Hello there! Have you been thinking of picking up brush lettering or are just getting started? You are probably wondering how you can possibly get your hand to create those beautiful, effortless (seeming) letters on Pinterest. Well, I’ve got some important tips for you. You may eventually get tired of me saying this, but the easiest way to get better at brush lettering is simply to PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE!
How to practice brush lettering efficiently:
-Warm up with your basic strokes.
-Practice each letter until you have a “favorite” or go-to version of that letter
-Do not shy away from letters that make you uncomfortable or that you hate. Those are the exact letters you need to focus on, keep practicing, and work to make a version that you love.
-Use different brush pens to see if there is a type of pen that you prefer or a pen that makes your style look especially good!
-Work on exiting each letter so that it’s “tail” meets at the midline. This will help you with letter connections.
In an effort to help beginners who are just learning about building letters using the basic strokes, I decided to start an alphabet tutorial on my Instagram page. Below are the images straight from this tutorial. There are arrows and numbers on each image, which show the direction the strokes are going and where I pick up the pen. This is meant to help you see how to build each individual letter!
Grab a pen, pick a letter, and get started!
B was created with an Orange (933) Tombow Dual Brush Pen. Both versions of B are whimsical and begin with a thick stem. Capital B contains a double loop, while the lowercase b includes only one loop. These are opposite of the “o” stroke because the thick side is on the opposite side. I call that stroke a “b loop” because it is the essential piece to both b’s and is a great practice stroke.
D was created with an Chartreuse (133) Tombow Dual Brush Pen. The capital D is similar to B, but with only one (larger) “b” loop. Lowercase d includes the same lopsided “o” stroke as a. create a beautiful stem by beginning a new stroke near the same spot the “o” stroke ends, use a thin line to move up (and out) – arch around – and move down with a thick stroke to create the stem.
I was created with the Cobalt Blue (535) Tombow Dual Brush Pen. Both i’s are created using only one stroke (besides the dot for the lowercase). The stem of lowercase i is a great stroke to practice as it is part of many other letters in the alphabet.
J was created with the Blue Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pen. Both J’s are created with similar strokes, the capital simply including more rounded strokes. Consistent transitions between thick and thin strokes are the key to perfecting this letter.
K was created with the Purple (665) Tombow Dual Brush Pen. Both K’s are structured similar to h. This is generally considered one of the more frustrating letters to calligraph. Focus on making your stems strong and work your way toward the legs of the K that you like. Keep practicing and don’t shy away from letters that frustrate you! Practice difficult letters the most and find a way to make them that you love.
L is created with the Light Violet Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pen. L is loopy and whimsical. Loosen up your hand to accomplish this letter- focus on moving your arm as you are lettering rather than your wrist. This whole-arm movement will help to create consistency in your letters.
M was created with the Pink (723) Tombow Dual Brush Pen. M is created using one of the main basic strokes. Focus on your rounded transitions between upstrokes and downstrokes to perfect your M’s. Add extra flair to your m by making one of the humps taller than the other.
N was created with the Pink Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pen. The technique for n is essentially the same as m. Focus on those rounded transitions between thin and thick strokes.
O is created using the Carmine Red Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pen. O is also one of the best basic strokes to practice as it is the base of so many letters (a, b, c, d, e, g, p, q). Add some flair to your o’s by looping high over the top of your beginning stroke and out through to connect to the next letter.
P was created with the Orange (933) Tombow Dual Brush Pen. P is created with a straight stem and lopsided o stroke. When creating the o stroke of the p, I always start on the top left rather and move around to the right (as shown by the arrows above). Loop through the lowercase p to connect with other letters.
Q was created with the Yellow Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pen. Q’s are also built mainly using the o stroke. For the o stroke on the lowercase q, I start in the right top corner in order to create the lopsided o required to make a beautiful q.
R was created using the Chartreuse (133) Tombow Dual Brush Pen. R is a really fun letter to create and to practice. Capital R is structured similarly to K, but includes a rounded loop. Focus on the thin stroke coming up for the round top of the letter. This is going to add beauty to your letter! Lowercase r is created many different ways, this particular way focuses on thick, short looped downstrokes.
T was created using the Deep Green Kuretake Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pen. T is a very straight, focused letter. Both capital and lowercase have a focus on two basic strokes: the stem and cross line. The cross line is meant to be very thin and slightly curved.
V was created using the Peacock Blue (533) Tombow Dual Brush Pen. V is similar to u, but requires a pointed tip at the bottom of the letter. Focus on creating a contrast between your thick downstroke and the pointed upstroke to make a beautiful v.
W is created with the Apple Pencil on the iPad Pro. Basically created with two u strokes, the w gets more character when the two humps are not the same size. Loop those humps smoothly for a beautiful w!
X is created with the Apple Pencil on the iPad Pro. Both the capital and lowercase are created from two basic strokes: one thick and one thin. The final cross stroke must be straight and very thin to create a contrast in your x.
The y is created with the Apple Pencil on the iPad Pro. This is one of the more fun letters to create. The Y is created with two basic (and familiar) strokes: u stroke and a tail stroke (like in j and g). When creating the tail stroke, focus on lightening up your stroke as you loop back around to connect to the next letter.
Z is created with the Apple Pencil on the iPad Pro. Z is actually very similar to the Y stroke. It includes a lot more loops, which means loosening up your hand will be very helpful for this letter. Focus your practice on the tail stroke (like in g, j, and y) and creating a smooth transition from thick to thin as you swoop around the tail and connect to the next letter.
There you have it!
Use these basic strokes and techniques to improve your letter building. Never forget the importance of practicing basic strokes – no matter how long you’ve been lettering for!
What’s your favorite letter to practice? Tell us in the comments below!
Tag me in your practice on Instagram- @lysstyler.letters!