I've been wanting to learn brush lettering for AGES.
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It's something I've always admired and that I frequently wished I knew how to do, from writing out envelopes nicely, to just filling in my diary- pretty handwriting skills have always eluded me, so over the summer I decided to really knuckle down and get it figured out.
Like we all do, I browsed Pinterest looking for free tutorials and guides, as I had decided I wanted to experiment first before investing in a full course. Mainly because I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted to learn and I also knew from previous investigations into brush lettering that learning the skill could be expensive. I wanted to be sure that whatever I got involved in was going to help me and be worth the investment.
Luckily I ended up discovering Lyssy Creates who has these brilliant free worksheets with an email challenge which explained the basic strokes and gave me space to practice with both large and small pens. I hadn't a clue how to do anything, so it was invaluable having instruction on these points right from the very basics including what pens to buy, paper, and even how to hold the pen.
I started with the Pentel Aquash Water Brush pens and some gouache paint as that's what I had lying around, and then ordered a set of Tom Bow Dual Brush pens and the Pentel Fude Touch Pens to test out later on when they arrived. I was lucky enough to have a random Pentel Fude floating around which I quickly realised is different to the Pentel Sign pens which I initially bought. For anyone wondering, they look EXACTLY the same, but are very different pens. The nibs ARE different and they do write differently. The way you can tell them apart is that the Fude Touch have a glittery case and the Sign pens have a plain case. This immediately made me feel better because my previous attempts at brush lettering had been hindered by the pen I was using (and not through lack of ability like I feared).
I found it was very important to find a pen I felt comfortable writing with as I practised and ended up preferring the chunky flick of the larger pens. Although the smaller Fude Touch became a pen I use regularly now too. I think it's worth shopping around and finding a few different pens to see which you like the best, but these are my favourites:
Soon after my Tom Bow arrived I also came across dual tip brush pens from WHSmith which were much cheaper, came in more colours and were just as good, which I highly recommend if you can find them.
After I spent a few weeks practising the basic strokes in both large and small pens I got a bit braver and began attempting simple letters.
I used Pinterest as a source of inspiration and tried to figure out how each letter was formed and repeated them in my notebook until I was happy with how they looked. I could definitely see improvement after a short while and it was interesting to see how my hand was willing to learn a new skill... muscle memory is fascinating thing.
Soon after I began my practice Lyssy conveniently launched a Booster Workbook which I purchased straight away to carry on my learning. This was a brilliant next step as it had all the fully formed upper and lower case letters in her style, set out in a similar format to her free worksheets, so I could continue developing my technique and understanding of the letter without much disruption.
I noticed that when I referred to other writers they would do their letters slightly differently, or they would have their own nuances, which was interesting, but as I was learning I found it too distracting having too many different styles of brush lettering to copy from and I would forget how to do them. Focusing solely on what Lyssy taught enabled me to pick things up much faster and soon I was able to write. Once I felt more confident at my alphabet and flourishes I was happier exploring variations and looking at what others were doing and began to include little tweaks to my style.
All in all it took about a month of daily casual practice to get to a point where I felt comfortable enough to try writing my own Lettering Artwork, which you can see here. It's not perfect, I certainly don't intend to go into business, but I'm really excited at how quickly I learnt these basics and I'm looking forward to exploring the skill further in time.
I'd love to try metallic inks on dark paper next.