Hello! In this week’s newsletter, I want to show you how we can use a calligraphic tool to improve our lettering and speed up the process. I'll walk you through step by step and show you how to create a piece of script lettering using a pencil and Pentel Color Brush pen.
The cool part about lettering is that it is an iterative process, so we don't have to worry about writing the word perfectly the first time, like you do in calligraphy. We are able to draw and redraw our letters as many times as we need, in order to get them exactly how we want them. So don't get intimidated, thinking that you need to be a master penman (or woman) to incorporate a calligraphic tool into your process. Using the tool will only help us create better letters, not to mention it will save us time. So, below is my process outlined in a few simple steps!
1. Decide on a path
Your lettering will be guided by the direction of the path you choose. The center of each letter should rest on the path and each letter will naturally rise above and fall below the path. You can exaggerate the scale of your letters to create visual interest, and the scale of a letter in relationship to another letter will ultimately create a rhythm. It's important to think about the scale of each letter relative to the other letters so you can purposefully design the rhythm of your word. There's no set in stone formula to do this, but it's nice to have an assortment of smaller and larger letters. Try to avoid having multiple large letters in a row, and then only one smaller letter. An arrangement like this might look off balance, or cause the viewer to question why that one letter was made smaller. Below, I have demonstrated a few common paths. The ovals represent letters, and are included to demonstrate how the ductus should run through the center of your letters and word.
2. Draw a ductus
The next step is to draw a ductus for your lettering. A ductus also known as a skeleton, is basically a blueprint for your word that includes the number of strokes that make up each letter, and the direction, scale and speed at which they are written. For our example, I have decided to letter the word, "ductus" on a straight path. Tip: It's important to draw your letters at a consistent slope. You can draw diagonal guidelines with a ruler to create a consistent angle to reference while drawing your letters.
3. Use brush pen to add weight
Next, It's time to add meat to the bones of your skeleton, and we will do this with a Pentel Color Brush. It's a good idea to work on a separate sheet of tracing paper placed on top of your ductus. This way, if your hand slips while using the pen, your ductus will remain clean of any ink.
Try to draw directly in the center of your ductus when applying the ink with your brush pen. On the right, you will see that the ink should be distributed evenly on both sides of the ductus.
4. Refine with pencil
Now we can go back over the inked drawing with pencil to refine it. Again, use another sheet of tracing paper in order to work non-destructively. Drawing on top of your inked ductus with a loose sheet of tracing paper will also allow you to make corrections to your spacing on the fly. For instance, if you wanted to add visual weight to the thin lines, you will have to compensate for the extra weight added to both sides of the ductus, by scooting over the next connecting letter. You can easily do this by drawing on the extra weight, shifting your paper, and then proceed to draw the next letter so the connecting stroke lines up smoothly.
This part of the process is fun because you can really customize the look and feel of the lettering.
5. Refine digitally
Something that I am not ashamed to admit is that we can use photoshop to further refine our lettering once we have it to good enough of a place through traditional techniques. To further refine this piece, I scanned it at a high resolution (600dpi), and then made some minor adjustments using the clone stamp tool in photoshop. In adobe CC, the clone stamp keyboard shortcut is S. While refining digitally, you can smooth out areas that were a little rough, add a little weight here, remove some weight their, and really start to refine your lettering on that next level of attention to detail.
Well, I hope that you got something out of this! This is my first time ever creating a newsletter, and I want to make each post interesting and worth while! If you have anything you would like for me to write about , I would love to hear about it! Please reach me through email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, if there is anything you think I can improve about the way I set up this newsletter, don't hesitate to reach out and let me know. I want to know so I can make it better for you guys! Thanks for taking the time to read this all, and I hope you have an amazing, and happy Friday!