How to Letter

Do you like to draw? For some it is just a hobby, while there are those who make a living from it. The truth is that to draw it is necessary to develop and perfect the skill, since some are born with the star, while others are born with stars. That is to say, for some it is a natural gift, while others cannot make a single stroke.

Those who have the ability to draw manage to make really beautiful things, many of which are valued as true works of art. On the other hand, there are different drawing techniques, some are done with a pencil, others with a brush and others with colored markers.

There are also different styles of drawings, there is the pointillist style, the abstract, the realistic, the caricatures, the faces, the landscaping, among many others, which are a delight for those who appreciate art.

Currently, it has become common to hear the name of lettering in the field of professional drawing, do you know what that term refers to? It is nothing more and nothing less than the art of drawing words. They are not simply written, but each one of them is worked on to give them their own personality. In this way, you manage to make writing an art.

However, it is normal for this term to be confused with typography and calligraphy. Would you like to know what the difference is between them? Better yet, would you like to learn lettering? In this short article we will show you everything you have to do in order to achieve beautiful writing that is different from the rest.

You will know what the techniques involved in this art are, as well as what you need to carry it out successfully. In addition to being an excellent idea to pass the time, it is a good option to make a nice gift.

Instructions for lettering

As we have already mentioned, lettering is the art of drawing words and, today, it has become a true artistic discipline. Unlike calligraphy, which is considered the art of writing words.

Calligraphy is a writing, since only a stroke is made, following very precise techniques. On the other hand, the pen is used as a tool, which allows the line to be finer or thicker, depending on the pressure applied to it.

With regard to typography, it is the type of letter used to write from the computer. This means that the typography is not written by hand, but through an automated letter repetition system.

While it is true that there are many fonts that you try to copy lettering, you should not confuse them. In lettering no two letters are the same, while in typography the letters are repeated.

Types of lettering

  • False lettering: it aims to imitate the thick strokes, which are made with a brush, by applying pressure with a round trip pen. In this case, a double stroke is drawn on all descending lines.
  • Brush lettering: This is a variant of lettering. Words are drawn on it using brushes or felt-tip pens. With the help of these tools it is possible to create different types of strokes, some thicker than others, by applying pressure on them. This is a curvier style in which the letters are linked, and for this reason many people tend to confuse it with calligraphy.
  • Hand lettering: anything goes in this style. It is possible to mix different types of letters, uppercase with lowercase, small with large, etc. For him, round tip markers are used, but also calibrated tip pens and even pencils.
  • Chalk lettering: it is done on blackboards with chalk. In it, different sizes of letters are mixed, as well as thicknesses, which are accompanied by other types of decorations and flourishes.

How to do it right?

  1. To begin with, it is best to draw on some guides. You can download the templates from the Internet or buy a lettering book. Some of the templates come not only with the guides, but also some kind of alphabet, which shows what is the order that the stroke should followin each of the letters.
  2. Hold the pen the right way. It cannot be too high or too low. In addition, its inclination should be about 45 degrees. If you hold it in a relaxed way, then control the pressure you exert on each of the strokes.
  3. Otherwise, your hand and the pen should be alignedwith the marks on the guides. Otherwise, it will be more difficult for you to switch from thin to thick strokes and vice versa.
  4. The strokes are what allow you to give beauty to the letters. Using a brush tip pen, you will be able to swap the thick and thin strokes, to draw the words. As a main rule, you should know that the strokes that go up will always be thin, as well as the horizontal strokes, such as those used in the letter “T”, while the descending ones will be thick. Although it is true that it will cost you a bit at first, you must be patient and practice a lot so that you achieve perfect strokes, which go from thin to thick and from thick to thin.
  5. Given that in lettering the letters are worked individually and many of them are made up of several strokes, from time to time it will be necessary to lift the marker.
  6. Practice the alphabets and their different forms. Uppercase, lowercase, numbers, etc.
  7. When you have mastered the letters, the next step is to form words. To do this, you must get unions between the different letters. It should be noted that, in lettering, these unions are outside the conventional ones. They will always be made from the thinnest ending of one letter, to the thickest stroke of the other. Thus, the thick line will cover the joint and the writing will look more fluid.
  8. After you manage to put the words together, it will be time to try new letter styles. You can use guides that are not straight to give movement to your creations. Give the letters personality by adding shadows, flourishes, depth, outlines, etc.
  9. Finally, create backgrounds full of color, as well as compositions with decorative ribbons, sparkles, crowns, etc. Now, what are the materials you need to do lettering and not die trying? Let’s see it right now.

What do you need to do lettering?

The positive thing is that this hobby does not require very expensive materials. In fact, you just need something to draw with and a surface to draw on. The recommended basic materials are the following:

  •  A pencil: this tool is ideal to start putting together your sketches. Use a pencil with the hardest lead to draw the lightest lines, while pencils with the softest lead will be useful for darker drawings.
  •  Round tip pen: one of the most outstanding characteristics of these pens is that the ink is more opaque. In addition, it allows writing on dark or black paper, as well as on different materials, such as fabric or glass. They are perfect for capturing your creations on a cup, a mirror, etc.
  •  Drawing: since they are fine point, they will always be very useful to add details and outline your letters, especially the basic black.
  •  Colored markers: which are useful for hand lettering and false lettering.
  •  Transparent marker: if you use water-based markers, you can mix the colors using a transparent marker. However, you can also achieve this effect with water and a brush. But, if you are going to use water, then you should draw on thicker paper.
  •  Brush tip: these are the ones that are most used in lettering, since they are the ones that allow you to make thick and thin strokes by applying pressure on them. Look for ones that are of good quality. They are more resistant and you will have much more precise results.
  •  Paper: although it may not seem like it, the result of the lettering will depend on the type of paper on which you draw. The ideal would be to use glossy paper, since it makes the work easier because the marker glides better. In addition, it also helps preserve the tip of your marker.

On the contrary, if you are going to use water to degrade colors or to mix them, the ideal is that you use a paper that is much more porous.

Tips for lettering

Keep in mind that lettering does not only involve drawing letters, it is also important to know what decorations you can use and where they would come best. For example:

  1. Use text markers: you can use them to create a background for the words or to highlight the one you consider most important.
  2. Put borders: these will help you make the words stand out, however simple they are. You can use a simple border or a more elaborate one, like a floral circle.
  3. Make shadows: this is a technique that manages to make the letters seem to come out of the paper, which will make them stop being simple words.
  4. Make them shine: they are just a couple of white stripes or dots, which make the words look brighter. The recommendation is that you place them at the top of the letters and in the thickest strokes.
  5. Draw Ribbons– In addition to being very cute, they work very well.
  6. Put sparks or drops to your text: you just have to choose a certain word and place a couple of sparks around it, that will make it stand out in the text.

You can also use the gradients, the variation of the levels in the letters and the interleaving of colors.

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