Impressive shapes



60 min

What you need:

For this exercise we recommend the following selection of Faber-Castell products: Pitt Artist Pen in black or any of the 48 colors. Different nips sizes and forms allow special effects and unique results. Enjoy!

Lettering freehand can lead to lovely art; however, it can be intimidating when you are first starting out, or if you have a particularly complex design in mind. A great way to practice is to shape your lettering. Shaping provides a framework, or skeleton, for your letters.

Exercises for beginners

Step 1

Start with the basic shape you’d like the letters to take, such as a circle, and draw boundaries for each word. Add the x-heights, which will determine if the letters will be straight, curved, or diagonal.

Step 2

Sketch the lettering. Be sure to follow the x-heights as you form each letter.

Step 3

Ink over the letters, and add fun details.

Step 4

Erase the pencil guidelines, and you’re done! This fun version is done in shades of teal and turquoise. In a world full of digitized letters and standard typefaces, the organic art of hand lettering offers a fresh, artistic, and spirited approach to beautiful writing.

Exercises for advanced

Hand lettering a logo is a significant way to give branding a distinguished, one-of-a-kind touch. Give it a try, and design your own logo for your creative company, personal brand, or blog! Before you begin, write down a few words that describe your brand. Experiment with hand lettering those words in a style reflective of their meaning.

Step 1

Conceptualizing and sketching will help you determine what types of lettering to use. This logo needs to have an organic quality that doesn’t seem too rigid, corporate, or generic. For this reason, a sweet, swirling script and a stylized serif were selected.  These lettering choices will help enhance the mood words chosen to reflect the branding.

Step 2

After you have considered your branding, start sketching with pencils on graph paper. Remember that this process isn’t about perfection—it's about getting your ideas out on paper. You can do as few or as many sketches as you need.

Step 3

Once you have picked your logo design, it's time to perfect your sketch. Use pencils and a fresh piece of graph paper for this part of the process. Lightly sketch the logo with pencil, and then go back over it to finesse the details.

Step 4

It's time to transfer your logo. This is a fun process that can have as few or many steps as you feel you need. Once you have finished the transfer process and are happy with the outline for the final logo, use various sizes of archival ink pens to go back over the outline and add final details to the logo.

Step 5

First create hand-lettered logos in black and white, even if you know what colors the branding will incorporate. Starting with a black-and-white logo allows you to focus on the basic form.  You can experiment with different mediums, such as pens, colored pencils, or watercolors to give you an idea of how you would like your final digital logo to look.

More ideas

Lively brush lettering
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Matching Themes and Letters
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Tangly letters
A few simple patterns can create endless pieces of art.
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Unique frames and borders
You don’t need much formal preparation to begin doodling!
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Excerpt from "The Joy of Lettering," published by Walter Foster Publishing, a division of Quarto Publishing Group USA Inc. All rights reserved. Walter Foster is a registered trademark. Artwork © Gabri Joy Kirkendall and Jaclyn Escalera. Visit