“Breezy” isn’t an oft-used adjective, but it’s the word that comes to mind when I look at the pieces created for this hand-lettering tutorial. The white ink, playful font style, and creative colored pencil shading give a casual vibe; yet this lettering style is also impressively intricate. In today’s tutorial, I am going to teach you how to create this hand-lettering style using a series of photos, videos, and a free printable exemplar.
Though this hand-lettering tutorial could be applied to many applications (gift tags, place cards, signs, etc.), I’m working on envelopes today. What can I say? I’ve got a weakness for mail art! I purchased several unique envelopes from Paper Source the other day, and all are perfect for this hand-lettering style.
You’ll want to ensure that you choose a colored envelope to letter on (I’m using a square envelope in “cement“). As long as white ink will show up on it, you’re good to go! Once you’ve chosen your envelope, draw one wavy pencil guideline on it, like so:
If you can’t see it, here’s a closer look:
Next, print out the Breezy Hand-Lettering Exemplar (it’s free!), and use it as a reference to write your recipient’s name on the guideline in pencil. The exemplar is essentially a more free-spirited version of Amy Style calligraphy, so you could also use your Amy worksheet as a reference. If you’re using an especially dark envelope, you’ll find it easier to use a soapstone pencil as opposed to a lead pencil.
If the recipient has a long-ish last name, you might consider writing only the last name on the wavy guideline. Then, write the first name in a sans-serif style above the last name. When you’ve written the first and last name, freehand draw a second guideline under your first guideline.
You’ll continue to create wavy guidelines and write the address on them using a pencil until the entire address is written/planned out in pencil. If you look at the photo below, you’ll notice that I don’t let letters intersect (see, for example, the “l” in “Portland”). I like that look, but it’s totally optional!
Once your address is planned out, it’s time to write over it using white ink!
If you’re stuck on whether to use a white Gellyroll pen or white calligraphy ink, I’ve created the video below to make the decision easier. (If you cannot see the video, you can watch it on Vimeo by clicking here.)
As you can see in the video, a Gellyroll pen plus the faux calligraphy technique will work just fine for this hand-lettering tutorial. However, I have chosen to use white calligraphy ink and a Brause Rose nib (the Rose makes a nice, thick downstroke) because white calligraphy ink is smoother and slightly more opaque than the Gellyroll pen. That said, if you’re not comfortable using a dip pen yet, a white gel pen is the better option.
As you go over your pencil letters with white ink, be sure to do what I showed you in the video and double-enforce your downstrokes. You should also go over upstrokes that are especially thin; while thin upstrokes are desirable in “normal” calligraphy, we want stronger-looking letters here. Your result will look something like this:
Now, of course, you could leave the envelope this way because it looks cool even at this point. But since “well enough” is never left alone on this blog, it’s time to add some colored pencil action. The video below explains how to do this better than I ever could using text and photos alone! (If you cannot see the video, you can watch it on Vimeo by clicking here.)
The hand-lettering will look something like the photo below when you are finished. Remember, you should feel free to use the colored pencil of your choice! As long as it shows up well on your envelope, it will look good.
Again, at this point, you could absolutely be done. But … you have the option to add bling, and why not seize that chance? You can watch the video below to see how easy it is to add sparkle using the Finetec palette (or any metallic ink or watercolor, really) and an old toothbrush. (If you cannot see the video, you can watch it on Vimeo by clicking here.)
What you’ll be left with is a sparkly, unique piece of hand-lettered art that you’ll really be proud of. Trust me, it’s a bit of a labor of love … yet making these envelopes is addictive. (Don’t say I didn’t warn you!) The photos below show other color combinations I’ve experimented with; I enjoyed every minute of it and was proud to put some of these in the outgoing mail today!
You can see that gray colored pencil also meshes well with the cement-colored envelope.
Brown colored pencil and the blue/teal envelope below make for a beautiful pairing! I’m holding this envelope to the light so you can see the silver spatter. When the envelope isn’t in the light, you can hardly see the silver; that makes the envelope interactive in a pleasantly unexpected way!
Finally, the photo below shows the first mail art of this sort that I made. It doesn’t utilize the “Breezy” script style, but it does have some pretty neat shading going on! It was inspired by an envelope by Makewells, which is great to check out if you’re in search of inspiration. It’s a beautiful example of how slightly embellished capital sans-serif letters and a dash of Kaitlin Style calligraphy can make for a striking piece of hand-lettering.
(Remember to use a soapstone pencil to plan out your lettering on dark envelopes!:)
I hope that you found this hand-lettering tutorial informative and inspiring. Honestly, I explained it so thoroughly because I want you to experience the magic that is utilizing this lettering technique. As you can see, once I made one envelope, I had to make another … and another … and another because I was having such a good time with it! Humor me and give it one shot; I’d love to see the result of your creativity on the TPK Facebook timeline or on Instagram (@thepostmansknock). You don’t have to limit yourself to using the exemplar font style provided for this post; use any calligraphy or hand-lettering style you want! With the colored pencil shading technique, anything will look awesome.
If you have any questions or additional tips, please feel free to comment! In the meantime, enjoy the rest of your week, and thanks very much for reading TPK!