Hand Lettering Step by Step and Why I Love This Book

I've been waiting for this book for months. I follow Kathy on Instagram (@artsycanvasgirl) and Facebook and often find myself swooning over her pretty watercolor creations so I was super excited to learn from her that she was working on a book, and now Hand Letting Step by Step: Techniques & Projects to Express Yourself Creatively is finally available! Sure, there are many awesome script-y fonts out there these days, but let's face it; we also LOVE doing things by our own hand!

I'm not sure if I'll ever have the gumption to put in the time and practice required to truly be a calligraphy master (there's probably an official term for such a master, but I don't know what it is), but I still appreciate the art form and love getting as close to pretty as I can in a small amount of time. Whether you want the instruction for how to practice until you're perfect or you're like me and would rather take the lazy route, this book doesn't disappoint. Kathy offers everything you need to know in terms of the best tools and supplies to use (thanks to her, I am now the owner of a jar of Pébéo Drawing Gum) as well as how to practice a variety of calligraphic styles (practice sheets included!). 

The book is organized by lettering styles with chapters including Modern Calligraphy, Brush Lettering and Drawing Letters. Each chapter starts off with tools/supplies and some basic techniques, then goes on to include several step-by-step projects for trying out your new skills. I'm not sure if this organization was Kathy's idea or her editor's, but I like that each chapter includes the basics within the chapter rather than having all the styles' techniques up front. It makes it really easy to find the basics within the style you're interested in.

So here are my experiments using Kathy's great guidance in the book! I wanted to try digitizing a phrase I created from drawn letters; brush lettering using frisket and pools of pretty watercolor; and the thing I'm least savvy with—nib lettering.

 

 For this piece, I followed Kathy's instruction for the Digitizing Your Lettering project. Kathy's direction made it super easy using Photoshop®.

For this piece, I followed Kathy's instruction for the Digitizing Your Lettering project. Kathy's direction made it super easy using Photoshop®.

 This was the original drawn lettering I scanned into my computer.

This was the original drawn lettering I scanned into my computer.

 More than one project in the book calls for watercolor frisket and I love the effect so I was eager to try it out. Kathy recommended Drawing Gum by Pébéo, so that's what I was inspired to use. Directions on the jar recommend adding a bit of soap to your brush prior to using it with the frisket, so that's what I did and it made it super easy to clean my brush afterward.

More than one project in the book calls for watercolor frisket and I love the effect so I was eager to try it out. Kathy recommended Drawing Gum by Pébéo, so that's what I was inspired to use. Directions on the jar recommend adding a bit of soap to your brush prior to using it with the frisket, so that's what I did and it made it super easy to clean my brush afterward.

 I really love making my own bookmarks! Though of the three projects, this is my least favorite. But that's only because it was the furthest practice outside of my comfort zone and that's using a calligraphy nib to letter. I used Holbein Artist's Watercolor diluted a bit with water. Clearly I would need a lot of practice with this form of lettering before actually making gifts with it, but meanwhile I can still enjoy the sentiment!

I really love making my own bookmarks! Though of the three projects, this is my least favorite. But that's only because it was the furthest practice outside of my comfort zone and that's using a calligraphy nib to letter. I used Holbein Artist's Watercolor diluted a bit with water. Clearly I would need a lot of practice with this form of lettering before actually making gifts with it, but meanwhile I can still enjoy the sentiment!

By now it should be clear that if you have a love of lettering and are looking for ways to improve your own, Hand Lettering Step by Step is a wonderful resource to get you started. 

Tonia Jenny