I’m so excited to have my friend Morgan guest posting today. I’ve tried adult coloring books for relaxation and fun, but haven’t tried hand lettering yet. After reading her post, I’m excited to get started!
Hand Lettering for Beginners
If you’ve ever checked out the DIY section of Pinterest, you’ve probably seen some gorgeous hand lettering – beautifully done cursive in the form of prints, letters, stationary, labels – the uses are endless. And if you’re anything like me, you looked at the works of art, drooled a bit, and then kept scrolling because there is so way you’d be able to do that yourself.
Except, you’re wrong. While you might not be able to pick up portrait painting or sculpting gorgeous figures out of clay in an afternoon, hand lettering is an extremely accessible art form that anyone can use. If you can hold a pen and know (or are willing to learn) cursive, hand lettering can become your new favorite hobby.
And today, I’m going to teach you some simple ways to get started!
I blog over at Morgan Manages Mommyhood where I write about my life as a mom of two young boys. My goal is to make motherhood simpler and childhood more magical through easy recipes, fun activities, and an honest take on motherhood and all that comes with it.
Last year I randomly wrote a step-by-step tutorial on my then-new hobby, hand lettering, and people fell in love with it. The post walks you through the basic steps of teaching yourself how to hand letter without the frills – I wrote it from the perspective of a beginner for other beginners.
Today I still obsessively hand letter and it’s become a calming hobby that I do in my downtime. Hopefully, it’s a hobby that you too can pick up easily and use in your day-to-day life!
1. Get Inspired!
The internet is full of hand lettered quotes and words to inspire you. I love to head to Instagram and spend an embarrassing amount of time on the #handlettered feed. Watching the little videos people post are not only
The internet is full of hand lettered quotes and words to inspire you. I love to head to Instagram and spend an embarrassing amount of time on the #handlettered feed.
Watching the little videos people post are not only great inspiration but also can help show you the best way to move from one letter to another. (for example, it’s totally okay to lift your pen up between letters!)
Other great sources for inspirations are Etsy and Pinterest. Study the styles you enjoy and note which aren’t as appealing to you.
2. Use what you have.
I definitely have fallen victim to the, “wow, that looks awesome! Now let me go spend $50 on random stuff I absolutely need to get started!” thought-process in the past. If you look up tutorials for hand lettering many will suggest buying expensive graph paper and brush markers to get started, but the truth of the matter is that you can start hand lettering with just about anything.
I outlined a step-by-step tutorial for teaching yourself how to hand letter and it really boils down to a pencil, a pen you dig (felt tip is best) and some lined paper. That’s it! Nothing fancy.
If you’re looking for more of a brush lettering feel, you can even use plain old Crayola markers to learn, rather than expensive, fancy pens. Don’t put off learning hand letting just because you think that you *need* X Y or Z.
3. Practice your cursive.
Writing in cursive is a dying talent (don’t even get me started on that – how will people sign things?!) and I would bet that you haven’t put your own skill to work in some time. Now is the time to hone them!
Yes, you’re a little rusty and you may have forgotten the ‘proper’ form of some of the letters, but the glory of hand lettering is that there is no wrong or right. If you like the look of something and can make it fit seamlessly with other letters, go for it!
But either way, break out your cursive skills and use them more often – the more at ease you are with writing in cursive, the easier hand lettering will be. Try writing your to-do list or grocery list in cursive.
4. Start with the cheater’s method.
In my hand lettering tutorial, I teach you how to fake calligraphy lettering by writing in cursive and adding the thicker lines in after. Before jumping right into pretty brush lettering, learn the formatting and process by ‘cheating’. it will help you build your confidence with pretty results.
5. Create your own alphabet.
After you get the hang of the method, try to create your own alphabet – this will help you create your own style that you find appealing (since hand lettering is rarely the same as your day to day handwriting.) without having to rethink each letter every time.
Until it becomes second nature you can easily reference your alphabet chart and remember which version of lowercase ‘h’ you liked best. It will change the more you learn, but it’s great to have it as a time-saving resource.
6. Practice, practice, practice.
The two forms of practice I can highly recommend (other than simply writing a lot to get used to the process) are to hand letter the word ‘minimum’ in lowercase a bunch and to dedicate time to a letter a day.
The minimum is a common practice among hand lettering enthusiasts, as it contains all of the essential curves and turns you will find in words. It allows you to get a better feel for how words flow together when hand lettering.
As for a letter each day, I recommend grabbing a sheet of lined paper each day and filling it up with different sizes and shapes of a letter for 5 or 10 minutes a day. For example, one day will be the letter “a” and the next can be “b”, so on and so forth. It’s a great way to learn the feel of a letter as well as find the version you like best for your ‘alphabet’.
7. Just Get Started!
As with any hobby you need to learn, the first step is simply doing. Stop hesitating and put pen to paper – it might not start exactly where you want, but with a little time and practice you’ll be creating beautiful prints for your home or addressing letters with will make everyone jealous of your mad skills.
Okay, so tell it to me straight – does this seem like a do-able skill to learn? Have I helped to take some of the fear out of learning for you? If so, I’d love you to check out some of my other hand lettering posts over on my blog!
ABOUT MORGAN, THE AUTHOR:
Morgan is a stay-at-home-mom to 2 boys living in New Jersey with her husband, a crazy lab mutt, and a cranky cat. On her blog, Morgan Manages Mommyhood, she strives to help make being a mom simpler and childhood more memorable.
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