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Yesterday I had the chance to watch three brush lettering classes by Laura Worthington on CreativeLive. Laura is a font designer and expert hand letterer. The classes were Brush Lettering Basics, Flourishes and Ornamentation, and Putting Together a Final Piece. Each of these classes can be purchased individually or you can buy the bundle that includes all three at a discount. I really enjoyed following along and doing the exercises along with the class, at least as much of the exercises as Miss Hannah would allow in between nursing and snuggling.
In the first class Laura discussed the basic tools she uses as well as how to practice the basic strokes and letter forms. The brush that Laura used during the class and that she gave to the seven studio audience members was a Pentel Color Brush pen which can be purchased from Amazon or Blick Art. On Amazon there was also an option for a set of 18 different colors. She also had both regular and tracing paper as well as scissors and tape. When at home she also uses digital tools to refine and vectorize her artwork. I personally was using the Sakura Koi watercolor brush pens and look forward to also trying out drawing directly in Corel Painter, Photoshop, and Illustrator with my Wacom tablet.
After showing us her supplies she started doing simple strokes and shapes to help us get used to the was the brush feels. She showed the proper grip for both right and left handed artists as well as discussing how the motions were different from traditional writing. As a free download with the class she provided a paper with different lines indicating where the different parts of a letter should fall. She had us focus on light pressure on the upstrokes and heavy pressure on the downstrokes. After doing the basic practice strokes we moved on to doing letter forms, both lowercase and uppercase. The final project for this first class was to practice writing your name.
After a short break we moved on to the second class on flourishes and ornamentation. When you purchase the class there is a free download of several sample flourishes that you can practice tracing to get the feel for them. After practicing some of these flourishes Laura had us work on adding flourishes to our own name. As a demonstration she did my name! First she drew the name and added some flourishes in pencil then when she was happy with the shape she went over it with the brush. My own attempts aren’t nearly as nice as hers, but it was definitely fun.
The third class focused on how to create a complete piece of artwork with a short phrase. She had each of the students choose a phrase to work on and talked through each one with them pointing out which words to draw focus to and a few suggestions on how to do that. She then had each person to several thumbnail sketches of their chosen phrase. From there they chose a thumbnail and started drawing a larger version of their final choice. She cautioned that it often takes MANY tries to get to the final product. This is where she pulled out the scissors and tape and showed us how she would take the best parts from each attempt and pull them together to then trace over for her final piece. I decided to practice with the phrase “let your faith be bigger than your fear” which will become the focal point of one of the pages in my Pregnancy and Birth Coloring Book.
I have been trying to teach myself lettering from the book “Modern Calligraphy” as well as a few worksheets form “The Postman’s Knock“. They have both been EXCELLENT resources, but it was completely different to actually watch Laura doing the lettering and talking through her thought process. I think that my books and worksheets will be even more useful now as I am better able to apply what they teach. I am excited to continue to hone my skills with lettering and be able to offer it as a service to my clients soon.
Are you an expert or do you want to learn brush lettering? What are your favorite resources? I’d love to see some links to your work in the comments!