Exploring the Art of Hand Lettering

And just like that, we’re onto month two of The Heartward Project! Last month, I spent time developing my printmaking skills and am now able to share my 10 tips for the beginning printmaker. Since February is the shortest month, I wanted to pick my project accordingly, and so I will be exploring the art of hand lettering!

Hand lettering is something that I dabble in daily, but I often find myself unable to push beyond my basic style and find enjoyment in my timid explorations. Every time I search for tips I see “Practice, practice, practice!” And as least-helpful that advice may seem, I’m confident that it is the solution. So, here goes February!


Not all of you may find hand lettering to be the most thrilling or fascinating, but it’s really a skill I’d like to master. Think of how helpful it is to have nice lettering to personalize projects. Many of the projects I have planned for 2017 will offer an opportunity to be enhanced with hand lettering, and so I want to be ready when that happens!

Beyond Calligraphy

Improving my calligraphy is definitely on the list to master, but hand lettering includes so much more than that! You can choose your font style, calligraphy with a nib, calligraphy with a brush pen, “fauxlligraphy”, adding any other graphical elements to illustrate the quote, even the type of paper can make a difference; there are just so many options to find the one that fits your style best!

Thin upstrokes, thick downstrokes. (You’ll learn that right there is the key to great hand lettering.)

The Pen That Changed It All

Okay, so maybe that’s a tad dramatic, but that’s really how I felt when I first bought the Pentel Sign Pen (with the brush tip)! It is a pen from Michael’s that I bought by chance, and I fell absolutely in love with it. It’s so easy to write with and gives you great control over varying between thin and thick strokes!

I’ll do my best to practice with other writing utensils throughout this month, but I’m pretty sure my heart has been stolen away by this pen. (Be careful, I’ve purchased this pen by accident because the two look alike and are similarly labeled. This one is more similar to a felt tip pen and doesn’t offer the same flexibility that’s needed for many hand lettering styles.)

Beginning with the Basics

As there are so many directions I could take with hand lettering, I’m going to choose a “theme” to focus on for each week. I did this with printmaking and found it very helpful! The first couple days of February have been dedicated to practicing my brushstrokes. This is especially helpful if you are unfamiliar with a new pen or calligraphy nib that you are using.

There are all kinds of freebies out there, but the Not Your Average Calligraphy Drills Sheet from The Postman’s Knock that I found on Pinterest is possibly the most exciting one I have come across! Along with practicing from that worksheet, I’ve been doing simple exercises on scratch paper; thin upstrokes, thick downstrokes. (You’ll learn that right there is the key to great hand lettering.)

I think both of these exercises are a great way to warm up before diving in to more complicated styles. So I’m going to take my time and make it a goal to practice these methods daily! Off I go! Tune into my InstagramFacebook, and Twitter accounts to see the most recent updates throughout the month!

Related: 2017: My Most Creative Year Yet | The Heartward Project Kickoff

Please share with me below your best tips for mastering hand lettering, or what you’ve chosen to tackle for your February project!

Let’s All Be Heartward.

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