Lettering

by - October 15, 2018

Hello sunshines!

Writing a letter doesn't always mean writing a letter. The right font can enhance the whole page and create a different character of the message. In this post you can find 5 ideas for different fonts and how you can write them easily by yourself.

Before we start I just want to bring to your mind that I am not an expert. I have been practicing my handwriting for a few years now and I am still improving. Most of the times I use the Tombow dual brush pens (just as I did for the following pages) but with the time these get "used" - they are a bit frizzy at the tip. You can still use them but you will not get the thinnest lines. For smaller calligraphy I would recommend the Fudenosuke with a soft tip.

closeup of a test page for lettering
first trials of lettering



To get a nice handwriting you should know the pen you are using.


To try out the tombow or any other calligraphy pen you can just draw some lines.
First you paint a wavy line - just up and down. Try to make every up a small line while just the tip is gently touching the paper and for the down press a little harder so that a bigger part of the pen can give color to the paper.
You can try out the ups and downs separately to get a better feeling of how soft or how hard you should press the pen on the paper.
If you feel comfortable to write/ draw the wavy line then you are ready for the first letters!

Bullet Journal Lettering
Bullet Journal page for lettering tests


Let's start with the basic calligraphy. 


As you can see I drew 3 lines in the background. That way it is easier to assess the height of each letter and you have a little guide such as in primary school. The middle line is the "X-height" - this is the main body of the letter. The top space is for ascending letters like f, k or h and the bottom space is for descending letters such as g, p or j.
For the basic calligraphy you just write the alphabet as usual but every upstroke is a thinner line and every down-stroke a thicker one.

The more you practice the more you will find your own style. There are so many different ways to write e.g. an a, r or t ... You will find your personal way of writing with the time.

Bullet Journal Lettering
Basic Calligraphy


To spice it up you can free the letter from the lines.


Your font will look different if the main body of the letter does not always stick to the X-height. I like it if some letters are more tending to the ascending space or descending space. But honestly this is easier if you write words and not just the alphabet. With the time I found a good way how I prefer my letters and I wrote down the alphabet as I would think I would write it.

Bullet Journal Lettering
Bullet Journal spread for two kinds of lettering: free and beautiful


Now you have an idea of how it could look like. I know that there is not a huge difference but I hope you understand what I am trying to say. Sometimes I feel like some letters look better if they are completely out of the usual space and sometimes it's just a little more accenting/ descending to bring it to live. As long as you can still read the original letter, you are free to modify your base line as much as you want.
To get an impression of the difference I wrote the name of my blog: glitter is the new black
And as you can see I just changed up the base line and created a new look. It is not a huge difference but I prefer writing the second one.
This is something you will get a feeling for by practicing!

Bullet Journal Lettering
comparing the font sticking to the X-height with the free one



The third font is more playful


... or as I called it beautiful. I think this is a more girlish calligraphy because you add ornaments and wings to the letters.
Personally I don't like it that much for daily headings because it is too elaborate and usually I do not have the steadiest hand to draw so many thin lines. But it looks so pretty!
I use it for special headings or cards (e.g. Christmas cards or birthday cards). All you have to do for these letters is to find a way to add more "wings" to the letters and make it more artful. Sounds easy but it isn't! It took me more then one year to find a way to write just as this and to like what I am drawing not just accepting it. I am still dissatisfied but this is how you can improve - learn what you don't like and change it!


When you try calligraphy you should never forget the capitals.


Actually most of the times I am using lower case and just write them a bit bigger then the other ones to create the effect of a capital letter and in English you do not need capitals as often as in German but it is great if you know how to write them anyway. If you just use capital letters it will be a new font and you can enhance the look of your pages.

There are thousand ways to write capitals and I decided to just show you how I write them if I am writing words(!) with a capital as the first letter. This is important because if I am using a font with just capital letters I would write it different.
As always you make a thin line for the upstroke and a thick line for the downstroke. Some letters are more difficult and you have to learn how you want to write it so that it looks pretty for you. For example the K and the R are my final enemies... I write both of them with two downstrokes but I don't want them to be just a thick letter. So please don't take my pictures as the one and only guide! :D

Bullet Journal Lettering
Bullet Journal spread for two kinds of lettering: Capitals and cute&small letters


The last font is a bit different then the others.

It is small and cute.


And I don't want you to not know this beauty. I really like writing like this for subheadings because you can expand it through the whole page and it looks so different compared to the other fonts.
As you can see I didn't drew the lines in the background because you try to draw it as small as you can or as you want it to be.
As you can see in the picture this is one kind of lettering but in two different ways. Basically the letters look the same but for the first part I connected them by extending the lines and for the second I wrote each letter isolated. So I never raised the pen from the paper for the first one.

Bullet Journal Lettering
Comparing all types of Lettering


To give you a little overview about all the fonts together, here you can see them.
The first three ones are quite similar. You can exaggerate a lot more then I did to create a more extreme difference between them - however you prefer.
And to be honest I changed the capital letters again because as I said, if I am writing words just with capitals I write it different. So here you can see how I would do it. 

I hope you got an idea of how you can improve your handwriting and may try out some hand-lettering. For those of you who are already trying - never give up! There is not just one way to write a letter. As long as you can still read it, you can be as creative as you want to be!
And maybe you think that my way of writing is not as pretty as yours then this is okay! I am still learning and improving every day. My most recent project is to learn how to take notes faster while writing pretty and at that date I am crap :D

If you have some more ideas or thoughts about lettering and writing, feel free to tell them in the comments below. I would appreciate it!

See you next time!

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