Alphabet Art: Doodling Words and Letters Freehand | Cathy Wu | Skillshare

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Alphabet Art: Doodling Words and Letters Freehand

teacher avatar Cathy Wu, Freelance designer & 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

    • 1.



    • 2.



    • 3.



    • 4.

      Bubble letters


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    • 6.



    • 7.



    • 8.



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About This Class

You don’t need to be a calligrapher or designer to create artistic lettering. In this class, we’ll go over some simple and fun ways to boost the aesthetic factor of your words and letters without needing to do any measuring or erasing! Whether you’re taking notes, doodling, or making a to do list, adding some personality to your handwritten words is a great way to exercise your creativity and add whimsy to everyday tasks.

Meet Your Teacher

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Cathy Wu

Freelance designer & illustrator


Cathy Wu is a freelance designer and illustrator based in Seattle, WA. Along with working as a UX/visual designer for tech startups, her passion for illustration has spurred on many independent ventures such as her etsy shop, Itscathywu ( You can also find more of her work at

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Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: Hi, I'm Kathy. Welcome toe Alphabet Heart doodling Words and letters Freehand. If you're interested in learning ways to make your writing more interesting and fun, this class is a great place to begin. Just starting out with our own basic handwriting will learn how to add to it to make it look more decorative, artistic and even more professional. Since we're doing these Freehand, you won't need to worry about re seeing your measuring there. You'll easily be able to translate and practice these writing styles in any casual circumstance, whether you're just taking notes for class or doodling or writing someone A card. Techniques themselves are pretty, but when they are combined and added together, they result in some really interesting and creative writing. There's a great tools recession, your creative muscles that I use on a day to day basis. Well, no experience is needed Joint. So I hope see you 2. About: the only materials you'll need for this class are paper and pen. I suggest using pen instead of pencil so you're less likely to be distracted by your racing or worrying about messing up and can focus more on your ideas. The other thing you'll need is to choose a word that you use to practice all of your lettering on. I'm going to use my name, but feel free to do the same. Or choose a word that's about 5 to 8 letters long. So you get some good practice with different letters, but it also doesn't get too tedious to write over and over again. We're going to go through two basic types of lettering, regular handwriting and block letters. We'll go through techniques for each and at the end, talk about ideas for combining and mixing and matching. All of those feel free to think beyond the ideas that I give and come up with your own variations. I hope that my suggestions can just be a starting point to get you thinking about other things you can do to just go above and beyond the things that we talk about in this class 3. Handwriting: So we're going to start out with regular handwriting, and even with regular handwriting, there's a lot you can do to make it more artistic. There are a few different ways to do handwriting. There's print, and there's also cursive. And for my examples, I'm going to be using print in all caps and cursive. So at the top here, I'm gonna write my name in caps and also in cursive. And, um, this is what we're gonna be basing our variations off of. So the first way that you can add some style true lettering is just with basic changes in spacing and sizing. So by spreading out the letters, you can give your writing a different look, even though it's the same letters, same size just spaced out. You can also elongate them horizontally and vertically so horizontally these letters, air stretched out, giving a whole different look from the space 0.1. These are all just ideas of ways that you can tweak your handwriting to make it sort of look like different fonts so we could do the same thing with stretching letters out vertically. Very elongated and close together gives the writing another personality in a way. And finally, my favorite way to enhance my regular writing is just to trace over the regular letters to make them thicker. It's a really small adjustment, but it helps the letters to look like an intentional statement, and this almost gives it sort of a filled in bubble letter. Look, this works with cursive as well, and it just kind of helps give the look of a thicker pen the thicker writing utensil. So even though you're using one writing utensil, you can help mimic, um, variations and the tools using, even if you're just using the same thing and absolutely, really also enjoy using this technique on messy handwriting. So I like to write something kind of quickly and in a scribble and then go back over it and intentionally make the lines Boulder. And I think it makes a really interesting, intentionally messy look. So here's my name in a drink scribble, and no matter how messy it looks, going over it and making a boulder kind of makes it look more like you did it on purpose. And I think that's pretty fun 4. Bubble letters: moving on to bubble letters. Next bubble letters definitely are great way to style letters and make them look more decorative. I want to share what I do to write bubble letters quickly and make it easier to figure out the spacing between them and just make it easy to modify them into sort of different bubble lettered styles. So first we'll start again with regular handwriting and to write bubble letters. I like to first right out part of each letter, as if I'm writing normally. But leaving out some of the connecting parts. I try to pick either of the first stroke I make or whatever gives the letter. It's basic with or shape or structure. So this whole thing to figure out spacing and sizing and to fill in the rest of the letter . Ah, lot quicker. Sometimes it's hard to predict how bubble letters will turn out, but I think that this helps to kind of give an idea of about how much space it'll take or basically what I'll look like. And it's also easy to kind of modify once you have that basic structure. So here I'm starting out the same way, but instead of hard edges. I'm doing rounded edges and starting with the same frame, we could end up with a totally different kind of bubble letter. So something to try can be writing out the whole alphabet and experimenting with what guideline you would use for each letter. So here I'm gonna brought the whole alphabet in guidelines that I use and then go back and fill them in to full bubble letters. There might be a certain line to start with. That's easier for you, but these air kind of what works for me. - Once you figure out the best way for you to structure at a letter quickly, any bubble letter and you do in the future will go a lot quicker and easier. 5. Shadows: next, we're gonna take a look at adding shadows to our letters. Shadows are a lot of fun and definitely give your letters an element of death. So I will show you guys how I do this with block letters as well as with Boldin. Regular handwriting. So add a shadow. It can seem complicated, but really, all you need to do is to choose to directions of the letter and add thickness to those two sides. So for this, I'm choosing the right edge and the bottom edge, and I'm gonna go through each letter and just thicken that right edge on all of them. Any side of the letter that's facing right that has an edge on the right. I'll think in that. And now I'm gonna go across the bottom and fill in any part of the letter that has a line facing the bottom edge. And after that, you've achieved a shadow, and you could do a similar thing with folded handwriting. But instead of filling in the line, you're gonna add the line with a little more distance away. So it's kind of like adding a bubble lettered shadow. But similar concept adding to the right and to the bottom of each letter results in a shadow effect. And there's a lot more that you can do with adding to specific sides of letters, and we'll go more into that in the next lesson. 6. Sides: So in the last lesson, we went over shadows and how to add them by picking two edges, two sides of a letter and thickening those parts using the same theory of adding to Onley certain size of the letter. We can also create a lot of other effects first in the same way that we added thickness to the whole letter. To make it bold ID, we can also thicken Onley one side of each letter, and this kind of helps to mimic the effect of a calligraphy pen. So in a with a calligraphy pen, the down strokes are thicker and the up strokes are thinner. And so here you're mimicking that by using only one stroke but going back and thickening whatever would have been a down stroke. So this is a good way to make your letters look fancier and hand lettered. So another fun effect we can make by just adding toe One side of each letter is, um, making the letters look shiny. So I'm going to start with bubble letters and in the same way that we thickened two sides for a shadow, we're gonna pick two directions instead and at a little blob in that direction on the letter. So here are my completed letters. And on each letter on the upper left corner, I'm gonna add a small blob, a little shiny blob. And when we do this on every weather, you can see that it kind of creates a three dimensional bubble shiny effect. So there's one more effect I want to show you guys. That's based on adding to one side of all the letters. So again, I'm going to start off with just some regular handwriting and bolding little by thickening the strokes. And when that's done, what I'm gonna do is to add to the bottom edge of all the letters sort of dripping slime. So by adding these raindrop shapes, using awful letters only on the bottom edges, we can create the look of flying falling off the waters. As you can see, there are a lot of interesting things that come out of adding an element to one or two edges of the letter. These are just a couple examples. I love to see any other ideas you guys come up with thinking about adding toe one side of a letter. Um, post any new ideas in the project gallery and be really fun to kind of share ideas and see what kind of things would come up with and the next Listen, we kind of Gombe or into how you can come up with some of your own writing styles and ideas , and that'll be through combining techniques. 7. Combinations: Finally, I want to share a few examples of combining techniques just to show you guys that when you combine some of these simple ideas together, you can come up with a really different to results. For my first example, I'm going to combine cursive writing wide spacing and mimicking the calligraphy pen effect by thickening on lee the down strokes of my letters. And here's the results of that. So for my second example, I'm going to combine block letters that are elongated vertically, and I'm going to make some thin letters with rounded edges and add a really thick shadow. And here are the results of that. Both of these examples used some techniques that we talked about in earlier lessons, and the two turned out really differently. So now it's your turn to combine an experiment hope you can discover some new lettering styles. I love to see your combinations in the class gallery and look forward to seeing what you come up with. 8. Conclusion: thanks so much for taking this class. Hope it helps you to think more creatively and also have a chance to exercise fine motor skills. I really believe that the simplest everyday things can turn into opportunities for creativity. So I hope this class is a small step for you finding that.