Draw Calligraphy on ANY Surface--The ONE Technique You Need to Know + Tips & Tricks | Ana Baker | Skillshare

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Draw Calligraphy on ANY Surface--The ONE Technique You Need to Know + Tips & Tricks

teacher avatar Ana Baker, Lettering & Calligraphy Techniques

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.

      The "Secret" Technique


    • 3.

      Sketching Your Designs


    • 4.

      Chalkboard Lettering


    • 5.

      Lettering on Canvas


    • 6.

      Lettering on Glass: Celebration Platter


    • 7.



    • 8.

      Lettering on Wood


    • 9.

      BONUS LESSON: Wood Burning Lettering


    • 10.

      Upload Your Project


    • 11.



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About This Class

Do you ever wander the aisles of your favorite store and look at all of the beautifully lettered signs, knick knacks, and accessories and wish you could create your own? In this class, I will show you the secret to creating those gorgeous, calligraphy lettered designs on ANY surface you want! Fabric? Check. Canvas? Yup. Chalkboard? Definitely. Wood? Yes! Glass? Absolutely!

Seriously, this technique is super easy, 100% doable, and you’ll find yourself lettering on anything you can get your hands on.

I will walk you step by step through the entire process of creating calligraphy designs on multiple types of surfaces. We’ll cover the basics by getting comfortable with traditional paper and pencil and move on to creating designs on a ceramic platter, a chalkboard, a canvas, and even wood.

No experience is necessary, and even the more seasoned hand lettering artist may get a few tips out of this class.

Supplies for this class are the surface you want to create your design on, a pencil, and a paint pen.

Meet Your Teacher

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Ana Baker

Lettering & Calligraphy Techniques


Hi, I'm Ana Baker! I'm a self-taught hand lettering and calligraphy artist with a background in education. I've always loved words and letters and dabbled in calligraphy ever since high school, but really fell in love with the art of lettering in 2016.

My classes focus on practical tips and skills that help your lettering skills grow quickly and organically. Because I am a self-taught artist, I love sharing all of the little things I wished I had known when I first began my lettering journey with you right from the get-go so you can grow even more quickly. 

I also love to create classes that focus on practical application of lettering skills so you can get right to creating things that you love.


I have a passion... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Welcome: Hi, I'm Anna Baker, a hand lettering and calligraphy artist. Have you ever wandered the aisles of your favorite home to core store and looked at all the beautifully lettered signs and accessories and wish that you could make some too well with this class, I'm going to show you how, with just one technique, you can create hand lettered calligraphy designs on any surface. Seriously, you guys, this technique is 100% doable. Super easy, and you'll find yourself letter, not anything you can get your hands on. I will show you the secret to creating those gorgeous calligraphy letter designs on any surface. You want fabric check Canvas? Yup, Chalkboard definitely would, Yes, Glass, Absolutely. I'll walk you step by step through several different projects and giving you my tips along the way. First, we'll get comfortable with the basics on paper and pencil and then move on to the more complicated surfaces. With just a handful of supplies, you can create lettered calligraphy, looks on a multitude of surfaces. All you'll need is the surface. You want to create your design on a pencil and a paint marker. We'll also talk about different services and specific tool that they might need. But we'll cover those in the future lessons. Be sure to follow my channel for fun information and future classes from me. So what you waiting for? Let's get started. 2. The "Secret" Technique: traditional calligraphy and brush pens naturally create thick down strokes and thin up strokes. Understanding the way these pens work will ultimately help you create believable, beautiful calligraphy on different surfaces that aren't always calligraphy. Pen friendly A Z, you can see me demonstrating here when I apply more pressure, the nib, or tip of the pen spreads apart and deposits more ink, thus creating a thick down stroke. As I move the pen upwards, the nib moves back together and creates a nice than upstroke. This is what we will be mimicking with our different tools on a variety of surfaces. Folk calligraphy is the technique we will utilize across all of our projects. Faux simply means fake annoying. This technique gives us the freedom to create calligraphy on any kind of surface. As long as we know a few of the tips, I'll be passing along to you. First, I will be showing you the basics of faux calligraphy on paper and giving you some quick tips that will make it easier to achieve this look on more difficult surfaces. One of the most important things to understand is that drawing calligraphy is not the same as writing in cursive as your dryer letters. You will need to lift your pen or pencil between strokes in order to create your letters. Once you've drawn a letter, begin the next one at the end of that first letter stroke. For example, instead of connecting your E directly to the are as you would in cursive, you will draw your E at the end of the very last stroke of ER. This gives you a more polished look. Think of your letters as the bones or skeleton of your word. In other words, we will draw the most stripped down, basic version of our letters and go back to add the body that will make it look like we achieve this look with a real calligraphy pen. Remember, we're literally drawing are letters not writing them with cursive. We connect all our letters together without stopping here. I'm showing you the difference between a cursive and focal a graffiti Better E. Another benefit of faux calligraphy is that it allows you to draw your letters in a new style without the added worry of technique, as you would with a brush or calligraphy pen as a bonus to you for being a student of my class, I have included a full calligraphy guide in my own personal style. If you're new to the world of lettering and don't have an alphabet in hand yet, this is a great place to start. Once you've drawn your letters the way you want them, it's time to add some weight or body to them. As we saw with the traditional calligraphy pen, we need to add more thickness. Toe are down strips, start at the top of your stroke and draw another line a little farther out from your original stroke. Fill in carefully, and you now have some weight on those bones. One of the best tips I can give you that will instantly make your focal a graffiti look more polished and refined is to pay close attention to the curves in your letters. Be sure that as you add your weight, you make sure to taper those strokes into each other, so you have a smooth transition rather than a choppy, sharp line. Another helpful tip is to evaluate which side of the stroke would be best to add thickness to. In other words, evaluate the space between your letters and add thickness were needed in order to avoid making your spacing look inconsistent. This is another way to make your lettering look more polished and as though you have more experience than you might have. Once you make it a habit, you'll find yourself doing this a second nature. Now that you know the basics of creating faux calligraphy, let's discuss some of the different surfaces now open to you. 3. Sketching Your Designs: one practice that allows your final product to stay on the right side of that fine line between fantastic and disaster is sketching, Believe me, I have experienced that feeling of frustration countless times when I've gotten ahead of myself and gone straight to my design surface on Lee to ruin it because they didn't have my ideas fully formulated beforehand. Sketching can also allow you to encounter problems with your surface before actually making any permanent or time draining mistakes. I like to sketch with a pencil and a notebook or on some scrap paper that is an important or special copy paper or sketch paper work perfectly. Creating thumbnails is helpful because it gives you a layout toe. Work within all this means is creating small sketches within the shape on which you intend to create your final design. For example, if you're working with a circular surface, draw your sketches within a circle to gain an understanding of higher design will. Look, I don't necessarily do this for every single sketch, but if I'm unsure of something, drawing it within the layout I'm working on really helps finalize concepts. My favorite aspect of sketching is that it affords the opportunity to try out a bunch of ideas without hurting the final piece. This is the step in the process where you allow yourself to try various things to see whether or not they work. This sparks ideas, and you will find that you get some of the best results by engaging in this simple exercise . Remember, if you don't like something, it doesn't matter. You can just erase it or draw another sketch. Once I've done a few designs, I marked the ones I like so that I could easily pick them out for reference. When I'm working on my final piece, think of sketching as a road map to your final destination, a beautifully lettered piece. Now that I have quite a few ideas for my different surfaces, let's go ahead and jump into the tips and tricks you'll need in order to create beautiful calligraphy on any type of service. 4. Chalkboard Lettering: chalkboards are a wonderful home decor accessory that allow you to change with the seasons . They're meant to be regularly switched out, so they provide a fun opportunity to add some personal flair to your decor. My preferred method of chalkboard lettering is with chalk markers because they're easy to use and very convenient. I prefer to start my design using a fine bullet tip chalk marker. There are also chisel tip markers, and I'll be keeping mine handy because I like to finish my overall design with it there. Certainly usable to create your designs from the start, but can be trickier in the sense that you really have to think about what you're doing so you don't get thicker lines than you intend. Using my sketch for reference, I've realized that I need to pay special attention to centering so I don't end up with a super, noticeably off centered piece. Looking at my design, I can see that the letters I an end are the ones I need to start with to keep things as centered as possible. This is a really helpful tip were from the center of your design outward to keep things nicely clean because I don't want any pencil marks on my chalkboard. I'm using a ruler to give myself a visual baseline to keep my letters nice mistreat. I personally find this extremely useful. As I tend to have trouble keeping my letters straight, make sure to keep your spacing and size inconsistent across your letters as much as possible. As you can see here, I am creating a consistent line across the bottom of my letters to make them as uniform as possible. Another helpful tip whenever you are lettering on chalkboard, especially larger ones, is to keep some cleaning supplies nearby to easily erase any mistakes or smudges you might make. Now that I've drawn my serif letters, I'm going to incorporate my focal a graffiti with the word Be again. I am drawing my skeleton and adding the body or wait to my down strokes. I also like to add a bit of thickness to the ends of my beginning and end strokes. This is simply a personal preference. After I've drawn my entire design, I'm taking the chisel tip marker and going over the strokes to create a brighter, more uniform look to my letters. It cuts down on the choppiness of the drawn in strokes. I use the tip for my focal, a graffiti and thin lines on the broader edge for those thick down strokes. And that's all there is to it. Again, there's so many fund new techniques that you can learn and incorporate even into this one. So Hafun experimenting. 5. Lettering on Canvas: canvas is a great medium to create gorgeous, personalized art for your home, a friend or even items to sell. Canvas allows you to use markers to create your lettering, making it one of the easiest ways to create hand lettered art for your walls. I'll be using a small five by seven inch canvas for filming purposes, but you could easily apply these tips to larger canvases as well. I love gold, so I'll be using a gold acrylic paint marker with around tip in the size of 1.2 millimeters . These markers air great to use because they provide a nice flow of paint in the convenience of a marker. You'll see me use it throughout the class. As I like to keep supplies to a minimum, make sure that you shake your pen and prime it for use by depressing the tip a couple times until the paint flows. As you saw me demonstrating earlier, be sure not to press too hard and work the tip. Once I've drawn my guidelines and pencil, I'm gonna erase most of it so that the lines air faint and easier to remove later on. It also ensures that the pencil won't show through the paint. Once you've painted over the pencil, it is impossible to remove. So keep that in mind if you're using a larger canvas. A great tip to help provide a strong, durable surface toe Letter on is to place a thick book underneath. This will help to create a tabletop surface for your lettering. These particular canvases I'm using are small enough that I don't need one, but I find that trick to be extremely useful when using larger canvases. Now that I have my design penciled in the way I like, I'll begin drawing over it with my acrylic paint marker. Using the same principles of folk calligraphy we discussed earlier, I'll be drawing my skeleton paying attention to spacing. Helpful tip when creating lettering that has intersecting down strokes or flourishes is to wait until you have drawn the other letters in the phrase before going back and completing those flourishes. This insures that you won't accidentally draw them too large or too low and have to adjust the rest of your letters. Once I've drawn the bones, I'll go back and thicken my down strokes, paying close attention to spacing, evaluating which side of the stroke needs to be thickened. Keep in mind that you are using paint, so be sure to keep your hands free of the design tow. Avoid smudging until it has add time to dry. The great thing about these markers is that they do drive very quickly so you'll be able to move on to other steps of your design process without having long wait times between them. I found it helpful toe. Have a scrap piece of paper or cardboard nearby to make sure that my paint pen would flow smoothly without having to test it on my canvas. I was able to pump it a couple times to get more pain flowing and again not have to risk my design. Once I've gotten everything drawn the way I like it, I'll go back over some of the strokes, especially the down strokes, with more paint to make sure that it's nice and opaque. When I am sure that everything is completely dry, I'll go over it with my eraser and make sure to get rid of any stray pencil marks. And now you're lettering is complete. Remember that this is simply a jump start to your own creativity. You can paint the canvas before you let her add mixed media elements like florals, fabric and bobbles, or just keep it simple and hang as is the sky is truly the limit way. 6. Lettering on Glass: Celebration Platter: lettering on ceramic and glass can add a fun and unexpected touch to your daily routine of coffee or a special event like a wedding. For the purposes of this lesson, I'll be showing you my process for lettering on glass with a regular acrylic paint marker. While this one states it is made for use on glass, there are specific paint markers made for glass that can be baked to make completely permanent and safe to eat On. This particular marker does not stay anything regarding food safety, so be sure to use it on Leon Services that you don't plan to eat off. Once again. I'll be using my sketches reference, though I will be changing it a bit on the actual platter. I decided I wanted the design to take up most of the surface of the plate, since it won't be used for actual food. So I got rid of the are flourish to make it easier to scale the entire design up. After I've wiped the surface of the platter clean with a micro fiber towel, I'm going to draw my guide in pencil. The nice thing about working on glasses that the pencil simply rubs away when you're done. But be careful not to smudge it beforehand, so you can still see what you need to drop. Once I had the design the way I liked, I drew in my skeleton of the letter because I'm working on a different surface with a paint pen. I'm actually going to go back and add most of my weight immediately so I can work with the pink while it's still wet. Normally I would draw the entire word first and then go back. But I found that this technique worked best because we are working with glass. You will need to be a little more patient because the paint doesn't absorb into anything. It's simply dries. I found it helpful to press down on the new more often to get a stronger flow of paint. Having your guide drawn ahead of time really helps, because you don't have to worry too much about technique. It can simply drop and focus on each letter one at a time. Like we've discussed in all our other lessons, be sure to be mindful of your curves and the weight that you are adding to your strokes, making sure that you're spacing is consistent. From that. All of your strokes look the same. Helpful tip. If you do plan on eating on your dish and don't want to take any unnecessary risks, is to actually use clear glass and draw your design from underneath. You could always draw your guide with pencil directly onto the dish, or use vellum or tracing paper to see your design from the back. All you would have to do is that here you're vellum or tracing paper with something like washi tape. Flip your dish over and letter it from behind. Just be sure to flip your design correctly so that it is legible from the correct side of the plate. Now that I've drawn the entire word, I'll go back and even everything out, keeping an eye out for inconsistencies and bald spots. This marker drive really quickly, but I do recommend you let everything dry for a significant amount of time before touching the design or placing anything on it as I noticed them chipping when I touched it too soon . The platter is now complete and ready to use for parties and special occasions, 7. Embossing: embossing is a really fun technique that you can apply to all sorts of surfaces. With just a few special tools, you can apply gorgeously metallic lettering on anything from journals to canvas and even glass. For this particular technique, you'll need an embossing ink pen, some embossing powder and a heat tool. A couple bonus supplies would be an anti static embossing pillow and a pencil. I created some swatches of my embossing powders on both the black and clear and Boston pins to get a good idea of what they would look like as the finished product. Keep in mind that embossing pattern always looks different once it's been melted than in its unfinished state In the jar. If you have one, rub your anti clean pillow all over the surface. You plan to emboss on taking the ambassador ink pen. Begin to draw your design. You could always draw a design and pencil first before going over it with the Embossing Inc just to be on the safe side, I had just sketched it several times and feel comfortable going right in. Keep in mind your principles of faux calligraphy as you draw your letters. Remember that you can lift your pen between strokes to draw each letter at the end of the letter that comes before it. After getting the skeleton drawn, go back and add weight to those down strokes, paying close attention once again to your spacing and curbs. Something to keep in mind is that when working with them Bossing Inc. You wanna work fairly quickly before the ink dries. You want your in Boston powder to stick to that ink, so it does need to be pretty fresh. I have noticed that the ink has a decent dry time, so I have not felt too rushed. But it is important to keep this in mind. You will also notice that I am repeating my trick of waiting to draw any intersecting down strokes or flourishes until I have all of my letters in place. This trick is very helpful in making sure that your design looks the way you intended. Grab a piece of paper or card stock to place underneath your design, and as soon as you have finished lettering poor, you're in Boston powder all over the area to ensure that every stroke is covered carefully allow your in Boston powder to pour off your surface onto the piece of paper underneath. You should see your design revealed. If you have any street in Boston powder still clinging onto your design surface, take a small, dry paint brush and brush away the excess, being careful to avoid the actual design. Take your heat tool and turn it on, being careful not to touch the rim or edge as it becomes extremely hot. You will also need to be aware of your fingers. If you are holding yours, design near to it as it gets significantly hotter than a traditional hair dryer. Begin passing your heat tool slowly over your design until you see the embossing powder begin to melt. It's such a fun and mesmerizing technique. It never gets old If you are using paper or card stock. Helpful tip is to heat the back side of your design to prevent war. Being. Once you are sure that all of the elements and areas of your design have melted and completed the embossing process, turn off your heat tool. You can now move on to the rest of your creative process or simply enjoy the results. Once you start embossing, it's hard to stop 8. Lettering on Wood: being able to add lettering to would provide the whole new host of opportunities. I'll be creating some would slice ornaments for Christmas, highlighting some of my favorite seasonal carols and sentiments. I'll be creating three different looks for this particular method. All you'll need are some would slices black paint and paint markers. You could also add some ribbon or twine to create a hanging ornament. If you'd like a chalkboard, look paint your would slice in black. You could always use chalk board paint if you prefer it to behave as a real chalkboard. I used basic acrylic paint because I wanted it to be permanent and simply get the chalkboard look without worrying that the design would be smudged or ruined in storage. I learned the hard way that you should let your paint dry for hours before attempting to add any lettering. Even once it feels dry to the touch, wood is more porous. And if you don't wait long enough for the paint to dry, your lettering will bleed and look very fuzzy for this next ornament. I used two sizes of paint markers, a 1.2 millimeter and an extra fine tip for the smaller details, In my opinion, the smaller the tip, the better. This gives you more control, which I found helpful, considering how porous the wood is. Also, I did notice that the water based markers, even though they are permanent, did believe more than the oil based thistles. The last of the three ornaments I created, the colors reminded me of a night sky, which I thought was appropriate, considering what I was lettering on it. Once you've finished your lettering and any other embellishments you choose to add, you can simply attach a ribbon or twine to the back side of your would slice and hang it on a Christmas tree. These would make special gifts for friends and family, or even be a popular item to sell. You could apply this technique to a variety of items like coasters, or would signs the possibilities are endless 9. BONUS LESSON: Wood Burning Lettering: Another unique way to add lettering to wood is by using a wood burning or craft tool. You can use this technique to create coasters, embellish cooking utensils, burn name plaques and much more. I am very much a beginner at the art of Pirot graffiti or burned writing, but it is a fun and new art form that I have been experimenting with. While the surface and tools are different, the principles of creating the actual lettering are the same. I will be showing you three items that I have created to give you an idea of the possibilities that air before you keep in mind that I am speeding up this process 20 times because each of these projects took between 15 to 25 minutes to complete. You should also be aware that there is some smoke involved, which means that your workspace will smell a bit like campfire. The first item is a coaster on a basic square of wood. This is a good piece to practice on and get used to the idiosyncrasies of your wood burner . I decided to do a monogram or just a letter, really, and chose the letter B. I drew my guidelines with pencil, which I found to be absolutely essential because of the slow nature of the process. You have to spend time, Bernie every little bit of your design, so it helps to have a map, so to speak, without having to worry about the actual overall look the entire time. You can simply focus on the current little section you're working on and assess as you go along. For a beginner, I would say drawing your skeleton is absolutely essential. Needless to say, the wood burner gets extremely hot to be very careful where you place your hands and fingers. One thing to keep in mind is the type of wood you're using as the grain and smoothness of the wood can really affect your process. The coaster was more difficult and time consuming to burn because the wood was rougher and the design larger, but it gave it arrested quality that I really enjoy. The main tip I can give you is to go slowly. You will notice that the more pressure you apply and the longer you allow the tip to rest on the surface, the darker and deeper the burn will be one of the difficult aspects of using a cheaper wood burning tool is inconsistent heating, so you just have to learn to be patient. I found that the best way to tackle each stroke was toe lightly burn the length of stroke. Once I have done that, it was easier to create more depth and thickness. I also dealt with each stroke is an individual concentrating on getting it toe? Look the way I wanted it to before moving on to the rest of the letter. The principles of creating her overall designer the same as with all the other surfaces. Draw your skeleton and add weight to your down strokes, being sure to construct the skeleton in such a way that your letters have room to be formed correctly and create smooth curves. To finish this coaster, you could always stain it or at a glossy finish like polyurethane to make them water resistant. The cooking utensils went a little bit quicker because of the smoothness of the wood green and the scale of the design. However, they were curved and that presented its own set of challenges. I found it helped to prop them on something small to get the angle that I preferred. Another helpful tip is not to be afraid to rotate your surface to get the best angles for your current work. Due to the nature of the wood grain and the curved surface, I constantly rotated the wooden spoon so that I could move my wood burner and the best way to avoid skipping and mistakes once you burn it. It's hard to disguise a mistake. I really enjoy how these turned out, and I think they go to make wonderful gifts or accessories to sell, especially to your favorite baker. 10. Upload Your Project: I hope you've enjoyed following along and creating your own calligraphy letter looks on different types of services. I would absolutely love it if you would take a picture of your project and upload it to the your project section of this class. If you're not sure how to upload a project, I have provided a quick demo for you. Once you've taken your pictures, head on over to the class page on skill share, Click on your project to get started. Scroll down until you see Create your project and click on it. You should see a page that allows you to upload photos and write a description of your work . Click on upload image and select your photos from wherever you've saved them. Right. Any information you'd like to share with everyone and include any other photos you'd like for us to see. Maybe your process feel free to add any skill tags so that others can see your work finally hit. Publish. Congratulations. Your work is now visible for other students to interact with and be inspired by 11. Giveaway!!!: have some fun and exciting news for you guys hosting a giveaway. To celebrate the launch of this class, I will be hosting a giveaway for three different winners. All you have to do is create your own calligraphy letter design. Using the technique I taught in this class on a different unique type of surface other than paper. Take a picture of your project and uploaded to your project section. By September 15th 2018 Midnight Eastern Standard time. I will be choosing three winners to receive a $20 Amazon e gift card. That way you could use it to buy art supplies, a wood burner or anything else you might have your I can't wait to see what you create. You have a whole month for this giveaway. Please take the time to create something and let me see it. Can't wait