I enjoy playing with new lettering techniques. It’s amazing, really, how much artistic license you can take and still produce a piece that is gorgeous — and legible! This lettering tutorial is based off of the Theo Chocolate logo, which features an eye-catching color scheme and whimsical writing. You can use the “watercolor melt” lettering technique to write virtually any word! Here’s how:
1. Write the Word in Pencil
First, find a piece of hardy paper to create this lettering tutorial on. Watercolor paper is ideal, but 70-80 lb. drawing paper will also work well! Once you’ve got your paper, use a pencil to write a word in a bouncy, upright calligraphy style. Be sure to connect the first letter of your word to the left edge of the page. The end stroke of the last letter of the word should loop around to connect to the first letter of the word. Once you’ve made that loop, draw an additional stroke that connects the last letter to the right edge of the page as well.
Finish up your pencil draft by drawing a vertical line that extends from the first letter to the top of the page. Next, draw a second vertical line that extends from any letter with a descender (“y”, “g”, “j”, etc.) to the bottom of the page. If your word doesn’t have any letters with a descender, draw the second vertical line from whatever letter you’d like.
2. Fill in Negative Space with Watercolor
Now, it’s time to add color to your lettering! Take a fairly light tone of watercolor, and use it to fill in the negative space to the right of your first letter.
Next, blend a darker watercolor into some of the edges of that negative space. If the watercolor you applied initially is still wet, this new watercolor tone will blend right in!
Try to blend darker tones into about 50% of the area around the edge of the negative space, and leave the middle of the space untouched.
Use the same blending technique to fill in the rest of the negative space in the word. You’re basically trying to apply paint anywhere that you have a closed loop.
3. Trace Over the Pencil Outline
Wait 5-10 minutes for your watercolor paint to dry. Once it feels dry to the touch, take a very dark tone of watercolor — like a brown or a black — and use a size 3 (or so) paintbrush to start tracing over the pencil lines.
Continue to trace, taking care to apply dark paint over all of your pencil lines. Don’t worry about stroke width variation here. If some parts of letters look thick and others look thin, then you are achieving the desired effect! The less perfect that the lettering looks, the better.
4. Add Paint Spatters
As a completely optional step, you can use a paintbrush to flick paint spatters around your lettering. I like to add spatters because it makes the piece look less sterile!
Applications for this Lettering Tutorial
You can, of course, use this lettering tutorial for anything you’d like! It would look great in a bullet journal, a sketchbook, or mail art … among many other things. The project I made today was a greeting card, but I also played around with making a place card.
No matter what you choose to use this lettering style for, I know that you’ll enjoy making it! It’s so rewarding to be able to use letters to create something so eye-catching, colorful, and eclectic.
If you have any questions or observations about this lettering tutorial, please feel free to contribute to the comments! I’m always happy to hear from you. 🙂 I know that I say this in every post, but thank you — really, thank you — for reading TPK! It makes my day that you took some time out of your day to be here, and I hope that you have a great weekend.