Hand Lettering Tutorial

For those of you who wonder how I do logos or wedding invitation lettering, here is a (very) quick tutorial on the steps I take!

  1. The first step is to draw the lettering. I use a regular mechanical pencil for this, and do not worry about my lines being precise or clean. In the past, I never used straight lines as a guide, and sometimes I still don't, but when I want to make sure my lettering is straight for aesthetic purposes, I use a ruler to draw my guidelines. Depending on the lettering I am doing, I might fill in the blank spaces. For this particular project, I waited until I was on the computer to fill in the letters.

2. The second step is to trace the lettering exactly how you want them using tracing paper. This is where I make sure the lines are clean and how I want the final lettering to look.






3. The third step is to scan the tracing paper to the computer so I have an image file of my lettering. Make sure the resolution is high, and you get a clear scan of the work. I always increase the contrast using some picture editor on the computer to make the black lines stand out against a white background before I move onto the last step.

4. The fourth and "last" step is to use a computer program like Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape to import your image and either manually trace the lines (very tedious) or use a live trace feature. I use Inkscape because it's free, and I find that it does everything I need it to in order for me to provide clients with final vector and image files. Once I have my lettering in Inkscape, I simply use the program to clean up my lettering, fill in any blanks I left from my tracing, and generally get my work to a professional level. I'll post another tutorial some other time explaining what all of that cleaning up entails!

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Thanks for reading, and let me know if you have any questions about these steps!