November 3, 2015 by

Basic Hand Lettering Tutorial

Friends, if you’ve been following along on Instagram and Facebook, you know that I have {another} new obsession…hand-lettering! I recently saw an opportunity on Facebook to take a free course with the incredibly talented Dawn from and jumped on it with both feet. {It’s not too late to , if you’re interested!} I have already learned so much and I’m having a blast. Many of you have been asking how I do my lettering, so I thought I’d take a few minutes today to show you the most basic way to achieve this kind of hand-lettered look.

Basic Hand Lettering

First of all, let me say that no two artists’ work will look exactly the same…that’s what makes it art! Second, there are TONS of ways to do hand-lettering. My most recent efforts have been to master brush lettering, which has been rather difficult, but creates a look similar to this without ever lifting up your marker. This method, though, is much much easier and totally doable.itiswell2

Here’s what you need to get started:
a sketch book or medium weight drawing paper
a good marker {you can start with just a Sharpie, but my absolute favorite is the }

tombow fude2

To practice, we’re going to start with a short, simple word…just three letters! With the holidays coming up, it’s likely you might want to use this word on your decorations, cards, and more. Are you ready? It’s JOY! Now, grab your marker and let’s get started.

Step 1: Write “joy” in cursive, leaving a little bit of extra space in between your letters.
You can use as much or as little of a slant as you want, but I’ve noticed that most of the hand-lettering I particularly like tends to be pretty much vertical. You can play around with it as you practice, but for starters, try making your letters straight up and down.


Step 2: Find the down strokes and draw a second line next to them.
What’s a down stroke? It’s anyplace where your marker is moving in a downward direction when you naturally write the word. Below, I’ve illustrated for you where those spots are in the word “joy”, but if you want to write a different word, all you have to do is pay attention to where your pen moves down when you write it.


Step 3: Fill in the double line areas with your marker to create the illusion of thicker lines.
In the process, you can make any little corrections you need to if some of your lines were shaky or not quite what you wanted.


Ta-da! There you have it! Your first piece of gorgeous hand-lettering! If you want to make it even fancier, feel free to embellish by adding a little flourish or a doodle. I accented mine with a simple sprig of holly; first I drew a curving line, a few circles, and some leaves, then colored them in with markers. I like drawing curved lines because then I don’t have to worry about them being crooked.


Here’s a photo showing you the full progression side by side.



It will most likely take you a little bit of practice to feel comfortable with your lettering, but I promise, the more you try, the better you’ll get…as Dawn says, “Practice makes progress!” Once you master writing, “joy,” try other words, like, “peace,” “love,” or your name. Just think how fun this could be when you’re addressing your Christmas cards this year!


I’d love to see your progress; hop on over to the and share your latest hand-lettering projects! Questions? Ask away!

Ready to take it a step further? Here are a few more resources:

Alphabet Practice

curving vine

Arrow embellishment

Basic Banner Embellishment

And for the rest of my hand lettering tutorials!

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