Without further ado, I’ll hand over the reins to Nico: It’s that time of year again! We’re so excited to put up our Christmas trees and decorate them with all the ornaments we’ve collected over the years, which inspired me to write this tutorial. Today, we’re going to create a 5″ x 7″ hand-lettered Christmas card with a festive theme.
Here are the materials you’ll need to make a hand-lettered Christmas card like this one:
- Blank A7 greeting card
- Pencil + Eraser
- 5” Composition Ruler (or use one of my free printables for this particular tutorial)
- Optional: 5mm Letter Ruler
- Color medium of your choice (e.g. watercolors, brush pens, colored pencils)
1. Use the Composition Ruler to Draw a Circle.
Since our theme is Christmas, we will create our lettering in the shape of an ornament. First, open up your card. Then, center the Composition Ruler on the right side (front side) of the card. Use a mechanical pencil to make dots in the markers at the top and the bottom of the ruler to set up the paper for sketching the layouts.
Next, mark the center by measuring 3.5 inches from the top. We’ll use the dot as a reference for drawing our circle.
Now, using the second to the largest circular template, draw the upper part of the circle and then rotate the ruler to complete the circle.
Once you complete this step, the card will look like this:
2. Pick a Quote and Sketch Layout Guides
I have prepared six quotes with layout guides you can use for your hand-lettered Christmas card project. You can download them here. In this tutorial, I’m using the quote “Sending You Love This Christmas”, but you should feel free to pick the quote that most resonates with you!
Use the Composition Ruler to easily draw your layout guides in the circle. Be sure to align the Composition Ruler to the center guide when drawing the shapes.
And we are finished with our layout guides!
3. Draw the Banners
Placing your words in a banner is a beautiful way to design your lettering. So, let me show you how to draw a nice banner to highlight your words:
Let’s make the middle word into a banner. Draw the right banner at the back first.
Then, draw the left/back banner.
Connect the front and back banners by drawing smooth waves.
Then, sketch the full banner, curving the corners to look smooth and flowy.
4. Sketch Your Greeting
Now, we’re going to add words to our hand-lettered Christmas card layout. You can start by drawing letter skeletons first so that it’s easier to space the letters properly inside the layout shapes.
Then start adding weights to the letters. I’m using the edge guide of my 5mm Letter Ruler to draw the weights of the letters consistently.
Here’s a look at the word “love” in uniform thickness on our banner.
Next, add weights to all of the other letters. You can use the Letter Ruler’s edge guide again to draw the weights of the other letters consistently.
5. Fill in the Negative Space in Your Hand-Lettered Greeting Card
Before we start inking and coloring, let’s add embellishments to fill in the negative space around the lettering. You can add simple Christmas decorations to your lettering such as leaves, snow, and snowflakes. Here are some simple guides on how you might draw the decorations:
Now, use your pencil to sketch in the decorations filling the entire circle to form the shape of an ornament. Then, draw the ornamental cap.
6. Add Color to Your Hand-Lettered Christmas Card
Colors are a great way to give your lettering the holiday vibe! I’ve prepared three color palettes to help you on your project:
For this tutorial, I’ve chosen to use the first color palette. To start, ink just the outlines first. (Don’t color in the entire letter before erasing. By doing that, you avoid fading when you erase the pencil guides.)
Let’s alternate the colors of the words. Use red for the words “sending”, and “Christmas” plus the banner.
Next, color the words “you” and “this” in blue and the decorations in light blue.
Let the ink dry first to avoid smudging the ink, then erase all your pencil guides.
Next, color everything.
… And voilà!
I hope that you enjoyed today’s Christmas greeting card tutorial, and that it inspires you to create personalized greeting cards for your loved ones this holiday season! Don’t forget to download the freebies here for more quotes and layout guides for your Christmas card designs.
My recommendation? Plan ahead and create a list of people that you want to send these cards to this Christmas. Then, create all of the design layouts this weekend. You can experiment with different colors and lettering styles to add more variety. Feel free to share your finished design by tagging me on Instagram @nicong.co, or write your questions or feedback in the comments below!
Have a wonderful holiday season!
– Nico Ng
P.S. If you’re struggling to draw your letters nicely and correctly, check out my new “The Consistent Lettering Course” to learn and practice drawing the alphabet correctly and consistently.