On Friday, I wrote a tutorial about how to make “Circus Lettering”, a fun lettering style inspired by vintage circus and carnival posters. In that tutorial, I focused on the letter “M”, and I tried to provide some general rules for writing all letters using the style. As I was writing, though, it occurred to me that you may have questions about how to make certain other letters of the alphabet — an “O”, for example, doesn’t follow the same rules as an “M”! With that in mind, I decided to make a printable exemplar.
The Circus Lettering Exemplar
The Circus Lettering Exemplar exists to show you exactly how to write each character A-Z plus numbers. In the exemplar, you’ll learn how to use your pencil to draft out a letter from scratch. The last step of each letter requires “inking” over your pencil draft, which the exemplar also shows.
Materials Needed to Create Circus Lettering
1. A Pen + Paper
To create Circus Lettering (and most hand-lettering styles), you can use practically any high-quality paper. I normally go for 32# laserjet. Choose a permanent pen that won’t smudge if you run an eraser over it! I like using a straight dip pen fitted with a Nikko G nib and sumi ink, but you can also use a Micron pen or a fine-tipped permanent marker.
2. A Parallel Glider (a.k.a. “Rolling Ruler”)
A parallel glider isn’t a must for hand-lettering, but it will make your life a lot easier. Watch me use it in the tutorial video included in this post, and you can decide based on that whether you’d like one or not!
3. The TPK Circus Lettering Exemplar
The Circus Lettering Exemplar makes it easy to write letters because it walks you through the steps required to create each letter. There’s no guesswork involved! If you prefer not to use the exemplar, however, you can always apply the lettering rules set forth in the Circus Lettering Tutorial. I only focus on the letter “M” in that tutorial, so rounded letters may prove challenging to make, but I know that you can figure it out!
If you’re anything like me, you probably learn best through a combination of seeing written examples (like in the exemplar) and real-life demonstrations. In the video below, I’ll make some Circus Lettering so you can see how it’s made and get some tips about lettering in general!
(You can find this video on YouTube by clicking here.)
Uses for Circus Lettering
As you saw in Friday’s blog post, Circus Lettering makes a stunning addition to mail art, and I love it for that. It combines so well with other font and calligraphy styles!
Like any cool hand-lettering style, you can apply Circus Lettering to everyday projects to make them more eye-catching. For example, I used Circus Lettering to make a title for the Birthdays page in my agenda/bullet journal.
I think this lettering style would also be great for designing signs or posters for events! It’s very showy and eye-catching, so it’s a perfect fit if you want something to get noticed.
I hope that you enjoyed this video tutorial and that you like the exemplar! The secret to this lettering style is embellishments and shadows, and as long as you add a little bit of both to each letter, you’ll end up with awesome results.
Thanks very much for reading, and enjoy the rest of your week!