Lettering for beginners: how to draw letters and make money on it

Anastasia Sergeeva
22.06.2017

Lettering for beginners: how to draw letters and make money on it

The number of people who are interested in lettering is growing day by day, because besides the fact that this is just an interesting and creative activity, it can bring additional and sometimes basic income to the designer when developing proper skills. We also offer you to master lettering for beginners, and we will tell you how to structure this business, where to start and what to continue, what materials and tools to use. Go!

What is lettering?

You know exactly what lettering is, if you are quite active in using the Internet, like fashionable things and visit popular modern places. It is even surprising how well lettering entered our life: creative text compositions from various fonts, fancy and not so much, can be seen on the chalk boards for a menu in a cafe, among world brand logos, on street billboards, modern cards, wedding invitations, in headlines magazines,in the header of websites - the list can be continued for a long time. It looks like this, for example:

Lettering collage

Or so:

Examples of lettering

And even so:

Cyrillic Lettering

Examples can be cited in thousands, because lettering is limited only to the authors' imagination - but taking into account the basics of typography and calligraphy, of course. In a sense, lettering is a modern calligraphy, only a fraction of the creative freedom here is very large, and the rules are not so strict. By the way, what is the difference between calligraphy and lettering? After all, for beginners, these concepts at first do not have a tangible difference. But let's find out:

  • The concept of “lettering” is a borrowed English word “lettering”, translated by the Cyrillic alphabet, which essentially means “lettering”. To be precise, the lettering includes graphic tracing of various letters and symbols, which form a single composition of the same or different fonts, having a common style and suitable for any particular situation.

Lettering example

  • Calligraphy itself is the creation of a hand lettering / text, where all the letters have the same style and look readable. It is usually used when writing more voluminous texts, letters, certificates. For example:

Calligraphy example

In order to understand the difference between calligraphy and lettering, remember the following: letters in calligraphy are written exclusively, and in lettering they are more likely drawn.

How to make money on lettering?

We have already briefly described where you could meet lettering - it means that in these same areas you can earn money if you master lettering for beginners, and then hone your skills and collect a portfolio. You can draw logos for brands, create trendy hand-made cards or prints for clothes and hats, create sketchbooks and business cards, design trendy coffee houses and other places (you should master chalk lettering), design websites and blogs, draw stickers - the potential of this the skill is huge. Moreover, lettering is taught for beginners - those who want to learn it now are just a sea.

Lettering Cards

If the works are worthy, then you will be able to offer your services in manning and fight for the fulfillment of orders with other designers, and if the works are very good and you have a large audience of fans (talking about subscribers in popular social networks), then the customers themselves will to find you.Then the shape of letters and words can probably become your main source of income - isn’t it fine?

Book cover

In the end, the lessons in lettering are just very exciting, they help to realize themselves in their work, relieve tension after a hard day, and distract from everyday fuss. And your cards to relatives, friends and colleagues, decorated with the help of such creative text inscriptions, will be the most original gift.

Lettering for beginners - mastering instructions

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Of course, the easiest way is to go to a lettering course for beginners, where experienced designers will tell you everything and, most importantly, they will show it clearly. You will be able to work at a more active pace than at home, you will receive timely tips from teachers, watch the mistakes of other students, so that you don’t repeat them yourself. However, experts are not everywhere, and they work by no means free of charge, so we move on to the next option.

The second method is independent learning. Now such a direction of graphics could not be more popular, which is of great importance for beginners, because due to the wide demand a corresponding offer is formed.As a result, there is a lot of information around. Most of the content, however, is in English - but in the case of video tutorials, much will be clear without words.

Choose accessories

There are many tools with which you can create font compositions, and the use of different accessories will help to achieve different results, simplify the development of some techniques and make the process even more interesting. However, all these things are not cheap, so it is not necessary on the first day to spend a fortune on materials and tools for lettering. You can start with the simplest and most affordable accessories that you may already have in your home - for example, ordinary black pens and felt-tip pens.

Pens and liners

They use different tools in lettering, depending on the chosen style and personal preferences, but basically they are:

  • permanent markers - paint tight and dull;
  • liners are like dense felt-tip pens, draw richly and without “bald spots”;
  • pens - usual gel or ball pens for writing and training;
  • water-brush (pen-brush for paints) - for painting with watercolors, creating smooth gradient transitions;
  • brush-pen - a marker with a very soft and flexible tip, helps to create fine lines;
  • synthetic brushes are a simpler tool for paints and mascaras.

Lettering paper should be thick, so normal office paper will not work. For beginners, suitable and simple albums for drawing, or dense sketchbooks, you can also use watercolor paper and special paper for the printer. Lettering looks good on multi-colored paper, even on black - but then you need to buy white liners or white paint.

Learn fonts and typography

First of all, the lettering gurus are not advised to start learning right away from drawing. People who are learning to draw from the start do not receive proper development, something in their works continues to be “raw”, wrong, odd.The missing piece of the puzzle is a clear understanding of the basics of typography and calligraphy, an understanding of forms, styles, composition and other nuances. This knowledge will take you to another level in the art of lettering.

Different fonts

There are a lot of articles and videos about typography and fonts on the Internet, say, on the Youtube service, and if you understand English, then there are even more opportunities to learn everything yourself (writing for beginners is good for learning Sean McCabe video lessons, for example). We offer to watch one of the useful videos - interesting examples of how typography is used in our daily life:

Read also:

Watch fonts and lettering in everyday life: in stores, magazines, in cafes, on posters, etc. Try to see the pattern of their use, call for help your own feelings as a client: which letters work better for you? Which inscription attracts more, which more accurately conveys the content? In a coffee house with some lettering would you rather go? Why?

Such observations help to gain an understanding of the "anatomy" of letters, the laws of typography. For example, it would be helpful to understandwhat exactly the Serif font adds to any text composition in comparison with the Sans-Serif font, which adds more volume and depth to the text, etc. In this case, you will find that lettering makes it possible to play with the fonts in each case - to create interesting transitions, for example, or to dilute strict fonts with playful calligraphic curls.

Stuff your hand

For beginners, lettering at the first stage looks like calligraphy lessons: you just need to find samples of beautiful fonts that you like and start writing them in a notebook or lined album. Write letter by letter, and lowercase, and uppercase, just as we did in the first grade of the school, observing the order of the image of different parts of the letters and keeping the same distance between them.

Recipe letters

Printed letters

Then train to draw various curls, tails, squiggles, which then you will enter in the writing of letters and words. Pay attention and handwritten fonts, and figure, and strict typographical. It is important that you learn to confidently hold a tool in your hand, and develop muscle memory when writing letters.

Curls and lines

Start simple

Now, from letters and curls, you can make words and phrases. We advise you to immediately practice writing in both Russian and English - in the latter, by the way, thanks to the peculiarities of the Latin alphabet, there are even more opportunities to create a beautiful textual composition. You can take the first words and write them in the album, or you can train by writing down your favorite quotes or phrases. Do not be afraid to experiment, write each word / phrase several times, changing the style of writing and even the font. Try different tools, and pen, and markers, and paints, hone skills.

Workout recipe

Lettering samples

Copy others

Of course, redrawing other people's work for commercial purposes is not worth it - it is theft of copyright content, but for training purposes this method can help you learn to feel the composition better, follow the interaction of different styles and fonts, and develop the muscle memory of hands again, remembering how paper, these or other letters and design elements. On the Internet, you can find a lot of beautiful lettering, as well as tutorials that will help you more accurately reproduce work.

White letters on a black background.

The inscriptions on the picture

Generate your own content

And finally, the most important stage is the creation of your own alphanumeric compositions and drawings. Now that you have filled your hands on writing letters and fonts, you have learned how to perfectly reproduce already existing drawings, have cultivated a sense of style, imbued with the work of typographers, designers and type designers - you can create your own original lettering works. This is the stage that will allow you to no longer add pictures “to the table”, and, perhaps, to publish them in social networks or a blog, and receive feedback from other users, as well as useful criticism that will help you improve further.

4 lettering examples

What is the way to create your own drawings? In fact, each artist chooses for himself the algorithm that is most convenient for him, but basically you can follow the following steps:

  1. Select the phrase you want to display.
  2. Draw several different sketches using a simple pencil. You can start with block letters, defining only the size of each word and its location on a piece of paper.
  3. Choose the best sketch and transfer it to a new sheet, already giving the letters the desired style and font.
  4. Improve the sketch by sculpting each letter, giving it volume.Sketch the inscription first completely with a pencil, if it is more convenient for you, and only then paint the entire outline with a ready-made contour. If you paint with colors, then the sketch should be thin, so that it does not shine through the watercolor layer later.
  5. At the last stage, you can scan and digitize work if you want to do graphic lettering for web design.Instructions for lettering

Practice as much as possible.

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Lettering for beginners seems to be difficult, and beginners are extremely skeptical of their work, but subsequent practice always changes things. The more you draw, work out the recipes and fonts, redraw the composition several times when needed, the better your skills will become.

Get ready for the fact that the lettering takes a lot of time, and this occupation should be treated not just as entertainment, but also as a serious study. Especially in the case when you plan to earn it later. Draw a lot, every day draw your drawings more than you see other people's works. Try new techniques, add new elements, imagine that you are drawing a postcard, a book cover, a logo for a well-known company. And the result is not long in coming!

2 sample labels

And finally, since chalk chalk lettering is very popular now, we invite you to watch a master class on creating a beautiful text composition in the following video:


Take it to yourself, tell your friends!
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  • Lettering for beginners: how to draw letters and make money on it

    Lettering for beginners: how to draw letters and make money on it

    Lettering for beginners: how to draw letters and make money on it

    Lettering for beginners: how to draw letters and make money on it

    Lettering for beginners: how to draw letters and make money on it

    Lettering for beginners: how to draw letters and make money on it

    Lettering for beginners: how to draw letters and make money on it

    Lettering for beginners: how to draw letters and make money on it

    Lettering for beginners: how to draw letters and make money on it

    Lettering for beginners: how to draw letters and make money on it

    Lettering for beginners: how to draw letters and make money on it Lettering for beginners: how to draw letters and make money on it Lettering for beginners: how to draw letters and make money on it Lettering for beginners: how to draw letters and make money on it Lettering for beginners: how to draw letters and make money on it Lettering for beginners: how to draw letters and make money on it Lettering for beginners: how to draw letters and make money on it Lettering for beginners: how to draw letters and make money on it Lettering for beginners: how to draw letters and make money on it Lettering for beginners: how to draw letters and make money on it Lettering for beginners: how to draw letters and make money on it Lettering for beginners: how to draw letters and make money on it Lettering for beginners: how to draw letters and make money on it Lettering for beginners: how to draw letters and make money on it Lettering for beginners: how to draw letters and make money on it Lettering for beginners: how to draw letters and make money on it Lettering for beginners: how to draw letters and make money on it Lettering for beginners: how to draw letters and make money on it Lettering for beginners: how to draw letters and make money on it