Maigen Sawyer, LLC

This is how to learn handlettering: Set the pencil down on a blank sheet of paper and start. If your beginning plethoric attempts are anything like mine, you’ll have this beautiful script word in your mind that comes out as block bubble letters like you used to draw on your notes in middle school. Talk about muscle memory. Then I scaled Dribbble and Instagram for the best of the best. After weeks of pining over how it seems so natural to these people, I started paying attention to the details; how “the pros” weighted their letters, drew curves, filled in shades, and connected letters into their own type of script. It’s magical. You can do anything that you want with handlettering. It is my driving motivation to continue to get better at it. The below works are about 2 months of one hit wonder moments and I’m just now getting comfortable with certain letters. E’s still give me mini panic attacks. I’m talking, the minute I get to an “e” in a word, I consider taking a shot of whiskey to gain some courage before continuing – and I don’t drink whiskey. They are so hard to learn. My advice to you and me both is to continue trying. Fill your eyes with other people’s work who do it better than you and get into the guts of how they are doing it. When I was researching how to learn handlettering, I started thinking I needed all these books. Luckily, before I purchased one, I came across this amazing person, who in my opinion is the best there is, Sean Wes. He talked about how he never took proper schooling for it and in my own interpretation, he was saying “It’s common sense” to find your way to your own handlettering. You study what other people are doing and see what works for you. My biggest mistake was that I instantly wanted to take on an entire word. I’d make some great strokes, then suddenly take a hard turn, and my pencil would develop a mind all its own. I’d get stressed wanting to regain control and press down harder on the paper [which really causes problems when you are trying to salvage the wreckage of a half drawn piece] and then I’d ruin my masterpiece. The best thing I did for myself was buy a book, that I enjoy drawing in, and dedicated it to only forming and shaping letters, one at a time. Getting comfortable drawing over an “f” or a “t” as many times as I want in as many ways as I want. I’m definitely going to photograph the book once it’s full of my headspace. Also, I’ve included an excerpt from Alan Watts that really keeps me motivated about life in general. I hope you enjoy it. I’m obviously still learning how to do handlettering, but just know that the more you try, the better you’ll get.

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