How to get started with Hand Lettering


Hand lettering can turn out to be both a hobby and a lucrative job that will earn you good package every day. It is not about how much you know or the level of experience. When it comes to hand lettering, everything is totally different what matters is the interest to learn. Technology has advanced and simplified all the problems that come with hand lettering. In fact, there are free tutorials on how to get started online and this gives everyone an option to give it a try. The magic that letters can bring to the eyes is what makes this art beautiful in its own sense.  It is possible to widen, stretch, or make some stylish marks on letters in order to add beauty and bring out a different meaning altogether which creates a visual balance. There is something more to hand lettering as it continues to grow in popularity globally.  It is one of the best freelancing jobs that could earn you money without much hassle since it’s a hobby anyway.

Well, there are few tips that all beginners have to consider before embarking on hand lettering. Once you have the passion and have all it takes to move to the next level, then you also have to consider these steps:

Ignore the myths

It is possible to get some misconceptions that you must have some special pens and papers for anything to get done, but this is false. If you are very much interested in drawing styles, then they are not necessary. When you are getting started do not invest more on the tools than how much you need to train yourself.


Focus on letters

This is as simple as it sounds; always give much attention to letters whenever come across them.  At this point, feel free to do some experiments with letters and get the feeling they bring to you. You need to master different kinds of styles and if possible try them out in a separate book for practice purposes.

Invest in learning

There are many doubts for beginners ranging from which tools to use and how to do it. In order to get all these questions answered, the best you can do is get an in-depth understanding of hand lettering through the tutorials on the internet. There are also some resourceful books that will enrich you with ideas on how to get started.


This is the key secret. Once you have put your mind onto hand lettering, then nothing should keep you back, you can do this at anytime and even draw letters that could give a feeling of love, elegance, fear or whatever you want. This will eventually develop into habits and produce unique art.

How to make money from hand drawn lettering


Hand drawn lettering is the latest skill that has proved to be relevant in the modern world. Making the art of lettering attractive will enable it to stand out and call the attention of those around. Whether it is a billboard or a business card, the way you bring it out matters a lot. Hand lettering was dated back in the 1800s; it is therefore an art that has been evolving with time depending on the technology at hand. All you need to begin with is simply writing the word and this can be easily done by the dip pen technology.

At times, you can opt to use a pen and brush. Once this has been done, get your pencil and make some parallel lines on the opposite side of each down stroke. This should take a minimum space of around 6mm. when this has been done; you will then have to choose the right kind of writing utensil. At this point, you can be creative enough to use some walnut ink or simply a dip pen. It all depends on what you want. When drawing the lines, always ensure that each end has touched the pencil mark while the other end near the down stroke needs to have some consistent level of distance.

Once the drawing has been done, you need to be patient enough to wait for everything to dry after which the pencil lines can now be erased. There are however some tips that will help you get started and eventually start earning from hand drawn lettering technique:

Evaluate the world around

There are different niches of hand written calligraphy and all you need to know is the preferences of those around you. If you reside in a place that has many companies for instance, then you have an idea that business cards will be on demand since there are several professionals as well. Make sure you get your site set up and optimized for local SEO optimization with a Connecticut SEO agency if you live in CT, and New Jersey one if you are in NJ, etc. The good thing about designing is the fact that there are no rules to be followed; you only need to be more creative, persistent and focused in producing the best. Most of the perfect work comes from practice, it’s not therefore offensive to try out and experiment as much as you can before coming up with the right theme for your market. Sooner or later, your clients will come for your creative work and of course pay for it.

Get to the media

Social networking is the key factor for any entrepreneur who wants to thrive. In this case, you need to have an online portfolio that will link you to companies and other individual clients who have fallen in love with your work. Have a professional portfolio and let it fully explain what you are good in, this can be simplified in the form of a cover letter and a resume. If possible get a closer touch with your clients through social channels such as face book and instagrams as this will also build trust and create a bigger networking link.

Be a good time manager

When it comes to freelance work, there is need for more discipline since you will be your own manager, secretary, planner, legal team. This means you need to be more responsible than ever before. Give much value to every aspect of the business contract that comes your way.  Once you have established your own chain of customers, look for ways of getting more and do not forget to do away with petty contracts. Sell your name big and you will get the right kind of clients.

Get inspiration

There is need to add more to what already exists. This means hand drawn lettering, like any other technology needs to be improved or innovative from time to time. Feel free to learn online or from other designers and aim at coming up with unique services as this is the only way your name will sell on top. Develop as well an honest attitude especially while working with people and aim for the best results even while on small projects. Hand lettering skill is more of a hobby but it is possible to turn it into a profession that will eventually make you rich.

Check out this cute little video of a simple 3 word lettering example:

Materials and Tools for Lettering Artists


Once you have turned into a lettering artist, you need to come up with the right materials and tools that will make your work exclusive. Custom typography can only become successful when the right combination of tools has been used. Lettering is simply the manner in which letters are drawn in a skillful way. The main reason why this is done is usually to come up with a design aesthetic that looks more creative and appealing to the eye. The typography characters on the other hand are usually prefabricated just like you can easily type on the keyboard.

When you are venturing in the world of lettering, there are some useful tools and resources that you need to begin with. Calligraphy is an art that anyone can do, your own handwriting can look horrible in your eyes but again this could be an asset on someone’s wedding day for as long as you do it with a dip pen. Modern calligraphy has won much approval from people since it outdoes the traditional rules. The modern kind of calligraphy gives more space to freedom and identification of an individual personality.


What tools should I use in faux calligraphy?

When you are a starter, this is where it needs to begin. The cork holder is an essential tool that you need to purchase along with a wooden holder. Apart from these, you also need to have the nibs which are usually placed in the holder. When working with the nib, it is advisable to hold on to it’s base since it can easily hurt you with its tines. You will also require the ink and a paper, the recommended ink for beginners is sumi ink. Then you also need the ‘art water’ to ensure the nibs are clean. When using a dip pen, only the holder needs to be moved. Hand lettering has advanced at its best in the modern world and this means you need a handy kit that will get you started. Here are some of the common tools for the lettering artist:

The artist pens

There are many reasons as why you need to have the artist pens and these ranges from lettering, doodling, among other roles. The pen needs a flexible tip as it an easily bend and also get back to its original shape. It can also create thick lines and is the perfect tool for brush lettering.

The paint maker

First of all, it needs to be water based in order to give the best results. Just in case you need some bold lines, then this is the perfect tool. It does not fade and does not react with water. The good thing about this tool is the fact that it is cost effective and can be easily found in the nearby stores. Just in case you are a newbie, it is recommended that you go through the details in order to know how it is used and the best way to use in order to give you ultimate results.

Watch this video for a run down of the necessary tools:

The Big White pen

For the artists who are working on darer surfaces, then the best tool is the big white pen. Much as it normally gives an opaque like background, it does not fade and it also gives the waterproof marks especially after drying, this makes it ideal for layering purposes. When you are just venturing in the world of lettering it is important to go through the labels and instructions within the kit in order to get effective results.

The Nibs

They are commonly used by professionals, for the starters the brause Nibs are the most appropriate since they are made of high quality materials and are also stiff. They do have a chisel shape and come in various sizes. With only $17 you can easily order for the nibs online from reliable manufacturers.

The ruling pen

Its main objective is lettering. If you need to produce exclusive and expressive letters, then this the best tool for use. Just in case you need to vary the width of the line, then all you need is to tilt the pen. This pen has a wooden handle and also has a writing section.

What is “Lettering”?


Lettering is simply an art of drawing letters in the best way that you can choose. Many artists prefer to use certain materials in order to come up with the best results. Since it is an old time skill, a good number of upcoming designers have integrated the modern approaches in order to make it much appealing and creative. Before considering this skill, you need to have a passion and a focus as well. The most basic materials needed for a starter include a ruler and a paper. The main role of the ruler is to help you come out with the overall plot of what you want; this is usually done before sketching. If you are dealing with an informal project, then you need a printed paper. First of all, it is cheap and there is no need for any hard copy once you have it. The Bristol board on the other hand is for the kind of work which needs much endurance; it is normally smooth and has a shiny surface. Finally, if you are cautious on how your lines should look, then a grid paper is the best option; it’s also cheap and can be accessed easily from the stores.

Who can do lettering?  Well, this is more of a hobby and it means anyone can learn when he wants, for as long as you can write, then lettering can as well be that easy, only you will need some materials and tools to give your work an appealing look for professional purposes. When lettering, there are some few basics that should always be followed by the artists:


The art of lettering has become common and everyone can do it in a different way. The best you can do therefore is important to upgrade your skills from time to time in order to keep with the pace of the advancing technology.

Visual communication

Lettering should be able to communicate to those around, much as it can just be a hobby, the message needs to come out clearly especially if its for commercial purposes. Lettering is more inclined to the aspect of design and the designer always needs to know what exactly is needed for the project.

Get focused

There are many ways in which lettering can be done especially on a professional domain; however you have to stick to what you know best.  Once you have evaluated the needs of the potential clients, the best you can do is investing in that field and let no obstacle hold you back. For instance, the designer who is good at making the cake toppers cannot handle the business cards as well since it is a mix of interests.

You can find many places on the web to help train you for lettering. Here’s just one example on YouTube. This is a lettering tutorial.

What is the difference between “type” and “lettering”?


Do you have a passion for lettering? This skill has enabled some enthusiastic designers to be on top in their field. It is possible to turn your passion into a career. With this skill, some designers are able to make unique greeting cards or cake toppers for birthdays or weddings. It all starts in your simple journey with having an interest. Once you have developed a passion for calligraphy, the next move is to get the right tools and knowledge on how to get started.

Since the 90s, there has been an increasing evolution in the world of typography. A good number of designers have been able to make their careers meaningful through custom lettering. There, is however, a need to understand some concepts used within this field. Type and hand lettering in this case are not the same as people have always thought.

What exactly is typography?

This is basically the manner in which letters usually interact on the surface in relation to how the type has to be set. In simple facts, it is the appearance and can be closely related to typesetting, for that matter. Our modern world is digitally motivated and this means designers have to work with fonts for a long time.  A good number of designers also view letterpress as a passion since it also involves some use of typesetting. Lettering is therefore not the same as typography; every designer should work and talk with professionalism to clients as it is also another way of working in an excellent way.


When certain letterforms have been configured for similar use, then this aspect is known as lettering. This is usually done with the use of pens or brushes although there are some designers who prefer to do lettering with the use of Adobe. Lettering and typography are not the same much as they both deal with letters, the fact remains there is a difference in their mode of application. They do not have the same connotations either. The main differences between lettering and type lies in the rules applied and letter spacing, among other factors.


The spacing

When you have not given enough attention to spacing, then everything can turn out messy. When it’s on a type platform, then spacing between is known as ‘kerning’ while on other platforms, the same term cannot be used. Instead, spacing in lettering is always referred to as tightening up. There are many applications in which typography can be used, such as body text; otherwise, lettering is more of a display text. This explains why calligraphy is commonly used when it comes to longer texts since it is typically a penmanship medium. Take a look at some calligraphy fonts from Defont to see a variety of styles.

(check out some helpful tips on this video about lettering)

Type and lettering are not the same

Type usually consists of letters that are already prefabricated and can be used for a long time depending on the manner of the project, while lettering constitutes of one letter at a time and can only be used once for a single piece. They are typically used for a specific purpose. A good example of type is the fonts which are commonly used for a long time.  In fact writing in itself has been viewed as a way of lettering in its simplest form.  In the same manner that lettering and type differs, so do typefaces and fonts. Much as they can sound the same, there is a thin margin that separates the two. A typeface is basically the design used for a given set of letters while a font is the medium used. In simple terms, the font acts more like a delivery mechanism and this could be in the form of wood pieces. The type face reveals the way in which things actually look while font is a style, it is simply what the designer has to use. Nowadays there are many professionals in this field, and lettering is no doubt one of the easiest and creative freelancing jobs that one can come across. There are many useful resources and tutorials online that can get you started. You can do it as a pastime hobby, or take it to the next level and develop an entire career out of it depending on your time and inner drive!