What's in your Lettering Toolbox? Know Your Hand Lettering Tools Like a Pro! | Ciarra Rouwhorst | Skillshare

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What's in your Lettering Toolbox? Know Your Hand Lettering Tools Like a Pro!

teacher avatar Ciarra Rouwhorst, Fine Art Calligrapher & Designer

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.

      What's in your lettering toolbox?


    • 2.

      Modern Calligraphy Tools


    • 3.

      Create a Calligraphy Nib Guide


    • 4.

      Brush Lettering Tools


    • 5.

      Creative a Brush Lettering Reference


    • 6.

      Handlettering tools


    • 7.

      Create a Hand Lettering Tool Reference


    • 8.



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About This Class

This class is all about Hand Lettering tools! We will discuss the basic tools you need to get started, as well as some helpful resources to add to your arsenal along the way. We will cover Modern Calligraphy, Brush Lettering, and Illustrated Hand Lettering Tools. You will also learn how to make references to take the guess work out of your creative process. By the end of this class you will know your tools, and have guides to refer back to when you reach for that perfect brush or pen. 

Meet Your Teacher

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Ciarra Rouwhorst

Fine Art Calligrapher & Designer


Ciarra Rouwhorst  (Ciarra Claire) is a self-taught artist and designer. She began learning calligraphy and design right here on SkillShare in 2015. She then used those skills to start her business Ciarra Claire Fine Art in 2016 (Formerly Silver Fox Calligraphy). She works mainly with bespoke wedding stationery specializing in romantic calligraphy and watercolor illustration.

She started teaching on SkillShare in 2016, with her watercolor workshop. Since then she has launched The Self Made Creative Series. This is a collection of Skillshare classes designed to give self-taught creatives the tools they need to take creative leaps. You can also join the movement on Instagram and use the hashtag #selfmadecreative for a chance to be featured. There is also a Facebook gr... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. What's in your lettering toolbox?: Hi, guys. I'm Ciarra Rouwhorst. I am a calligrapher and illustrator from Northern Michigan, and I'm bringing this class to you all about hand lettering tools. Now, if you're anything like me, there has been times in the past where I've wasted a little bit of time trying to figure out what tool would work with the project that I'm working on. This is true whether it comes to calligraphy or brush lettering, but if we create references for our tools, it can really shorten our process. That way we can spend time doing the thing we really like, which is creating letters rather than struggling with tools that aren't doing what we want. We are going to create references for your favorite tools so that when you sit down to complete a project, you can reach right for the tool that you want, rather than spending time trying to figure out what it is that will get you the look that you're going for. I'm so excited to bring you this class all about hand lettering tools. I really hope that it gives you what you need to create a toolbox that will give you consistent results, shorten your process time, and allow you to spend more time doing the fun part. 2. Modern Calligraphy Tools: Let's talk about modern pointed pen calligraphy. Now, this is my personal favorite because it's what I do most days. We are going to talk about all the things that you need to get started, as well as some things that are really nice to have as you go along. You might be starting out with modern calligraphy and you don't want to invest too much right away because you're not sure if you're going to like it. That's totally okay. I'm going to show you the bare-bones things that you need to get started. But then maybe as you move along, there's some things that can be frustrating. Some little shortcuts and supplies that can make your life a little bit easier. We're going to talk about all of those things today. First, let's talk about paper. When I first started out with modern calligraphy, paper was one of the things that I found pretty frustrating because I was trying to write on my regular computer paper and it would bleed and the nib would catch and it was just a little frustrating. Something that can alleviate that is writing on really smooth paper and I'm going to show you some of my favorites. You can use HP premium, a laser jet paper, and I'll put a link to that in my profile. In the information for this class, there will be a link to all of the supplies that we're talking about here. Another option is a calligraphy practice pattern. I got this one from Hobby Lobby and it's from the B paper company. That's a pretty nice option. But this brand is definitely my favorite. It's called Rodia and it comes in blank, lined and dotted grid and various sizes. This paper is so smooth and it's really great for pointed pen work. It's also good for brush lettering. Another thing that you'll want to have as you're starting out is guidelines. These are guidelines that came with one of my calligraphy pads, but I'm also going to put a link in the information for this class so that you can download whatever guideline might suit your needs and your style. Once you have your paper figured out, it's time to talk about pens. When it comes to modern calligraphy generally we're going to be using dip pens with pointed nibs. When you start out this straight nib holder might be a great place to start. I think it's only $1.50 or $1.99 and it's plastic, it's very versatile. This pair well with the G pointed nibs. We're going to talk a little bit more in depth about nibs after this video, but first just talking out the holder. This holder is a really great place to start if you've been using this for a little while and you want to try something a little different, I'd recommend getting another straight nib or a straight holder. This one is a universal holder. If you can see here, it looks almost like there's little metal pedals on the inside. That's where you can put different types of nib in the holder. Whereas if you look at the plastic one it just has a circle inside, so it only fits one size nib. If you want to diversify a little bit and try some different nibs, I'd really recommend getting a straight holder that can fit different nibs. This one's really nice. It also has a cork tip, so it's really comfortable to write with. I used this one for a really long time. Then once you get comfortable with that, it's really nice to expand to an oblique nib or an oblique pen holder. This is something you don't need. A lot of people use them, some people love them, some people hate them, but I think it's definitely worth a try. I'll show you mine. This is a wide holder and the flange here is adjustable. It has a little screw on the side so I can fit any of the nibs that I have will fit in this nib holder. It's really great. I only need one holder. It works with anything that I'm trying to accomplish. These can get a little expensive. But if you just want to try one, the plastic Speedball brand also makes an oblique holder. I would start there and then if you find that you really like it and feels comfortable, then you might want to invest in a nib holder. You're also definitely going to want a pencil just a regular mechanical pencil is great for writing guidelines, maybe lining envelopes or mapping out a calligraphy piece. Something else that's really helpful I find is to have a white mechanical pencil. This mechanical pencil has white chalk lead. This is really awesome when it comes to lining dark envelopes or writing on dark paper. If you are trying to write guidelines in pencil, it's going to be really difficult to see. This lead also erases really nicely, so there will be a link to this as well. Definitely an eraser. If your pencil doesn't have an eraser, you're going to want this after you're all done to erase your guidelines or any marks that you have on your paper. Let's talk about some of the other essentials that you might need as you go along. Rulers are really important for writing guidelines. I prefer using a clear gridded ruler. It just makes seeing the guidelines that I've already put down much easier and it's easy to line things up and make measurements. This is one that I really like. There's also a rolling ruler which is really helpful. I'll put links to both of those in the information for this class. Something else that I find really useful and is really inexpensive is these little plastic pipettes when it comes to mixing ink or transferring ink from one container to the next. This is so nice because you don't have to worry about spilling anything. These little guys are really inexpensive and they're really handy, I really don't ever work without them. If you're using dip pens, you'll also definitely want a container for your water. I typically use just a mason jar and it works out really well for me. You're going to want to clean your nib eventually as you go along, it's great for mixing inks and so forth. Something that I have found incredibly useful when I was learning modern calligraphy is this. It's called a dinky dip and it's filled with four ink wells. They come in larger sizes as well. You can get one that just has one inkwell, you can get them with screw tops or pop off tops. But these are so useful because when you're writing, first of all, you don't have to worry about tipping over a big thing in the ink. That's a pretty big hazard in my area of work. I don't want to ruin all of my paper by tipping over a big thing of ink. If these tip over, it's a really minimal amount of ink. Also, it's really hard to tip them over because they're in this little woodblock. It's really, really handy. What I do is I use a pipette to transfer my ink. I'll just transfer a few drops and fill up one of these ink wells and then if it's a custom color or anything like that, I can put the cap back on it and save it for later. Another thing that's really nice is when you're dipping your nib in the ink, you don't want to dip the nib very high, you don't want to get the pen dirty. If you have a big container of ink and you're trying to just get the tip in, it's really hard to see what you're doing and you can easily make a mess. Whereas these little dinky dips are basically designed perfectly to fit just the nib in the inkwell and you're good to go. It's made my life so much easier and it's a really nice tool to have in your arsenal. Let's talk a little bit about inks. When I first started out learning calligraphy, I just used what I had and I went to a craft store and picked up a few things that I thought I needed and one of those things was fountain pen ink. But fountain pen ink does not work with modern calligraphy. It's very runny and it will most likely bleed, so that will cause you a lot of frustration. To start out, I think the best ink for learning modern calligraphy would be Sumi ink. This is also similar to Sumi ink, it's a Chinese version. Sumi ink I think is a Japanese version, but it's a really dense dark black ink. It's a little bit thicker than some of the other inks, so it'll work really well with your materials. This is definitely the ink that you want to start out with. Then as you want to branch off into different things, you're going to want to try different colors and metallics. We're going to have a whole another class all about inks. I'm not going to get into that too much here. But some great options that I really like working with are Pearl Ex pigments. They are powdered pigments that you mix with Gum Arabic and you can make custom colors. They are metallic. They're really beautiful. They come in gold and rose gold and silver and all sorts of different colors. It's also really nice just to mix a little bit with your other inks to give them a little bit of sparkle. But this is a really nice option when it comes to mixing inks. Another thing that you are going to need is Gum Arabic. This is something that I think a lot of people try to go without. I know I did at first, but it's so useful with your calligraphy. This is an additive that you put in your inks and it helps it to flow better. It prevents smudging once it's dry and it just makes the ink so much more workable. This is especially important if you're going to be mixing customer inks with wash or with metallics because once it's dry, the metallic pigment can rub off a little bit. This is really useful. It's also useful when prepping your nibs and we're going to talk about that and a little bit as well. When you're first starting out, and you're breaking in a new nib, the ink is going to bubble up on the nib because it has a protective coating on it. You're going to want to get that coding of, and there's a few ways to do it. You can use toothpaste, you can use dish soap you can stick it in a potato. That's a real thing and the starches just from the potato help. You can use saliva. Sometimes people will just take a little bit of saliva on a paper towel. You can dip the nib in ink and wipe it off with a paper towel a few times. Then also the Gum Arabic comes in really handy. You can dip it in the Gum Arabic and then wipe it off, leaving a little bit of residue and that will help your ink to flow nicely as well. Now that we've talked about some of the basic supplies that you're going to need and a few little extra goodies in there. Let's talk about a few things that are really nice to have if you're starting a calligraphy business. One thing that's really great to have as a lightbox, and I'll put a link to one of those. What I actually do instead of using lightbox is I have a glass top dusk. I've mounted a light underneath my desk that I can turn on that shows light through the glass. The reason why this is really helpful is when you're doing a large order of envelopes or even doing a custom quote, it's really nice to be able to put your guidelines underneath the paper so that you have really consistent spacing and letter formations. Then you don't have to erase all of the guidelines afterwards, so that's a really useful to have. Another thing that's really useful is a drying rack. I got this one from Fabulous Fancy Pants. But this will make your life so much easier because when you're doing a big order of envelopes, instead of having envelopes scattered all over the place trying to dry, you can line them up really nicely on a raft. One last thing I'm going to bring up because I find it super useful, but it's not necessary is a slider writer. This little tool here, it's really not so little, is a slider writer, and this is actually a laser light and it shines a laser onto the paper. I'll see if you can see it here. You can make your lines where you want them to go and then you move the laser as you work. Then you don't have any guidelines to erase once you're finished with an envelope or a piece. The nice thing about this is it also works for dark and opaque papers lined envelopes that thing which a lightbox won't work for. This is something that is definitely not necessary, but it's really nice to have. It's an option. It's out there if it's something that you think you would be interested in. Now that we've talked about the basic supplies that you'll need for modern calligraphy, we are going to talk about specific nibs and how you can make a reference for yourself to come back to later when you're deciding on a specific style or you need to know exactly what it's going to look like before you start, it'll really speed up your process. All right, see you in the next video. 3. Create a Calligraphy Nib Guide: Now we're going to create a reference for some different calligraphy nibs so we know what the different characteristics are for the different names that we have in our toolbox and that way we can make really quick decisions. We can keep this list on hand so that we have something to come back to as a reference. What I'm going to do for each nib is I'm just going to create some swells, some up strokes and down strokes, and then I'm going to write the nib name underneath with the nib itself. I'm going to use sumi ink for all of them. It's really important to use a consistent ink so that the only difference comes from the nib itself. With my sumi ink, I put a little bit into a dinky dip. I fill the dinky dip about halfway and then I fill the other half with water because I like it to be just a little bit diluted. So I'm going to start with this brause 66 ef nib. You'll be able to see how it acts. I'm going to start here with just some up strokes and down strokes. Personally, I like to lift my nib at the bottom of a swell so that the up stroke is really clean. That's the brause 66 ef for extra fine and now I'm going to switch to a new nib. It's really important that every time you're finished with an nib, you clean it well. I always dip mine in water and wipe them with a paper towel to make sure there's no ink left on the nib while it's not being used. If you leave ink on your nib for a long period of time, it can corrode the nib and your nibs won't last as long. So it's important to keep them really clean. The next one I'm going to use is a hunt imperial 101, and my nib polar has a little screw. I just loosen the screw and slide it in, and then tighten this screw to hold it in place. Let's see. This is a fairly new nibs, I want to show you what happens with new nibs sometimes. Do you see how the ink on here, it's bubbling up and it doesn't want to stay in a nice flat line. That's because there's still some finish on this nib. It's a pretty new nib. All you have to do when that happens to your nibs is after you dip it in the ink, take your paper towel and wipe the ink off. You're just going to do that a couple of times until it stops doing that. This is a little bit better. It's still doing it, but it'll be usable for this test. I'm going to do some. This nib is a bit more flexible. It has really pretty nice air lines. I don't use this nib very much, but after doing this, maybe I'll use it a little bit more often. Sometimes it's nice to revisit some of the tools you haven't used in awhile because your taste changes over time. So this was the hunt 101. Let's do a few more. Next, we're going to do the nikko g nib. This nib is one of the most popular nibs for starting out with modern calligraphy. The reason why is because it's pretty versatile. Here's the nib. It's called nikko g, and it's pretty firm. It has like medium amount of flux to it. The tip isn't too pointy, it doesn't dig into the paper or anything. It's just a really well-balanced nib for starting out. Again, because this is a new nib, you can see the ink bubbling up like that. I'm just going to take my paper towel, wipe it off, and again. Now it's much better. See how it's not bubbling up anymore on the nib. Now we're ready to write. I'm using about the same amount of pressure on this nib as I did with the others. You want to try to be as consistent with your hand as you can. This shows you already that this nib is much stiffer than the nib that we just used. It's much stiffer than the hunt 101 because you're not getting as big of a swell with your nib. It's possible to still get a thick swell with the nib, it just required more pressure. So you want to try to use the same amount of pressure for all of these tests so you'll get to see the characteristics of the nib that you're using. That is the nikko g. Let's do one more. The next one is one of my favorites. It's often called the Blue pumpkin nib and, that's because the nib is blue and round and so it reminds you of a pumpkin. It's technically called the brause 361. It's a pretty big name. This one is really nice because if you look here, the tip is not very sharp. It's a little bit blunted, but you can still get nice air lines. The reason that can be nice is sometimes, if you're working on a textured or soft paper, the pointed nibs will catch more. So a blue pumpkin might be better for that. As you can see, I have ink on my fingers. That's just what happens, but it washes off, sumi ink washes off. So we're going to try out this last one. We're just going to give some nice swells. This one has a medium flex too. It's a little bit more flexible than the nikko g, but not as flexible as the hunt or the brause. You might notice as you write that the nibs that are more flexible are going to be more difficult to control and the nibs that are a little bit stiffer are a little bit easier to control. There's really no best way or best nib, it really comes down to a matter of personal preference. Some people prefer more flexible nibs and some people prefer stiffer nibs. There is my reference for my favorite calligraphy nibs. I will leave a list of recommended nibs for you to try out in the project details, but I would love to see you do this exercise and see what your favorite nibs are. This is something that I will actually cut out and keep near my desk so that whenever I go to grab a nib, I know exactly which one I want. 4. Brush Lettering Tools: Let's talk about brush lettering. Now, there are basically two varieties of brush lettering. There's brush lettering that utilizes brush pens, and there's brush lettering with paint brushes. We're going to talk about the supplies that work best for both types. Let's start with the brush pens. There's a wide variety of brush pens, and in the resources for this class, there will be a list of some of my most highly recommended brush pens. But basically, I'll show you this one. This is a Tombow dual tip brush pen. One tip just has a fine tip marker, which is nice for doing some accents in details, but the other end is a large brush, and you can tell it's basically just a pointed marker, but the tip is flexible. It really mimics the movement of a paintbrush. You can still get the nice thick and thin strokes that are so beautiful with hand lettering, without the mess and hassle of using paints. There's also smaller varieties which I really like. This one is a Faber-Castell pitt artist pen. I have these in a variety of shades of gray that I really enjoy. There's really such a huge variety with brush pens. If that's something you're interested in, I recommend trying out a few and seeing what you prefer. Some have a harder tips some have a softer tips. So I'll leave recommendations for both, and the resources. Something that's really nice when you're using the brush pens, the brush markers, is to use really smooth paper. Now this paper is something that I also recommend in the pointed pen calligraphy supplies, but it's something that I also recommend if you're going to use brush markers, and it's the Rhodia brand. The reason that I recommend this, even with the brush markers, is that over time, the tips will begin to fray, and once the tips are frayed on these brush pens, the marker is ruined. So you'll have to get a new one. But if you use really smooth paper, it can really preserve the life of your brush pens. I really recommend if you're going to go this route, to use a nice, smooth paper. That being said, let's talk a little bit about watercolor, which I love, and brush lettering with paint brushes. Again, there's a few options that we can choose from. One option that's really cool, very versatile, is a water brush. This, II think, combines the benefit of a brush pen with the convenience and lack of mess, with the fluidity of a paint brush, because this is actually a paintbrush, the tip is bristles. The lettering is very organic, and you can get nice brushy textures with it, which I really enjoy. But it has a cartridge that is refillable, and you can fill it with water, or you can fill it with ink too. If you're traveling or you just want to do something really quickly, this is a great option. What I personally like to use are really small paint brushes, because just with my style of work, I generally do pretty delicate lettering and pretty small. So small paintbrushes are great for me. This brush is really interesting, it's a script liner brush. Liner brushes basically have longer bristles, and are very thin and narrow. Once it's wet, all the bristles stay together. So you get a really interesting variety in brushstrokes, so will give you really thin strokes, but it will give you really large strokes. It's also more difficult to control, so you're going to get a little bit more wild with your lettering, which is fun. Then this one is a round brush. I typically use really small round brushes for my brush lettering. This size is a two over zero. The brand is the Princeton Art and Brush Company. But I also use less expensive brushes. Most of the brushes I just got from Hobby Lobby, and there are just various sizes of small, round brushes. The nice thing about these, is that they typically come to a point, so it makes getting your thin hair lines pretty easy. But you can also get thicker down-strokes. Because the brushes are pretty short, you still maintain a little bit of control, which is nice. When you're doing brush lettering, you're still going to want to have the basics. You're going to want to have a pencil and an eraser, because it's really nice to lay out where you want the letters to fall before you get started. But if you're going to be doing watercolor, what I highly recommend, is using a harder lead. If you use a harder lead, the lines are going to be lighter. That's really nice, because if you're using watercolor, once you paint over pencil, you won't be able to erase it. If your lines are really faint to begin with, then you won't really see them under the water color. That's really beneficial. Another thing that is really nice if you're using paint brushes, is using this dinky dip. This is something that I talk about in the modern calligraphy pointed pen class. But if you're just skipping right to the brush lettering, that's totally fine. But these dinky dips are really helpful. They're small ink wells. These ones have a screw cap so you can save the ink for later, and I like to mix custom colors in these. Another thing that you want to have is watercolors. It really doesn't matter what kind of watercolor pen, if you prefer two ball pens, or even the quality. For most of my brush lettering, it's something that's going to be scanned and digitized later. So I really don't worry about having really high quality artist watercolor paint, because it's not something that needs to be archival, it doesn't need to be light fast. As long as it looks good when we make it, and once we scan it, then that's all that really matters. I use pretty inexpensive student grade, then go tubes that are really great for when I'm doing brush lettering. If I'm doing a watercolor piece for a client, something that's going to be framed, I'll use artist quality. But for this, really less expensive paints are going to be just fine. Something else that I really like to do is I like to load my brush with water colors, and then put the paint in one of these dinky dips, so that I can mix a custom color of watercolor and use that as ink. Then if I fill a dinky dip with the watercolor, I have more consistency than trying to mix a little bit each time. If I'm going to do a whole piece in a certain color of water color that doesn't come straight from the tube or the pan that I'm mixing, I'll mix it in one of these small dinky dips. Let's talk a little bit about paper. When it comes to brush lettering, where you're using a real brush, most likely watercolor, I wouldn't recommend using the Rhodia brand or calligraphy pads, because the paper is very thin and the brushes release much more water than if you're using a brush marker. You're going to want something that's a little bit thicker and a little bit more absorbent. A couple of options that I find are really nice, are these Canson drawing pads. The drawing paper is really nice, not sketching paper. I don't recommend sketching paper, because it's thinner and there's a little bit more tooth or texture to the paper, and it's not formatted for wet mediums, so you're very likely going to have bleeding, and the quality is just really not going to turn out very well. Drawing paper is a little bit thicker and sturdier, and I think it holds up a little bit better to water. Another option would be in multimedia paper, which is really nice. This paper is not quite as textured as watercolor paper is, but it's pretty absorbent and it's actually made for wet medium as well as dry medium. So this is a great option as well. For finished pieces, this is paper that I really like for both pointed pen calligraphy and brush lettering. It's called Bristol paper, or Bristol board, and comes in both smooth and vellum surface. Both surfaces I really like. But it's a nice, thick paper that I like to use if it's going to be a finished piece. Then also obviously, watercolor paper is a great option. If I'm doing lettering or artwork that is going to be digitized, the texture of watercolor paper can be a little bit tricky to work with on the computer. So I prefer to use something like Bristol paper, or a hot pressed watercolor paper that has a smooth finish. That's just going to make the computer end a lot easier for you. These are the basic supplies for brush lettering. Now, we're going to talk about how to make references with the different brushes that you have, so that you know what you need for the project. 5. Creative a Brush Lettering Reference: Now we're going to create a reference for our brush lettering. These are going to be a little bit different because the brushes really vary, you're going to see a really big style difference here. For the brushes that are paintbrushes I'm going to use black Sumi ink so that they're all pretty consistent. I'm going to start out first with the Tombow and I'm just going to create some upstrokes and downstrokes. My Tombow is not admittedly in the best of shape, you can see that the tip is a little bit fray. So I'm not going to get as clean of a line as you would with a brand new one. You can see how that affects this line quality here, how it's getting more of a brushy look. So if you notice that with your brush pens it means that the tip is frayed and they need to be replaced. There's the reference for the Tombow. Let's grab another brush marker, this one is going to be the favorite Castell Pitt artist pen and this one is a brush pen that's in a gray ink, then I go ahead and move this up a little bit. Now I'm a lefty, so I'm going to give you a little tip here. I have my paper turned about 90 degrees clockwise so it's perpendicular to my body. When I do these strokes, I'm actually drawing towards my body which is a little bit more uncomfortable for me. When you're doing these, you really want to make sure that you are not putting any pressure on the upstroke and you are putting pressure on the downstroke. So what helps me is on the upstroke I like to angle my pen a little higher than 45 degrees and then on the downstroke, I'd like to try to lower the pen a little bit and then it helps me to heap that line quality. This is the pit. Which I actually, I've used these pens mainly for illustration in our work, but actually like how they write too. There's the favorite Castell Pitt pen. Now, this brush pen I am not sure what the name is because it's obviously not in English. But I got this from my local art store Hobby Lobby and it's pretty neat because the brush is an actual paintbrush. You're going to get much more artistic strokes with this but also therefore less control. So we're going to try that out, see how that looks much more like a paintbrush. When I only go over it once I don't really like how it looks, so I'm filling it in see how it's not very dense. But it's cool that you get that variety from just the one pen. So this helps you get to know your pen and how to use it. If you want really thick dark strokes then you're going to have to go back over it. But if you want these brushy artistic strokes, then you only go over it once. For this one's name, I'm just going to write brush, because I don't know what it's called. Also, whenever you doing both brush lettering and calligraphy never feel like if you don't get it right on the first stroke that, that's it, you can always go back in and fill things in and fix things if you don't like how they turn out. There's that and now we are moving on to the paint brushes. This one is the aqua brush, and this is the one that has a cartridge full of water on the end which is really cool. So the way that it works is you squeeze the cartridge and it pushes water through the brush. I'm just cleaning the brush off a little bit with some paper towel, squeezing water out to get any leftover paint on there off. Then I am going to dip it into the Sumi ink and see how that goes, I like how rich and thick that black is. This is just something to observe as you're going. This would be a great brush to use for me if I'm going to be digitizing because it's really black, but it still gives me an organic texture which I really like that you just can't get from a marker. Whereas this one, weII, would be much more difficult to digitize on a computer. While I might like the artistic brushstrokes, I might go something like this instead if that's what I'm going for it. But if I want something that is a little bit more rough and uneven especially if it's just going to be an original piece, then I might decide to go with that brush which is why making these references is so great. Picking up just a little bit more of the Sumi ink. I'm just going to call that one aqua. Then to clean these brushes you just take your paper towel and you squeeze the water out through the canister. You don't have to dip it in water, you just squeeze the water out and continue to wipe it on the paper towel until it starts coming out clean, so it's pretty easy and straightforward to use. Now I'm going to move on to paint brushes and the next one is going to be pretty interesting. The next one we are going to do is going to be the script liner brush and this is the one with the really long skinny brush. It's going to be very expressive and very hard to control. So it'll be a little bit more abstract. I'm going to dip that in the Sumi ink and this is something that you generally,I had to made a mark there. You're generally going to want to write a little bit larger width because it's impossible to write small with it. See how crazy that is. It's fun, there's some styles that I think this brush would be really fun for. I'm just going to get bigger over here, I like to hold it pretty far down so that I have as much control as I can. That is the liner brush and last one is going to be my personal favorite which is just a really small round brush. This is the brush I'm going to use this is a number two over zero from Princeton Brush Co and it's going to dip it in the Sumi ink. I generally like to work a little further up the page at the bottom, it gets a little tricky for my hand to rest but here we go. Because this brush is so small it doesn't hold a whole lot of ink. Generally when it comes to brush lettering, your letters are going to be a little bit larger than they are with pointed pen calligraphy, because you just need a little bit more room to manipulate your tool. This one I'm going to call round. You do have to dip this one pretty often, because the brush is so small and I'm going to go back in and make that a little thicker. So this is the small round brush. Now when you take a look at this as a whole, you can see some pretty big differences and style from one brush to the next. That's why having a guide is so helpful because you know if you're going for something really brushy and artistic, you might go with one of these two. If you want something a little bit more controlled maybe you would go with one of these two. So it's really great to have one of these references around. You can cut it out, put it near your desk or with your brush lettering supplies, and just keep it as a reference. If you do brush lettering, I'd love to see what tool you use and I'd love to see your reference too to see how they differ from one another and what your favorites are. So be sure to upload that to your project. All right, see you in the next video. 6. Handlettering tools: Let's take a few minutes to talk about illustrated hand lettering. This is different from modern calligraphy and brush lettering because the letter forms aren't made out of single strokes, but rather they're sketched and illustrated. So we're going to talk about some of the supplies that I use in my hand lettering practice and that you might find useful as well. So first let's talk about pens and pencils. This pencil is called a lead holder. It's a Staedtler lead holder. This is one of the first pencils that I bought when I first got into hand lettering. In complete honesty, the reason I bought this pencil was because I saw all the people that I looked up to using it. So I felt like that's what I needed to have if I was going to be hand letterer. Also, in complete transparency, maybe I feel it really cool and legit when I was drawing stuff. But other than that, it's also really useful because it's a big piece of lead that you can sharpen to a really fine point. So you can get really accurate with your sketching. Another nice thing, just like with other mechanical pencils, is you can change out the lead to have different weights. You could have harder lead and softer lead to create harder and softer lines. So that's something that's really useful. However, I've found recently that I ain't use a good old mechanical pencil. This is the mechanical pencil that I use. It's a Pentel Sharplet, and I like the 0.5 millimeter lead because it's nice and thin. Then, I basically always have a really consistent line. I don't have to worry about sharpening it. It's always very thin, and I use, I believe 2B lead. Because I do prefer my lead to be a little bit on the softer side. But when you're doing a live sketching, you really do need a variety of lead. So it's a really good start out with a harder lead, something between HB and AH, because you're going to have nice, soft lines when you're just laying down your sketches. Then, you can go back with a bit darker pencil to clarify where you want those lines to be. For erasers, I do have a couple of favorites that I am going to share with you today. This is a kneaded rubber eraser and it's soft. It's putty. One of the reasons I really like this eraser, is because you don't have those little eraser shitty things left all over your paper that can be really annoying. Then, you go to brush them off and it smudges the pencil. These kneaded erasers are really nice because you don't have that for one. Another great pro to these erasers, is that you can mold it into a bit of a point, and then you can use just the point to erase the small bits. Also, if you're working with delicate paper, you can just press the eraser into the paper and lift a few times to lift lead, so you don't have to worry about damaging delicate paper. If you're working with a piece that's a little bit more precise, these two things really come in handy. This is an eraser shield and you put this over the piece that you're working on. You can just erase little bits through these holes, and it protects the rest of the piece that you're working on. This is also an eraser and it is very similar to a mechanical pencil. It's rectangular in shape. It's a little bit wider in this direction, and thinner this direction. It comes to a square point as well, so I can get pretty specific with what I want to erase with this eraser. So I find that it comes in really handy. It's a MONO zero eraser by Tombow. Another thing you'll need if you do want to go with a lead holder like this, is you'll need a special sharpener that goes with it. It's a little bit of an investment for the combo but they are really nice to work with. So if you're going to be doing a little bit more of the sketching side of hand lettering, then I definitely would recommend these. When it comes to inking, there are certain pens that are very popular. I really do enjoy using them too. They are these Micron pens by Sakura. The reason these are so popular with hand lettering, is because most of the time when you're doing hand lettering, it's something that will be digitized later on. So ideally, you would like to have very black ink, very white paper, because the higher the contrast, the easier it's going to be digitized. So these inks are very consistent. The points on these pens are very consistent. It's almost like working with a ballpoint pen. The tip has a very specific shape. No matter how you hold the pen, if you hold it in more on its side or more upright, you're going to get the same line width. So it can be very black. It is archival. So if you're making an original piece, and you want it to last a long time, the ink is perfect for that. It's also waterproof. It's really fine if you want to combine ink and water color, because you can maybe do the outline of your letter with ink, and then fill it in with watercolor, but it doesn't smear the ink. These are really great tool. There are also other brands that make it very similar pens to be these, but these are a really great set to have in your arsenal of tools because they're very versatile, and they're also very reliable. So these pens are what we're going to be using today for our hand lettering reference guide. We'll do that in the next video. Another thing to consider is sometimes you might want to do hand lettering on something other than paper. When it comes to other surfaces, whether it be glass or wood or silk ribbons, I think that a really great way to go is with oil-based. Oil-based pens are less likely to bleed. They will be permanent, and there's a really nice way to go. So a couple of brands that I highly recommend are the Sharpie brand oil paint pens. These come in a variety of sizes as well as colors. Whether you want white or silver or hot pink, these are a really great pen to go with. When it comes to metallics, I really enjoyed these pens that are called DecoColor premium. These pens are very metallic. Sometimes it can be difficult to find an oil pen or a paint pen that is opaque, that doesn't let light through, so you can really see the shimmer and the gold. This pen is really nice when I'm doing signs or writing on something like a rock or something really crazy like that. So that's an overview of some of the different tools that you'll need for hand lettering. We're going to talk a little bit about paper as well. When it comes to finished hand lettering pieces, something that you are going to want to frame or a giveaway, I really, again, this is one of my favorites, but I'll show it to you again. It's Bristol paper. The reason why is because it has a nice, smooth surface. It is very white and it's very thick. It's like a very thick card stocks. When you hand it to someone, it feels really nice in their hands. But when it comes to just doing sketches and comparing, things that are going to be scanned, you're definitely going to want a sketch book. It doesn't have to be anything fancy, just something that you can lay out ideas on, something maybe that you can even take with you. It's portable, so you can get your ideas onto paper when you're not in a studio or at home. But doing your initial designs as sketches is really important, even just little thumbnail sketches to get a few different ideas down, so you can compare what direction you want to go before you start working on a big piece, and then it's not looking so good, and you change your mind. Something else that can really help in the process of sketching and refining your ideas is tracing paper. This paper is pretty inexpensive. I got mine from Hobby Lobby. The reason why this paper is so great is that it's very transparent. For example, here's a piece of paper. You can pretty much see right through it. This is really great when you're refining sketches. You just put a piece of paper over the design that you're working on, trace over the design parts that you like, and then just the parts that you don't like, and that's wonderful. One last thing that's really helpful when it comes to hand lettering and making finished pieces is, again, a lightbox. There will be a link to a couple varieties of lightboxes. The reason why this is so useful, is that you can spend all this time on sketching a design, refining it, using tracing paper until you get it exactly how you want. Then, the lightbox allows you to transfer that onto another piece of paper. Instead of taking a really nice piece of watercolor paper or Bristol paper and sketching all over it and then erasing all your lines, a lot of times what happens, is you can damage the paper that you're working with if you are constantly sketching and erasing, and those lines will never go away. Once you put your final ink on there, you're still going to see those sketches and those smears. This way you can do all of that legwork, get everything exactly how you want, and then put the final piece of paper on top. The light shows through the lightbox on the bottom. Then you can just trace over your final design. That makes your finished pieces come out much nicer, faster, it's less frustrating. Another option, of course, is what I do. I have, as you can see, a glass top table. So I've mounted a light underneath my table so that I can use my desk as a multi-purpose tool. It's obviously a desk, but then it doubles as a lightbox. One more thing that you can do, if you don't want to invest in another tool, is you could take your final piece of paper, put whatever your design is on, if it's on tracing paper or another piece of paper behind it, and then put it up to a window. You can even tape it onto a window. Then, the light shining through the window, will help you to see the design, and then you can trace it that way. I think that's pretty much the basics for illustrated hand lettering tools. Now, we're going to dive into creating a reference for you to use in your projects. 7. Create a Hand Lettering Tool Reference: Now we're going to create a guide for your hand lettering tools. This is your illustrated hand lettering. These are hand lettering techniques that require sketching and inking. We're going to start with the pencils. I've labeled it here, just pencil guide. Instead of using a big eraser or a big ruler, I'm just going to use this little guy. I'm just going to do three pencils to show you today. When you're doing this for yourself, you should probably do your whole set. But just for the sake of demonstration today, I'm just going to use four. Pencils range in hardness from B-H, H is harder and B is softer. I have a few different varieties here: 2B is going to be fairly soft, HB is right in the middle, and then 4H is going to be pretty hard. I'm going to go from hard to soft. I'm going to start with my hardest pencil. I'm just going to create a line here. Now when you're doing this, you want to try to make sure that you are keeping a consistent pressure. You don't want to push harder on one pencil than you do on the other. Then I'm just going to write next to it, 4H. The next one is going to be HB. You can see how much darker that pencil is compared to that one. I'm going to put a little arrow so I don't get confused. HB, and then 2B. See how that one's still darker? This is just a great reference for you. Sometimes you can know that B is harder, or H is harder and B is softer, but to actually see it is really helpful. The same goes with my Micron pens. We're going to do pens next. I have a larger set of pens, but for the sake of demonstration today, I'm just going to show you a few of them because it's not necessary to show you all of them. But for myself, I'll do my whole set so that I have a better reference. These go from smallest to largest, they all have the same ink. This one is 0.05 or 0.005, this one is 01, 05, and 1. This is going to be the smallest, this is going to be the largest. I'm going to start from smallest to largest, and I'm going to label them pretty much the same way as I did the pencils. This gives you a good idea of when you're inking something. How thick you want your line to be is going to determine which pen you want to go with. Again, not putting any pressure. This is my 005. Make sure you always put your caps back on these because they can dry out really fast. Next is 01. This one's a little dried out, so I'm going to go over it twice. The line really looks pretty similar to that one. Let me do one more, a little slower to make sure the ink comes out good because this one might have gotten a little dried out. That one is pretty similar to this one. When I look at this reference in the future, I'm going to think to myself, "You know what, the 01 was a little dried out. I'm just going to go with the 005 because they look almost the same, but this one is going to give me a better line quality. I'm going to write 01. Next up is 05. You can see it gives me a little thicker line. The 05 is my go-to when I'm doing whether it's illustration or lettering, it's my go-to size. Next we have the graphic one which is the thickest, and it is more of a felt-tip point than the other ones are. See how much thicker that is comparatively? This is size 1. In between these, I do have a bunch of sizes in my set. For example, this size and this size are right next to each other in my set, where there is a few in between this one and a few in between this one, so these two are going to be pretty similar. But now, you can start seeing the difference in sizes. This is really nice if you're doing illustrated hand lettering on a regular basis. I highly recommend making a guide like this because it'll just shorten your decision-making process. You'll know exactly what pen to reach for for your project. 8. Conclusion: So now that you've watched all the videos in this class, you might be thinking about a couple of fun calligraphy supplies that you want to get, or maybe you're thinking about which tools you're going to use for your references, whatever it is, I really love to see it. So be sure to post it in your class project and that way we can all see what each other's favorite tools are. Be sure to leave a list of your favorite tools, that we can see if there's something that you are doing that we don't know about, and that way we can expand our art horizons a little bit. Also, if you share your work online, be sure to tag me on Instagram. I love seeing my student's work and I really like to share it too. So that's about it for this class. I'm really excited to see what you guys create, and to see what your favorite tools are, and how you use your references. Until next time.