Learn how to create a hand-lettering layout with ease! Level-up your hand lettering skills with layouts to create beautiful compositions.
Hand lettering is my ultimate favorite thing to do. I started lettering 3 or 4 years ago after I found a rogue Tombow pen in our junk drawer. How it got there I have no idea but that pen lead to a passion for all things lettering. I started lettering with pen and paper and soon moved on to digital lettering when I purchased my iPad Pro. One of the aspects of lettering that was the most difficult for me was laying out my lettering. When you have a great hand-lettering composition, your work really makes an impact and draws people in. Today I want to share with you how to create a hand-lettering layout by giving you some tips that anyone can implement.
HAND LETTERING LAYOUT SUPPLIES
There are two ways that you can create a hand-lettering layout: with traditional pen and paper or digitally. I create most of my work digitally so that is what I’m going to show you. However, all these tips and tricks can be used with traditional pen and paper as well.
For this tutorial, I’ll be using:
If you are using regular pen and paper, I recommend the Tombow Dual Brush Pens or the Tombow Fudenosuke, and Canson Mixed Media paper. Some people swear by regular copy paper but I find that it wears down the tips of my pens and causes the paper to “pill” (like fabric). For this reason, I use a mixed media paper when lettering.
TIPS FOR LETTERING LAYOUT DESIGN
The easiest way to create beautiful lettering is to use lettering layout templates. The best templates that I have found are these Grid Builder templates. These grid builder templates come as a brush file for Procreate. After installing the brushes into Procreate, each grid will show up as a separate brush in Procreate. Tap on the grid that you want to and then tap on your document to place it. You can resize the grid and move it around. Create a layout using several different grid templates. You can also use these templates on regular paper. Just sketch out the templates.
When deciding on a lettering layout design, determine what words you want to emphasize. These words should be the largest in your design. Sketch out the emphasized words onto the grid template and then fill in the spaces around them with the other words in your phrase.
Create several different drafts of your lettering layout, altering the composition for each one. Choose your favorite and get to work refining it.
When working digitally, layers are your friend. Layers allow you to move things around independently of each other. I like to put each line of text on a different layer, using the HB pencil to sketch out my design.
Use flourishes to fill in empty space and balance out your design. Look at the descenders and ascenders of your letters to see if they can be used as flourishes as well. I like to use the descenders of lowercase “y” and “g” and the ascenders of the lowercase “d” to create flourishes. In addition to letters, think of shapes that can add a flourish to your design like swirls, circles or diamonds. Don’t go overboard with these…use just enough to give your hand lettering composition some extra flair.
Once your sketch is complete, go over it with your pen of choice. Add in highlights and shadows to bring it to life.
I hope these hand lettering layout tips have been useful to you. I share my hand-lettered designs over on Instagram at @kellylcreates. If you create a lettering layout using these tips, I’d love for you to tag me so I can see it!
LOVE IT? PIN IT!