Digitize Your Own Calligraphy: From Logo to Letterpress | Belinda Love Lee | Skillshare

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Digitize Your Own Calligraphy: From Logo to Letterpress

teacher avatar Belinda Love Lee, Designer & Letterer, making pretty lil' thangs!

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.

      Intro: Lets Get Started!


    • 2.

      Project: Brand Yourself


    • 3.

      The Foundation: Necessary Tools for the Trade


    • 4.

      The Foundations: Pen to Paper


    • 5.

      Let’s get digital: Photoshop the Sh*t Out of It


    • 6.

      Let’s get digital: Vector Time


    • 7.

      Prepping for Print: Pantones, Foils, and Papers


    • 8.

      Prepping for Print: Digital File Ready for Press


    • 9.

      Outro: Finishing Touches


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About This Class

Learn with designer Belinda Love Lee as she brings you through her step by step process of experimenting with calligraphy then digitizing it to make it even more versatile and ready for letterpress! The purpose for this class is to make the computer and letterpress process a little less intimidating for ones that aren’t so familiar with their way around it. This is for anyone who's looking to step their game up in terms of calligraphy, or for the digital geeks out there, to get back in touch with their physical hand!  

Meet Your Teacher

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Belinda Love Lee

Designer & Letterer, making pretty lil' thangs!


Hi there! My name's Belinda Love Lee and I run a boutique branding studio, based in Toronto, Canada. Working with clients all around the world, I mainly specializing in branding, hand lettering and illustrations. A day to day work schedule looks like a bunch of hand lettering, drawing illustrations then bringing them on to the computer to give it the final oomph!

What I love most about my job, is that I get to help others get closer to achieving their dreams. It's a privilege that I wake up in the morning excited for work today, and go to bed anticipating the next creative project for tomorrow.

When I'm not doing my hobby (which I'm blessed to say is work) you'll find me spending time with loved ones, travelling (23 and counting!), or getting lost in dark hole of Instagra... See full profile

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1. Intro: Lets Get Started!: Hey, guys, My name's Belinda on I Run a petite design and illustration studio called Blend a Lovely based at a Cardiff UK. In my work, I do a lot of branding, so that's logo design business, hard letterheads, websites, anything to just make a whole brand cohesive. You might have seen a couple of my projects online. I'm a huge sucker for gold boiling holy paper letter press, anything to do with that Growing up, I never really thought of becoming a designer, per se, as one of those kids that kind of just floated about. It wasn't until I went to university, where my dad suggested that I go for design on. That's when I realized I actually found something I really love, and since then I've been going so low for about three years in my work, I do a lot of hand lettering and calligraphy. I do is then take out of you people to make it digitize and have a more cohesive I'm versatile, grungy on in this class. That's exactly what I'll be teaching you how to go from calligraphy to victory ization than Teoh the printing process and have a profit for letter press. I find a lot of designers nowadays. They don't really get in touch with their physical hand. And the class is perfect because it ties in the physical with the digital. On this quest for anyone who is looking Teoh, step their game up in terms of player fee or your digital geek like me out there. This is a class that will help you get back in touch with your physical, and if this sounds like a class that you'd be interested in, let's get started. 2. Project: Brand Yourself: so for this class will have you do is I want you to brand yourself. So think about your name how you want to lay it out on paper and calligraphy. And then what I'll do is I'll teach you how to vector rise it. The best part that I'm most excited about is also teach you how to have it ready and set for press. So I'll teach you about, um, any of the printing techniques and in the crop marks and Pantone colors so that that way, when you're done with this class, you'll have it ready to send to press. If you already have a rounding for your own company, think about something like Imagine a shop front you've always wanted, or maybe a store, a motorcycle store or something like that. So, yeah, have that mind think about business cards that you've always wanted to give out. Dream big Andi. Let's get started 3. The Foundation: Necessary Tools for the Trade: in this class, you'll need a couple of things to get started. Obviously, you need your computer because we needed digitize everything, but also have you get layout paper pad because it's fairly affordable. It's great. I use a three size uM, it gives you a lot of space right on. It's also super smooth to write on, and it's kind of transparent, so you can use it. If you need Teoh trace over anything, then also ill have you get India ink. I use the brand called Parker Inc but there's tons of rounds out there, and I'll link a couple of great resources where you can buy them online. And then I'll also have you get a calligraphy pen. I use a bleak pen. It's great for writing italics, but you can also get the standard calligraphy straight pen, and then for the nib I'll have you get the night. Ganji Nim just causes great for starters and is also really good for season calligraphers. So there's a tools you need 4. The Foundations: Pen to Paper: so to start off with, make sure you have a clean table, lots of space. I usually put my ink pot to the right just because I'm right handed on that way. There's a thing in between me and paper, Andi. Then I grabbed my pen on to set up your pin. What you want to do is you. When you first get your nib, make sure just wash off the protective layers. We just use a little bit of soap and water, Um, and that gets off the residue from the factory. Then you slit the pen in, making sure the holes facing you so that one's on the paper. It's facing upwards, and then you're ready to dip your pen into your bank. When you dip it in, make sure it just goes a little bit past the breather hole and you're ready to get started . So let me just show you a little demo. Um, when you when you first get started with calligraphy, I think great tools to use are just writing like use those trying to draw lines, drawing diagonal lines. That way, you just kind of get a hang of your pen. Andi Um you get a feel for it because it is a different way of writing. It's a little bit different from running with a pencil or a pen. Um, and that way you kind of get the groove and how it glides across the paper. Um, the harder you push down, the wider the line on the lighter. You push down the thinner line. Usually when you push down, it's wider. And then when you come up whenever you come up, it tends to be the dinner lines. Um and yeah, that's just really how you can get started. Um, I personally don't like using guides. There's a ton of them out there. You if that's something that works for you. Skills here has a ton of classes that you could take That goes into a lot more death. I'm the type of person that can't go with guys. I hate routine. I hate practicing, which is kind of bad, but, um, what worked for me it was I just got phrases or got quote center love and just started writing it a 1,000,000 times on. The more you write, the more familiar your hand becomes with the pen on you just start, Teoh, develop your own style. And I think I think initially it's great to look at another calligraphers work and try toe mimic it. But then, when you work without guides, allows for your own hand to flow and your own style to come out quicker. So that's how I found my own calligraphy style. Andi. So in this case, um, for this class, I'll be taking you through a project I'm doing with one of my clients right now. And her name is Reece. A Haze. So what I'll usually do is I'll just write her name, like, a 1,000,000 times until I feel like I have something solid down on the paper. So let me just write out her name real quick so you can play with different styles. You can play with a long gator your lines, or bring it really close together. You play with capitals or, um, all lower case is Andi. I just write it out as many times as I need. And the great thing about us when we digitize it is that, for example, safe. I like the are here, and I like the ISA from this word. What I can do is then I can combine them Teoh on the computer instead of having to rewrite it over and over again, where calligraphy would just be on paper and you'd have to do it again on the computer. You can move it around, see what works on. Yeah, that's why I love digitizing calligraphy. It gives you more flexibility to work with. 5. Let’s get digital: Photoshop the Sh*t Out of It: So hopefully Now what you have is your final calligraphy piece on your piece of paper that you want to digitize. What we're gonna do is transfer this onto your computer and there two ways to do it. You're a traditional scanner weight or the way I let's do it best, which it is using my iPhone. Um, basically, what you do is you just take a photo of it and then on the photo shop, what we do is we'll play with the levels and make it work so that it's ready to digitize. Um, So what I'm gonna do is I'm just gonna take a photo of my work right now, and I'm gonna send it to myself. All right? So I'm just gonna open up in photo shop. I have it here on what you want to do is you want to make sure it's a good photo. It's relatively clear it's not pixelated. We go into image address, man de saturate. That way we just get rid of all the yellow tones and blue tones. And then we go again. Image adjustments. Then we go into levels. What you want to do is you want to make your whites really white and you're black, really black so that there's no great skill in it. So you see there it's, like, kind of crist up. The words on the great thing about bring on the computer is safe. I like this age to go with this part. I can combine them now. Now what we're gonna do is we're gonna take our Photoshopped image, and we're gonna bring it onto illustrator so we can work on it for a next class. 6. Let’s get digital: Vector Time: So before we bring onto Illustrator, I'm just gonna briefly explain to you why we want to bring it into illustrator. You can definitely design a logo on from the shop, but the thing is, when you design a logo on foot shop, it's a raster image, And whatever aster images is, it's still really pixelated. When you zoom in what we do in illustrators, we turn into a vector image, and what that is is when you zoom really, really close in. The curves are still really smooth. So the great thing about vector images are that and makes a more versatile so you can use it on screen printing or letter press. Or you can use on billboards and blow it up really big, and I still won't lose its quality. So now let's go on, Teoh, bringing it into Children. So I have my file here. I've chosen my Final Four that I want to work with, so I have brought it into Illustrator. She's gonna downsize a little bit. There we go. So you click onto your image with your arrow key and up here you'll see something called Image trace on. What that does is it will outline all the little letters. Andi, there's another waited do this. But, um, it's called anchor points. It's a lot more precise and specific, but the reason why I don't do it is because, um it loses that kind of hand lettering feel and I want to keep my lines and I want to keep my quirks in my hand Lettering. So that's why I use life Trace. I do a little bit of the cleaning up process afterwards with anchor points, but in this class specific, I'll teach you how to life trace. So let's just zoom in there. I've clicked on my image on I'm gonna press life trace So let me just give it time toe process that so See now all these little curves are caught out until a little letters. When you go into the advance panel right here, what we're gonna do is I'm gonna have you open the advance hot panel and you can definitely go ahead on finish your logo like this. But the vast panel just gives you a little bit more flexibility. Teoh really make the hand lettering more unique. Just zoom in so we can really see what's going on? So here, let me show you this. Make sure your preview is on so you can see everything when every slide it or anything like that. So you can see what's happening. This, um, this year, just like outlines a little thicker, do less of a threshold will outline it a little less. See, there it's a little bit thinner, so I usually go somewhere in the middle. But the best part to play with is the paths, the corners and noise on the sub on the side. Um, so if you play with the paths what this does, it really goes into every nook and cranny, um, giving you a lot of character to your lettering. See, there it's, like a lot more wobbly right now, So maybe that's a little too much. So I'm just gonna bring it down a little bit more. And then again, corners make sure you what it does when you go the opposite way. It just like it. Like, um, it just tells you, like when it goes into the corners a little bit less than a little bit more, let me show you that again. And then the noise I don't usually plays in new ways because it's it doesn't really make that big a difference, But you can have a go at it and see if it works for your piece. So what we've done right now is we played around with it, and we're comfortable with our that settings just before you expand it. What you want to do is that you want to ignore White so that any of the whites and the document is basically void. And it won't Rita as an image. So once we've done that, slips close that and will expand it. So now what we have is individual lines, as you see, um, for each of the lettering on what that allows us to do is it gives us a space to be able to , like at each of them individually, which is really cool. Um, and this is where the fun part comes in. So say, for my case, I want to play with this. The set of recent hates right here, along with this one. The rest of them I'm okay with I'm not gonna work with them, so I'm just gonna get rid of these. We're bringing these to a little bit closer. Group Um, What I'm gonna do now is I been cleaned up, so a really great tool use is the eraser tool on the side Here, For example, When I write, I write really small and only these kind of get they were not distinct. So you go in and you can erase it. It's a little drag. Let's go closer Or another way to do it is through your pen tool. So you pressing your mental over here, click it so that you basically shape you're avoid image on. So yeah, from there, um, what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna go to my Pathfinder's and I'm gonna cut it out. This image here is basically cutting it act. That's all part of the image now. So what I usually do is I'll just go in each of the lettering. I'll clean up the curves a little until I'm comfortable with it right here with these air groups right here. This is called a handlebar and this is called a anchor. So what you do is you play with the handlebars, Teoh make it rounder or Teoh to play with the curves a little Um, yeah. So what? Yeah, you just go around the whole lettering. You play with it so that, um well, look better to the eye from before. Some of them can't even see until you're close up. But it's always nice to just get in there and really get to know later, like right here. I probably want to take away that little nook. So I'm just going to my pen tool again. If you press p on your keyboard, just will be a quick shortcut there. And then if you hover over these anchor points, you'll see like plus and minus. So when you hover over a point that already exists, the minus will come up, and if you click on, it will disappear. So that's a great way. Another great way to go around your artwork on Perhaps clean up a couple of those nooks and crannies. So you see, it's already a little bit better there. Say, if I wanna, um, exchange this A for this? A. Then again, I can highlight this one moving up. Bring this one down. See, there's a lot more flexibility when you're doing on the computer. Once you've done that, then you could get something like this for these Agent of anyone's. I've gone in and clean them up just so you can see a little example. This is something I would present to my client can see really get thin lines and really thick lines. A lot of them I've carried through from the clicker. He Stalin just cleaned it up a little. Um, and so, Yeah, I think the huge part is just finding the balance between what? Human like enough for you. And what did you like enough for you? Some people like it more digital. I personally like the quirky lines on the little wobbles, so I tend to keep them in on and from here, you'll have a final vector rise logo. And what we're gonna do is in the next class, I'm gonna teach you about the paper products on the paper qualities and how we can bring that onto paper on. Yeah, it's gonna be exciting. 7. Prepping for Print: Pantones, Foils, and Papers: now that you have your effect arise. Logo finished, I'm going to show you all the paper choices you have to work with in letter press. It's my most exciting part, and I'm really excited to show you all the boiling choices on, and they're just so pretty. So when you're designing on the screen, every computer shows color very differently. And so when you send your business cards to press, what you want to do is provide them with a color code so that they know exactly what color to print with. There's one called the C M y Que, which stands for Cyan, magenta, yellow and black on On Illustrator, you can show you can pick up the color code and send that to them. Or there's something called the Pantone Book, which is a little bit more professional. It's a book that is used across different industries, like the fashion world and interior world on. We use it for paper also. So the book I have here, um, it's a little bit dated, but it still works. Um, and it's basically just a beautiful color chart on each of these little color walks have color codes to them on. What you'll do is you'll pick up a color that you think works for your branding, and you'll just type in that code to them, and they'll be able to print exactly to that color. Another great thing you could do when designing your business cards. You can think about boiling to basically what foiling is. You can choose a range of colors, and it's just this gorgeous shimmer that you can't get from just printing ink. Um, I work a lot with foiling on. It's just a beautiful waited to show off your logo. Show off your design in different way with printing. There's also die cuts where you can cut your card to a certain shape. And that's often really cool because people will instantly recognize your business card because it stands out because it's a definite shape or there's something called color edging. So this one has pink. This one had a little bit of yellow. You can also get it in like a metallic colors, like gold or silver. I'm really the options are endless. On DSO. For example, this design I have a little bit of gold folding on edges on in here What I've done is I've in Voss the logo de boss logo, actually. So in Boston is where the logo stands out of the page. So the design stands out of the page, and it's like bumps on the page and D Boston is where it goes into the paper. And so this logo is de bost. Um, an example of in Boston would be this one here, when you talk to your printers. Also ask you about paperweight on how thick you want the card, and that's usually what we refer to as G S M. And it stands for grams per square meter. So the higher the number. So 650 GSM is lot thicker of a card than compared to 400 GSM on. So this card here, I think, is about 325 GSM. And so now that you've seen all these paper options, I want you to think about how you'd want design your dream card, Um, and how you'd want it to be low depressed. So think about foiling. Think about paper. Wait, think about if you want color edging or gold edging or just regular edging, how you want it caught. If you want a specific in Boston or D bossing on DSO, yeah, go to next class and we're gonna I'm gonna start showing you how to prep your business cards for print. 8. Prepping for Print: Digital File Ready for Press : now that we've seen all the beautiful choices we can work with, let's think about your business card design when you're thinking about design your business cards. Um, think about maybe a pattern or a catchy graphic that you might be able put on your business cards, or even sometimes of minimal is the best and just your logo with some nice foiling. It always does the trick. So let's go back to my clients project now. This is the final outcome we came up with. This is the final logo. Let me just show you a close up of the final lines that we worked with, how it cleaned up all of these curves in here. Andi. So the idea for our business card is we want it to be on an off white background with rose gold edging rose gold boiling for the little details in here. And so that's our final design right here. But when you send it to press, what you want to do is you want to send it with crop marks, and that's what this is right here, these little crosses or basically indications toe let your printers nowhere to cut the paper on the reason why you want to do this is so that when you do send it to press, the background here doesn't get cut off and that there's a white slither. Um, with the design, if you put the background across the crop marks so that bleeds over, then you won't get any of that awkward white slathers on your design. And so, in addition to having crop marks, another prep file that I've prepped for them is also ah, blacked out version where everything I want in gold foiling is just in black. And I've indicated at the bottom here that the black represents the matte gold rose, edging on foiling. And here I have the color code pan tune ready for the background. But the one most important thing before you send it suppress is you need to make sure you outline your text on basically, when you send it a press. If you don't outline your text, then whatever you send it in will just be a fun and you say, for example, they don't have the fall on their computer than will change into whatever fought they have available next. But you don't want that you want to make sure you outline your text. So this one here is outlined already, and this one isn't as you can see, this one still creditable. I can still go. Go in and type in. But this one I can't do that anymore. I can't type with the type tool. So in order to outline everything, say if I want outlined this little one here, I've already outlined the rest of my document. I go to type, create outlines or command shift. Oh, and that makes basically everything outlined on. It puts anchor points onto the thoughts, too. So if I wanted, I could edit it. But that's not what I wanted to you right now. So, yeah, make sure your whole file is outlined, so I'm gonna delete that one. And now this would be a file I would send to my printer's. It's all outlined. A Hasmah crop marks has my color indications. My Pantone color is I've also indicated that I wanted to boss on and yeah, this is exactly what you want to do when you send your, um your designed to press that way they'll know exactly what you want and you'll be able to have your business card done and ready a sack once his classes on 9. Outro: Finishing Touches: Yea, I'm so glad you made it to the final class. Hopefully, now you have a final victory eyes logo and also you started thinking about your business cards and started designing them. Make sure to upload all your projects into the project area. That way I can give you feedback and also your classmates could give you feedback. The great thing about having a vector eyes logo is now. You can use it for array of things. You can use it not only for lead a press also screen printing, or you can blow it up into billboard size or he make like tiny little stamps. I recently made one for my business, and it's just this little sand best says. Please don't bend this post to the Postman. So here the final cards designed Theresa. We've gone with a map gold rose, gold boiling for her logo and also a Matt Rose gold for the edging. And it's turned out really beautifully. I think it's really cool that I've gotten to take you on the journey of designing it from scratch and now you get to see the final up come also. So for one special person, whoever uploads my favorite project. I'll be announcing a date that you have to have your projects and by that person I will choose. And then we'll get Teoh video, hang out on skill shit. Or how cool is that? I hope this class has helped you to not only learn how to vector rise your logo, but also to go beyond that, design your own cards and that it's also made the letter press process a little easier to understand. Um, hopefully now you're able to take your logo and get more client projects designed your own branding on. Just really do whatever you need to do with the skills you've learned in this class. Thanks for watching. And don't forget to dream big.