If you’re on Pinterest or any other form of social media, you’ve probably seen the hand lettering trend going around. And I think it’s great! Hand lettering is a beautiful and useful skill. Unfortunately, it seems like I see the same type of post (“how to make faux calligraphy for beginners”) EVERYWHERE, and not much information beyond that.
So today I’m going to give you all some ideas and inspiration for how to take your hand lettering to the next level! I’ll be showing you some quick tips for how to format quotes, add flourishes and other fun extras, and more. If you need a refresher on basic hand lettering, check out my first post on that subject here.
Now that we’ve got that covered, let’s begin!
1. My first tip concerns formatting. This is one of the most important tips, in my opinion. Even if you have beautiful lettering, writing out the words in straight lines can cause the piece to look flat and uninteresting. Instead, make the words interact with each other – fit them into the gaps and spaces between each other like a jigsaw puzzle. Bounce lettering helps add gaps for other letters to fill, like the irregular space underneath “words” in the top example below.
2. Another way to make letters interact with each other is to write the most important words first, and then nestle in other words around them. Bonus tip: try using shapes like circles to format your quote.
3. Usually, you can achieve a faux calligraphy look by simply writing the quote in cursive and then thickening the downstrokes. But some letters look different in the brush lettering alphabet than they do in the cursive alphabet. See photo below for examples.
4. Using different stroke thicknesses will go a long ways to adding interest and contrast to your lettering. Otherwise nothing stands out.
5. Now we’re getting to the fun part! Once you have your words planned out, you can fill in gaps and add interest with flourishes like these.
6. I used quite a short quote for this example, but drawing faux-illuminated letters works great for long quotes as well. Just thicken the first letter, color it in, and wrap it with some vines. This adds a pop of color and interest and allows you to write the rest of the quote in a more normal, straight font.
7. Making ombre lettering is surprisingly easy. You can use different colors, or just one, as I did here. Go over the bottom tips of each letter with another layer or two of ink, then blend the pigment upwards with an aqua brush or damp paintbrush. Here I added a line of dots on the thickest parts of each letter and a thin shadow line on the right of all vertical-ish lines. A fineliner pen works well for adding details since, remember, using different thicknesses adds interest!
8. For this verse, I combined ombre with white gel pen highlights. I love these two effects together! Doesn’t it make the letters look juicy and almost 3D? For more natural-looking highlights, add dots and dashes instead of a straight, unbroken white line.
Here’s a finished piece that combines a lot of the tips we’ve talked about so far. I wrote the keyword “beauty” first, adding highlights and details to it after filling it in with watercolor. Then I fitted the secondary words around the main one, curving some fonts for interest, and adding flourishes for a finishing touch. I love how it turned out! Stay tuned, because I might make it into a printable for my Etsy shop. 🙂
And there you go! I hope you found these tips helpful, my friends. If you did, I’d greatly appreciate it if you pinned this post or any of the pictures in it so others can read it too!
Which tip did you like best? Do you enjoy hand lettering too? What tips do YOU have for how to improve lettering?
Thanks so much for reading, dears, and have a great day!