I’ve had a few people asking me lately how they can learn hand lettering and what tools/resources I used when I started out learning lettering and calligraphy, so I thought it would be a good idea to do a blog post about. In case you don’t know, I am completely self taught, everything I have learned about hand lettering and calligraphy I have picked up online and just from good old practicing. So if I can do it, you definitely can too and here are some of my tips and resources if you’re just starting out.
My handwriting isn’t any good, so I won’t be any good at lettering
Okay, so I guess this first one isn’t really a resource but more of a little pep talk. Let’s just clear up this little misconception. I think a lot of people think that calligraphers and hand letterers must have beautiful handwriting and that’s why they’re so good. Well, I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to have amazing handwriting to be good at calligraphy or lettering. My handwriting is far from pretty, but I like to think that my lettering and calligraphy is getting pretty decent. So don’t let the fact that your handwriting sucks stop you from learning a new skill.
So where do you start learning these skills? I’ve talked about this website before, but I really think it’s a good place to start. If you want some good beginner-level courses on how to do lettering/calligraphy you should check Skillshare out. There are courses that teach you some very basic letter drawing skills and there are also good beginner calligraphy courses. And of course there are more advanced courses to check out once you have learned the basics. You can subscribe for a small monthly fee, or you might be able to get a free trial if they are running a promotion.
There are so many blogs out there now that can help you to learn hand lettering. Some bloggers offer paid courses or kits that you can purchase and those may be helpful but I personally didn’t purchase any when I started out. More and more people are doing free hand lettering courses or writing posts on how they create their lettering so I definitely think it is possible to pick it up without spending any money. Below are just a couple blogs that I find helpful.
Teela from Every-Tuesday has some good tutorials on how to create brush lettering and also how to digitize your lettering. Her tutorials are very straight forward and easy to follow and she explains things clearly. If you are looking to turn your lettering into digital art, she has a good tutorial to learn how to use Adobe Illustrator to do that. Also, she has other good tutorials about using Illustrator or Photoshop in general.
Dawn Nicole Designs
Dawn from Dawn Nicole Designs has some good tips and tricks to help you learn hand lettering. She even has a free Hand Lettering 101 course that will help give you the basics and start learning to do hand lettering. Also, I really enjoy her blog in general, it’s very colorful and upbeat.
To be honest, I really started to get interested in hand lettering through Instagram. There are some seriously talented calligraphers and hand letters sharing their beautiful work along with some tips and tutorials. And more and more people are posting videos of themselves doing calligraphy or hand lettering which is good to help you see how to do it. Just start looking at some hastags like #moderncalligraphy #handlettering #brushlettering etc.
There are lots of pens out there, and while I do believe that you can create beautiful lettering with any tool (even just a pencil!), there are some cool pens that will help you and make your lettering look better. The first pen I ever bought was a Pentel Aquash Waterbrush. Its like 5$ and seriously amazing. You can fill it with water and use it with watercolors or you can just fill it up with ink and you’re good to go.
I also like Tombow pens. I would recommend the Dual Tip Brush Pens and the Fudenosuke hard tip and soft tip pens. They can be a little tricky to use at first if you are a beginner but be patient and keep practicing and it will get easier and more comfortable.
My last little tidbit of advice for you is to just start. If you have been thinking about getting into hand lettering but don’t know what pens to buy, or where to start, or if you think your handwriting is too bad, then just grab a pencil and some paper and start. The more you practice, the better you will get (sorry for the cliché, but its true). Believe me, if I can teach myself calligraphy and hand lettering then so can you! Now get out there and start making pretty letters!
Are you interested in learning hand lettering or calligraphy? Or are you already a seasoned hand letterer and have some resources to share? Let me know down in the comments! And don’t forget to subscribe to the blog so you never miss a post!