The world is teeming with text, and unfortunately, not all of it is designed to be aesthetically pleasing. Text, like any other creative medium, has the potential to be dry and uninteresting. Hand lettering is one area, however, in which it really comes into its own and shines. This particular kind of letterform is drawn by hand, and it gives regular text a special flair by infusing it with personality and unique flourishes that you wouldn’t find in typical typefaces. This particular kind of letterform is called a hand lettering style.
The fact that a letter shape is hand-drawn makes it susceptible to peculiarities and irregularities, both of which have the potential to drive certain designers completely insane. However, this is what initially piques the interest of many people in hand lettering in the first place. As you draw, you should take pride in displaying this quality.
What are the key differences between hand lettering and calligraphy?
What then is the difference between hand lettering and calligraphy? Hand lettering and calligraphy are similar in that they both centre on text; however, hand lettering involves drawing the individual letterforms, while calligraphy refers to a style of writing.
The creative potential of hand lettering is greater than that of calligraphy. You are not required to utilise a certain tool or to execute specific strokes. In point of fact, you can make letters using virtually anything you can think of. Artists and illustrators will compose a term that is developed specifically for a single composition and the general style that it is attempting to accomplish. This word will also fit with the composition as a whole. For example, a fancy greeting card can call for an extravagant typeface that features enormous curves that sweep in multiple directions. If, on the other hand, you are designing invites for a robot-themed birthday celebration for a child who will be 8 years old, then bold block letters are more appropriate. The creative options are practically limitless when it comes to hand lettering.
In order to imitate what others have done for hundreds of years, learning calligraphy involves certain instruments, such as a nib and a nib holder, and it also has entire alphabets that you will need to practise. Although it is accomplished in a manner that is distinct from calligraphy, hand lettering can have the appearance of the latter. If you would like to hone your calligraphy skills, the following are some workbooks that you may use to practise writing the various alphabets.
Popular Uses for Hand Lettering
Hand lettering is found in a variety of settings, but one of the most prevalent is on stationery. It is natural that things like greeting cards, which are believed to be purchases for special occasions, have qualities that also have a sense of distinction because of how unique they feel. In addition to that, it is the ideal spot for emphasising a letter with some graphical flare.
A wonderful illustration of how the addition of hand-lettering can take a greeting card to the next level is provided by Emily McDowell, one of our favourite designers of greeting cards. Because her funny writing appears to have been penned by hand throughout, it exudes an air of individualization. When you examine her work more closely, you’ll notice that she frequently combines her cursive writing with printed text to give even her longest sentences a sense of visual flair. But if she’s only going to be showing a few words, she’ll choose one or two of them to highlight by drawing them larger or smaller than the others or using a different typeface.
Although stationery is a common place to practise hand lettering, it can also be an inventive method to embellish the objects that we use on a daily basis. Lettering artist Jen Mussari uses her skills and interest in sign painting to draw on motorcycle helmets and leather jackets, which are places you wouldn’t expect to find beautifully painted text. An otherwise ordinary notebook can have a fabulous cover when decorated with a written word, or it can be even more unconventional than that. An example of this can be seen in her work.
Hand lettering also provides a valuable opportunity to have your voice heard, which is a significant benefit of the practise. One common way that artists hone their skills is by sketching famous quotes, be they humorous, inspirational, or otherwise. Apps for social media platforms such as Instagram make it possible for the artist and the spectator to engage in conversation regarding the words that are printed on the page. Zachary Smith utilises his widely followed account as a means to encourage the thousands of people who follow him to maintain their best efforts.
Learn Hand Lettering
Hand lettering is something that can be produced by anyone with some ingenuity and a lot of practise. Aside from its visually appealing appearance, hand lettering is something that everyone can do. It can look difficult, but there are a lot of resources available for learning how to do it, so don’t be afraid. When it comes to sketching letterforms, we strongly suggest devoting some time to familiarising yourself with the fundamentals as well as the best techniques. In spite of the fact that it seems simple, getting the timing and appearance precisely perfect requires a significant amount of work behind the scenes in the form of practise and careful planning.
These pens are ideal for hand lettering.
It is not necessary to have an extensive assortment of pens in order to have a successful hand lettering practise. Having just a few essential kitchen implements on hand will be more than sufficient. To make matters even better, you can write with practically anything, including pencils, pens, and even markers. But the use of a pen is by far the most common (and ensures that the drawing is permanent) method of drawing.
You can use drawing pens (see out our guide to the finest drawing pens for more information), but as you get into hand writing, you’ll find that brush pens are really popular. So, what is it about them that makes them so unique? The line weight produced by a brush pen is intended to be variable. Other pens, such as ballpoint pens, are designed to produce writing with a consistent thickness throughout. Brush pens are styluses that imitate paintbrushes and contain flexible bristles made of natural or synthetic materials. The angle at which you hold the pen and the amount of pressure that you apply will determine the thickness of the line that you draw.
Learn more: Get Your Creative Juices Flowing With Art Ideas for Drawing, Painting, and Beyond