don’t procrastinate anymore! It’s time to know how to do lettering for beginners. If you always enjoyed writing your name or a phrase in your school notebook or on any sheet of paper you got your hands on, you will love this art.
Lettering is an artistic way of drawing letters by hand on paper, using your own unique style to convey a message. In addition, the words use different strokes, designs and drawing styles to create an unrepeatable piece.
Although it can be confused with the art of calligraphy, Nats Jiménez, teacher of the watercolor lettering course, tells us that these two art forms are not the same, although they complement each other. While calligraphy is the art of writing letters correctly, lettering is drawing them.
Therefore, learning lettering will help you to express your creativity and demonstrate your skills as an artist. Remember that there is no set time to master this art; you can become an expert if you constantly practice and dedicate yourself to it.
So, the time has come to bring out the artist in you and get to work. In the following lines, you will learn which are the steps to do lettering that every beginner should know. At the end, we will share with you a list where you can download free templates to learn lettering in PDF.
shall we start?
1. Gather the materials you need
The first step in our guide on how to do lettering is to gather everything you need to start your first strokes. Here are the lettering supplies you should have on hand:
Since you are just learning how to do lettering, we recommend you to choose a comfortable option to achieve your first strokes without problems. Make sure you choose the ones that best suit your style and what you want to achieve on paper.
In this regard, Cuadernos Rubio, a well-known brand of calligraphy notebooks, recommends starting with a flexible-tip pen, as they are easy to use and their tip allows for different degrees of pressure .
On the other hand, if your goal is to learn how to do lettering in digital, in addition to these materials, you will need a graphics tablet or an iPad Pro and an Apple Pencil to draw. However, doing lettering with paper and pencil will be useful to better manage your technique.
Then, you can scan the lettering letters you’ve worked on manually and edit them in Photoshop or Illustrator using the stroke option or with the pen tool.
2. Review the anatomy of the letters
As the second step of our guide on how to do lettering, you should know the different parts of the letters to build words in an artistic way, either when doing digital or physical lettering.
According to 99 designs, a company dedicated to offering graphic design services, to learn how to do lettering, you need to master the following basic concepts:
apex: is the tip of the top of a letter.
Crossbar: the horizontal stroke that crosses the uppercase letters A and H. The stroke that crosses the lowercase letter (t) is also called a crossbar.
Contrapunctation: the empty circle in the lowercase letter “e”.
Ligature: the connection of two different letters through a line, curve or loop.
Tail: the part of the letter that extends to the descending line.
Belly: the rounded arc of the letters “p”, “B” and others.
Arm: vertical or horizontal stroke of a letter that does not connect to a root.
Counter: closed space of a letter.
Spine: curvilinear central stroke of the letters “s” and “S”.
If you keep these points in mind, you will later be able to do lettering with sentences or words that have a harmonious structure and, above all, are legible. In this way, your clients or friends will understand what you wanted to express with your creation.
3. Know the reference lines to trace your letters
The third step to master the process of how to do lettering is to know the basics for tracing each letter of your sentence. The reference lines will help you discover the best way to make a handwritten work of art .
In addition, they will give your lettering drawings balance, style and visual aesthetics. Below, we share with you a little more information about each of them:
In this line all the letters will be placed. Also, the main body of the lower part of each letter will rest on this line, and that will be the basis for the other parts of the letter anatomy.
3.2 Height X
This is the line where the top of the lowercase letters arrive. These should be placed at the base and go up to the X-height.
3.3 Ascending line
All lettering letters that have strokes reaching toward the top will make use of the ascender line.
This includes easy-to-do letters such as “k”, “h” and “t”.
3.4 Downward line
If the upward line reaches upward, the downward line goes toward the bottom of the lettering letters.
This is the line where the letters “g”, “q” and “y” rest their “tails”.
4. let’s get to work!
Well, we come to the last part of our guide to learn how to do easy lettering. After taking into account the considerations we mentioned previously, you can put into practice what you have learned by following the steps we will tell you.
Remember that the best way to do lettering for beginners and become an expert in the future is to practice constantly, so we recommend you to draw the letters physically on paper to find and define your own style.
So, if you have already defined the word you are going to draw, you are about to learn how to write beautifully with lettering. Take note of the steps to follow recommended by Nats Jiménez, teacher of the new lettering courses at :
1. Before starting to draw the first letter of the word, make simple lines and repetitive shapes with your pencil to relax your stroke and get better results.
2. Choose a new sheet of paper to officially start drawing your sentence and, on the top of it, write the sentence you want to draw.
3. Then, you will have to choose the words of the phrase you want to give more hierarchy or weight in your drawing.
4. it’s time to use the base lines! Draw the grids on which you will draw to give symmetry to the design and shape your phrase on them.
5. Transfer this sketch to the final size you have in mind on tracing paper.
6. Next, analyze all the changes you need to make to make your design look good, such as increasing or decreasing the size of some letters.
7. Select another sheet of tracing paper and place it on top of the sheet you used in the previous step. Draw all the guide lines so that you can get your design right.
8. Copy directly the elements that have no corrections. Then move the last layer of tracing paper so that you can adjust the changes you have in mind.
9. Once you have finished correcting your design, select the final layer of tracing paper and color the back with your pencil.
10. Center the tracing paper on top of the white sheet and begin penciling in your final design.
11. With the help of the malleable eraser, remove the excess graphite.
12. go get your lettering markers! Choose your favorite colors and start to clean up the design you traced. Remember to color the parts you think are necessary according to your preferences.
Image: Lettering composition course
you’re done! You have learned how to do lettering step by step. After you have finished coloring the design, our expert advises you to take a break to let your mind breathe .
Nats says that looking at the work we have created often can generate some saturation. Therefore, she recommends going for a coffee or focusing on another activity to distract us. When we come back, we can admire our piece with different eyes.
List of tools and stencils to do lettering
To help you learn lettering more easily, we have created this list of templates and additional tools that will help you achieve your goals.
Worksheets and lettering books for lettering are an effective way to learn how to draw letters, for example:
Pre-drawn lines help you understand how to handle drawing or colored pencils.
Using guide lines makes it easier to make the hand movement.
As you can see, having these resources to enhance your practice will undoubtedly be the key for you to become a great artist later on. Besides, downloading each of them is totally free, so don’t miss the opportunity to polish your skills and apply our guide on how to do lettering correctly!
1. Lettering Alphabet Template
One of the most useful tools for learning how to do lettering is the alphabet in lettering. The reason is obvious: it is the ordered set of letters of a language that, in the case of this technique, you need to learn to draw so that you can then create your own lettering fonts or draw your favorite phrases.
In this guide you will find a variety of exercises for drawing both uppercase and lowercase letters.
Don’t worry if you have no experience, you can take your first steps in lettering with these templates. take the first step with this lettering template!
2. Happy birthday lettering templates
never liked your handwriting, but still love making birthday signs? these lettering templates will make it easy for you to create these cards!
In this guide, you will find 5 different styles of the phrase “happy birthday”, which will be downloaded in an Adobe Illustrator file. Best of all, since they are digital, you can send them directly via social networks or WhatsApp.
These templates are perfect for practicing lettering from the comfort of your home at your own pace.
3. Lettering template for the months of the year
This is another tool that will be very useful for you to learn how to do lettering. If you never knew how to write the months of the year with beautiful letters, this lettering template will help you to do it.
You can use it to make your own calendars, planners, posters or cards. use it also to give more personality to your planner.
show your creativity throughout 2022 and create the best lettering works with this tool!
4. Lettering templates by Luis Lili
If you want to learn how to do lettering from scratch, today is your lucky day. These lettering templates have been developed by the graphic designer and teacher of the lettering course for beginners Luis Lili.
Through them, Luis will teach you how to practice from the basics. In addition, you will learn how to make 3 types of lettering:
In other words, with these lettering stencils, you will be able to add versatility to your next works and redefine this art form .
5. Lettering guide from scratch
Before you start practicing any lettering exercise for beginners, you have to review in detail this guide.
In it you will find the lettering styles that will help you define which style you would like to practice, the materials for hand lettering and the first steps to do lettering.
6. Beginner’s guide to brush lettering
If you love lettering that mimics the brush style, but didn’t know how to replicate it, this is your lucky day! In this guide, we’ll explain step-by-step how to do brush lettering so that your drawings can be taken to the next level .
make sure to practice constantly and you’ll become the best lettering artist!
7. Inspirational phrases for lettering
One of the key points for lettering is to have a phrase that makes an impact. This way, your work will not only cause amazement for the quality of the lettering design, but also for the message you are conveying .
To that end, in this guide, you’ll discover 15 inspirational phrases you can choose from to create your next lettering project, as well as some tips for printing your phrases and framing them.
that’s it! You’ve learned how to do lettering step by step. Plus, you’ve got a list of awesome resources up your sleeve to supplement your learning. don’t hesitate to put them into practice to become the artist you’ve always wanted to be!
Remember that everything depends on the perseverance and determination you have to carry out each project. While you won’t become a lettering expert overnight, with practice and creativity you can achieve whatever you set your mind to.