Get Started On Letter Connections

Step Four: Get Started Working on Letter Connections

LetterConnections

Did you miss the last post? Click here to go back!

Get Started Working on Letter Connections

In the last post, we talked about using the basic strokes to begin forming letters. Practicing your basic strokes and letters is about the best thing that you can do to improve your lettering and get more comfortable with it.

Lately, I have a lot of people who ask me how to connect letters together and make words have good spacing or look consistent together!

One of the important things to realize and remember about lettering is that it is not the same as cursive.When we write in cursive, we write quickly & do not lift our pen from the paper unless we are starting a new word. When we do calligraphy, we lift the pen between each and every stroke- even multiple times within the same letter. Calligraphy is not as quick as cursive by any means!

The picture below should give a visual representation of each time your pen should lift while you are writing the word “hello” – the little x’s divide up each individual stroke. You may also notice that across the word the little x marks almost line up into a line because you want your exit strokes for each letter to be at about the mid-line level. This will help you to connect the letters a little bit better & more consistently throughout your words.

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The x marks show where I lift the pen between & during each individual letter.

The letters shown above & below are more spaced out than they would normally be to emphasize the different places to pick up the pen. I think that it helps to see the different connection points – while you are practicing this I would challenge you to actually space out your letters like this prior to writing the word as you would like to. This will help your brain to get in the habit of picking up the pen between strokes/letters. It’s a foreign concept, especially if you are a frequent user of cursive!

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The x’s within the word “hello” seem to all be about on the same line- but in the word “welcome” it is not quite linear!

I hope that this has been a helpful post in helping you to start figuring out how to connect your letters together- a bit part of it is learning how to lift your pen between strokes and where to lift the pen at! As your exit strokes become more consistent & meet in the middle of the word- you will start to see your letter connections improve!

Materials:

Crayola Markers*

What’s next?!
COMING SOON!

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The only two things that you ACTUALLY need to start lettering!

The TWO things you need to start lettering!

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When you first start lettering it can seem overwhelming to see all the different kinds of brush pens & supplies that are circulating out there.
What do I actually need to get started?

When I first started lettering I didn’t have a lot of money to spend on supplies, but I wanted to try different pens. The brush pens that I was able to find were not very cheap and I had a really hard time using them. A lot of the pens available at local stores were very difficult to manage and I thought that I would not be able to do brush lettering at all.

Now that I have been lettering for over a year, I feel like I’m able to give beginners a pretty good idea of the supplies that they will need to get started with!

ONE. A brush pen or two.
I think the temptation is to purchase multiple brush pens of all different kinds because you are excited about getting started. I can’t blame you for that because I definitely did the same thing. The downside to this is that you are more likely to ruin your brush pens because you haven’t quite learned how to hold them or use them yet. I recommend buying one or two brush pens to get started with and/or even beginning with a Crayola marker!
Click on the photo below to find what I think are the three best pens for beginners:

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TWO. Soft paper!
Once you have some brush pens, it is important to take great care of them! The Tombow Dual Brush Pens* are often some of the most popular pens around, but they are easily frayed and can be ruined just by writing on one wrong sheet of paper. The best paper that I can recommend to you are the Rhodia Notepads*. The paper is quite possibly the smoothest you’ll ever feel and comes in many different sizes. These are available in blank, dot grid, and grid styles!

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Once you have started to learn how to hold the pen, practice basic strokes, and begin to feel comfortable when building your letters THEN you should move toward buying some more brush pens. There are a lot of things out there on the market that it may feel like you NEED, but if you are looking to try a new hobby and spend the smallest amount of cash possible- I recommend buying a brush pen and a dot pad to get yourself ready!

Beyond those items, you may want to purchase an online class or a lettering guide to help you learn the basics. You can also look for calligraphy workshops within your local area!

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Brush Pen Spotlight: Zig Clean Color

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In my last post I listed what I think are three of the best brush pens for beginning letterers. Click here to check that out if you want to see!

I thought I would highlight some of my favorite things about each of these pens by doing brush pen spotlights!

First up is the Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pen (longest name ever, I know).

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The tip of this pen is made with actual bristles – so you are able to get a very brush-like look without having to dip your “brush” into ink over and over. How you use the pen controls the amount of white space is included in your lettering.

Something that I LOVE about this pen is the fact that you can create so many different styles with this one pen. Your lines can be thick or thin, fully pigmented or given a brushed texture, and there are plenty of colors to choose from!

Here are some examples of the various types of lettering that can be achieved using the same pen (simply in different colors):

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The whole reason letterers tend to buy a lot of different kinds of brush pens is to get a new look in their lettering. That’s what makes this pen so amazing! In one single pen, there are so many different styles of letters possible!

The way to create such different letters?
– Vary in the amount of pressure used on your down strokes.
– Use a greater/lesser area of the (side of the) brush tip when creating strokes
– Leave more space between your letters
– Write slowly so that the pigment flows evenly throughout your letters (for more of a pen look)
– Write quickly, not waiting for the ink to catch up to get more of a brush look to the lettering (see red letters above writing “brush” for an example of this)

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Now, these pens are called Zig Clean Colors- so I know you’d expect there to be a lot of different colors. These colors are vibrant and very fun, as well!

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You can purchase a set of 12 pens like the one that I have for the variety shown above – minus the black pen, which is also included!

Like I said in the previous post, this pen was a unanimous favorite among my friends who were beginners interested in trying out different brush pens. It’s size is a big reason why it’s so easy to learn with. This pen is quite small in comparison to other brush pens and the tip is short. The shorter the tip of a pen, the easier it is for beginners to manage (for the most part). It will help you to master the muscle memory of lettering. These pens aren’t only for beginners, though. As you begin to increase in your lettering knowledge, it becomes more fun to play with them and see what different styles you are able to create!

What do you think of the Zig Clean Color’s? Have you tried them already? Or do you think there is a better beginner pen out there? Let me know!

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Lettering With Crayola Markers

First Step

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The Best Brush Pens For Beginners

The THREE best brush pens for beginners.

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One of the questions that I get asked the most frequently is, “What are the best brush pens for beginners?”. I thought I would help you guys out and show you the three brush pens that I think are the best for beginners and some reasons why I think so! You may already have seen that I think it’s easiest (and cheapest!) to start lettering with the Crayola markers you may already have around at home- but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have brush pen recommendations!

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  1. Pentel Fude Touch
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    This is my absolute #1 favorite brush pen that I will recommend very first if you ask me this question. Why? Because this pen is small & easy to manage, but it creates beautiful letters. I love that I can write more words in a smaller area because of this little pen! The tip is firm enough that it is great for beginners, but still has a brush pen’s flexibility. The size makes it easy to manage & it even comes in various colors if you’re looking to try something different!
  2. Zig Clean Color
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    This brush pen was a total surprise to me. I had never heard of it, but I received a 12-pack of them for Christmas! I loved that they came in so many colors, they are small, and they have real bristles for the tip! It’s like using a brush, but you never have to dip it back into the ink. You can many different styles of lettering out of this vibrant pen! I had a group of friends over to try out all of the different kinds of brush pens that I have and this was most often the favorite!
  3. Tombow Fudenosuke Soft Tip
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    This brush pen is similar to the Pentel Fude Touch (#1), but comes in both Soft Tip or Hard Tip. I have not tried the hard tip, but I do love the soft tip! This pen is almost the exact same size as the Pentel, but the tip is just slightly bigger. I like that it is small & easy to use, especially for beginners. It allows for beginners to get a handle on the way to hold the pen and what kind of pressure to use without fear of bending the tip because it’s so small. This pen can handle a lot of the pressure of you learning a new skill and won’t get ruined if you make a few beginner mistakes!Hopefully these mini-descriptions have been helpful so that you can hear about three different pens that you probably see most often on my Instagram page!

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Step 2: Start Lettering with Crayola Markers!

Lettering With Crayola Markers

Did you miss the first step? Click here to start with step one!

So, you’ve got your Crayola markers* now. And I know what you were thinking…I had no idea that you could letter with Crayola markers when I first started! I thought that you had to have fancy brush pens to even remotely start brush lettering!

SO. Go grab those Crayola markers again. This time you’re going to create a few different kinds of strokes. These are the strokes that are a tiny little piece of the Beginner Brush Lettering Kit. You’re going to start with those first thin & thick strokes that I mentioned and then move to some new strokes!

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Now, I thought that perhaps you’re wondering HOW to create those thin and thick lines with a Crayola marker. I was right there with you, too! BUT hopefully this will help you.

When you are creating a THICK line you want to angle the pen (like shown in the photo below) so that a greater area of the pen will be touching the paper! You don’t want to use the tip and push the tip down for a thicker line- this won’t work as you will probably just bleed through the paper! If you tip the pen to the side, you’ll naturally be able to create a thicker line because there is a greater area to work with!

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When you are creating a THIN line you can use the tip of the Crayola marker!

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So, here’s another important tip about lettering…

You do NOT need to be writing fast. The pace of lettering is much slower than writing in cursive. You can take your time transitioning between those thin and thick strokes. Take your time creating each letter (we will talk about building letters soon, but not quite yet!). Don’t feel like you need to write fast when you are lettering because it is actually a much slower process than you might think!

AND most important of all, be nice to yourself! You are learning something new and you won’t become a professional overnight! Have some grace with yourself and enjoy the process of learning a new skill. Have some of your friends join you in learning this new skill & encourage each other as you finally start to like the lines (or letters!) you create!

What’s next?!
Use the Basic Strokes to Build Letters
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The First Step In Brush Lettering.

First Step

One of the things that people tell me the most often is this: “I’ve been really wanting to start learning calligraphy, but I just don’t even know where to begin!”

I totally agree with you there. When you want to learn something new, it’s really hard to take that very first step. It may seem like a huge task to get started with hand lettering, but it doesn’t need to be!

Do you want to know a secret about hand lettering? It has nothing to do with the supplies that you have. WHAT? I know! I was pretty surprised when I realized that, too. Brush lettering has more to do with how you use a pen to create specific lines. You can use a PENCIL to create calligraphy with the right amount of pressure. It’s all about your technique. And it is something that anyone can learn!

So, what is the first step? I know that’s what you’re wondering.

THE FIRST STEP:
Grab a Crayola marker (I’m assuming you have one lying around the house somewhere).
Practice creating thin and thick lines with your marker. Simply make some small, straight lines. Try to create a thick line when you are heading down the paper. Then, attempt to create thinner lines when you go up the paper. Don’t feel like you need to move on to a next step quite yet. Simply try to create these two variations of lines. Thin lines and thick lines. These will be essential for your lettering.

Creating THICK lines: [Also known as downstrokes] Hold the pen at an angle. You want the side of the tip of the pen to lay flat on the paper (usually you write with the tip, but you want to angle it so that a greater surface area of the pen touches the paper!). Put pressure on the pen as you are creating the line so that the line created is larger than usual!

Creating THIN lines: [Also known as upstrokes] Begin to lift up that pressure that you would use for a thick line (or downstroke). For a thin line, you may transition to hold the pen as you “normally” would. You want to use a smaller portion of the pen (most likely the tip) so that the result is a thinner line!

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Don’t worry about creating letters or words quite yet. I know that it can be hard to wait, but focus on these basic strokes until you feel as though you’ve been able to master the variation between thin and thick lines!

What’s Next?!
Step Two: Start Lettering with Crayola Markers
Lettering With Crayola Markers

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