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Hand lettering is something that takes practice, but once you have a handle on basic strokes, letters, and words, it’s nice to make something special out of that skill! Quote art is the most common use for hand lettering, and I’m going to give you the basic steps to creating your own quote art.
One of the nice things about hand lettering is the minimal supplies. All you need is a couple of pencils, eraser (I will tell you about the magical eraser that changes everything!), pencil sharpener, and a brush pen.
First, select the quote you would like to letter, and quickly sketch it out in a simple style. I have found that a 2B pencil works best for this, because the graphite isn’t too hard or too soft (Goldilocks, anyone?).
The drawing pencils I like are Tombow MONO Drawing pencils. I have purchased the full pack, as well as several smaller packs. They are high quality pencils, and are perfect for sketching lettered pieces.
Next, go over the entire piece with a pencil with harder graphite. My preference is HB because it erases nicely, yet creates a crisp line. For this layer, you want to edit the piece by re-shaping your letters. I much prefer this to using multiple sheets of tracing paper, because using tracing paper to trace over your last piece means you keep re-creating your piece, rather than shaping it. It is easy to end up with something that looks even more off than when you started!
Here’s my secret weapon- the Tombow MONO Zero Eraser. This little guy has the tiniest eraser tip and is retractable. Once you are finished fine-tuning your piece, go over any lines you don’t want, and use the MONO Zero eraser to erase them. Sometimes I will go through this process 2-4 times until I am happy with the layout and fine details of the piece.
The final step is to ink your piece onto smooth cardstock. The best cardstock for lettering is the Gina K. Designs Layering White cardstock. Because brush pens are felt tipped usually, they must be used only on smooth paper and cardstock. Out of all the white cardstocks I have tried, Gina K.’s is the best.
The brush pen I am using is the Tombow Fudenosuke Fine Tip Brush Pen. This pen is the ultimate for brush lettering. It has a firm, pointed tip with good flexibility that makes it especially easy for beginners. This pen has been my go-to since I started lettering. (I have over 55 of them… Never count your art supplies.)
I highly recommend that you use a light box for this step. I own one, but unfortunately, I loaned it to my sister. An iPad is a great solution, however, as well as a window. (Although it is tricky to use a brush pen on a window that is facing vertically. Not too many people have windows in their floors.)
Smudge. I have another secret weapon. This happens to me all the time. Because cardstock is so smooth, ink doesn’t always dry instantly. And because I have no patience, and am always swiping my hands over my papers, the ink smudges.
The Tombow MONO Sand Eraser is literally made of sand and will grind away smudges. This eraser has saved many pieces from the trash. It does take a bit of the paper off as well, but it is very minimal and just looks rougher in that section. Just don’t go all crazy on the smudge.
Last step is to add a little illustrative detail! I kept it simple, at kindergarten level with my little sun. I used my favorite yellow Tombow Dual Brush Pen- 055. I just bought a back up Yellow 055 in case my old one died. I like to be prepared. Not for real things, like project due dates or knowing what I’m making dinner, I’m just prepared for things like every brush pen dying at once. (Hence the 55+ Fude pens.)
Thanks for stopping by! Check out my Instagram- @letteredandlovelydesigns (cardmaking) and @emilyloggansdesign (lettering)!