What Is Lettering?

Art can be expressed in many ways, there are those who consider painting as art, others music, there are those who see it in food. And the truth, everyone is right, we can find art and beauty in almost anything, especially if it is related in some way to creativity and imagination. In our case, considering that we are a written blog, we find the art in the writing, or directly in the letters. To our pleasant surprise, letters are an art that can be expressed in multiple ways, and can even be drawn. The latter is known as lettering.

As usual, we will respond sooner than before to the question in the title… What is lettering? Well, the most correct answer is; an art focused on drawing the letters, rather than just writing them. As we said at the beginning, writing is considered a form of art, however the fact of drawing them is also. In lettering, each letter that makes up a sentence works as an illustration. Which means that each letter is created with some attention to detail, and ends up fulfilling a unique role within the final composition.

In short, yes, lettering is nothing more than the art of drawing letters, but not writing them. Well, it is one thing to focus on drawing them and treating them as an illustration, and another to focus on their shape and writing. For this case we have calligraphy, whose focus is the correct writing of the letters, respecting their shape and communion with the rest of the letters.

What do I need to start drawing letters?

If lettering has suddenly become interesting to you, it is possible that the question “What do I need to practice it?” It has reached your head. And the truth is that to practice this trade, you must first decide from which environment you are more comfortable… There is the manual method, which consists of using paper, brushes and more pencils. And then we have the digital method, where digitizing tablets work as the main tool.

I must say that as a personal recommendation (since I also do lettering). The best thing is to lean towards the digital medium. Although it is true that this art emerged and was developed manually in principle, practicing it digitally has many benefits. In addition to being the most economical method of practicing lettering, since you will not be spending on special sheets and pencils for each shape.

If you are inclined towards the digital option, the only requirements that you are going to occupy are:

  • A digitizing tablet (Fundamental tool to simulate a pencil with a computer).
  • A drawing or painting software, such as Mischief or the famous Photoshop.
  • Some vector editing software, such as Illustrator, or failing that, some other option available on the market. For example, I recommend Inker.
  • Practice, lots of practice.

Those are the only requirements necessary to start doing digital lettering. Of course, there are other ways to do digital lettering, there are even those who skip the purchase of a digitizing tablet. Since the sketching process is done directly by hand, and later they scan it with a printer. But honestly the best option is as described here.

How is the lettering professional known?

To conclude this entry, we would like to answer this last question. Well, assuming that you really want to enter this profession, it would be good to know what title you can aspire to achieve.

On the internet there is an erroneous belief that the lettering professional is known as a “letterist”. But the truth is that this is a mistake, because the official definition of a lyricist is; Person in charge of making the lyrics in a song. So obviously we cannot consider this title as the correct one.

But then, if the title given to those who practice lettering is not a lyricist, what is it then? The answer to that question is; Poster designer. The poster artist is a specialist in the graphic arts who focuses on the creation and composition of posters. This is a job that is closely related to lettering (in fact, one of the ways in which money is earned with this job is precisely making posters). And although lettering is not only limited to making posters, it is more correct to say that we are poster artists than lyricists.

This is how we conclude this entry about lettering. We hope that all the information described has been to your liking and interest, but above all, to your learning.

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