Create Botanical Calligraphy to Elevate Your Writing | Peggy Dean | Skillshare

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Create Botanical Calligraphy to Elevate Your Writing

teacher avatar Peggy Dean, Top Teacher | The Pigeon Letters

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.

      Tools & Materials


    • 3.

      The Botanical Alphabet


    • 4.

      Adding Patterns


    • 5.

      Adding Color


    • 6.

      Project Time! (+adding a drop shadow)


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About This Class

Botanical Alphabet is all about whimsical, dainty letters cradled with nature's gift of leaves and flowers. This class will guide you through how to create faux calligraphy while inserting botanical designs throughout your designs.

For illustration references, I recommend my Botanical Line Drawing class, in which you'll find an abundance of ideas of what to use when illustrating your botanicals into your letters.

Meet Your Teacher

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Peggy Dean

Top Teacher | The Pigeon Letters

Top Teacher

Snag your free 50-page workbook right here!

Hey hey! I'm Peggy.

I'm native to the Pacific Northwest and I love all things creative. From a young age I was dipping everything I could into the arts. I've dabbled in quite an abundance of varieties, such as ballet, fire dancing, crafting, graphic design, traditional calligraphy, hand lettering, painting with acrylics and watercolors, illustrating, creative writing, jazz, you name it. If it's something involving being artistic, I've probably cycled through it a time or two (or 700). I'm thrilled to be sharing them with you!

Visit my Instagram for daily inspiration: @thepigeonletters, and head over to my blog for more goodies curated just for youuuu.

I'm the author of the best selling... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Hi, guys. I'm Peggy, also known online as the Pigeon Letters. In this class, we're going to be exploring botanical lettering, which includes some illustrative design, different types of florals and leaves, which integrate really well with faux calligraphy. It's a great step toward branching into a different form of illustrative lettering. We'll also be covering, incorporating some design, and with those botanical. We're going to be doing some pattern play as well. I look forward to seeing you guys in the class. 2. Tools & Materials: This class requires you to have a pencil, a really good eraser, a pencil sharpener if you need one, mechanical works well but I like the regular pencils because they're not going to be constantly so sharp. Also, you need a hard tip fount pen or any type of pen that you like. I personally like the Micron. It best because their ink doesn't fade over time, it's permanent and it comes in a variety of sizes. For this class, I am going to use an 08. I want my lines to be little bolder. This pencil is by Tambow. It's just hard graphite. My eraser and my pencil sharpener are both by Prismacolor. The Magic Rub is awesome, it's more of a rubbery eraser. Then the Prismacolor sharpener, this is the best sharpener I've ever had. If you need to have your pencils super sharp, this is the way two go and it doesn't break them. That being said, make sure not to keep your pencil too sharp for what we're doing because you don't want to leave those hard lines behind. 3. The Botanical Alphabet: In order to create our botanical letters, we will be using the faux calligraphy style. If you don't know how to brush letter, that's totally fine, this class you do not need to know how to do it. We're going to go through the alphabet. I'm going to show you where I would place the flowers in the letters. Then in the weight lines, we will be able to introduce different patterns into play there. You can create different ones, which I recommend doing when you're practicing, and then you'll be able to incorporate the same throughout the alphabet or similar ones, but when you're building words, you will have more creative options. For a, I'm going to do these pretty large. You just letter your a like you normally would. I'm pressing pretty lightly, so if you're having trouble seeing this, follow along with the overall shape and then once I apply the ink, you'll be able to see a little better, but we do want this nice and light. Right after we do our main shape, that's when we're going to add our botanical in. If you feel confident with the art that you're going to do, you're going to apply ink right away. If you want to sketch it out and see exactly how that's going to look in the letter, I recommend using pencil first. I'm just going to do a really simple flower with simple petals, right at the edge, toward the top a little more, but just up from the middle. Real simple flower and then real skinny leaves. We now have it. Then right underneath I'm going to do another flower. You can do the same flower a couple of times, we'll do it on this one and then I'll show you on a few more what it looks like when you do different types. It looks a little more like a bouquet. That one's done. I recommend always applying ink over the flowers first so you know exactly where they are going to be when you do the tracing over your actual letters. That is done. You can either start doing the ink right away or you can add the weight line with the pencil first. If you haven't done faux calligraphy yet, all you're going to do to add weight is whenever you have a downstroke, when I wrote this a up, this is my downstroke coming down, going back up, and then here's my downstroke again, and then going back up. So anytime there's a downstroke just to the right or the left, whichever you'd prefer, of that stroke, and you can make these lines as thick as you want. Well, not super thick, but just enough. Pay attention, the whole alphabet you want it to be consistent so you don't want this line to be really thin, this one to be really thick or the wide in-between, so be careful of that. You want the transition to be smooth, so you don't want it to be a line like this, you don't want it to be like this, have it follow the curve. To do that with pencil first, I'm probably going to start right about here because you want it to be that natural graduation. So as it's coming up and the pressure is being applied, it's going to start applying here and then coming down. If it helps you, you can draw straight through the flowers. It's really easy to lose the shape and then you get too skinny or too wide toward the bottom. We're going to erase all these pencil lines anyway. Then on this side, we're going to bring this out and add our weight line. Go ahead and go over that with your ink like that. You can leave it as is, or you can put a pattern inside and then erase all your pencil lines and that's what that looks like. Make sure your alphabet, the whole way, has similar shape and size. A good frame for that in previous classes of mine that go over the basic alphabet and four easy steps to modern calligraphy. That class is all about faux calligraphy and how to size your letters as far as their base shapes and their size. I recommend looking into those if you haven't or if you don't feel as comfortable with your sizing. Then moving into our next letter, we're going to do a b. I love pencil because it's so forgiving, if you don't like how something looks, you can change it. To do floral here, you can select where you're going to do this. This would be a good area to place flowers. This would be a good area, you could do it at the base here, it's really up to you, you could do at all these places. Just for a demonstration, I'm going to show you right here. I'm going to get rid of all this extra weight line just so that you don't have that distraction. Then I'm going to do two different flower types. These don't have to be anything special, they're super small. There's a lot of great examples of different flower doodles. I have a class on botanical line drawing, which should help as well in figuring out where you want to take the flowers. I'm going to do ink over those first, and then go back in. Again, let's add our weight with the pencil. At this curve is when we're going to start to bring it in. Make sure that the width here is the same here. Then this is another important factor. See how this isn't a curve, but it's not straight across, you want any areas here that you're connecting your weight to be the same. You don't want to real crisp line if you're not having a crisp line on the rest of them. Then my weight line here. When that's done, erase your pencil lines, and move into c. My weight line. This is another way that you can do it. Instead of doing the flower first, you can do the area that outer part of the C, and then adding in my weight line in. Then my D. My flowers, I'm going to do them actually at the base, not quite at the bottom corner, but just a little further down. I'm going to just do them with ink right away. Then go in. I'm not going to do my weight line with pencil but you can, if you still are not super comfortable with where that placement is. Then I want to show you too, so my flowers are coming into where my weight line would be. Even though that's technically open space that you would be able to see the D there, I'm actually leaving it because I'm incorporating my flowers into the letters. I just don't want it to get too confusing with seeing the lines in the background. So this will be sufficient. Don't feel like you have to bring that line all the way through. The weight line though, see how it's coming in toward the outside. I'm fine with putting that here. It almost looks like that's part of the weight line, when you're finished. Then get rid of pencil marks.Then to E. If you want, you don't have to do flowers, you can actually just do a couple of leaves. I'm going to do a little line and then go in and create my shape. See how I didn't bring that through, because it's actually forming part of the E but I will put in that weight line. Then you can also add the middle here and make those as detailed as you want them to be. Same thing on this one, I'm going to go back and [inaudible] , but I'm not going to worry about bringing that outer edge all the way in, so this one can be tricky. Anytime that there's a bunch of lines going on, just make sure you follow and then you see where your downstroke is, and that's where you want to add the weight line,and your G and then go back in and then add your weight line. I tend to like where the curve is being created just a little lower than that. Then notice right here, you would be able to see the H in that gap, but I'm going to leave it. My weight line would start here and through right there.I is one that you can stick anywhere and probably just go toward the middle, may be toward the top a little more. Our J, and same thing with this, although you could do your flowers here, you could do them here. I like these areas, they just seem like they're the least cluttered. Another thing to be cautious of that you can adjust is, if you do everything in pencil first and then you add your weight line in pencil, you will see that this line crosses through it. When you're coming back through it, you can come up and then skip that part and go continuous so that when your weight line is in place, it's actually not going through it. I have never cared a whole lot about that, mostly because I do add design in which we will do shortly. But that's another thing that you can watch for if you want that to be that blank on the inside. I think I'll put something right in here. Whenever it goes at a slight angle and it's not straight down, my line is a little bit thinner. I just think it looks less bulky that way, personal preference. We're going to go right up from the middle, then notice in here, I broke both the upstroke and downstroke, so you can do that too. That's the layout, your whole word or all your letters beforehand for placement, I would just do what feels best for you composition wise. But you know, you can be the most efficient with. Then if you have a letter like M and N where it's super similar and where they might be placed just to avoid it looking too similar, I would either change the style. So for this one I'm going to do leaves or change the location. So instead of doing another flower, same place that I did the M, I would do it either more toward the bottom here or toward the top, even toward the tail. So that's up to you, but I do encourage keeping it a little bit different, when the letters are so similar. I also like my [inaudible] because when you can erase them right away and there's no smearing because the ink doesn't stay wet, or it would smear, really convenient for people like me who are impatient. So then you have your botanical alphabet, and you can leave it as is or you can move in to the next video when we cover adding pattern or color. 4. Adding Patterns: When you go back in to add your pattern, there's a couple of different options that you can do. Under the Project tab, there are some class resources, you're going to find a chart that looks like this, and so what is going to encourage you to do is create patterns, and that can be really anything that you can think of. I want you guys to play with those, and to come up with some things that you like. I'm going to show you all across the board what you can do with this. My favorites is just to do these skinny diagonal lines. Notice, hiding pattern already, given it a lot more character. It looks more finished, and then you can do dots like that, which also adds a lot of really cool texture, and then you can add larger polka dots. Your polka dots inside of them, you bring that down to the next here, you can actually put patterns inside of those, so you can do dots inside of them. You can do lines, you can do a scribble, you can do alternating lines like this. Definitely changes the mood of the overall composition. You do like this zigzag pattern, dots on either side. Fun fact, this list my go-to doodle when I was a kid. You can do a bunch of different lines that imitate the weight line, just make sure that they are spaced equally. You can go over horizontal, so lots of different patterns. Next video we'll go over some color. 5. Adding Color: As you probably know, there are a lot of different ways to add color. You can do marker, you can do colored pencil, you can do watercolor. This is the Gelly Roll Souffle Pen. I'm just going to apply some color inside of the weight line. If you know anything about these pens, the color gets a lot more vibrant as it dries. You could also only do it to the flower and then go in and add a pattern. Then add the pattern in. Then add color in just the leaves. This is a paper made layer so it's just a hard [inaudible]. So a popup color can be a lot of fun. You can add color in both the letter and the flower. You can also fill the weight line with black, which imitates brush pens. So those are some options. I encourage you to play around with some patterns and some colors and see what you can come up with. Create either a line like A, B, C, D, E, F, and just do all of those letters the same, do a whole alphabet the same. So I want to see what you guys come up with with fill, and then you're, of course also, welcome to keep it blank on the inside. Then go ahead and seen the next video for your project. 6. Project Time! (+adding a drop shadow): For your project, I want you to either letter your name or someone that you know and we're going to incorporate both flowers and your pattern. Notice that I added some color, that is actually just a drop shadow, so in creating a drop shadow, it's just right of the line, you can do left of the line too but only on one side. Notice that that's just to the right, only to the right and then here's another line, it's my down stroke versus upstroke, those won't matter in your drop shadows. Bring it just to the right of that line, to the right of this line, to the right of this line, inside on the right here and that's it. Keep all the left side's open so, for example, to the right, like that. That's how that works. I incorporated some color inside of my flowers and the pattern that I chose is just the diagonal line. Just remember the steps to create your letters or words, it's best to do it all at once so that your composition is there and sizing and layout and then go in and add where you want your flowers to be with pencil, pen is fine if you feel confident in jumping right in and then go in and add your weight lines and add your ink and then push in either color or pattern and get creative, whatever you think looks best and if you want to add a shadow, you can. That's your project and I really look forward to what everybody comes up with.