Do you think you need gifted hands to become a master of hand lettering? That’s what crossed my mind when I screwed up my first gig on Upwork (or Odesk as it was called back then). The client was a teacher who needed a hand-lettered illustration for back-to-school greeting cards. As my handwriting wasn’t that bad at school, I took the gig without a second thought. It seemed way too easy. But I should have thought twice.
When I started making strokes, my hand was shaking a little due to the rough surface and lack of practice. As a result, letters looked messy, as I tried to achieve the right balance between thin and thick strokes. Fortunately, the client was too polite to call me names and way too kind to curse my entire family but still didn’t pay. I didn't insist actually.
I made myself a promise that I would never deal with hand lettering in my life. But, of course, skipping gigs was not the way out. That may be an option for Richie Rich, but not for a freelancer who is just starting out.
This trend was very popular a few years ago and actually still is. If I had skipped all the hand lettering gigs I took later, I would have missed out on thousands of dollars. So, I started looking for free tutorials to improve my skills and found a bunch of good ones on YouTube. Not only did their authors help me practise hand lettering, but also gave a lot of inspiration and tips I still use today.
You can add any font you like from Google fonts using a single line of CSS. See how Helga did this in her recent typography compilation.
If you are the one who sucks at handwriting, this post is for you. Here, you’ll find 33 of the best free hand lettering tutorials covering different needs. They will guide you on hand lettering in different styles (monoline, gritty, wavy) and on different surfaces (acrylic, wood, paper, iPad Pro). The best thing about these tutorials is that all of them are totally free and won’t absorb too much of your time.
No more talking. Watch these free video tutorials to succeed at hand-drawn typography and create brilliant fonts and icon fonts.
This free tutorial will guide you through the basics of modern calligraphy and hand lettering. You will find out what exercises will help you to get started, what materials and supplies you’ll need, how to draw middle-sized, ascending and descending letters, etc. The artist, Amanda Rach Lee, also talks about faking calligraphy without a brush pen. Instead, she uses a normal fine liner.
Would you like to become an expert in manipulating a brush pen? This free brush lettering tutorial is exactly what you need. Its author, Will Paterson, gives a brief rundown on brush pens and shows how to get started with them. He also teaches the fundamentals of brush calligraphy and some cool effects you can achieve with ease.
When it comes to lettering, a brush pen is a go-to instrument for many artists. However, if you don’t have one for some reason, that’s not a problem. In this hand lettering tutorial by Stephen Bradbury, you’ll learn how to do your artwork using a biro and fine liner.
Some letters are quite difficult to master in hand lettering. For some people, it’s S, while others often have bother with R. In this free tutorial, Shayda Campbell reveals six strategies for dealing with problem letters. She prints them first, uses tracing paper and transfer paper, mixes uppercase and lowercase letters, etc.
How about creating non-traditional calligraphy with just a regular pen? The author of this free lettering tutorial, Teela Cunningham, shares its best practices. She describes how to create bouncy letter forms, what the skeleton method is all about, and how to use a light box in your workflow.
A lot of artists add some bounce to their hand lettering layouts. You will be able to do it too after watching this free tutorial. Its author, Veronica Zubek, shows how to unite and intertwine different lines of letters to achieve a balance in the layout.
This free tutorial is about digitizing hand lettering from sketch to vector. First, you’ll learn how to do some cleanup and alignment of your draft in Photoshop. Next, you’ll need to open Illustrator and vectorize your lettering with Image Trace. What’s more, the author, Sean McCabe, shares some tips on how to set colors to Pantone to make your digital files print-friendly.
This free tutorial lays the foundation of hand lettering. Here, you will learn its main types, to which you’ll adhere in your artwork. They include faux calligraphy, brush lettering with a Crayola marker and watercolors, and modern calligraphy.
Need a tutorial that will take you from start to finish? Check out one of my top choices. The author of this tutorial, Dansky, covers all the hand lettering stages, from writing in pencil to reproducing your final work in Illustrator.
This watercolor brush lettering tutorial is one of my favorites. In the video, Kristina tells you how to trace your design with a light pad. This tool is perfect for removing trapped pencil lines under the watercolor paper and finalizing your lettering.
You may be tempted to start practising at once, but not so fast! First, you must learn a few important things about letter structuring that will help you turn your shapes into expressive storytellers. David Sorrell will walk you through his creative process step by step.
In this free hand lettering tutorial for Illustrator CC, you’ll learn a few ways of texturizing your artwork. At first, the author uses a free texture and then goes over to a paid texturing kit called VectorPress.
You can’t get down to hand lettering with empty hands. Your toolkit must contain some stuff that would make the whole process easier for you. Watch this video by an enthusiastic artist to learn what inexpensive equipment can help you kick-start your projects.
Would you like to make some impressive chalkboard artwork with your bare hands? Then, this simple chalkboard lettering tutorial is a perfect resource for you. Dusty Rogers shows you how to handle stencils, chalk dust, and other things you’ll use in your workflow.
Making hand-lettered wooden signs is much easier than you can imagine. In this free tutorial by Elisa Anne, you will learn everything from materials and instruments you need to techniques that will help you polish your artwork.
Here’s another great chalkboard lettering tutorial to watch for free. The author shows how to prepare the chalkboard surface, write with a craft chalk, clean up letter edges, add some interest to the negative space, and more.
Besides paper, there are many other surfaces, on which you can practise your calligraphy style on. In this video tutorial, the author conveys how to draw letters on an acrylic surface. Acrylic is a great option for wedding signage or, say, home improvement, so you should definitely give it a try.
Have you ever experimented with gritty-style lettering? If this idea sounds cool to you, watch this video tutorial for free. The author will take you through the process of drawing gritty letters and editing them in Photoshop.
Do you need an easy watercolor lettering tutorial for beginners? Here it is. The author goes over the basics of letter formation, ways of connecting letters, and tools to come up with brilliant brush lettering.
This free tutorial will also be useful on your way to becoming a pro in hand lettering. You’ll learn how to create a hand lettered photo composition in Photoshop, without compromising on readability. The author masks some letter parts instead of deleting them and adds some shadows to the artwork.
Are you curious about how you can maintain a consistent width between letters? Figure it out in this free monoline lettering tutorial. The author uses a bullet tip marker for this job. He also shows how and where you can add shadows to your custom type, first in pencil and then in Photoshop.
Learn how to create a circular alphabet graphic using a mechanical pencil and Pigma Micron. The author presents guides on combining letters into a cohesive piece of art. You’ll need some graph paper and tracing paper for the initial design. This hand-drawn typography tutorial will help you practise your brush lettering, layout design, and modern calligraphy skills.
Do you have an iPad Pro and Apple pencil? Watch this free hand lettering tutorial to use them in your artwork. The author shows you how to sketch out san-serif letters, texture your lettering, choose the right size brush, etc.
Would you like to enliven your hand lettering? In this free video tutorial, you’ll learn about adding cool accents to your artwork, e.g. flowers, wreaths, laurels, etc. The author also shows how to create hand-made greeting cards with only a few sharpies and some card stock.
Add some spice to your artwork with wave lettering. The author shows you how to split up your quote into a few lines, accentuate the main words, and add some extra details to the draft. You’ll also learn how to digitize hand lettering and adjust thickness, positioning, and coloring.
With these hand-picked free video tutorials, you don’t need a super talent to master hand lettering. All you need is practice and a desire to experiment. I promise you’ll screw up your drawings many times at first, but eventually, you’ll come up with your unique style that even the most experienced calligraphy artists will envy.
There are only a few individuals born gifted by nature. All the others become proficient through a lot of learning and practising. Even if you think you are the least talented person on the earth and will never succeed at design, that’s not true. You just don’t know about resources that you need to become a pro. Check out web design essentials for non-designers, and this free book will change your world.
Nick Campbell, the author of this article, is fond of writing posts on various subjects, particularly web design, e-commerce, social media, marketing, business, and education. He has been involved in the content creation sphere for more than two years. Nick is primarily focused on covering modern trends in a specific industry to help his readers keep abreast of the latest news. If you don't want to miss any brand new developments in the aforementioned topics, follow Nick Campbell on Twitter and Google+!