How to Improve Your Lettering Skills

Hey there!

Question: Do you want to improve your lettering skills? 

This past weekend I was asked how I did just that. And I have some answers! I thought it'd be a great time to recap the 100 day challenge I just finished. I set out to complete a hand lettered word or phrase every day for 100 days. For me, this was a follow-up project to another 100 day lettering challenge that I did in 2012 that I called Type-o-sketch and cataloged on my Tumblr.

Last time I did the 100 day project, I mainly focused on different creative type treatments that I could illustrate. This time, I really wanted to improve my hand lettering and calligraphy skills and wanted to try my hand at lots of different techniques. I used a variety of tools to do this: pencils, pens, Crayola markers(yes!), Tombow brush pens, watercolors, acrylic ink, oblique pens, small paintbrushs, chalk and even lentils. There are so many tools you can use to practice lettering, but the great thing is you don't need fancy supplies. However, using different tools not only kept it interesting for me, but each technique had me constantly learning along the way.

A few of my favorite exercises from the challenge.

My top 2 tips to improve your lettering skills are:
#1 PRACTICE and #2 Studying the work of others

I know, practice is obvious but that's really the hardest part. People want to skip the tough part of learning a new skill, but practice and putting in the work is actually what's going to get you there. You can't improve overnight. And don't get discouraged if it doesn't come easy...just keep practicing and eventually the muscle memory in your hands will do it automatically!

My other tip is to look at the work of other letterers as much as possible. If you've never drawn a word where some of the letters get all swoopy and fancy (that's called a flourish) it's hard to know how to make it look just right. I suggest you study the letters/phrases other people have drawn and try to figure out how they drew those letters and flourishes. Then look at another artist to see how they do it differently. The more artists you look at, the more well-rounded knowledge of lettering you'll have and plenty of ideas of how to make your lettering interesting.

I've seen my lettering improve so much over the past 100 days, but I still have so much to learn. That's why I'll keep on practicing myself! If you want to follow some of the lettering artists I'm inspired by, I'll share the links below. And if you have any questions regarding lettering, feel free to reach out to me! Just send me an email or message me on Instagram!

Happy lettering! :)