Hand Lettering Practice: 3 Easy Steps to Explore New Typography Styles | Vinitha Mammen | Skillshare

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Hand Lettering Practice: 3 Easy Steps to Explore New Typography Styles

teacher avatar Vinitha Mammen, Illustrator | Lettering Artist

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.

      Class Project


    • 3.

      Three Step Process


    • 4.

      Step 1: Proportions


    • 5.

      Step 2: Shapes


    • 6.

      Step 3: Details


    • 7.

      Project Demo: Part 1


    • 8.

      Project Demo: Part 2


    • 9.

      Project Demo: Part 3


    • 10.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Letters are just like us. They come in all sorts of shapes, forms and even personalities!

What if I told you that you have the ability to develop your own unique lettering styles from scratch through practice and exploration?

In this class, I teach you how to develop lettering styles through a structured approach using my 3-step process of building letters. I’ll take you through these steps in detail and show you exactly how I put them to use to develop multiple styles of a single letter.

All you need to do is use this formula I teach you to practice and develop your own unique typography styles, one character at a time. 

Daily focused practice is the one thing that will take you to a new level in your lettering journey. In my opinion, no amount of tips and tricks will replace what practice can do for your skills. However, it can be overwhelming to know how to approach your practice sessions so that you can make the most of them. And that’s what this class solves for you.

 In this class you will learn:

  • What a ‘lettering style’ actually means.
  • How to practice developing letters in an organized and structured approach.
  • How to break down your lettering development into the following bite-sized steps:
    • Proportions
    • Shapes
    • Details
  • How guides of different proportions affect typefaces, and how to take advantage of that in your exploration.
  • Best practices and tips for creating visually balanced letters and numbers.

Besides, you'll build a big library of your own lettering styles that you can refer to for future projects. Plus, you get to watch my entire process of developing nine different variations of a single letter from start to finish. It’ll be like you’re sitting right next to me in my studio as I get lost in my letters!

This class is for you if:

  • You want to level up your lettering game.
  • You’re an aspiring lettering artist looking for a way to start a structured daily lettering practice.
  • You love looking at all the creative styles that other lettering artists arrive at, but feel lost when you try to develop your own.
  • You’re an experienced lettering artist who feels stuck creating the same styles and want to introduce some authentic variety in your work.

Students at any skill level are welcome to take this class. Beginners who have no idea where to begin get a step-by-step roadmap towards practicing and honing their skills, while Intermediate to Advanced level lettering artists will discover new ideas and methods to push their creative limits.

What you will need:

  • A sketching medium of your choice.
  • Template files (available for download from the Resources section)

I will be demonstrating my techniques by sketching on my ipad using the drawing app Procreate and an apple pencil. However, you are welcome to follow along with me using any sketching medium of your choice- you don’t need to have an ipad to take this class.

Meet Your Teacher

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Vinitha Mammen

Illustrator | Lettering Artist

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Level: All Levels

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1. Introduction: [MUSIC] Letters are just like us they come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and even personalities. What if I told you that you have the ability to develop your own unique lettering styles from scratch to practice and exploration. I'm Vinitha Mammen, a freelance lettering artist and illustrator with a background in fashion design, and a top teacher on Skillshare. In this class, I teach you how to develop lettering styles through a structured approach using my three-step process of building letters. I'll take you through these steps in detail and show you exactly how I put them to use to develop multiple styles of a single letter. All you need to do is use this formula that I teach you to practice and develop your own unique lettering styles, one character at a time. Working daily towards a specific goal has helped me more than anything else has in my lettering and illustration journey. Over the course of these daily challenges, my own unique lettering style started to reveal itself in different ways and that gave me a sense of direction to move forward in. So if you take up this challenge, I'm sure it's going to present you with some life-changing revelations along the way. By the end of this class, you will have an organized and structured method to practice and explore your lettering. If you complete your projects, you'll have a huge reference library of your own lettering styles that you can use in your future projects. This class is for anyone who wants to level up your lettering game and it is suitable for all skill levels. Whether you're a beginner who doesn't know how to get started, or you're already an intermediate or advanced level lettering artist looking for some authentic variety in your style, I've got you covered. I'll be demonstrating my techniques by sketching on my iPad using the drawing app Procreate and an Apple pencil. However, you're welcome to follow along with me using any sketching medium of your choice. You do not need to have an iPad to take this class. So are you ready to let loose and do some life-changing lettering drills with me? Let's get started. [MUSIC] 2. Class Project: [MUSIC] In this class, we're going to explore different lettering styles through practice, so your project with this class is exactly that, practice. You're going to explore nine different variations of each uppercase letter in the English alphabet and numerals from 0-9, so that's 36 in all. For this I've put together some practice templates with lettering guides, so you can get straight to exploring without having to do all of the boring stuff. Doing all of these 36 characters in one go is going to be exhausting and even frustrating, so my suggestion is that you tackle just one or a maximum of two per day. That way you'll be less overwhelmed and you can approach each one with a fresh mind. You're welcome to use whatever medium you're most comfortable with for sketching, you can either use the digital templates to draw on your iPad or the printable templates if you want to practice traditionally with pen or pencil on paper. Before moving on, please download these practice templates from the resource section and keep them handy. As you progress through your practice, you can upload images and videos of your explorations in the project gallery, so we can all get inspired by each other's work and hold ourselves and each other accountable. I will also be doing this project and I'll be uploading my practice sheets on the project gallery as well as on Instagram. If you choose to share your practice journey on Instagram, don't forget to tag me in your posts, stories and reals so I can both see and share your work. That said, I do not want you to worry about sharing your work as you explore. The pressure of sharing your work can sometimes really get in the way of your letting loose and if that is something that bothers you, and I want you to know that you absolutely do not have to share your work. Of course, we'd love to see what you come up with, but the more important thing here is that you explore without limiting yourself in any way. You can very well finish each character and then decide if you want to share or not, cool? Similarly, do not worry about achieving perfect lines and curves every single time or if you're using Procreate about how your adjustments are going to affect your time-lapse video, also you can use your eraser as much or as little as you want to. All I want is for you to let lose, trust the process and have fun [MUSIC] so shall we? In the next lesson, I'll walk you through my three-step process of arriving at different lettering styles. [MUSIC] 3. Three Step Process: [MUSIC] What exactly do we mean when we say lettering style? There are a lot of different factors that go into defining a particular lettering style. The kind of typeface, the angles, the mood, weight of the lines, detail elements, and more. All of these collectively contribute to a particular lettering style. When we try to come up with new styles, we have a whole bunch of things to think about, and if we try to tackle them all at once, we're going to be all over the place. Instead, we break this down into a simple three-step process so that we have a more structured approach to developing lettering styles and we can focus on one thing at a time. Let me give you a little glimpse into this process. First, we establish the proportions of our characters by setting guides for us to draw within. Secondly, we explore and arrive at the shapes that form our letters. In the final step, we add details to wrap it up. I'll talk about each of these steps in detail in the coming lessons. For now, all you need to remember is proportions, shapes, details, in that order. It's actually a common rookie mistake, not just with lettering but with any kind of drawing, to get caught up in the details right away, thereby ending up with pieces that are either out of proportion or lack visual balance. Instead, if you start by laying down a strong foundation before refining things and adding the details, you have a much better chance at ending up with a well-balanced sketch. In the next lesson, we'll take a good and detailed look at our first step, proportions. [MUSIC] 4. Step 1: Proportions: [MUSIC] As we saw in the previous lesson, the first thing we focus on in our three-step process is proportions. Let's take a look at how proportions affect lettering styles and how we can play with them to create unique letters. Now, generally speaking, most of our uppercase letters and numbers, fit nicely inside a five by three grid. There are some exceptions which we'll get to in a bit, but for now, let's see how this works. I have a five by three grid here. Let's try using it to draw something simple like an E. With letters like this, you just need to follow the guidelines and fill in the appropriate squares in your grid. It's very straightforward. Same with other straight-line letters like T, H, and so on. Now if you want to do a more curvy letter, S, for instance, the most rounded parts of the curves will pick a little bit outward from the guides. Don't try to fit them perfectly inside the guides. They look best when they extend outwards of tad. As you can see, these are not as straightforward as street letters but one thing that helps is to really use the grid to focus on small sections at a time. Once you get a hang of it, it won't be a big deal anymore. Practice in order to get there. That's the only way. Now I have the top and bottom parts. Next, we connect the two by bringing this down like this, bringing this up like this. Now we just need to follow this curve and draw a parallel curve to this curve. Similarly here, you want to draw a curve parallel to this curve. We'll just bring the N down and then bit like this and close it. This comes up like this and again, close it. See you're still using these grid lines to guide your curves. Just that you need to get your curves to extend out of the grid a little bit to get a smooth and balanced looking shape. When you put it next to the other letters, the curves are squished into the grid, they will not look cohesive together. I'll just fill those in as well so you can see the shape better. [MUSIC] Now, you can use this grid, not just for letters, but for numbers too. Let's try one, like seven for instance. This is how I would do a seven with a slanting line like this and a straight line on top. Fairly easy. Now so far, we used a five by three grid with columns and rows of equal width. This and this are the same width and it is even throughout. Now, we can try changing that. For example, this way we can keep it the same, but along this side we can increase the width. Let's do six instead of three. Two, three, four, five, six. I'll complete the rectangle. Now instead of drawing down every line we'll draw down every other line so that we still have three columns. It's just twice as wide now. It's still five by three, just with different proportions. Now let's try to use this guy to join E. The process is exactly the same as we did before. See, just by varying the proportions of the grid, we have a different looking E. Similarly, we can try all different variations in the proportions. For example, let's do one the other way. Instead of five squares down, we'll do 10. This way, we'll go back to just three. Now our columns are all one square wide and our rows will be two squares wide. Let's draw our E on this new grid. [MUSIC] There we have yet another variation of the E and you can go even more crazy with this. Let's try something. We'll start off with a five by three rectangle, just like our original one. Now instead of dividing this equally into rows and columns, we can even divide it unequally. Instead of drawing a line at the first square, we draw it a little bit higher up. Similarly here, we go a little bit lower. For our middle row also, we can go a little bit inside. These three are almost the same width and the two in-between are thicker and we'll stick to columns of equal width for now. This is also a three by five grid, but with varying robots. Now let's see what our E looks like on this grid. It's similar to the first one, but still slightly different. Just like this, you can play around and come up with all variations in the grid proportions, arrive at letters with different proportions. I'm trying another one here with thicker rows on the top and bottom. That gives me an E that looks like this. Next, I'll just start with a random square like this and let's see what happens if we split just the top row into two and keep the other four rows one square wide. Once again, we have five rows and I'm going completely random with my column widths. I'm just experimenting here by going completely random. This is what that gives me. I'm going to try one more that's extra wide, with a really skinny middle row. This is what I ended up with using this grid. This is where proportion really comes into play. This is how we vary the proportions of our letters by varying the proportions of the guides themselves. As you can see, the possibilities of the different proportions you can arrive at are pretty much endless. I want to encourage you to pick any letter or number and go crazy by trying all proportions for the guides. It's a very satisfying activities. I'm sure you'll enjoy it. Fun fact, it is these proportions that essentially give you the different font styles within a font family, like regular, bold, condensed, etc. Now that you know how this works, you can even create your own styles from scratch. Now, remember I mentioned there are some exceptions. Wider letters like M and W do not fit very well into the five by three grid. What they need instead is a five-by-five grid and then they'll fit nice and snug just like this. You can play with the proportions of the five-by-five grid, just like we did before, to arrive at different proportions of M's and W's as well. I've put together two types of practice templates for you. One with just the basic one is to one proportion and one with grids in a random mix of proportions. You can decide if you want to do all nine variations in just one proportion, or you want to mix it up with random proportions. However, if you ask me, my personal recommendation would be that you start with just one proportion, especially if you're a beginner or if you haven't done a similar exercise before. That way you can keep this one thing constant and explore shapes and details more freely. In any case, you'll see this in the upcoming demo lesson that even with just one basic proportion, you can create a whole bunch of unique lettering styles. Then later on you can progress on to doing a set with mixed proportions as a more advanced level exercise. You're also more than welcome to create your own guides, for you practice templates, depending on your personal preferences. In the next lesson, we'll move on to our second step, which is shapes. 5. Step 2: Shapes: [MUSIC] Now that we know how different proportions of guides form letters of different weights, let's take a look at shapes. This is my favorite step, probably because this is where my creative juices get flowing the most. A single letter can be formed in multiple different ways by using different types of shapes. Depending on the shapes that form letters, these can be categorized into different types, like serifs, sans serifs, script, handwriting, black letter, display, etc. But we are not going down that road. For the purposes of this class, we're not going to classify our lettering styles or try and learn the rules of each style. We are going to let our imagination state control and intuitively flesh out the shapes of each letter. Let me show you what I mean. I have here a basic E and the most basic proportion from our previous lesson. Now we can start exploring different shape variations for this. For example, instead of these straight lines, we can code them inwards a little just like this [MUSIC] and close off the ends. If we turn off the guide layers, this is what it looks like. In this case, it was just a minor shape difference. But it is definitely a different lettering style than the original because of the difference in the shape. Here's another easy one. You can start by just curving out on the corners like this, [MUSIC] cover out even the inner corners, and then connect them to close off the shape. That's another one and you can leave it like this or even take it further. When I look at it now, I think it'll be nice to just push this part up a bit more and adjust the curves to blend into the new shape, [MUSIC] and similarly, this can move down a tad. [MUSIC] That's another option. Just explore one thing at a time, step back and take a look, and make some modifications if you feel like it. We can also deviate a lot more from our basic shape than we've been doing so far. Let's see how we can transform this into a more cursive style E. For this, I'll start off by drawing some big curves just like this and then refining them and closing up the shape with more curvy lines. I'm not following any rules of calligraphy here as I flush out the shape, I'm just going for it. [MUSIC]. There we go. Just like that, you can create a wide variety of lettering shapes by deviating as little or as much as you want to from the basic shape of each letter. You just need to make sure that the foundational elements of each letter are intact and that legibility is not compromised along the way. Now, let's move on to our last step, which is Details in the next lesson. [MUSIC] 6. Step 3: Details: [MUSIC] Our last stage in this process is adding the details. This is where we add those final touches to elevate our lettering. These are the little elements that give our letters their own unique personalities. These details can be anything from subtle elements like textures or highlights and shadows to more obvious ones like 3D effects, drop shadows, inline, or set of details. Let's try adding some details to the Es we've been exploring. For this one, let's start by adding some simple inline details like that, just in the corners may be. Thicken them right to the corners, a tad or something like that. Very simple, but still effective. Maybe just a little line like that on the middle crossbar and that could be it, or you could add a 3D effect to this. If you want to learn how I create these 3D effects in a step-by-step manner, I teach that in detail in my class called Hand Lettering and Beyond: Negative Space 3D Lettering with Watercolors. That's another option or you can add some little details to the ends here. Something like that maybe, where we just split the end into two, and maybe add some dots to give it that retro touch. Just like that. You can really take it to any direction you want to. Let's try this with the second shape we arrived at. We could do something like an offset outline. This process is similar to doing 3D effects, but without connecting the front and back faces to each other. It's just like a floating surface that slightly offset from the main one. Or with bold letters like this, it's a great opportunity to drop patterns inside them. Since you have so much space to fill up so let's try a random squiggly pattern. That's another fun option, or you can keep it really minimal by simply adding some circles to these curvy ends so they look like little holes in the letters. With these letters that look curvy and flowy, my favorite details to add on them are just some simple highlights. I'll just fill it in fully and then add these white blobs over the rounded parts, just on one side, so it looks like it's reflecting the light. Then a couple of thin highlight lines around the thinner parts of the letter as well. Or you can do a 3D effect on these curvy letters as well, not just on the straight ones. The technique remains exactly the same. This is what a simple 3D version of this looks like. We can also mix multiple details together. For example, you can do a 3D effect as well as an inline. But don't overdo it, stick to a maximum of two so that you're not adding chaos to the equation. In fact, you can even skip adding details altogether. It's not a mandatory step at all. In some cases, the shapes are loud enough to speak for themselves. Or you're deliberately trying to keep things extra simple, in which case, adding details could just be too much. It pretty much depends on individual preferences as to where you draw the line. What feels an organic part of the letter and what feels out of place. It's a good idea to always check in with yourself after every detail you add and make sure you feel like it was meant to be. That's it, now you know all three steps of our process. In the next lesson, I'll put all of these together and show you an example of how I would go about this exploration exercise from start to finish. 7. Project Demo: Part 1: [MUSIC] We've taken a good look at our step-by-step process and we're now ready to actually apply this process to practice developing new lettering styles. I'll pick the letter J to demonstrate to you how I would go about this exercise. Let's get right to it. I have a square canvas opened up here on my Procreate app. You can go with whatever size you like. This is a 12 by 12 inch square canvas. Now let's bring in the template for that. We'll go here to this wrench icon. Go to Add, insert a photo, and your downloaded templates should be right here. So tap on it. If your template doesn't fill up your canvas fully, just resize it. Make sure magnetics and snapping are turned on. Just drag these handles to Resnap to the edges of the canvas. Same on this side and release. That's it. Our guide is now ready. You can go into the Layers panel and tap on this end here. You can reduce the opacity of your guidelines if you like. Normally I would do this, but I am not right now so that you can see the guides clearly enough. All right, so let's start with our explorations with the letter J. Let's open up a new layer, where we will start with our sketching. First, I'm just using my guide to draw a very basic J. I'm using the 6B pencil brush, which is a default Procreate brush under the sketching category, you can use whichever brush you're comfortable using, and you can use whatever color you like. I like sketching with blue. Now from here, it's going to curve. Look at this square alone for a moment, from this corner to this corner, which I'll curve just like that. Then extend it. Similarly parallel to this curve. We draw a smaller curve here like this. Then we'll just close the site and fill it in. That's your basic J. One thing you can do is, if you want this basic shape to just hover underneath your sketches, you can do that. Just go here, swipe left on this layer, tap duplicates to make copies of it, and then you can drag it over to all of your guides. You can also pinch these three together to merge them and then duplicate. So you can move them together like this. Duplicate once more, and put it here. Then you can merge all those layers, and you can reduce the opacity of this layer. It's just there for you to see that this is the basic shape that we are trying to evolve. If you're working traditionally and not on the iPad, you can do this with a light-colored marker and it'll work pretty much the same way. You can even skip this step altogether if you'd like, and just jump straight to exploring. We'll open up a new layer and get to our actual sketching. Whatever comes off the top of your head, just go for it. Whatever. Right now, I feel like curving this top bar. So that's what I'm going to do. Just a simple curved line like that. Then I'm going to take it from there like this. I want to bring the curve out like this and join it with this line. See how I'm not letting the shape underneath restrict me. It's just a very generic shape underneath. To just remind me what I'm playing with here. I'll do a little swirl over here, and a smaller one here. Feels like a bit too much. Maybe not. I'll just leave it like this for now. You can make all the adjustments you want to make. Nobody is going to judge you or question you, this is your practice exercise. Just feel absolutely free to make mistakes. Fix them or not. I have a basic skeleton now. I'm going to flesh it out a bit more next, I'm thickening the downstrokes, following the most basic principle in calligraphy, which is upstrokes are thin, and downstrokes are thick. If you've no idea what I'm talking about, checkout my Skillshare class titled hand lettering and beyond. Where I explain this in detail. I want the upstrokes also to be a little bit thicker, but still considerably thinner than the downstrokes. Just like that. I'm fleshing out the shape of my letter. I want the end of this to be like this. Nice and round. Again here, a similar bulbous end. Then I'll make the thin parts a bit thicker and bring it here. I'll thicken this one from the top. Then just finish it off like this. That looks good so far. Now to get a better sense of how this looks and to clean it up a bit. You can long press on the eraser tool to erase using the same brush you've been drawing with, and we'll just get rid of some of these extra lines. I'm just switching between the brush and the eraser to clean up my shapes a bit. This is more about seeing the shape more clearly than anything else, so that we can see if we need to make any more adjustments. Now it feels a little bit unbalanced to me. This is a little bit high on this side and the top of this, to also match this, I'm going to just take it from here and lift it up from here. Then join it back into this. Now we can erase all of this and redraw it. I think that looks better, definitely more balanced. All right, so now the shape is done and we can get to the details. I'm thinking of adding a 3D effect to this one. For that, I'll duplicate this layer and move it to wherever you want the 3D surface to be. I'll reduce the opacity of this new copy we made, and on a new layer, we can draw over that to get our 3D surfaces. We're just tracing over these lines and then connecting them to the existing front face of our letter. If you want to learn how I create these 3D effects in a step-by-step manner. I'll teach that in detail in my class called hand-lettering and beyond, negative space 3D lettering with watercolors. That's that. Now we can turn off that guide layer. This is it. If you want, you can even fill in one of them to make the 3D effect more obvious. Here I'm filling in the front face of the letter. [MUSIC] That's our first one. Let's move on to the next. Now, you can keep continuing in the same layer if you like, or if your iPad offers you enough layers, you can do each version and a new layer, which is what I'm going to do. Now for my second one, I'm going to take this basic shape itself and just curve it a little bit. Similarly, I'll curve this top one also. Again, this line. I'm just trying it out. I've never done a J like this. I'm really just experimenting, which is what this exercise is all about anyway. Maybe I'll end this on a curve like that. This can be more straight. Let's see. I think it looks weird right now to be honest. I'm not very happy with the shape yet, but I'm going to see if there's anything I can do to make it better. Maybe the details will help. How about some Bevel details? Let's try that. I'll just do a basic inline first, just like that connected to these points. From here to here. Also here and here. Now it's looking better I think. I'll just do some shading to make the emboss look box and more. That's done. It looks much better. Let's leave it at that and move on to our next one. Open up a new layer, and what can we do now? How about we try a set of the same. I'll just start by drawing the sides here and extend them down a tad. Somewhere about now you'll start feeling yourself loosen up a bit. Initially, you would have probably felt a bit lost. But the more you do this, the more ideas you get and the more flow you'll have. Maybe like that. We'll just mostly follow the basic shape of our ghosts of J's beneath. We'll extend this also, and connect it like that. It looks like a good shape to get started. Now, I want to make it more interesting by splitting these setups into like a fish tail. Here also will do the same thing like that. Then erase all these extra bits. I think I want to extend these just a little bit more on the top. Here also, I want to bring this outwards just a little bit. Yes, I like that. Actually. Yes, I like how it looks over here, but up here, maybe the shorter one is better. I'll go back to how it was initially. Like I said, I'm going to leave this, extend it a little bit. Now for this, I think a nice and fun inline detail would be good. I'll first draw a light inline as a guide. On a new layer, I'll do the actual inline detail, just slightly thick and dark on the outside and tapering inward, and some dots in-between the two. Similarly over here and here. Then again, a couple of dots in the middle. Then I'll just erase that inline guide we did. [MUSIC] That looks good to me. The next lesson, we'll continue this exercise by doing the next three versions. 8. Project Demo: Part 2: [MUSIC] For this one, I want to try a more skinny monoline type of J. I'll just start out by drawing a basic J structure. I want to make it come like this, and I want to take it to the other side like that. Maybe curve it a little bit more like that. [NOISE] I'll just refine these curves a little bit, switching between my brush and eraser tools once again. Then, how about something like this? Just on the ends, just some bulbous details like this, and another one like this at the end. I'll just fill it and see how that looks. I like it. [MUSIC] I think the lines might need to be a tad thicker all over. Maybe we can make these joints more curvy and flowy and see how that looks instead of the sharp corners. I like that so I'm going to do that to this intersection as well. This is giving me a whole metal structure vibe. All the shading I want to do are a few highlights in these rounded parts, and maybe tiny little ones right at the joints, and maybe some here, and voila. Let's move on to the next one. This one, I'm going to start off with a nice curvy cursive style J. If you notice, I'm not following the ghost shape underneath to the T. For example, I've shifted the downstroke to the side a bit, so feel free to do that. I'll do a nice swirly tail here, just like that. I think I'll curve this top part a little bit more. Now, I'll add some flesh to some parts like this from either side of our lines, blend this into this curve here, keeping this part thin, and finishing the curve just like this. Then maybe this part can be like this. I'm just randomly trying things out based on where there is space. Like here, there's not much space, so I don't want to thicken in that area. I'll see where I can fit some extra thickness gracefully without making it look stuffy. I think maybe just one side is probably enough in this case. Let me try raising this side. Yeah, I think I like that. It looks interesting to me. Maybe, over here, we'll get rid of the inner one. Here we'll make it similar to this, just like that, [MUSIC] and blend it into the curve. Nice. I'm just going to quickly fill in these shapes. As for the details on this, I think I'll just do something like that. Yeah, some thin negative space details. Just starting from the outside of the shape and casually ending inside. [MUSIC] That might just be done. Now for our next one, I'd like to try something with the same basic shape so I want to just duplicate that and move it here just like that and just keep it there with a low opacity level. I can just follow that shape again in a new net. [MUSIC] Just a basic shape. Now over here, I'll have it come like this, and then like this, like a more traditional script style, and this part just like that. Now I can go ahead and delete that extra guiding layer since this is all I want to take from that. I'm just going to thicken the downstrokes with more rounded shapes this time. Thicken the upstrokes also a tiny bit, and finish off with a thick rounded bulb and similarly up here as well. [MUSIC] Don't be concerned that these two styles look too similar and they're right next to each other. That's all perfectly fine. In fact, they're most likely not going to be next to each other at all when you actually use these styles in your projects, so why should it matter? Just remember that this is not the end. This is just a means to discover new ideas and let them evolve. Don't break the flow of your ideas coming through by letting these things bother you. It's totally perfectly fine. Just whatever comes to your head, get that thought to flow down to your hand and onto the paper or screen in this case. Just get it all out of your head and in front of you. That way, you make space for new ideas and discoveries. Here I want the crossing to be clearly visible, so I'll just erase a tiny bit of this. This looks so flowy and Juicy right now. I want to do some highlights to make it look like some glossy liquid lettering. [MUSIC] I'll do one here also to highlight that intersection a bit more, and we can call this one done. The next lesson will be our third and final part of this exercise. I'll see you there. 9. Project Demo: Part 3: For our seventh variation at the Jape, I'm going to start with a nice and bold monoline look. I'm going to shift the downward line to the side, then bring it down to a curve. Sometimes it takes a few adjustments to blend curves smoothly into straight lines. This is coming like this, I want this to come over this line and I'll draw a full circle here, and blend that into the curve. It looks pretty messy at this point, doesn't it? That's okay. Given the goal of our exercise, that does not matter, especially at this stage when they still figuring it out. Later, you can clean it up if you want to. This is like this, and I have this circular part coming in over it. I'll just clean up some of these distracting lines so that I get a better sense of the shape. Let's see. Actually this bit is not going to be visible. Maybe we don't need the top crossbar at all. Let's see what happens if we get rid of that. This might just be all we need. It's still a J, just like that? Yeah why not, so let's keep it like this. I'm just going to draw this line again, so we can direct the rest of that curve properly and then we can erase it again. Because this is a back-and-forth process, as you can see, not a linear one where we just go from point A to point B. We're just trying to build this transition between the thick downstroke and the thin upstroke gradually. Again, too many distracting lines, so I'm just going to get rid of some of them, and I'm refining the curves some more. Let's fill it in. Now here, I want the circular part to be distinctly visible over the thick line. I'll just go around the circle and leave out a thin negative space to define it just in the intersecting part. Then we continue filling it in, making some more adjustments to define the shapes nicely. Now for the details, maybe a spiral inside the circle, like that. I like that. But I'm going to do a neater one. Take a little bit of time to refine the curves as I go. If you notice, I keep tilting my cameras around a lot during my sketching process, and this is so that I'm drawing every curve at an angle that feels most natural to me, which really helps me get more smooth curves. This is something I love about drawing on the iPad. It's so easy to adjust your drawing angle as you draw. All right, there we have it. I don't think we need any more details on this. Let's move on to the next one. If you've seen my work, you know that I love my florals, so how can I not do a floral version? I think I'm going to use this shape itself actually and do some floral design and please of the circle maybe. Let's try. Again, I make a copy of this and move it here, reduce the opacity, and in a new layer, I'm going to draw over this shape. I'll start with a circle this time, drawing a rough circle like this, press and hold, and tap with one finger to get a perfect circle. Now I'll just draw around the G like this. That's it. Now I'm going to delete this guide layer. I'm opening a new layer and using this as my new guide, and I'm going to do some flower over here. Maybe something like this, I don't know, I'm just trying something. Let's see what we end up with. We'll have this form into petals like this. I have an entire in-depth class on developing these stylized floral illustrations. So if you want to learn how to do that, definitely check that out. I like how this looks so far. Now, I want to have this stem come out more perpendicularly with respect to the flower as opposed to the tangential line the guide is forming. So something like that. Then we blend it into the guide shape, just like that. I'll just refine these curves a bit more to make them smoother. I think I want to add a nice curvy top bar on this, so we have more stems to add more floral elements to. I like that. Let's add a leaf right here, maybe another one here, and one more over here, a little bud in here. We can use that same shape at the end over here. There's some more space here, so maybe one here as well. Actually, maybe we don't need this one at all, just that will do. Yeah, that looks better. I'm wondering, what if we bring this down a little bit? Just freehand select around it and drag it down a tad. Maybe somewhere around here. That looks so much more balanced. There was too much empty space at the bottom and it was getting a bit crowded on top, so now I'll just smoothen this out, and I'll thicken the entire stem a little bit and fill in the central bit just to bring in some contrast to the flower. This came from this, but it looks so different in the end. I love it despite how simple it looks. I feel everything in here looks like it was meant to be not forced in there, and that is the best design in my opinion. Now let's do our very last one. You can also take some time to look at the shape and explore what you see. Like right now I see the curve of the J being some kind of a tail, like a fish tail maybe. Let's explore that and see where it takes us. I'll start with the tail itself, just like that. Now, we can give our fish a hit like that. I don't know. I don't think that's working. Actually, we can do a mermaid instead of a fish. Just molding out a body for her, and a nice round head. Maybe not so round. I'll make the neck a little thinner, and do a slightly more pointy face like that, maybe. Give her some hair, a cute bob maybe, now for some arms. This looks more like a y than a j, and that is a big no. We cannot have our letters look like other letters. Because then we're messing with legibility. The one unbreakable rule in lettering for me is this, do not compromise on legibility. I've gotten rid of the arms. She can do without arms, that's fine. What if we make the hair come more towards this side, like this, and from the top crossbar of the j? I like that direction. I'm going to explore that some more, maybe curl up the end, just like that, bring in some whimsy and refine these curves a bit. Let's give her some simple facial features. Maybe some cuter, rounder details instead. Add some scales around here. I'll just reduce the size of the whole thing a little bit so it fits better into our grid, and then I'll fill in the hip. In this case, what you're drawing itself drives the details. This is a mermaid, so we do mermaid details. But it's up to you to decide how far you want to take it. For example, you can do scales all over the body if you want to, you can even doodle some intricate patterns into the scales, or maybe give her a fancy outfit and some hair accessories, that's all up to you. I'm just defining the face a little bit more and adding a loose strand of hair right here to frame her face, and then I'll just clean up all the lines a little bit. I like it. Now, we have all nine variations of our j done. Now, typically at this point, I'll give them all one final look to see how everything came together and see if I need to make any more adjustments. There will always be some favorite versions and some least favorite versions. That's totally normal. You don't have to like them all to the same intensity. However, if you have something that you really don't like, and if you have other ideas floating around in your head, go back in there and give it another shot. Nothing is set in stone. For example, now looking at this, I find this looks weird. It even looks like a T gone raw. I'm going to try and do a different shape but keep the bevel element. I'll just turn off visibility on that layer, open up a new layer right above it and draw a simpler shape like this. Curve it out over here. Could even go up from here like that. More corners is good for these bevels-style letters in fact. The more corners we have, the more opportunity to add the bevel details. Now, just like we did before, we draw a simple inline inside the shape, we can connect the corners like this to help us in the process. Again, here, if we just do this, we know exactly where the inline changes direction, and then just connect all the corners here like this and here like this and like this. We can also split it like this and the roundest part of the curve. Now, shading time, I'm imagining a light source on top, so the bottom phases will be the darkest, the top phase is the lightest, and everything else will be in-between. Yes, I like that so much better. Now, I'm going to do one last thing. I feel like this one needs a little something more. I think I may be add a 3D effect also to it. I've duplicated this and I'm moving it to a new position, reducing the opacity. Go back to the original layer and connect the two surfaces. Now trace over the lines like this, and I'm also going to fill it in just like this as I go. I can now delete that guide, just clean it up a bit, and call it done. Yes, much better, I think. Now, you can get rid of the ghost layer and you can either export it just like this with the guides visible or you can get rid of the guide layer as well. As for me, I like to do one more step. I enjoy sketching with a blue color, but I like my finished sketches to be either in black or a dark gray. Unfortunately, with Procreate, we have a quick and easy way to do this. Select any layer, tap "Alpha Lock", select a new color that you want, in this case, it's a dark gray, and then tap the layer again and do fillet. Now, I'll just do that with all of them. If you're wondering how this works, I have an entire lesson dedicated to explaining the different kinds of masking options in Procreate, including this Alpha Lock in my Procreate floral illustration class , so check that out. That is all nine versions done. That's a wrap on this. Of course, we can keep going forever, because as you can see there is so many different directions you can take these to and so many different possibilities. But we have to stop at some point. But see how even though we used our simplest guides and the most basic proportions, we ended up with a wide variety of lettering styles. Some of them very exciting, even. If there was one key takeaway from all the research I did during my master's in fashion design it is that constraints are good. The most exciting discoveries are made when you keep one thing constant while changing others, instead of trying to vary everything all at once. This applies to our lettering practice as well. By all means, try out different proportions too, but maybe give yourself another constraint when you do think about it. In that way, you have something to keep you routed while you explore away. Now, it's your turn. Actually, it's our turn because like I said, I will also be joining you on this journey all the way from A to Z and 0-9, so keep an eye out in the project gallery as well as on Instagram if you want to follow my practice. Of course, I'll be eagerly waiting to see your projects as well. I'll see you in the next lesson with some final thoughts before we wrap up the class. 10. Final Thoughts: [MUSIC] If you've explored even one letter using our exercise format, I'm so proud of you. If you've done all 36, then you are an absolute superstar. I hope you've discovered something new and exciting through this class, and you use it to keep honing your lettering skills. My suggestion is that you do this entire exercise at least once a year and hold onto your practice sheets, whether they are digital or on paper so that, one, you have this entire reference library of your own lettering styles to use in your future projects, and two, you can look back at these and see how your skills have grown over time. I'm beyond excited to see all of the different creative ways in which you will apply what you learned with me in this class. Personally, my favorite way to take these sketches further is to create these kind of mixed style compositions where each letter is done in a different style. If you feel up for it, pick a word and do one of these, or better yet, do a poster with your favorite versions of the entire alphabet. Do connect with me on Instagram, and don't forget to tag me in your posts when you share your lettering drills. I would be thrilled to re-share student projects through my stories and stay in touch with you. I also share process videos and behind the scenes from my freelance projects over on Insta, so follow me if you'd like to tag along on my journey. If you enjoyed this class, please consider leaving a review and giving me a shout out on social media because your reviews and personal recommendations massively help my class get discovered by new students. [MUSIC] I have more lettering and Procreate classes up on Skillshare so do check them out, and hit that Follow button on my Skillshare profile page to be notified right away when I publish a new class. Thank you so much for sticking around. Until next time. Bye. [MUSIC]