The Art of Hand Lettering

Hi, friends! We are pretty much in love with hand lettering. Aren’t you? Gorgeous hand lettered signs are flooding our Instagram feed, and we’ve even tried our hand at it a few times. The lettering always seems so well thought out and perfectly executed — sometimes even like something we can’t achieve. Except we can! And so can you! Did you know that hand lettering is actually an art? It just takes a little knowledge of technique and some practice, and voila! You’ll be creating gorgeous chalkboards, signs and notes in no time! We’ve invited a friend to the blog today to share the ins and outs of hand lettering along with some helpful tips on technique and a template. We are so excited to welcome Alexandria from FTD Fresh to SLB!!!


 

There are many people who might confuse hand lettering with calligraphy. However, it’s important to note their differences.

Calligraphy is a traditional form of handwriting that involves forming letters in a deliberate fashion. When practicing calligraphy, it is also important to maintain a rhythm to create consistent strokes and shapes. Calligraphy also involves the use of a nib pen.

Hand lettering, on the other hand, is a form of handwriting that involves drawing decorating letters. Compared to calligraphy, you can have much more freedom with the interpretation of letters, shapes and sizes. You can also use just about any kind of pen, including felt pens, brush pens, markers, and even ballpoint pens.

You may have noticed that hand lettering has become increasingly popular and can be seen all over social media. From wedding invitations to creative signs for your home decor, hand lettering is perfect for adding a personal touch to any project.

Learning the art of hand lettering is all about getting the basics down. That’s why we’re featuring this helpful hand lettering tutorial by FTD to help you get started! Once you’ve mastered the basics, you’ll be on your way to creating your own beautiful words and phrases and in your own personal style!

A List of Hand Lettering Materials

Here is a list of tools we recommend specifically for beginners to help you start your hand lettering journey.

  • Marker paper – Marker paper is specifically designed to be non-bleeding, making it perfect for hand lettering beginners. The surface is particularly smooth, allowing for smoother strokes due to the low friction.
  • Ruler – In the beginning, you’ll need a ruler to keep the shapes of your letters consistent by establishing your first guiding lines for practice, which we’ll dive deeper into later on the guide.
  • Pencil – A pencil is helpful for drawing the above mentioned guiding lines so that they can easily be erased after you’ve written down your first few words.
  • Brush pen – Use a brush pen that has a medium-length brush. A pen that has too short of a brush will make it difficult to create pretty flowy strokes, and a pen that has too long of a brush will give you less control.
  • Stationery card – After you’ve completed this tutorial, you’ll need the perfect stage on which to show off your newfound skills! You can download the featured card for free here.

Basic Hand Lettering Terms

Here are a few terms that you should know before you get started:

  • Cap line – This line establishes the height for capital letters.
  • X-line – This line establishes the height for lowercase letters.
  • Baseline – This is the line that your word or phrase will sit on.
  • Flourish – Flourishes are what make hand lettering so much fun! These are the strokes that are added to letters to make them more decorative and dynamic including loops and swirls. The point of hand lettering is to get creative with these and develop your own personal style!

 

Getting Started

Beginners, you’ll want to refer to this hand lettering video tutorial that demonstrates step by step how to write your first few letters and phrases. To help you follow along, here are the steps listed below that are featured in the video.

Step 1. Practice cursive

  1. Establish a cap line to mark the height for uppercase letters.
  2. Establish an x-line to mark the height for lowercase letters.
  3. Establish a baseline upon which your letters will sit.

 

Step 2. Applying pressure

  1. Apply pressure on downward strokes (thick lines).
  2. Release pressure on upward strokes (thin lines).

 

Step 3. Play with heights and baselines

  1. Make the word more dynamic by drawing outside of the guiding lines you established earlier.

 

Step 4. Play with loops and flourishes

  1. Have fun by varying your loop sizes and flourishes.
  2. For repeat letters, change up the shapes and sizes for the loops.
  3. The more you have fun with it, the easier it will be to develop your own personal style!

 

Alphabet Practice Chart

To help you continue your hand lettering practice, here’s a handy alphabet chart that you can reference. You can download the free 8.5” x 11” guide here.

Now that you’ve got everything you need, it’s time to get started! Armed with these handy tools, you’ll soon be on your way to creating beautifully written letters and phrases just like the pros! Remember, the key to mastering the art of hand lettering is to have fun with it, so feel free to come up with your own personal style.


About The Author:

Alexandria enjoys writing on a variety of topics including floral design and wedding inspirations for FTD Fresh. When she’s not writing, she can be found at the beach or hiking.

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30 comments

  1. I love this so much! The art of writing anything out is almost lost and we need to bring it back! It’s so beautiful.

  2. Beautiful and informative! I had flashbacks to second grade cursive handwriting class at my Catholic school 🙂 I would probably get frustrated and just hire you to create the beautiful fonts for me!

  3. This is such a gorgeous post! I love hand lettering and once bought this little tablet thingy for graphic lettering so I can make my own font (the dreams!) but I just can’t seem to get the hang of it. This is definitely helpful xx

  4. Looks like so much fun I would love to try this. My writing isn’t terrible so I think I could manage something like this. I just need to think of a purpose for it, probably something decorative.

  5. Oh this is so great! I LOVE hand lettering, it’s just so beautiful and romantic! I am going to pin this so I can reference it in the future.

  6. I Love this, so beautiful! I pinned this to share with my daughter as she is more of an artist than me! 🙂

  7. I absolutely love hand lettering. My instagram feed is just covered in it, haha! I’ve been trying to practice a few different styles but I find mine always ends up looking the same. It looks nice, but I can’t seem to master any variants.

  8. This is so beautiful. I love that this is considered an art. I can’t beleive a lot of schools aren’t even teaching cursive anymore.

  9. This is so pretty!! I miss writing beautiful cursive by hand. This is something we should all practice more!! Calligraphy just flows so beautifully.

  10. Hand lettering is so beautiful. I have some stuff my sister gave me for Christmas to try and practice but I have yet to get on it. Hope I can get the hang of it fast and easily!

  11. Wow, feels so nostalgic. Reminded of my good old school days when we wrote hand written letters. Love to recreate the magic and revive the lost art in me. Thank you for bringing this up and with great tips and tools!

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