My One Letter 35 Ways. See it here on Mix.
People always say practice makes perfect. All the time. About everything. You’re first instinct (or at least mine) is to roll your eyes. The problem is: they’re right.
The effect of practice has been really evident for me in terms of hand lettering. I’m relatively new to the art — I first attempted about a year ago. When I look back on that early work, I think to myself, “Man, this is awful.” Here’s the thing: all those ugly attempts got me to where I am today. I’ve gained popularity on Mix from my digital hand lettering, but only because of all the practice. If I never practiced or faced the ugliness, my lettering would stay ugly. That’s how it is with everything — If you’re never bad, you can never get good. So start trying!
Here are some ways you can practice:
- Start small. Try experimenting by writing your name in different styles. If you’re taking notes or making a grocery list, have some fun with it and try lettering. That’s how I started.
- Get inspired. Pinterest is full of lettering examples and tutorials if you start looking. I have a Pinterest board for Lettering myself.
- Mess around. One of the most popular lettering exercises is One Letter 100 Ways. I will admit that I’ve never done the full exercise. One hundred is a lot, and it sounds overwhelming and discouraging, not to mention excessive. There are some people who totally believe in it (check out this article and this) but I can’t say that I’m one of them. So, I posted my own template to Mix — One Letter 35 Ways. It’s a much more realistic goal. Of course, if you’d rather do the 100, here’s a printable template for that.
- Explore fonts. Fonts are another great source of inspiration. Times New Roman, for example, is a perfect reference if you are trying to draw serif letters. (My favorite part of using fonts for this kind of thing is that you can type up the exact word or phrase you want in your computer and see how it looks. If you are imitating another artist’s style and they have a different word than you, it can be trickier.) Here’s a printable template by me that you can use to sharpen up your lettering skills. Click this link for the PDF: Hand Lettering Practice. The fonts I featured are Sweet Pinapple, Sweet Pea, Stilts Balanced, Sacramento, Matias, Always Here, Harman, and Besom 2.
That’s it for my first post on Lettering Tips and Tricks. Stay tuned, and share your tips in the comments below!