How to do Hand Lettering – 3D, Serif, Monoline, and More!

Last Updated on September 6, 2023

What is Hand Lettering?

Hand lettering is the art of sketching letterforms by hand. It can be done with any writing instrument, like pens, pencils, markers and more, but it is helpful to have an erasable tool.

What are The Differences Between Calligraphy, Hand Lettering and Typography?

I have a whole post on this question, but to simplify it quickly:

How to do Handlettering - Letters
Hand Lettering is sketching letters by hand. Letters require careful drawing and many strokes.
3 Types of Calligraphy
Calligraphy is writing beautiful or decorative letters. Letters can be written in 1 flowing stroke.
Typography is designing a set of letters to be used in a font and or in print.

Personally, I think it’s better to learn calligraphy first, so that you are familiar with how letters are intended to look before learning to sketch them. Although, hand lettering it is a great way to break into the “letter space” since there is no requirement for special tools, just pencil and paper! There’s nothing stopping you from getting started today.

Hand Lettering Tutorials

1. 3D Hand Lettering Tutorial

What does 3D mean?

“3D” stands for 3 dimensional which means the forms we draw will have the appearance of a length, width and height (three of ’em) like things in our 3 dimensional reality. I say appearance because we are drawing on a 2d surface (paper) and we make a representation of the 3d object.

What does that mean for Hand Lettering?

First, we need to learn how to make a standard 2D block letter:

After making a 2D letter there are 4 ways to apply the third dimension below:

For our example, we will describe how to complete the “Drop Shadow” effect:

Check out my Master Class practice sheet set on my Store to learn the other 3 styles mentioned (and more):

2. Serif Alphabet Hand lettering Tutorial

Many fonts’ letterforms have serifs which are “little feet” and decorative edges on the letters. Below is a video detailing how to draw all capital letters from A to Z.

Serif Hand Lettering with a Sharpie

3. Faux Calligraphy Hand Lettering Tutorial

Faux calligraphy is another version of hand lettering that mimics brush calligraphy. First, cursive writing is written to your liking, then what would be the downstrokes are thickened and coloured in.

How to Hand Letter Brush Calligraphy

Just so you know…

I have released a full practice sheet set for Faux calligraphy, hand lettering and monoline calligraphy that can teach you 4 different alphabets to get you started on your hand lettering journey. If you are interested, check it out here: Master Class Monoline and Faux Calligraphy Practice Sheets

4. Improving your Handwriting

Lettering can include the most common type of letter making: your own handwriting. Now if you are anything like I was, my normal handwriting was chicken scratch. It takes active effort and structured practice to improve it. Below is my method on improving handwriting that you can purchase if you are so inclined.

That’s all for now, let me know if there is any alphabet that you want detailed in this post.

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