Hand Lettering for Beginners
What is hand lettering?
Hand lettering is more than just creating fancy letters, it’s a form of art. Through various techniques and styles, hand lettering adds character and creativity to traditional handwriting. Although often compared to calligraphy, the freedom behind the strokes and design of hand lettering delivers a modern twist on the classic design.
Hand Lettering Tools:
When learning how to hand letter, it’s important that you have the right tools to support your work. These Faber-Castell materials are a great place to start.
Before getting started with ink, we recommend having a trusted graphite pencil on hand to create guidelines for your lettering, or even to sketch out your design. With break-resistant lead, the Goldfaber HB sketch pencil is a great choice.
The most important tool when it comes to mastering hand lettering, is a brush pen. Brush pens are flexible but dimensionally stable with a stroke that can vary from 1 to 5mm wide. We’ll touch on brush strokes later in this blog post.
An artist favorite, the brush Pitt Artist Pen is a high-quality hand lettering necessity. Available in 60 colors, Pitt Artist Pens are made with professional-quality India ink that won’t bleed through your pages, are waterproof, lightfast, and archival. These pens work beautifully on all types of paper and even canvas.
For even more flexibility, Pitt Artist Pen Dual Markers offer two tips, a brush nib and a 0.8mm fiber tip nib. Like the original Pitt Artist Pen, the dual markers are made with professional-quality India ink that won't bleed through your pages, are waterproof, lightfast, and archival.
Goldfaber Aqua Dual Markers are another essential brush lettering tool, but with double the creative abilities than a typical brush pen. Created with two tips, these markers have a brush nib along with a fineliner tip with a width of 0.6mm. The ink of Goldfaber Aqua Dual Markers is water based and completely water-soluble. Add water to your ink to create watercolor hand lettered art!
While brush pens are the most important tool for hand lettering, other Pitt Artist Pen nib sizes are useful to have for embellishments such as the soft brush and the bullet nib. Once you become more comfortable with lettering, there is a world of materials to explore and incorporate in your hand lettering. For now, these brush pens and markers are a great place to start.
Hand Lettering Fundamentals:
The way you hold your brush pen deeply affects the result of your stroke. Hold the brush about 2 inches above where the nib meets the barrel. If you hold the brush too close to the nib, you’ll lose the range of motion required.
In general, you want the nib to hit the paper at a 45-degree angle. A good way to test this is to put the tip of the nib perpendicular to the paper and slowly lower your hand until your pinky finger hits the page.
Strokes & Pressure:
When drawing, you want to pull the nib down to create a thicker stroke, and up to create a thinner stroke. Achieve thick downstrokes by using the body of your brush pen and applying heavy pressure. Achieve thin upstrokes by using the tip of your brush pen and apply very light pressure.
The lowercase alphabet is made up of ten basic strokes. By learning these strokes, you will not only be able to create the lowercase alphabet, but they will give you the fundamentals to begin to develop your own lettering style.
Practice with the Help of Faber-Castell:
Mastering hand lettering takes practice, practice, and more practice! Try out one of our lettering kits with workbooks for further tips, techniques, and inspiration.
Want more lettering inspiration? Check out these lettering kits: