Illustrated Words & Monograms: Paint and Print Techniques (for Wall Art and Greetings Cards) | Claire Picard | Skillshare

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Illustrated Words & Monograms: Paint and Print Techniques (for Wall Art and Greetings Cards)

teacher avatar Claire Picard, Illustrator

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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.

      1. Hello and Welcome!


    • 2.

      2. Inspiration and Materials


    • 3.

      3. Word Art: Abstract Backgrounds


    • 4.

      4. Monograms: Floral Backgrounds


    • 5.

      5. Stencils: Bold Floral Lettering


    • 6.

      6. Monograms: Floral Letters


    • 7.

      7. Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Have you ever wondered how artists and illustrators create beautifully decorated hand-painted letters, monograms or motivational words to sell in their online shops or to license to retailers? Are you looking to work more on your painting techniques, or hand-lettering, as a designer of greetings cards or stationary? Have you ever wanted to create a personal ‘word’ wall art piece for a loved one and just didn’t know where to start? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, then this class is for you, whether you are just starting out, or a practicing designer/Illustrator wanting to better your techniques in hand-lettering, or print and paint techniques.

Learn how designer and illustrator Claire Picard, creates hand-lettering for greetings cards, for motivational ‘Word’ wall art, and how she creates beautifully decorated monograms for the gift market with her paint and print techniques. Learn step-by-step how to create abstract or floral painted backgrounds or monogram letters, with inks, watercolours or acrylics.

In Claire's third Skillshare class, she shares many tips from where to look for inspiration, exploring hand letter styles and fonts, through to mastering applied techniques with paint. This class accessible to artists and illustrators of all levels, who prefer to work in a hand-crafted manner, rather than digitally.

Meet Your Teacher

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Claire Picard




Hi! Thankyou for checking out my Skillshare classes! My name is Claire and I'm an Illustrator based on the sunny south coast of England. With a degree in Fashion and Textiles, I have previously worked in  fashion trends, design studios, fashion illustration, print and embroidery design. With over twenty years experience I now work as an independent designer, creating art and illustration for greetings cards, fabric, stationery and the homeware markets. Clients include to date: American Greetings, Papyrus, At Home, Garnet Hill, TKMaxx, Cinnamon Aitch - based both in the UK and the US.

I love to use collage, paint and digital media in my creative artwork and I am inspired by novelty colour combinations, flora and fauna, and all things vintage.  Oh, a... See full profile

Level: Intermediate

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1. 1. Hello and Welcome!: Have you ever wondered how artist and illustrators create beautifully illustrated hand painted letters, monograms, and motivational words to sell in their online shops? Are you looking to work more on your painting techniques to use on hand rendered lettering as a designer of greetings cards, or stationary? Perhaps you've always wanted to be able to create a personal word art piece for a loved one and just didn't know where to start. "Hi I'm [inaudible] and in this class, about hand painted lettering, I'm going to show you various techniques to have you experiment with paint and how to use negative space effectively to create words. To create beautiful artistic monograms that all decorated illustrated words that you can use as wall arts to sell online, or perhaps as a gift for a loved one, or even for beautiful illustrated text for greetings cards." As an illustrator, I love to work on handmade projects most of the time so here's a lot of paint techniques in my work designing greetings cards, wall art and art work for home decor. I also have a background in fashion and trends. I want to share with you this popular illustration trend of decorative lettering. You can use the methods learned here in this class to create single words or several words for motivational or slogan wall art. A massive trend right now that we see in the shops and more exclusively done by illustrators in their online shops. Join me for an exciting, fun, or be it slightly messy class about paint techniques for word wall art, lettering and exciting monograms. See you there. 2. 2. Inspiration and Materials: In recent times we've seen a big move towards word-up and monograms is on the products in our shops from China moves through to poster art. So this class will focus on teaching you the trend. It will say teach you just some of the methods using paint and printing techniques to create a word up piece or decorate a monogram. You can find inspiration in all places, but a wonderful source of visual reference I find and always a good starting point is Pinterest. I prepared a boost for you to have a look at core skill share illustrated words and monograms. There's a wide range of images here for you to use the starting point. But please do have a look on your own too. There're ideas for monogram backgrounds, painted backgrounds and actual words and seals that you may like to try illustrating in your own way. I cannot stress enough how important it is not a copy anything you see done by another artist and I'm in no way suggesting that anyone do this. But it is always good to have ideas to start one's own creative journey. Please be careful to create your own take on any imagery you may see here in this class, or indeed on Pinterest. During this class we will explore all said using negative space. Negative space is the area on an illustration or painting that you don't touch with your raw materials. For example, here. In a pattern, it would usually be the background space between the icons, whether they be flow low or otherwise. We're going to use this blank negative space to form our letters and words that will also experiment with the opposite process of masking off a background and painting with our masking material. The materials you will need to get started or a selection of paintbrushes,some white paper, preferably a good-quality, perhaps watercolor paper or something similar, some rough thinner paper, a rubber, a pencil, a selection of paint colors either watercolor or as I prefer acrylics or gouache. Some artists blue masking fluid, some posca paint pens. These are the essentials. But you can try any medium that you like to work in. If you like to try some home printing techniques, look [inaudible] mini string forms that will be good for printing with. I like to use old corks liner or potatoes for cutting out forms in relief that you can prove it other things too. Have a look at this slew stake, you could use the top of it to print with. You could also use an old cooke. This is a cooke I've cut a heart shaped at the end as you can see, and I'm going to do some printing with that rather like I did with potatoes and of course the trusty old toothbrush that you might find under the sink. That's really great for air brush techniques. All these things make great tools for printing with, especially for abstract backgrounds. 3. 3. Word Art: Abstract Backgrounds: The first technique I want to show you today will involve masking out an area of text and creating an abstract background with paint and print techniques. We're going to start with our chosen word. I've chosen the word "Love" simply because Valentine's Day is coming up and I had to incorporate this somewhere in my portfolio of work, the greetings cards. You could choose any word you like, but try to remember, you have to be able to illustrate it appropriately along the theme of the word. So try to choose something that already conjures up obvious colors or forms. Once you've drawn out your chosen words, you'll need to get a paintbrush and some artist masking fluid to mask out your word. Give it a good shake beforehand. Here we get a mask up the letters because we want these areas to stay white at the end. My letters are hand-drawn, lined in with pencil. So I try to cover the pencil lines with the masking fluid really so that when you take off the masking fluid at the end, you don't see any pencil lines left because they'll get rubbed away in the process. If you don't do this, your pencil lines may be seen underneath the painted areas of the composition, especially if you're going to use a lighter, less opaque, medium light water color in the background, for example. The credits are thicker, so they may cover any offensive line-work better, but it's better to be safe and solid. So I like to paint on the outline and then fill in as I go. We have to be quite precise. Takes a bit of practice. It's not too tricky once you know what you doing. Don't go back overall ground too much because the masking fluid dries like rubber, and if you keep going back it forms a layout on top of the first lot, and it won't be quite as smooth. Better to go back at the end when all of it is dry, and then he can reattach any missed bits. So the masking fluid will dry and form a layer of rubber which will start the paint from penetrating through and leaving our lettering white. It will allow us to create a painted background layer and leave the lettering free from paint. The blue color of the masking fluid allows you to be able to see easily where you've applied the product on the white background paper. Although you may be thinking, "I can do this quicker on a computer," I like to do this by hand because you still get a less precise, handmade feel this way that you just don't get digitally. It gives you a couple of different qualities with the artwork, and this is a big trend at the moment. Art directors are really on the lookout for hand rendering techniques in illustration. It's see impurities or the wobbly bits, as I like to call them, which make all the difference and allow you to sell your work as a hand-crafted piece even if you do scan it in and sell it over and over as a digital print. Hand lettering is a great thing to practice as an artist, especially if you want to get into the greetings card market or sell your work for licensing and other endless, as it teaches precision and at the same time fluidity. The typeface I've used here is basically my own handwriting, and I use this a lot for greetings card texts. So when I am doing the lettering, I work very much as if I am handwriting myself. Here I've given thicker areas to the letters on the downward strokes on the left-hand side of each letter and thinner finer lines on the upward stroke and off to the right-hand side of each letter. This gives a handwritten script effect, but obviously, your handwriting will be very different from mine. So this, again, will add uniqueness to your own artwork piece. You may like to concentrate on several words rather than just one: a well-known phrase or a slogan like "Born to be wild". You may well like to choose a different kind of typeface which will suit the slogan you're illustrating. For example, "Born to be Wild", you may want something that's far more in your face than a beautiful handwritten script. So when you are finished, just check in the light but there are no patches anywhere that you've missed. Then leave the masking fluid to dry completely before going on to the next step. So the next step is to apply the background wash. As I'm illustrating the word love, I've got some red acrylic paint here, which I'm going to use, watered down to give it a pinker, peacher color to it. By adding water, I can also create a watercolor effect, but, of course, you don't have to do this. I want my background quite abstract. So I'm just applying the paint quite randomly. You could actually just leave it like this, but we're going to work further into the composition by building up the layers of paint and adding print techniques. So you can see all the possibilities. You could also use inks here with water to give a similar effect. Let it dry fully before the next step. Now we're going to add some more color. Here I'm using a paler pink paint in an abstract way. It's good to overlap color and lay color over the top of the letters because this, then links the texts to the composition of the background I find. Because this is a Valentine's theme I'm trying to create here, I'm adding peachy tones too because these are on trend colors at the moment, and they work fabulously with black and white, gold or gray for a graphical, very contemporary look. Just play around, stick on some music and see where it takes you. I find this process quite a meditative experience. There's no right or wrong here. If you mess it up, just paint over it and add another color. This is the part where you can really have fun and just work with it. I've worked into the background color. As you can see, I've got quite a few different colors of pink and red in keeping with our Valentine's feel, and the word love. Now I'm going to add some inks on top of the acrylic. Inks are great because they give a really great, strong, translucent color. I'm going to use the shape of my brush to make some abstract marks here, and I'm not really worried if they flick a bit. It's actually quite a nice effect. Be warned, this can be quite messy. You may want to put some paper down around your work whilst you're flicking things. I made this little stamp from an old cork. You can use it to print with it. There are a number of things you can find around the house to print with. I like to use corks or even potatoes to cut out a shape, which is in relief, and then I use these as printing tools on my artwork. Here I am using a splayed out brush to create dragged linework in ink. You can use it in any direction or work in opposite ways on top of each other to create, perhaps, a checkered effect too. Old toothbrushes is also great for linework and for flicked effects. It's a home version of an airbrush, and it's great for highlighting color in a particular area. This effect will also define where the contours of your letters. Once everything is fully dry, take a standard household rubber to your letters and rub off the masking fluid. This is when the magic begins to happen, and your chosen word will be revealed under your abstract art composition in bold, striking white. There will be slight glitches and impurities on the edges of the contours of the letters, but that's the beauty of this technique. Your word wall art is ready. 4. 4. Monograms: Floral Backgrounds: Instead of using a word to illustrate, we've seen in recent times, a fascination for monograms in places like anthropology. I want to show you here, how you can use the same technique of masking out a letter, for hand painted floral background. This is very on trend for products, as well as watercolor floral, which are very popular right now. The end result could be used for wall art. It could also land itself to other products such as mugs, China, trinket dishes, or even plates. May even inspire a few to take up embroidery. We start by being careful to mask out the letter with the blue masking fluid again. Then we're going to add some basic floral forms, in flat acrylic color. Make sure you use one color, and one form at a time. Building up the layers of pink floral first, then the bigger yellow ones, and so on and so forth. Try to think about a varying proportion and scale of each floral layer. Work on the composition evenly, to create balance and harmony among shape and color. Of course, you can use any colors you like. But this is just to show you as an example. You can create more contrast with the addition of graphical strong black leaves. You may even want to add in some pen work or line work here. Want to add some fountain marker pen too. Again, experimentation, having fun is key to the process. Add in some areas, much smaller flowers clustered together as fillings. These will form outer edge of your letter contour. We'll talk more about how to build up floral motifs, and floral prints in the next chapter. You can add the finishing touches once you've rubbed away the masking fluid, if you like. Notice how I'm taking the whole print motif further out, to the edges of the page, so that our final design will be in a square shape. 5. 5. Stencils: Bold Floral Lettering: This technique is a little different. Here I'm going to use these cut out letter-shapes as blocking stencils, first of all. I've placed them along the page where I want them to be and once they're securely in place, how? With Blu Tack in this case. I'm going to use a roller to paint over them and color the background of the paper. The trick here is not put too much paint on your roller and to spread the paint around the page gently and evenly. Once again here, I have chosen the words to illustrate, which is a connection to the type of motif that I'll be decorating the letters with. I've chosen the word BLOOM because I'm going to feel these mast of letter shapes with florals. Once you remove the paper stencils, you're left with an air of negative space. This is the area which has no paint on it. This negative white-space is the area where we'll put the decoration this time. In order to keep a clean edge around the contours of each letter, I'm now applying blue masking fluid on the outside edge of the letters. This way we can work quite quickly and in a paintly fashion for the florals that we're going to paint inside the letter shapes. If we go over the edges, the masking fluid will block the paint and stop it from going onto the gray background color. You can see the area that I've masked off with a masking fluid. Now, I'm just going to start with my first color, a pale pinky page and a deeper rusty red. I'm going to start painting the round shapes of the flowers. I'm varying the size of the flowers as I go in the two different colors in order to add variety to the scale of our print, of bloom print, which is going to make up the letters of the word BLOOM. In the same way that I added the flowers, I'm going to just add in this darker green now for the leaf shapes. Don't be too precise, we can always work further into them later on. Let me use two different green colors for the leaves, the dark emerald, which is very on trend at the moment, especially with pink, but I'm also going to use like a dark jade as well to give definition and also to give variety once again. I'm also going to make the leaves different sizes to add to that variety. Now, this is how I'm grouping the jade green leaves together in little clusters and I'm leaving the dark emerald leaves as bigger standalone leaves, which give a more graphical fill. Now, I'm just going to add on some bigger circles in a dark gray color for some more flowers. Then, I will start to add some shade detail onto some of these smaller flowers with some ink, dark ink than the actual color I've used underneath and lots of water to give a watery watercolor effect to our floral pattern. Again, this just shows you how we really build up the layers of a floral motif through color and shape. Now, it's time to add in those little details to fill in the leftover spaces around the florals. As you can see, I've hand-drawn, actually, I've hand-painted them, some outlined leaves as well. Now, with the Posca paint pen, I'm just adding in little blocks of color to match the peachy colored florals to give them some little clusters of smaller flowers around them. I'm going to add some more detail in form of sprigs. I love to add this because it always fills in the gaps. You just need to draw some branch lines rather like you would see Egypt's Ophelia in a bouquet. I just do this with a very fine liner, black liner. Some of you may have seen my other class about Art Collage : Create a Paper Rose Bouquet, and in this class I speak about how you put a bouquet together in artwork and how you use spriggy forms as fillings for backgrounds. Check it out if you're having difficulty with this. Now we're just adding some dots, and it's great way of introducing another color to balance out the color group here. I'm just using a sort of mustard yellow, limey green color, one of my favorites especially with the gray background. Of course you don't have to use these colors at all, you can use your own composition of colors, your own color range for this process. You may like to work just on a cameo of colors, of two or three colors, perhaps the gray background with a series of yellows and greens. This would be particularly good, for example, if you are illustrating a seasonal world like autumn or spring time. Try to think about colors which balance well together, an equal amount of lighter colors, softer colors, and an equal amount of darker colors but it's really up to you. I really can't wait to see what you'll come up with and the different motifs that you're going to paint. Please post them in the Project section. Now last but not least, I'm going to fill in a little bit the leftover negative space, the leftover white areas, in this contrasting duck-egg blue, contrasting to the gray background behind and you may want to do something much more highly-contrasted, perhaps a black even, or you may even want to leave it white, it's entirely up to you. I'm not being too precious about it, it's quite a rough process this part, but it's so good that the masking fluid is there, so you can just kind of spill over onto the gray background and not have to worry that it will show up later on. Now it looks bit insipid at the moment, so I'm just going to add some of this hot pink onto the top surface of the pattern. It's the Posca paint pen again, like we used earlier. These are great because you can paint over the top of paint with them, and they're completely opaque. Can you see how that hot pink kind of balances the reddy pink of the deeper colored flowers that we did first of all. So here I'm just doing little clusters of dots again to give the effect of foreground flowers, and I also have to fill in some of the space around the bigger flowers. So here's our final design, now I'm going to take the rubber like we've done previously, and just rub away all the masking fluid. Of course, I've waited till the design inside the letters is totally dry. Finally, I'm just going to finish off leaves with little bit of green pen, very fine ink. I'm really just being persnickety, but that's me I love to finish off with little details, the stems on the leaves. Can't help myself but it's really up to you, if you'd rather leave it like a watercolor floral, totally your shout. I'm probably going to have to, at some point as well, add some centers to the flowers with some high contrasting dots displaced in the middle or slightly off-center of each bloom and there you have it, a beautiful floral print on top of lettering on a masked background. 6. 6. Monograms: Floral Letters: For this method, we're going to use the masking fluid again, just like before, to mask of the outside area of our letter. Take edge cover the pencil lines again. This will once again allow for a clean line around the contour of our letter shape. This is an ideal method to use when you want your paper color background to stay white, for example, or its natural color, whatever that might be. This time however, we're going to mask off also some areas within the contours of the letters with masking fluid in the shape of the motive we would like to see painted there. I'm going to work on another floral here just because it's easy for me, but you can carry on with whatever form or shape or motif you'd like. It may be a geometric design with squares or triangles. It's completely up to you. So, I'm painting round forms, circular forms where the flowers will stay, on my letter T. As you can see, I'm mostly masking off areas which will be leaves in little clusters around the flower forms. Now I'm going to apply black ink connected to space less showing inside the letter's face. This will be the background of a floral print. And as it is very dark, it would be a strong contrast to the white of the page in the background. When the ink is really dry, then you can pull off or rub off with your rubber, the masking fluid. Take it all off. On the inside of the letter T and on the outside contours as well. We're going to use the masking fluid to redo the contour of the letter T on the outside. This is just so that when we're painting on the inside motif, on the letter, we don't have any spillages which go outside the lines. So, just do this quickly, about a centimeter all the way round should be sufficient. Now we're just going to, paint the floral areas the circles with some, I got acrylic here. And I've watered it down quite a lot so that it gives a watercolor effect. And now I'm painting the leaves also in the same way, using inks, two different colored inks mixed with a bit of water. I'm using two different colored greens, to give contrast in the pattern. And now I'm just going to take my very fine white posca pen, and overlay some springy work into the design. And now it's time to take off all that out masking fluid. Give it a rub either with your finger or take your rubber again. Clean up the edges. And there you have it. 7. 7. Final Thoughts: Hi! I hope you found the techniques explored in this class enjoyable and inspiring. I hope the mediums used in the painting techniques discussed here will give you the confidence to try out your own monogram or illustrated word or lot. I'd love to see your work, so please post finished work in the project section so that I can see them. Please feel free also to the put your work on Instagram, but please don't forget to credit the class and tag me so that I can comment into your own feed. If you have any difficulties or questions about the process discussed here, please post your question in the discussion section and I will be happy to provide any answers where we can. Have fun with these and enjoy, and if you've enjoyed this class, please check out and my other skill share classes about creating a floral rose bouquet or creating a color sketch book. Thank you for watching. Bye bye. See you soon.