Hand lettering, also known as Modern Calligraphy, is a huge trend in DIY and decor right now, because in our digital world, we don’t want to lose the art of handwriting. There’s something special about putting pen to paper, and we can do it in such a way that we create truly beautiful things. Believe it or not, anyone can learn to hand letter; it’s easier than you think. Today, I want to show you how to get started using just the supplies you have at home.
First of all, let me say that no two artists’ work will look exactly the same…that’s what makes it art! Second, there are TONS of ways to do hand-lettering. The most popular style is called “brush script,” which stands out by having a combination of thick and thin lines within each letter. There are two ways to get this look; one is called brush lettering, which is an art technique that requires a brush pen and a lot of practice and patience. For more on that, check out my brush lettering tutorials. If you’re just starting out, though, the best first step is something I call Faux Calligraphy…or “fake it till you make it”! This method is much easier and totally doable for literally anyone!
Materials for Basic Hand Lettering
a sketch book or medium weight drawing paper
a marker or pen (whatever you have around the house will do!)
To practice, we’re going to start with a short, simple word…just three letters! With the holidays coming up, it’s likely you might want to use this word on your decorations, cards, and more. Are you ready? It’s JOY! Now, grab your marker and let’s get started.
Step 1: Write “joy” in cursive, leaving a little bit of extra space in between your letters.
You can use as much or as little of a slant as you want. Feel free to play around with it as you practice.
Step 2: Find the down strokes and draw a second line next to them.
What’s a down stroke? It’s anyplace where your marker is moving in a downward direction when you naturally write the word. Anytime you write, your pen is moving in a direction on the page; either up, down, or across. If it’s going down, those are strokes we want to have the appearance of being thicker than the rest. Below, I’ve illustrated for you where those spots are in the word “joy”, but if you want to write a different word, all you have to do is pay attention to where your pen moves down when you write it.
Step 3: Fill in the double line areas with your marker to create the illusion of thicker lines.
In the process, you can make any little corrections you need to if some of your lines were shaky or not quite what you wanted.
Ta-da! There you have it! Your first piece of gorgeous hand-lettering! If you want to make it even fancier, feel free to embellish by adding a little flourish or a doodle. I accented mine with a simple sprig of holly; first I drew a curving line, a few circles, and some leaves, then colored them in. I like drawing curved lines because then I don’t have to worry about them being crooked.
Here’s a photo showing you the full progression side by side.
It will most likely take you a little bit of practice to feel comfortable with your lettering, but I promise, the more you try, the better you’ll get…”Practice makes progress!” Once you master writing, “joy,” try other words, like, “peace,” “love,” or your name. Just think how fun this could be when you’re addressing your Christmas cards this year, or making your own gift tags!
Try it on canvas to make some gorgeous home decor!
I’d love to see your progress; hop on over to the Amy Latta & Friends Facebook group and share your latest hand-lettering projects! Questions? Ask away! And be sure to pin this post for reference later.
Ready to take it a step further? Here are a few more resources:
And of course, don’t forget to check out my books!