Hello friends! Since I posted about my Favorite Hand Lettering Tools + Tips, I’ve been getting tons of questions on the differences between the types of lettering and how to get started, so I thought I’d give you a brief introduction to lettering and a quick how-to if you’re interested in trying it out for yourself! Plus, a fun bonus– I’ve included a FREE printable hand lettering practice sheet and blank lined sheet to help you practice those lettering skills! Woohoo! 🙂 Before I show you how to use your practice sheets, here’s a break down of the different forms of lettering:
Calligraphy uses a dip pen with a nib and ink to create thick and thin lines with varying degrees of pressure all in a single stroke. Downstrokes use heavier pressure, while upstrokes are formed with lighter pressure to create thin, delicate strokes. Calligraphy is typically used for wedding invitations, formal documents, and paper related products.
Often referred to as “faux calligraphy,” hand lettering uses the same principles of creating upstrokes and downstrokes with varying pressure, however the tools typically used for hand lettering include markers, pens, various brushes, and chalk. Hand lettering is seen as more of an illustrative approach to lettering; bringing letters to life in a decorative, artistic fashion. Typically used for large-scale items such as signage and murals.
As the name would suggest, brush lettering is a form of hand lettering using a brush with paint or ink. This is my absolute favorite way to letter! It takes a little longer to master (you need steady hands and a lot of patience!) but I absolutely love how it looks. I personally prefer brush lettering with watercolor ( you can find my favorite tools for that here).
FREE DOWNLOAD: Hand Lettering Practice Sheets
Time for the star of the show, the FREE hand lettering practice sheets! Included in the download is a traceable alphabet and a blank lined sheet for you to print and practice, practice, practice with. Here’s how I use the sheets:
The best way to train your hand and create muscle memory for writing upstrokes and downstrokes is to trace over lettered forms. I’ve included arrows on the alphabet sheet as a guide to move your marker or brush in one fluid motion. Don’t feel frustrated if you’re wobbly or uneven at first, with enough time and effort spent practicing you’ll get the hang of it in no time. 🙂
TIP: Use tracing paper over the lettering sheet to trace over the letter forms below. Once you get the hang of applying pressure and control, you can switch to the lined sheet and begin to write on your own.
The trick to mastering the art of lettering is understanding that lettering is not an exact science, but an artistic expression. Every artist has their own style and approach, and each letter form can be altered and varied depending on what you’re creating, which is the best part of lettering in my opinion. My personal style has long ascenders and descenders; (the strokes that go above and below the center of the letter, as seen here with the lower case y) a stylist variation that I’ve developed over time. When practicing your letters try to change things up to develop your own unique style! With enough practice, your own unique lettering style will begin to take shape, so enjoy experimenting and trying new letter styles.
Whether you’re a seasoned letterer or looking to try a new hobby, remember the key is to have fun! 🙂 I invite you to use these free sheets to try something new and have fun with hand lettering. Here’s to new hobbies and exploring creativity this year, friends!