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!
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!
This can also be done with a pencil or pen around the house, just to practice putting pressure during downstrokes and lifting pressure during upstrokes.