Learn Hand Lettering: Ultimate Beginners Guide (2020)

Learn Hand lettering: Ultimate Beginners Guide (2020)

This post is the Ultimate beginners guide to learn hand lettering now.

Are you interested in Bullet Journaling and improving your Hand lettering to make beautiful bullet journal pages?

Ready to learn some great hand letter skills to get more creative then let’s get started.

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One of the first craft skills I decided to do was learn calligraphy using proper pens as in metal nib fountain type pen and proper ink which I ended up finding super hard with all the ink and stuff so what happened?

Apart from lots of mess!

I ended up using calligraphy felt pens instead faux calligraphy helped me get started very quickly and with less mess!

How do you get started with Hand lettering

As with Bullet Journaling you don’t need to start with expensive materials ordinary felt tip pens like these will do the job and paper can be from anywhere even Amazon drawing paper.

Start of with just one type of pen like a brush pen and paper – I decided that Calligraphy was where I would start and practice.

I just used an ordinary pad of plain paper when I first started and faux Calligraphy felt pen.

Now one of the best ways to get good as with any craft is to practice!

What is the difference between hand lettering and calligraphy?

Calligraphy is a type of hand lettering using ink and nib pen – not as easy as it looks! I tried this to begin with and made such a mess with ink all over the place I decided to revert to faux calligraphy or Brush calligraphy using brush felt pens – much cleaner!

Yes and easier!

It is the same as basic hand lettering but using only ONE font called Script font if you check out the rest of the post I explain the different fonts.

I recommend leaving this till you feel a bit more confident then you can try this and watercolour hand lettering which is definitely more artistic and can really jazz up your bullet journals!

Hand lettering – creates gorgeous letter designs and art at the same time

Best Resources for Hand Lettering


Set of Pencils from your local Art store will work well you can choose to use different softness of pencils depending on your preferences.


Tombow brush pens are not too expensive and will get you started if you want to use felt brush pens. Best thing is they have a massive colour pallette yeh for my stationary addiction!

Plus a variety of black pens too like Faber-Castell pen assortment.

Looking for finer pens I use STAEDTLER TRIPLUS FINELINERS for my bullet journal and Pilot frixxon gel eraserable coloured pens.


Firstly you need Paper that doesn’t bleed liked Rhodia dot pad or if you want a bullet journal one of the best ones is Leuchtturm1917 – if you want to practice you can practice your bullet journaling and lettering at the same time because the good news is that using dot grid paper helps with proportions, angles and sizes.

What is the best paper for hand lettering?

When you are going to buy paper you want to look at buying the ultra smooth paper – why?

Because if it’s not smooth you will damage your brush pen tips and they will begin to fray especially if you bought expensive pens.

So make sure you buy smooth paper.

Laserjet premium printer paper works well and you can buy a stack from Amazon at a reasonable price plus you can use it for your printer too!

Best Books to learn Hand lettering

If your looking for some great books then you can go wrong with this selection:

The great news about this list is that all the books get 5-Star reviews on Amazon so check out the list here.

Which pens are best for hand lettering?

If you want to know what the experts use then check out this post by Dawn Nicole she recommends Tombow pens to start out with.

  1. Top recommendation is the Tombow Fudenosuke
  2. Karin Brush Marker Pro
  3. Tombow Dual Brush pens
  4. Tombow Twintone Markers

I never included number 5 because this was digital pen and I for one would want to work with pen and paper.

Brush hand lettering for beginners

How to get started – Structure

First of you need to learn about Structure. Using the Rhodia dot pad will make it much easier to learn to structure your hand letters better as it allows you to keep an eye on your letter proportions sizes and angles.

You need to the anatomy of a letter – yes it has an anatomy!

There are four different areas to be aware of

  1. Baseline – basically where the letter sit
  2. X- height – where the lower case letters reach to the furthest most point at the top
  3. Ascender line – letters with strokes will reach the furthest top point called the ascender line.
  4. Descender Line – is basically the opposite of the ascender line it’s the furthest point below the baseline that letters will reach to the bottom

Confused here is a picture to help clarify:


Practice gives you consistency in your lettering. If you can be consistent with each letter they will look really good.

Types of letters – Serif fonts, Sans serif fonts, script

There are three basic letter types called Serif fonts -these has a little extra bit at the end of the font then Sans serif font without the extra leg and Script font which is curly for want of a better word.

Examples of Serif fonts

Times New Roman



Examples of Sans Serif




How to hold your Brush for Hand lettering

To help with holding your brush properly you should make sure your posture is good – you know the drill sit up right feet flat on the floor and chair close to the desk.

You should hand letter with your whole arm rather than just your wrist and fingers.

The arm should be used for hand lettering this ensures that your letters flow and clean and graceful.

How to get better at hand lettering

Practising hand lettering will help with getting better and using Hand lettering drills will also help improve your lettering.

Hand lettering drills

What are hand lettering drills basically its shapes and repetitive lines you practice for downstrokes and upstrokes.

Here are some FREE resources for Hand lettering Drills

Other ways to practice – using a bullet journal, note taking

Using your Bullet journal is a great way to practice your hand lettering especially if this is the reason you want to get better at hand lettering to make amazing spreads for your journal.

So practice making different spread for your Journal if you want some ideas

Related Bullet Journal posts

Quick Guide to Bullet Journals

How to start a Bullet Journal

Best Bullet Journal Templates to save and organise

Basic worksheets 

Brush Lettering

There is a difference between hand lettering and brush lettering not much of one but to clear things up I will mention that it so you don’t get confused.

Hand lettering is the overall category that describes all kinds of lettering with Brush lettering being a type of hand lettering.

Brush lettering as the name suggests uses brush pens to hand letter.

What you can do with Hand lettering

You can create wonderful quotes which you can upload onto computer as an image then convert it to an SVG file and guess what you can then make tonnes of things using your Cricut machine.

Yep you can convert JPG files to SVG files to use for your Cricut.

If you are wondering what you can do with a Cricut here are some ideas to get you started.

Cricut Vinyl Crafts to make and sell

Cricut Crafts to make and sell

Cricut Christmas Crafts

Make money with your Cricut

How to Photograph your Hand lettering 

One of the best ways to get your work onto computer is to scan it in.

You can also photograph your work and then transfer it to your computer.

I hope you enjoyed this run through of how to hand letter. Its well worth trying hand lettering especially if you want to recreate some of those wonderful bullet journal spreads.

Hand lettering can be a good craft to start as you can buy supplies cheaply and you can see how you are doing straight away.

Give it a try today!

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