Hello brush lettering beginners! How do you make your brush lettering pieces unique? You have mastered the technique of using the brush pen and you’re even able to write beautiful lettering with it. The next step now is to make your brush lettering unique and different from your usual pieces.
I started out just writing in straight lines. I would centralize the words then that’s it. That’s what beginners normally do. But how do you make your brush lettering unique? Here are 3 ways that I use to give my pieces a bit more oomph:
FORM A CURVE
Sketch some curves lightly on your paper so you can plan where to place your words. Keep the hierarchy in mind—the most important word should be biggest to create more impact. Write your words in a slight curve to make it more interesting. Make the curve a bit wide for easier readability. Steeper curves might be more difficult to write on and read.
Draw your guidelines either freehand or with a ruler. You can position all your words in the middle or stagger them slightly. The most important thing is to pack your words close enough so you don’t create big gaps that would be noticeable. Fill those negative spaces!
BOUNCE YOUR LETTERS
If you haven’t tried this before, it may seem tricky because you would need to create a balance even when the letters do not touch the baseline. Draw your straight lines first. These will serve as a guide so you will still have letters that touch the baseline. The first letter of the word should touch the line first, then try raising and lowering the next few letters. Stop every so often to check the balance. If your letters seem to be going up, lower the next letter.
Bouncing letters requires some getting used to, but it’s a fun way to make your usual brush lettering style into something different.
There are endless styles that can make your brush lettering even more unique, so I’ll make sure to compile a new set next time. Now it’s time to practice! Looking for brush pen recommendations? You can hop here to see my favourite pens.
I have a free download for all you hustlers out there. I haven’t done a desktop wallpaper freebie in a while, and I think it’s high time to give one away! It’s time to give our desktops a makeover and at the same time have a reminder in plain sight to slay the day. Oh, and eat and love too, of course.
We had all sorts of colour gradients during last month’s brush lettering workshop. This is a more relaxed class (compared to pointed pen calligraphy, in my opinion), and a more colourful one for sure.
The latest brush lettering class was all freehand, where the students learned to write thin and thick strokes with my favourite brush pens. After that, writing words with watercolours and a water brush came next. I love the part in class when I show them how to make the colours blend naturally using watercolours, creating the ombre effect… and they fell in love with it instantly!
Each one has her own unique style and colour preference, and you’ll see that on the photos of their artworks below. The next brush lettering class is still in the works. If you’d like to get the first dibs, you may subscribe to the email newsletter on the right sidebar (no spam, just calligraphy and lettering news!).
Tokyu Hands at Westgate Mall had its share of Pentel brush lettering workshops last August. Organised by my friends at Pentel Singapore, we had 2 afternoons of short classes for brush lettering beginners. Similar to the classes we’ve done at Tokyu Hands at Orchard Central, we used the ever-so-colourful Pentel Fude brush pens.
It was my first time visiting Tokyu Hands at Westgate Mall, and the shop is quite huge. This time around, we had a lot of families coming for the 40-minute crash courses. There were quite a lot of kids this time, which made the classes all the more fun. Kids love to experiment and are very eager to learn and they don’t overthink the process—we can always learn from them, don’t you think?
What I love about the Pentel fude brush pens is that it’s very easy to use. Kids had a lot of fun exploring the vast array of colours. It was also quite easy for the young ones to follow the alphabet guides provided—mostly because they get to choose what colour of pen to use. The more colourful it is, the more fun they have!
Here are more photos from the event—feel free to share online if you’re in them! We’ll be back for a third instalment of brush lettering workshops with Pentel, this time at Tokyu Hands at Suntec City Mall. See you guys on 11-12 November! Click here for the schedule and sign-up details.
More photos from the event can be found on Pentel’s Facebook page. All photos courtesy of Pentel Singapore.
So. Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and let’s face it — not everyone is in the mood for cheesy love cards. I wanted to paint something using my black Higgins Eternal ink, but I was painting with my 5-year old (and she was happily blending reds and greens to make cherries) so I thought pink would be nice.
Here’s my interpretation of the unromantic Valentine card. A prickly cactus in a blend of pink and purple, giving free hugs to those who dare. I threw in a tiny heart just for kicks. Perfect for those you have utterly no romantic feelings for, but you love ’em anyway. Hope you love this free printable as much as I did!
I’m back with free Photoshop brushes! The last time I gave away some was 2 years ago, I cannot believe this. This is a fun brush lettering set that you can use for note cards and greeting cards. I saved it in a very raw setting — meaning it’s organic, and the different colour hues have been retained for a realistic hand-lettered look.
Here’s a quick way to load your Photoshop brushes. According to this tutorial :
Put the brush presets you have downloaded into the folder Photoshop\Presets\Brushes in the Adobe folder in Program Files if you use Windows or in Applications if you use Macintosh. The original brush presets that come with Adobe Photoshop are kept in this folder. The brush presets should have an .abr ending.
When you open a new file in Photoshop, select the brush tool and you will be able to view the new brushes from the fly-out panel. Just a tip on using these lettering brushes — the opacity is a bit light. One click of the brush and you’ll get a pretty translucent effect. If you want a richer, bolder colour, click 2-3 times to reach 100% opacity. That’s what I did in the sample above.
Download your brush lettering pack here and start creating! Looking for calligraphy brushes to add to your collection? The ‘hello’ set can be downloaded here.
Have you ever tried holding your brush or pen and just writing whichever way you want? With all the ‘rules’ we need to remember when writing with a pointed pen, not thinking about writing at all can be liberating. I always say that it’s better to ‘not think, just write’, and that you’ll get a good result nevertheless.
But how about just scrawling large words onto paper and not caring what the outcome is? I’ve coined a term for it – ok, not really, but still – I call it Lettering Without Thinking. So it’s not that clever, but it makes you want to try it, right? Just whip out your brush, dip it in paint and write – no holds barred.
Gather all your materials – copy paper, watercolour or acrylic paint, brush pens, Sharpies, paintbrushes, the sky’s the limit. Experiment with different brushes and pigments and see how your works turn out. It’s like Jackson Pollock writing letters. It’s messy, it’s invigorating, and who knows, you might actually come up with something frame-worthy.
It’s a breath of fresh air after doing Copperplate drills or trying to figure out a certain flex nib. And you know what? I somewhat feel that I will be doing this more often.
We are all waaay too busy preparing for a trip next month, plus I got all these ideas for Happy Hands Project that I can’t wait to share. I got a couple of DIYs up my sleeve, too, which you will see in the next couple of weeks.
In the meantime, here are 3 gift tag designs that I have on my Etsy shop. These are instant download files, so you wouldn’t have to wait to get your hands on them. These tags will definitely make your holiday gifts extra special. I’ve been playing with brush lettering lately and that’s how I came up with these chalkboard style tags.
By the way, the ‘Faith Hope Trust‘ brush lettering wall art is still on sale in the shop for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan.
Reading the headlines from the past few days have been very heartbreaking. Typhoon Haiyan (known as Yolanda in the Philippines), the strongest typhoon that hit the Visayas region of the Philippines, left a trail of devastation. Thousands have died and those who survived were left homeless, hungry and cold.
The Philippines has had its fair share of natural calamities, but never to this extent. With this amount of destruction, the victims need all the help we can give.
Last night my husband and I were contemplating on how much assistance we can afford as contribution to help the victims in hard-hit Tacloban and its neighboring towns. It was also last night when I came up with this brush lettering, and I’m offering this as an instant download over at my Etsy shop. 100% of the sales will be forwarded to the Philippine Red Cross. If you don’t have an account on Etsy, just send me an email at pauline (at) happyhandsproject (dot) com with your email address and I’ll send you a Paypal invoice. You will then receive the artwork through email.
Faith. Hope. Trust.
I guess during a time like this, these are the only three things that can get us going. I hope you can help me spread the word. Together, we can help the victims of Typhoon Haiyan.
We will all be celebrating motherhood soon! Even though I am miles away from my Mom, I’m sending a card out to her today. I’m looking forward to celebrate with her when we see each other three weeks from now! I’m super excited with our upcoming trip… but I have to stop myself because that’s another story.
I was trying to check the spelling for Mother’s Day earlier. Should it be spelled as ‘Mother’s’ or ‘Mothers’? Well, Anna Jarvis, the founder of the holiday, specifically noted that “Mother’s” should “be a singular possessive, for each family to honour their mother, not a plural possessive commemorating all mothers in the world.”
Can’t argue with Miss Jarvis on that, so here’s a printable card to commemorate the wonderful existence of our own Moms. I’ve been having fun with brush lettering lately, and this was originally done in watercolor. Download yours here! Let her know how awesome she is.