I fumbled for about 6 months trying to figure out where to start and how to learn hand lettering. There seemed to be very little resources at the time. Here is what the last six months has taught me:
There are some great lists out there for what tools you need to learn to hand letter, like Sean McCabe’s post on the tools he uses. It seems intimidating too how many different kinds of tools there are. But from what I’ve learned on my own and from Mary Kate McDevitt is that you can get started with a No. 2 pencil or a mechanical pencil.
I have been eyeing this mechanical pencil but not even sure I need it at this point. Right now, all I’m using are my old art pencils from Blick’s. These are great because I’m able to use the lighter-weight pencils like 6H when I’m sketching something out and darker-weight pencils like 2B when I have something more final.
Right now, I’m using these retractable erasers.
I’m using a 6 inch ruler my husband received from a convention.
I bought several brush pens thinking I needed them (but didn’t even know how to use them) and ended up unsure of what to do next. So, if you are also a beginning hand letterer, I would recommend holding off on brush pens until you’re more comfortable with everything else.
I went off the recommendation to use these Sakura Micron pens and I actually really like them – especially since they come in different sizes.
I’ve been using regular printer paper and wasn’t sure if I needed anything more than this. I felt better when Mary Kate McDevitt mentioned in her Skillshare class that she uses regular paper too. I’ve also been using grid paper – I find that this helps me get letters straight and evenly spaced.
After getting some of the basic tools, the next thing left is to practice. It’s kind of maddening to hear other people say to just start practicing but it’s true.
For me, understanding typography was essential. This book: Mastering Type: The Essential Guide to Typography for Print and Web really helped me understand the technical side to typography.
Next, I would recommend taking Kate McDevitt’s Skillshare class, The First Steps of Hand Lettering: Concept to Sketch. This class really helped me understand the process of hand lettering.
After you have a sketch, these two Skillshare classes: Love Your Letters: Communicate Visually with Words (the second lesson is very useful) and Digitizing Hand Lettering: From Sketch to Vector will show different techniques on how to turn your hand lettering into vectors.
The rest, is practicing, creating letters, and sketching phrases.