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hand lettering basics

hand lettering basics

Whenever people ask me about hand lettering and calligraphy the first question people always ask is,

"What pens do you use?"

Something I found out as I learned hand lettering is that fancy pens won't help much if you don't have the basics down. 

Here's a little guide with something basic like crayola markers to show how much improvements on hand lettering you can make with only basic crayola markers!


Down strokes = thick, up = thin

Whenever you are doing hand lettering, to get a calligraphy effect all you have to do is go over the down strokes to make them thicker. That means, anytime the pen goes down, make it thicker. For example...


Anytime you are writing a letter and it goes up, keep it thin.

After that, to get different effects with your lettering- change up the spacing. How tight letters are makes an entire different- spaced out letters look elegant and feminine to me where as tight letters have a more playful feeling.

Play with the difference between the thickness of the up and down strokes. Once you get the difference between up and down strokes down, play around with different styles to find what you like. Do you like slightly thicker down strokes? Do you like a drastic difference?

The next thing to play around with is the letters alignment. Are all the letters on the same line? I love the way lettering looks when the letters alternate on being a little higher or lower.

Whenever I'm feeling a little lost for inspiration, I love browsing fonts online to see what I like and look at individual letters or what I go towards. Check out Creative Market for ideas! Pinterest also has great fonts ideas.

Once you have the basics down, its worth it to start investing in some different pens and markers to play with more effects you like. Here's a guide to those :)

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