Are you learning to letter but don’t feel like you’re improving? These basic hand lettering rules will help you improve your hand lettering fonts. Sometimes you just need more time practicing the right things. I’ve been lettering for several years and still feel like I’m learning new things all the time so it does take patience. But practicing the right things, especially when it comes to lettering basics, can really help you improve quickly.
The first thing to learn about calligraphy is that the upstrokes are thin, the downstrokes are thick. That isn’t technically a rule so here I’m assuming you already know that aspect. If it’s new to you, check out my Faux Calligraphy Basics Tutorial. In this post, I want to share with you some basic rules for beginners that will help you start seeing improvements in your hand lettering fonts. I teach these in my Hand Lettering for Beginners online course along with everything else I wish I learned as a lettering beginner. If you like this tutorial, you might really like the online course and workbook!
3 Basic Hand Lettering Rules to Improve your Hand Lettering Fonts
Basic Hand Lettering Rule 1: Size
Be consistent with the size of your letters. Using lined guide sheets can be very helpful in getting a consistent size in your letters. Remember those alphabet practice sheets from elementary school? With the dotted line in the center? Those work great. You can use the ones I’ve created specifically for small and large brush pens. It’s a free resource I have given to my Insider Scoop members. You will get access to a library of free resources as well as my weekly email with a scoop of confidence and letters each week.
Basic Rule 2: Angle
The angle of your downstrokes should all be parallel to each other. Choose an angle and stick to it. Try drawing a line through your downstrokes to check if those lines are parallel. If you were doing Copperplate calligraphy, you would need to use a very specific angle. For lettering and modern calligraphy, you get to choose the angle as long as it’s consistent throughout
Basic Rule 3: Spacing
The space between each letter should be the same. Watch your connections to make sure they are all consistent. Lettering connections can be tricky and take some practice. Having a consistent space between each letter can help you connect each letter a little easier.
You can grab a diagram and practice page for these basic rules in the Insider Scoop if you want a little more help practicing. I also want to remind you that, there are so many ways to break these rules! However, these simple rules can improve your lettering in a short amount of time. As Picasso said, “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”
To see a demo of these basic rules and some extra tips, check out this video:
If you’ve tried all of these rules and you notice something is still off or you have a hard time making these rules happen, I have another tutorial for you. I’ve noticed a huge improvement when my students finally understand how to hold a brush pen. I’m not talking about the way you wrap your fingers around the pen, that’s whatever is comfortable for you. I’m talking about the angle and direction of the pen in relation to your paper and downstrokes. This can make a huge difference in improving your hand lettering fonts and can help you with these basic hand lettering rules.
Have you used these rules? Did you see an improvement? What else would you add to this list?