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  • Writer's pictureKaren

Playing with your lettering

Updated: May 23, 2020

I love playing around with lettering.

For experimentation, I have a lovely, inexpensive A4 grid pad. The grid helps me get used to height and width of the letter forms for any particular style. Without a guide I find that my writing tends to change size and slopes down the page as I write, so the grid helps keep me in check!

Inspiration for my lettering play comes from.....(see pic above)

*filling in shapes (C&D) ,

*writing out sayings, phrases, word lyrics or any short sentence that appeals to me (D&E)

*creating alphabet groupings (A,B&C)

*A few simple related words (F)

Mixing fonts can be fun (D&E) or keeping letter style the same give a cohesive appearance, especially for alphabet groupings

As I mentioned before, I love to PLAY in my grid pad. There is no pressure for my work to be perfect and I can experiment to my heart's content. My play pad is full of not so pretty stuff (lol!) but every now and then I discover something that I love and I'll either reproduce it (or something very like it) on a journal page, or I'll cut it out and collage it onto a spread.

(The Experimental Stuff)

There are lots of different elements you can add to your letters to make your words more interesting and varied. Lettering books are a great source of inspiration or you could look to fonts on your computer OR make up your own unique style just by altering your own handwriting a little.

For example...

*You may like to render all the cross bars or joining elements (on letters ABEFGHKMPRWY) high up or low down on the letter instead of locating them in the middle.

*Add serifs (small decorative lines/shapes on the open ends of letters)

*You may want to change the shape of letters eg..make them circular, oval or squared off.

*Thick and thin lines add interest. Thickening is usually on the downstrokes but instead of thickening every downstroke, you may elect to thicken only one element of each letter...such as only the first downstroke.

And so the list goes can see how you can tailor make your very own unique lettering style. It's just perfect to adorn your journal pages. Stick with your favourite creation forever or dream up a new style for every page, month or year!

What to use to create your lettering

Any writing tool! The humble pencil, a fancy fountain pen, an inexpensive children's felt tip pen, a dual tip watercolour marker, a biro or a gel pen. You could even use a brush and paint or even a stick dipped into ink can produce interesting results!

You don't need anything fancy, use what you have.

Some implements can do some of the work for you. A flexible tip fountain pen or a brush tip pen will give you a variance in line width, according to the pressure you apply. If you don't have either of these, you can achieve the same results by thickening the downstrokes after the letter is formed. Simply add a second line next to a downstroke, then fill it in the gap. You may even prefer to leave the space you create unfilled or fill it with a different colour or a pattern.

Further variances can be found by changing the width of your letters.

Have fun experimenting!!

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