Calligraphy 101: Lowercase Letters

So you’ve been practicing your basic strokes and you’re ready to move on to actual lettering! Let’s do baby steps: this week, it’s time to focus on lowercase letters.

If you’re joining me for the first time, this is Part 2 of a short series in which I curate the best of the best lettering resources for beginners. See Part 1 here: The Basic Strokes. I know you’re busy; I’m busy, too. But I promise it is so worth it to have a creative outlet to escape from that busy lifestyle, if only for ten minutes. In this series, I will provide no more than 5 resources that you can consume at work, at home, or anywhere in between. Let your new hobby begin!

Resource #1: Loveleigh Loops

This is a pretty long video, but an informative one. It shows you how to build a lowercase letter from the basic strokes. If you’re practicing at work or while the baby is sleeping, you could put this video on mute and start at 1:37. Take note of the building blocks of each letter, then see how she lefts her pen/pauses between each stroke in order to perfect the letter. 

***Bonus Resource: @loveleighloops on Instagram***

Twins Jillian and Jordan have a ton of good information on their Instagram feed. Search #loveleighlessons to see their instructional information, or just scroll through their feed to see videos and tips! (This is not a paid advertisement. I just appreciate good information.)

Resource #2: The Lemonade Store

I’ve already said it once: I love lettering with fat Crayola markers. I think they’re the best beginner calligraphy tool–as well as my preferred “brush” lettering tool. This video is much shorter than the Loveleigh Loops one, but it doesn’t break down the letter by basic strokes. This is a good one for those of you who just want a fast(er) overview of lettering each of the lowercase letters. 

Resource #3: Stephen Bradbury Design

Stephen’s lettering style is a bit different from modern calligraphy, but some of you may like to try it. This style is like when calligraphy meets graffiti. I love it!

Resource #4: One Artsy Mama – Free Lettering Practice Sheets

(Image from One Artsy Mama)

There are a ton of lettering practice sheets and workbooks that you can buy through artists’ websites  and Etsy stores. I wanted to find something free, though.  On this page, you can print off free practice sheets and letter directly on the page, or use tracing paper to letter over the page.

Disclaimer: The sheets that you can purchase have more information about the motions of lettering, and how to go about drawing each letter. With this free one, you’ve got to be aware of how the basic strokes fit in yourself.  

Resource #5: My Stories @nerdladydraws!

OK, shameless plug here. But really, I was trying to find more lowercase lettering sources and found them all boring, repetitive, or incomplete. Keep an eye out on my Instagram stories @nerdladydraws over the next few weeks for quick videos on how to letter each of the lowercase letters with the basic strokes. If you miss anything, I’ll save each video in my story highlights.

In these videos, I’ll use a different color for each stroke so that you can see how to build each letter. They will be muted so that you can watch them when you’re supposed to be quiet (because otherwise you’ll here my child screaming or the latest Hallmark movie I’m watching). 

That’s it! Now go practice lettering! Let me know how you’re doing by commenting below or finding me on Instagram @nerdladydraws! 

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Calligraphy 101: The Basic Strokes

This one’s dedicated to my girl Lindsay. You may be like this magnificent woman yourself: tired AF because life kicks your butt every day, and you need a creative outlet. You’re interested in calligraphy and handlettering, you’ve pinned a few things and followed a few Instagram lettering artists… but it’s all overwhelming and you don’t know where to start.

Let me get you started with the basics.

And because I’m tired and busy, too, I’m going to curate for you. Instead of adding to the noise on YouTube and Instagram, I’ll distill the most useful resources for you and give you my suggested steps to learning the art of handlettering.

I’m planning on this being a short series to introduce you to the basics and get you started on your lettering journey. I’ll keep it under five resources so that you can consume, then go ahead and start practicing! Today, you’ve only got three to get through. So let’s get started!

Lesson #1: Learn the Basic Strokes.

Calligraphy is different from cursive. Cursive is all about efficient writing in one fluid motion. Calligraphy and handlettering is about drawing — so that means you’ve got to pick up your pen between strokes, and really practice the shapes of lettering.

All the letters can be formed with the following basic shapes:

3-strokes-2-basic-miniscule-strokes

You don’t need to know the names. Just the shapes.

Now, before I show you some videos, let me give you a disclaimer: I’m cheap. I don’t have the money to spend on all the cool tools that these videos will recommend.

My suggested tools:

That’s it. At least until you feel like you’ve gotten the hang enough of it.

Today’s Top 3 Resources

#1: The Basic Calligraphy Strokes

Watch how Becca forms each of the shapes, then try it out yourself! I promise, this works well with Crayola markers. You don’t need to spend a ton on Tombow markers.

#2: Common Mistakes

Maybe this is a 102 lesson, but if you’re like my friend Lindsay, you’re probably ready for this lesson.

#3: Drill Worksheets

There are tons of free worksheets on the internet. It’s the magic of the internet. Here’s a good one to practice your basic strokes. It’s from Dawn Nicole – check out her full blog post on drill basics here!

Two Bonus resources:

  • Becca at The Happy Ever Crafter has an entire Teachable course on practicing your drills (for free!). If you have the time to watch her videos on each of the strokes and practice each slowly, go to showmeyourdrills.com.
  • I learned by watching a ton of videos on Instagram, then trying it out myself. I also needed the videos to be silent, or easy to follow if muted… I was watching them while I was putting my daughter to sleep or feeding her during her first year. If you want to see simple, mute-able videos that show you how to do each of the basic strokes, stay tuned to my Instagram stories this week! Find me @nerdladydraws. I’ll save the demonstrations to my stories in case you join me later.

That’s it, friends! Now go and practice! Next up, I’ll share resources to help you learn how to put the basic strokes together so you can draw the letters. But as Mr. Miyagi showed young Daniel, you’ve got to learn how to wax on and wax off before you can kick ass. Learn your drills!

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