, and we're going to just put a full outline around it, So I'm going to use this thicker marker. I keep going to the brush tip because that's what I'm used to. But with ease, Tom Bo markers there dual tips. So they have the brush tip on one side, and then they have the blunt tip on the other side, which I'm using the blunt tip right now. So with the full outline, you just can again outline all the way around, and this can look pretty cool. Now, what you do want to do is you know, you may want tohave both the letter and the outline in the same marker or the same pen. You can vary it up. You can see what you like bust, and basically it's just has that double outline. Now you can fill the outside and if you'd like, and that just gives it a neat look to it. You don't have to fill this in, but it just kind of makes it almost stand out more once you have the full outline around it , just to simply fill in that outline. It's not quite a shadow, which we're going to get into later, but it is kind of any effect and this would be something need to do with coloring book designs and because then they can color in the letter and the inside. So that's the second option. The third option is what I just told you is the shadow. Okay, I will be the first to admit that I have a hard time wrapping my mind around the shadow sometimes. And so you have to think about where is your light source? And so if your light source is coming from down here and shining this way, your shadow is gonna be on the right side and the upper side, because that is the opposite side of the light source. And so how you create a shadow is you just create these angled lines and then you connect those angled lines. And like I said, I know I am not the vest that this there are definitely some different examples. You can just google block letters with shadow and look at the images. And there's definitely some different things that you can look out that would be much better than, um than my example, but just gives you an idea of, you know, ways that you can work with shadows and definitely is something that needs practice, because it can be a little tricky remembering exactly how to do the shadows. But it's really fun, right? The fourth option is to have patterns inside your block letters. So I talked about this a little bit in my class, all about how to create your own coloring book page. But you can do different patterns. Simple patterns are lines, circles, squares, dots. You do different thoughts, something that's kind of a fun pattern is to do like the lines and then do lines perpendicular to them and then lines. You do something like that, there's just, you know, you can do the Curly Q type spiral thing. There's so many different things. You can do it. One of my favorites is just the lines, so just do like diagonal lines through it and basically just want to make sure the lines connect with each other on the other side of the letter. If I wanted to, I could color and every other line I could put circles in here so every other line I could put circles and basically you just play with the patterns. If you are creating coloring books. One way to get a lot of good ideas is just to tow, look at other coloring book designs and not copy them. But definitely you can get a lot of ideas for patterns, and you can make them as busy or a simple as you want. So you know, I can come back in here and put perpendicular lines in the ones that I had left blank before. And now that's, you know, something that's just more cool to color in because there's more spaces to color. So so far we've we've covered step stippling, which is the dots, A full outline, the shadow, the patterns and the last thing I want to show you is just creating a line at the side. Now this actually is more similar to the faux calligraphy, which I do recommend also taking my focal a graffiti class, and it will give you a lot of ideas. But this is focal agree faux calligraphy type of lettering, but four just printed letters in my faux calligraphy class. I showed you for script letters, so I'm just gonna go through this and show you basically you're going to right out the letter and then you're gonna put a line on the side. So I have a line there and then I just connect that line and this is done in a lot of different ways. But this is something really fun. I like to add to my lettering layouts. Um, I don't remember if I added them to my coloring book pages, but this is something I now really like this style because it's really simple, but it just looks really elegant. And when you vary, it with other types of typography can really look nice. And it could just make your peace looks so much more professional and finished versus just writing out a block letter. See how cool that looks now. Like I said, this is more like the focal a graffiti, where you're adding depth to the area. That would be like the down stroke, and again I recommend if you're interested to definitely take my other class all about faux calligraphy, you also get my practice sheets to download in that class, and that way you can really grasped the entire idea. But I just definitely wanted to show you this style because I love it so much and it really does look more like block lettering to me and what you can do then in that space, you can fill it in so you can definitely, you know, shade that in or color it in. You can put patterns in there and so forth, so there's so many different things you can do with this design. So I'm going to just go ahead and finish out the rest of these, and I will go ahead and add this to your your downloads and just know that I used a paper without lines. And so there's different sizes and shapes, and it's not perfect, but it it does show you all of the basic letter forms so you can kind of get used to this technique. All right, so just enjoy watching this and make sure you download this practice sheet in your project area. You e e way, way have five different ways you can mix up and add flair to your block lettering. In the next video, I'm gonna share with you even more how you can mix it up for interest. And when I say interest, it's just for the artistic. I like when you look at something and you see different forms of different letters. It just looks good. So for the lettering, layouts and things like that, there's some different ways that you can mix it up that I want you to think about, and I'm going to share that with you in the next video. 6. 5 Ways to Mix It Up!: All right, so now we're gonna talk about how you can mix it up. The very first way you can mix it up is you can go wide or you can go narrow, so I want you to think about your width of your letters. You can definitely go wider, and that just has a different look and a different feel than, Ah, letter that is narrow. And so that's one way you can mix up. Once you have the basics of block lettering, you can mix it up between how wide the letters are and definitely look at that. Typically, you want to keep it consistent. Once you choose a certain whip, you want to keep it consistent. But that's definitely one way you can mix it up. The next way you can mix it up is to change the X Heights. So again I go into this in depth in my faux calligraphy class. But this dashed line is what we would consider the X height, and that's basically the height of a lower case X. So let's say we have our X height right in the center. Let's say we vary it up and we make it down here the bottom. And then let's say we have it more towards the top, and I'm gonna show you what these three different variations would look like. And again, I'm just using an A as an example, because it's easy. Okay, so that's pretty much what I've already shown you. If you change the X hype and you make it lower, then you're going to. But the little bar here is like where the X height would normally be. You were going to make that lower, so the opening is gonna be bigger. See how that just changes the look and the feel of that. And then you can also make the X height higher. Now again, once you choose an X height for your letters, typically you want to keep it pretty consistent. Who these air long legs. Here we go. So see how different that is just by changing where the X height this and typically when you choose an excite, that's kind of where you want to stay. But I sometimes mix it up. So just do whatever you feel like is best for your artistic interest and just what you want to dio. All right, So the next thing you can dio is you can do Serif and San Serif. All right, so this one that I've drawn is sans serif The sands just means no. So there's no extra Sarah on there. The way you can mix it up and have it be serif is by adding a little extra lines to to your letters. So let me just show you what that might look like. You're just adding little lines toe where they they meet the line on the top and the lines on the bottom. And so that is called serif. And you can look up any serif font online and you can kind of copy how they do it, but that's another way you can mix it up. Another option is bubble letters. So bubble letters are just basically instead of the hard lines, you're going to make everything more round. So that would be a bubble letter for the lower case. A gonna be more like this. So if you're doing like some for kids or something more fun, um, laid back things like that, the bubble letters might be an option. Another way you can mix it up is by doing all caps so you could do all cops with your letters. Or you can do upper case and lower case so you can have both the upper case and the lower case in there. I like to typically use all caps. I don't know why, but when I'm doing my lettering and such, I tend to use all cops. But it's a good reminder even to me that another option would be, you know, to intermix the upper and the lower case with with your lettering. So those air just five different ways that you can mix it up. The first is to go wide or narrow. This second is to change the X height. The third is to go sans serif or Sarah. The fourth is to change it to about bubble letter, and the fifth is to mix in all cops, upper case and lower case, and you can also mix in script lettering. So that's my favorite. Is adding the script lettering in with some of these other styles the block letters or even just writing out, you know, in all caps. But again, if you want to get started in script, lettering and brush lettering. What's also called modern calligraphy hand lettering. I recommend taking my focal. A Griffey glass will get you started really quick. You get a really good grass on how the letters are created and then go from there. So I hope you found this really, really helpful. You have a lot of different options now to try with your lettering. I cannot wait to see what you choose to dio go ahead and choose a phrase toe letter with block lettering. You can choose to use some of the different things I showed you in the last video. You can add some of these different options in, or you can use some of these here to mix it up. I would love it if you're project actually included something from everything, you know. So if you had some sort of extra design to your letters and you also mixed it up somehow with this, if you can combine both of those, that'd be awesome. And then in your project description, tell us what you did. Which options you used from the ones I showed you. And take a picture of what you drew and then post it in the your project area. I cannot wait to see what you create 7. Next steps: congratulations. You've now finished the class as part of this class. Your project is toe letter, a phrase in block lettering I would love if you would include one of the variations that I shared with you, as well as one of the ways to mix it up and then include in your class project description which ones you used and just create your own style. That's what's so fun. What you learned the basics. You can't expand in so many ways with block lettering, so post your project in the your project area of this class, and I can't wait to see what you create. If you enjoy this class, I would really appreciate you simply taking a moment to post your review here on Skill Chair. There should be a pop up at the top of your screen that says, Would you recommend this class to other students? Simply click yes and post a sentence or two about what you learned what you appreciated or what you've gained from this class, and it would mean the world to me. It also helps to reach more people with this training, and so I appreciate you taking a moment to do that, if you haven't yet. I do recommend taking my class easy coloring book design as well as my class on faux calligraphy. Both of those classes just go perfectly with this class on block lettering and will help you expand your skills in additional ways. In my next class, I'm going to share with you brush lettering for beginners and how to start with success from the beginning. Because there are so many things I did the wrong way. I learned the hard way that I want to share with you. So this is Shelly Hits. Thank you for joining me in this journey of block lettering and I'll see you in the next class.