How to do Hand Lettering with Free Printable Worksheets!
Have you wanted to learn how to do hand lettering? Have you tried it already? Do you love it?
Let me teach you how to do hand lettering! It's a gorgeous style of writing that does not need any skill in penmanship, handwriting or even cursive. It's an art form, where you shape and style the letters in a fluid and playful way. It takes practice, but is fun and rewarding.
This trend is not going anywhere, so learn how to do it today!
It might be the creative escape you need, it might blossom into a business! Use my free printables (link at the end of the post) to practice the basic drills, learn letter shapes and begin to develop your own style.
Here's some fun ideas for your hand lettering journey:
- Start an Instagram page JUST for your hand lettering posts
- Use hand lettering as a relaxing therapy at the end of a busy day
- Offer your skills during the holidays at local stores for hand written tags for gifts
- Teach classes to the local Girl Scouts/Youth groups/Shelters
- Offer classes at the local Library
- Digitize your Hand lettering work and make merchandise to sell
- Hand letter cards for holiday, occasion or greeting cards
- Make custom cake toppers
- Holiday Gift Tags
- Make custom wall art and home decor
- Paint hand lettered store windows
- Write menus on chalkboards
- Addressing envelopes
- Open an Etsy shop for custom work
- Set up a business and do full wedding suites
- Write name bookmarks for a kids class at a local school
- Leave notes around town to brighten others day
I'm sharing with you, my loving readers, my very own personal lettering style. If you like to do a certain letter differently, do it! You have creative liberty to make your hand lettering your own style. As you practice more, you'll get more comfortable writing it your own way.
It's totally fine to trace, use pencil first and mimic styles you see when you get started. Just start!
Hand Lettering Tips:
- It's okay to stop while lettering and lift your pen--in fact, that's what you are supposed to do.
- This isn't cursive...not all letters need to connect.
- Give yourself time, go slow.
- Stretch out the letters, don't squish the shapes. Keep those oval shapes very oval.
- Don't worry about the "bottom line", let those words move up and down fluidly.
Supplies Needed for Hand Lettering:
Brush Tip Markers
I always recommend starting with Crayola Markers. You can push really hard on those marker tips and they don't fray or get destroyed. As you get better control with your thick and thin lines, you can experiment with more expensive markers.
I whole heartedly recommend Tombow Dual Brush Pens and my personal favorite, Tombow Fudenosuke Pens. I love the size of the Fudes and they come in a rainbow color pack too.
I have tried nearly every brush pen on the market and these are my recommendations. I work with Tombow as a Brand Ambassador, and continue to do so because I absolutely love their products.
I recommend Laser Jet Paper. It's smooth and slightly thicker than regular copy paper. If the paper is textured (like watercolor paper) it will fray your marker brush tips much quicker.
That said, I still use watercolor paper regularly, just know, it will use your markers up. This said, just get some cheap copy paper and Crayola markers and get started. Then upgrade when you are a little more comfortable.
Plus, you'll need the Free Printable Worksheets designed by me! Click the link at the end of this post for your free worksheets!
Step 1: How to Begin Hand Lettering
Begin by sitting properly at a desk. Hold the pen in your fingers like you hold a pencil, the good-old standard 1950's way. Correct posture makes a difference. Angle your paper slightly to the left if you are right handed.
Step 2: Thick and Thin Strokes
Now think "thick strokes down, thin strokes up". I repeat this to myself while I write. Press down on the edge of the brush pen to make a thick stroke every time you draw down on the paper. Lift the pen up to the very tip when you bring the pen up.
This is the trickiest part to get used to. This is the part you will want to practice. To get really good at hand lettering, try practicing basic drills for 15 minutes every day. Do the basic drills before hand lettering to get warmed up.
Here's the way I write my letters and the order I do the shapes. You can look at this as a reference if needed. Save it off on your phone to reference later!
Step 3: Basic Hand Lettering Strokes
There are 7 basic strokes in hand lettering. These are the shapes that make up the shapes of all the letters. If you get these basics down, you'll be golden. Practice these shapes for 15 minutes a day and to get warmed up before beginning a hand lettering project.
- Thick Down Stroke (full pressure)
- Think Up Stroke (hairline)
- Over Turn
- Under Turn
- Ascending Loop
- Descending Loop
There are some compound shapes, but these are perfect for getting started. Print off several of these, and practice these shapes.
Step 4: Majuscules and Minuscules
Now it's time to start practicing the Majuscules (capital letters) and Minuscules (lower case letters). Use the free printable as a reference, or start by tracing my letters.
Capital letters are much harder than lower case, so start with the lowercase and then go big.
Practice each individual letter on lined paper, graph paper or right over the top of my printable. Get comfortable writing out the letters.
Step 5: Connections and Flourishes
After spending some time with individual letters, practice connecting letters into words. I love using pangrams for the best way to practice using all the letters of the alphabet in one sentence.
When you get comfortable with connecting letters, add some flourishes at the beginning of words and the ends of words. You can see some of my examples. I like simple flourishes, but you can go all over the place with flourishing and embellishments!
Here's some pangrams you can try lettering:
- The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.
- The five boxing wizards jump quickly.
- Jackdaws love my big sphinx of quartz.
Do you feel overwhelmed? Don't stress. Give yourself time. Record your progress and refer back to see how far you've come over the years.
Celebrate your progress!
Start an instagram or post them on facebook, it's so fun to look back and see that progress. Don't get cringed out, just celebrate that you are a changing/teachable human! You are the most amazing human!
Practice makes progress!
I'm still not perfect, but I am confident in my lettering. I don't need to use pencil to do my layouts anymore and I feel comfortable lettering for someone while they watch. But, it took me 5 years to get this far.
Step 6: Fancy Hand Lettered Pieces
Now that you've got the supplies, printables, basic strokes down, writing letters, connecting letters, and adding some flourished--you are ready for a fancy piece!
I use Tombow Dual Brush Pens and Watercolor paper to make a watercolor wash. (More details on Watercolor washes on this post). Then let it dry completely and add a hand lettered quote, thought, name, greeting or mantra.
What will your first fancy piece be?
Make a cute cake topper by writing on a watercolor washed paper, tearing the edges and using mini clothespins to hook it to a twine. Tie the twine to 2 paper straws and stick it in the top of a cake or brownie stack.
Make a framed piece of art for your home decor!
After a bit of practice you can let your imagination soar and let your hand lettering skills take off! Start a business or side hustle...or just do it for fun and the enjoyment of the process. Use it to brighten someone else's day!
I write so much hand lettering pieces that I end up with a huge stack of papers. I take them around town and leave them places for people to find. I've been known to send a few off to anyone of my followers that gives me their address. I include them in packages that I send to customers.
I stick them on gifts, throw them in the mail with a candy bar for the mail carrier, and even hand them to cashiers at the store just to say thanks!
I hope this tutorial helps you feel inspired and confident to start or continue a hand lettering journey! I'd love to cheer you on--tag me @doodlecraft in your social posts so I can celebrate with you!
Leave me a comment and let me know why you are excited to start hand lettering!
Here's the free printable worksheets. Please use for personal use only, teaching free classes is fine. Please do not remove watermark. Please give credit to me as appropriate. Thank you! I love sharing my projects and tutorials with my loyal readers and friends. Supporting my posts, skimming past ads, and buying from my affiliate links makes it possible for me to share so much of what I do for free.