• 7 Tips to Improve Your Hand Lettering

    If you know how to write the alphabet, then you can hand letter! Find seven tips for honing your skills in this article. The biggest tip? Practice, practice, practice!

    7 Tips to Improve Your Hand Lettering | The Postman's Knock

    Before we dive in to this post, let’s talk about what hand lettering is! I define hand lettering as illustrated letters. It relies on embellishments and creative letter modifications to delight the eye. Many people find hand lettering quite easy to approach, and rightfully so! Hand lettering doesn’t really have rules except that you should be able to read what has been written. There aren’t any special tools needed, and it’s fun to come up with different ways to make letters! In this article, we’ll talk about seven ways you can improve your hand lettering so the results are polished and professional-looking.

    7 Tips to Improve Your Hand Lettering | The Postman's Knock

    1. Use Pencil Guidelines

    Pencil guidelines are the easiest thing in the world to make! You just use a ruler and a pencil to draw a top guideline, then repeat the process to draw a parallel bottom guideline. These two guidelines dictate how tall your letters should be, and they ensure that your writing is nice and straight!

    "Circus Lettering" Tutorial | The Postman's Knock
    Make sure you use a light touch when drawing your pencil guidelines! The idea is to erase them later. (Want to see the result of this lettering? Check out the “Circus Lettering” Tutorial!)

    2. Sketch Out Your Letters First

    You need two elements to achieve eye-catching hand lettering. First, your letters need to look nice. Second, and equally important, they need to have a good layout! You can ensure that you achieve both nice letters and a nice layout by making a pencil draft of your letters first.

    Hot Air Balloon Birthday Card + Matching Envelope Tutorial | The Postman's Knock
    I like to use Palomino Blackwing pencils to make my pencil sketches, but any pencil will work! To see the result of this sketch, visit the Hot Air Balloon Birthday Card + Matching Envelope Tutorial.

    Once you draw the pencil draft and everything looks good, you can go over the draft with ink!

    3. Commit to Practicing

    The only surefire way to improve your hand lettering is to practice it regularly. Try to start a sketchbook — either one that you dedicate solely to hand lettering or one that you incorporate some illustrations into! In that sketchbook, be sure to experiment with several different letterforms.

    7 Tips to Improve Your Hand Lettering | The Postman's Knock
    This is a page from Draw Your Day. It’s a great book to read if you’d like to get fired up about keeping a sketchbook journal, and it has wonderful hand lettering examples!

    For inspiration, check out Draw Your Day by Samantha Dion Baker. It’s a quick read, and one that will inspire you to start keeping a sketchbook journal! You don’t have to do like Baker and draw/letter every day; in fact, I’m shooting for once a week. Whatever practice you can fit in your schedule is perfect!

    4. Find the Perfect Pen for You

    I say find the perfect pen *for you* because we’re all going to have different preferences! Recently, I’ve been lettering with a Muji pen. I really like Mujis because the ink flow is awesome, and whatever you’ve written doesn’t smudge when you erase over it!

    7 Tips to Improve Your Hand Lettering | The Postman's Knock
    These are all pens that I use to hand letter!

    There are so many pens available that the only way to find the pen that you connect with is to experiment! Many hand letterers love Micron pens. I’ve heard others say that the Uniball Signo 207 is their go-to. Still others just enjoy using a fine-tipped permanent marker! As long as the pen writes smoothly and doesn’t smudge when you erase over it, you’re golden.

    5. Find the Right Eraser

    I have to admit that I haven’t widely explored erasers because I’ve always used the same one. For years, the Staedtler Mars plastic eraser has been my go-to! It is a nice, clean eraser that you can count on.

    7 Tips to Improve Your Hand Lettering | The Postman's Knock
    I use a Staedtler Mars plastic eraser if I’m working with light-colored papers. I use a black eraser for dark-colored papers!

    When I erase white pencil marks on dark envelopes, I use a black eraser. I find that white erasers leave a certain sheen on dark papers, while black erasers leave minimal residue.

    6. Challenge Yourself with Many Different Styles

    If you want to grow your hand lettering skills, the best way to do so is to try out drawing several different types of letters. Challenge yourself to take on styles that intimidate you!

    TPK's Hand Lettering Worksheet Set
    The Supply List page of TPK’s Premium Hand Lettering Worksheet Set plays with several different lettering styles. (You can practice all of them with that worksheet!)

    There are several hand lettering worksheets and exemplars on TPK, but you can also find inspiration on Pinterest. If you see a photo of hand lettering (or a font) that you like, try to replicate it at home!

    7. Use Your Lettering for Real Life Applications

    One of the best ways to improve your hand lettering is to incorporate it into everyday projects. From bullet journals to logo design to signage, you can use hand lettering to communicate in an effective and impactful way!

    Circus Lettering Printable Exemplar + Video Tutorial | The Postman's Knock
    This bullet journal spread utilizes Circus Lettering to make “BIRTHDAYS” stand out!

    So, next time you are working on something, ask yourself: can you incorporate hand lettering into the project? If so, do it! It might be a small project, like making place cards for a breakfast you’re hosting. Or perhaps you’re making a sign at work. No project is too informal to incorporate some hand lettering into!

    I hope that these hand lettering tips (and photos!) inspire you to take on some creative lettering this week. If you’re interested in hand lettering, remember that we just released a new worksheet — and a Procreate version of that worksheet! It’s called Stitches Hand Lettering, and it’s a fun style that “Stitches” together and features accent dots.

    Stitches Hand Lettering Printable Worksheet | The Postman's Knock
    You can get in great hand lettering practice by filling out a worksheet! Check out the Stitches Hand Lettering Printable Worksheet (or Procreate version) for some quality lettering exercises.

    If you have any questions about hand lettering, feel free to comment on this post! I’m always happy to hear from you, and equally happy to help you out. Thanks very much for reading TPK, and enjoy the rest of your week!


    Lindsey's Signature | The Postman's Knock

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