The basic strokes are important when learning modern calligraphy and hand lettering because these are the strokes that build letters. They can help you practice muscle memory and get comfortable with your brush pen. But what if you are trying to practice them and they are just TOO boring? I’ve been there. I’m going to share 5 fun ideas to practice lettering the basic strokes.
First, let me give you an overview of hand lettering the basic strokes. There’s the upstroke, downstroke, overturn, under turn, compound curve, ascending loop, descending loop, and oval. These strokes are the most common strokes that build letters. Calligraphy is not cursive. You actually pick up your pen in between strokes to form letters. So having a good handle on the basic strokes can help you in your letters.
5 Fun Ways to Practice lettering the Basic Strokes:
1. Use colors that you love!
Maybe you like just using black, but maybe you like lots of colors like me! Or maybe you just like greens or pinks. Use whatever makes you happiest right now.
2. Try a new pen.
Not all brush pens are equal! And you might like one pen over another. There isn’t one perfect pen for everyone so you have to experiment to find the one you love.
3. Try different worksheets.
I think using worksheets can be super helpful to get you started. But maybe you want to try worksheets for a different pen size or with different strokes. Also, having worksheets can help you feel motivated to practice because you don’t have to come up with them on your own. You can check out hand lettering worksheets for beginners I’ve created.
4. Try a different style.
Just like you change lettering styles, you can also change the style of your basic strokes! The goal with basic strokes is to practice certain curves and changes in pressure so you’ll feel more comfortable with your brush pen. Don’t be afraid to make them your own!
If you want to download and trace a free worksheet with the basic strokes in multiple styles, find it in the Lettering Library!
5. Use the basic strokes to decorate a Hand Lettering quote.
The basic strokes aren’t flowers or illustrations so you may not think of using them to decorate. But they look great and they’re possibly more simple than flowers or doodles. And you’re getting good practice while also creating a finished lettering piece so it’s a win-win!
Here’s what I want you to remember today: hand lettering is supposed to be fun. As soon as it stops being fun, you’re not going to want to practice which can lead to feeling stuck. But this is a beautiful art form that can be used for mindfulness and self-care. So the next time you think you’re “supposed to” practice a certain way, instead, find the fun.