Get Better at Brush Pen Lettering!

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UPDATE:

We have moved to www.roldesign.net and have improved this free resource since! Check out the brand new, comprehensive brush lettering guide, complete with tons of new free printables and worksheets. We also have an iPad lettering version!


Brush lettering is an increasingly popular approach to creating beautiful words.
Last week I compared two markers for this purpose, and promised to put together a little tutorial to get you going with brush lettering. Here it is!

First of all, there are two types of brush lettering: one uses brush pens, and the other involves writing with a real brush and watercolors. The kind I will be talking about today is the first kind.
A brush pen would be the Tombow ABT Dual Brush Pen I wrote about last week, or the brush nib on a Copic marker. Although called pens, brush pens are really just markers with a long, pointed nib that resembles a paintbrush. You can create a similar look with regular, cheaper markers, however that is not considered true brush lettering.
Using a brush pen correctly takes a little work. You have to learn how to apply pressure in order to create thin and thick strokes, and how to alternate between them. There are many elaborate e-courses available for purchase online, but I taught myself by messing around for a little while with a Tombow. I believe that with a few simple guidelines on how to practice, you can learn brush pen lettering quickly.

Brush Lettering InfographicAll Markers are Not Created Equal.

Learning how to write with a brush pen is different than with a Crayola. The good thing is that you can learn with both. Go to the art store, try different markers, and pick the one that you like the best to practice with.
4/5 of the markers I demonstrated above can work. The one that cannot is the fine tip on the Tombow, because you are unable to create thin and thick strokes.

 

Familiarize Yourself with Faux Calligraphy.

Understanding how calligraphy works is an important step. You can create faux calligraphy with any kind of pen or marker (you could even use a pencil). Write a word in cursive, and then go back and find the downstrokes (the places where you moved your pen down toward you to create the letter). Thicken the downstrokes. This is the idea of calligraphy — creating thin upstrokes and thicker downstrokes. However, in calligraphy, you do it all in one swift motion.

Know Your Nib

Work on creating the thinnest and thickest possible stroke with your marker. Your grip, the angle you hold the pen, and the pressure you apply all factor in to creating your strokes.

Get Drilling

Drills are a simple way to learn how to alternate between a thin and thick stroke with your marker. I showed a variety of drills, but they all have to do with the same idea: thin upstroke, thick downstroke. Whatever drill you decide to try, the key is repetition. Keep going until the motion begins to feel natural to you.

Practice Your Letters

Creating letters involves using the thin up, thick down technique. The shape of the letter depends on your preference — you can create cursive, sans, or even serif. Repetition is always a good idea — if you don’t feel good writing a particular letter, pull out a piece of scratch paper and write it over and over again.

Create!

Once you start playing with a brush pen, you’ll just be itching to create something. Don’t be afraid to try, even if you haven’t fully mastered all the letters yet. There’s so much inspiration out there.

Hope you all found this article helpful and inspiring! If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or visit the contact page. Happy lettering!
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Photo Import in Paper

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At first I was hesitant about the new Paper feature of photo import, but it’s definitely grown on me. Thought I would share its potential with you guys.

Drawing Fashion

I enjoy importing a reference photo and drawing a look in my own style.

(Above) Kelly Dempsey’s look from Project Runway Finale.

(Below) Vintage look from Pinterest!

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Some other artists drawing fashion in Paper are Cat K and Jeong Dahaero.

 

Unique Blends of Art and Photography

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I love exploring new ways to mix Paper doodles with photos! I recommend Kaye Sedgwick and 77neko for their creative “mixed-media” works.


Revamp your Real Life Drawings

This is, by far, my favorite thing about photo import. I can draw something, even just a rough pencil sketch, and then take a photo of it and finish it up in Paper. It’s a great way to finalize a drawing.

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Hoping to share some more ideas soon. Happy Holidays!

Recent Artwork

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Here’s a quick look at what I’ve been up to lately.

Below is a picture of some fonts I sketched on real paper. It’s how I practice my typography stuff.

   Above is some lettering I did in Paper, imitating a design by Old English Company.


This (above) is also inspired by Old English Company.
This is my remix of “Bombs No More.” You can make yours by remixing this.  

Here I drew some faces in Paper, based on this by Fears on Creative Market.

Here’s a little peek at what’s been going on in Mix. I had Mixers create their own rendition of “Ray of Light,” and I got over 50 submissions! Soon, I will be posting a slideshow featuring work by everyone. Stay tuned!

Follow me on Instagram and Twitter for news and artwork!

Ray of Light Design Has an All New Shop

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ROL-meets-Red-Bubble

If you weren’t already aware, I have a shop on Creative Market, where I sell things like fonts and clip art. But I am excited to announce that I now have a second, completely different shop on RedBubble!

My RedBubble shop is where I am selling physical items (such as t-shirts, stationery, mugs, etc.) designed by me!

Introducing my first product — these cool notebooks!

Notebooks

 

Hardcover Journal — comes with either ruled, graph, or blank paper

Spiral Bound — either ruled or graph paper

I can’t wait to get one for myself!

Stay tuned — more is coming soon!