Last updated on September 30th, 2019
Hand lettering is a world of creative activity that’s full of fun. Unlike calligraphy, it is all about drawing letters. A hand-lettered alphabet is usually highly illustrated to give it a different look and impression. However, this delightful creative art also requires you to follow some basics and stick to them to come up with amazing artworks.
Hand lettering has been acknowledged as a unique art for centuries in all cultures. After all, you must dedicate your time and all the resources to give a letter a unique shape. The letter should still keep its identity as an alphabet despite the artist illustrating it heavily in a unique way. This needs the artist to be highly skilled.
We can say that hand-lettering is a unique skill of using letters to express a creative thought. However, these types of lettering are not an artistic version of handwriting. Unquestionably, both of them use alphabets, but handwriting does not require you to have any particular creative skills. On the other hand, in hand lettering, you should have a good skill and discipline to turn alphabets into an artistic letter.
However, like in any other field of art such as graphic design, hand lettering also does not come easy. It also has its own issues that you need to resolve while practising this art.
Designhill recently organized a webinar to address various issues that hand-lettering artists face. The guest speaker was Ritchie Type who spoke on how to proceed in the profession of hand lettering with a purpose and determination. He is a well-known letter artist and solopreneur based in Zurich. His online tutorials on the lettering crafts are available on Instagram and YouTube, and are well received.
We give you the excerpts from the webinar where Richie is sharing his experience and expertise on how to become a creative hand lettering professional.
Here Is The Webinar Video
Here Is What He Advises
01. Find Inspiration
Of course, everybody is aware of YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and this entire kind of social media platform. I think this is an excellent resource to see much stuff in the short term. However, I believe that if you concentrate on yourself and not so much on other people, in terms of what and how they are doing, etc., that will give you more inspiration. So, first, figure out what you can do and what can’t.
I see much good stuff on the internet. However, that good stuff is not about me, and I just do not want to copy and try to do the same stuff. So, it is better to take notes only about the piece you liked. Just take notes about the color, forms and nature etc. that you liked in that piece. Then, try to put it together for yourself. When you have some artwork, just show it. After that, try to figure out how it worked out. That will inspire you.
There is so much art stuff around you that could put you under pressure. Sometimes, you start comparing yourself with successful people, which isn’t right since you are still getting off. All you need to do is to go on practising your art. If you stuck somewhere, just push yourself forward. All of your work cannot be amazing, it’s a truth, and you have to accept it. Do not put yourself under pressure by thinking that every piece of art you produce should be amazing.
02. Enjoy The Process
The most important thing is that you should be enjoying your work. Just pick a pen and start sketching! Do not care about adverse comments from people. If you ask which type of problems I faced starting my journey, I’d say that I encountered no problems. Actually, the problem is with you only. It is my work, so how can it be a problem? Keep on drawing as much as you can. Don’t think about the ways to sell your art at this stage. It doesn’t matter whether it is good or bad as long as you are enjoying the process.
03. Know Your Creative Style
Finding a style is something special to me. Everyone has got his own style in different ways. If you visit my initial posts on Instagram, you will find that I no longer create in that style today. This is because I was doing much stuff in a variety of ways in my early days. After regular practice, I started creating in a certain way, which you can call it my style. However, everyone has a style, and you cannot say a particular style — good or bad.
04. Get New Clients
First of all, you must have patience. You should love what you are doing. Simply put, just enjoy developing your hand lettering styles. Do not worry about the client in the beginning. I am not here to make millions but what I do is my passion, I love to do it. At one time, I was not getting clients, but I kept patience and ultimately clients started giving me work. The first and foremost thing is that you should be happy with what you are doing.
However, it’s imperative to promote your work through various social media channels. If you do not put your work on these platforms, nobody will see it. So, make sure you showcase your work. Many people and clients may like to visit your work and reward you more projects.
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05. Hand Lettering And Calligraphy
Calligraphy is an art of writing, which is having beautiful handwriting. Hand lettering is about making the letters attractive, in terms of artistic style. I do not do calligraphy.
06. Hand Lettering And Digital Art
I always start with a sketch, a pen, and paper. I just sketch out everything which is in my mind. Then, I pick the best sketches I created out of many. If I have to go digital, I work with some tools. But I generally do not like to work using digital tools as my kind of work involves the use of markers, spray pens, and canvas.
07. Understand Colors
Nature is the best color inspiration and teacher you can have for your creative lettering art. So, go outside and take a few photos of nature. I like to work with bright colors sometimes, but I also love incorporating dark colors. Just try to see how colors work together. Go into nature and try to find out colors that no one is using.
Also, go around the city with your mobile phone and take pictures of colors. You will be taking uncountable pictures of colors. So, leave behind the internet and find out colors for yourself. The internet is useful, but it can also limit your inspiration. So, go out and get colors from different sources. You should understand and find out colors just like a professional graphic designer looks around for colors.
08. Process For Creating A Typeface
As far as typeface creation is concerned, I haven’t done any such thing myself. Take a letter and try to optimize a few things on it. Put some ornament on the letter without changing its structure. In such ways, you can create a letter in so many different ways. For example, take the letter ‘O.’ Put an arrow over it, and it still looks like ‘O.’ There are many ways of creating letters using different styles, and still viewers can recognize the letter. So, you can do so many different things with a letter.
So, from the above advice that Richie Type has given, it is clear that you should be building your hand lettering career based on your creative thoughts. Do not worry about the adverse comments and failures initially. Go on enjoying your art, and ultimately you will taste the success.
Those who are keen to learn more about creating hand lettering from Richie Type, can watch the video here.
Hand lettering is a lucrative profession that many artists want to pursue. You, being a hand lettering aspirant, should follow some basics such as getting inspiration, enjoying the process, developing your own lettering style, and understanding colors etc. It is essential to enjoy your art of lettering and do not worry about adverse comments or getting more clients in the initial stage of your career. It is a gradual process that requires you to have much patience.