Brush lettering isn’t easy. In fact it can feel downright discouraging trying to get started when you feel like you are creating chicken scratch that I child could do. Before you throw in the towel, I want to teach you a few simple things that can make a HUGE difference in your brush lettering technique. Three steps to improving your lettering and beginning to master brush lettering once and for all!
Step 1: Begin to identify your downstrokes
Brush lettering is really brain training. You are training your brain to do thick downstrokes and thin upstrokes. You are re-teaching yourself how to write, when you have been writing your whole life. Expect that it will take a little bit, don’t expect it to happen overnight!
The best way to start to train your brain is to start training it visually. If your mind can identify what hand lettering should look like it will be a lot more natural when you try to get it to put that into practise! That is why cheater brush lettering is such a great tool! Not only does it help your lettering look great NOW but it is a great way to start shifting your writing perspective and can honestly make brush lettering WAY easier when you actually start.
I recommend everyone starts with cheater brush lettering. You simply write a word in script font, then thicken your downstrokes. It takes a little bit to figure out, to remember where you went down vs. up, but eventually you won’t have to think about it anymore, and that is when you are ready for the next step!
In this picture, I am using my book (aff link) Journal Me Organized, to show you the technique of cheater brush lettering and just how simple it is. You can find it on Amazon if you want more planning inspiration and help.
Step 2: It’s all about the pens
Just like a photographer can only be as good as their camera, an artist can only be as good as their tools. You need to have at least a good brush lettering pen in order to get started and most of what you find on the shelves SUCKS. Seriously, I’ve tried them, they are t err bile! They are too big, too small, too flexible, not flexible enough, not smooth, etc. I found some that are cheap and easy to use and they are the number 1 best ones for starting out, seriously, ask anyone!
You need to get yourself some Tombow Fudenosuke pens. There are two sizes, though it is hard to see, one is dark green and one is dark blue. The dark blue is a little bit more firm of a tip and the dark green is a little softer so it does thicker strokes. Both are great to have and if you order from Japan, you can get them for like $3 a pen! This isn’t even an investment you guys, but it will save your sanity!
Step 3: PRACTISE
I can’t stress this enough, anyone can do this. Anyone can doodle, anyone can paint, but you have to start somewhere. You have to actually do it! You have to look at good works of art, good hand lettering, and try to mimic what you see. If you put in the time, you will not only improve, you’ll go as far as the time you invest. This is something that is learned, not a random gift for the elite. Some people will find it easier than others, but that shouldn’t deter you from doing it!
Practise while you are waiting for an appointment, or on a road trip or watching a show. Practise while you listen to a podcast or lay in bed destressing. It can become fun and therapeutic and the more time you put in, the better your return will be.
The only person holding you back from improving your lettering is you. Stop believing the lie that you can’t do this and start doing this!
I challenge you to cheater brush letter something and tag me in it on Insta if you are there @planninginspiration4u! I may even feature you on my next blog post if I see your tag so let’s see what you can do this week!
Ready to improve your lettering? Let’s get started!