Dance in the Dark: A Lettering Experiment

If you love lettering but are new to experimenting with different styles, I have good news for you! A brand new hand lettering tutorial is available in the Interweave store, and it includes easy techniques for turning your handwriting into beautiful, eye-catching lettering. It’s even fun to practice, and you can use your lettering to give your art journals and handmade cards a personal flair.

Hand lettering techniques with Joanne Sharpe |
Lettering ideas by Joanne Sharpe. Lettering Lessons is a brand new series from Cloth Paper Scissors; watch for new lessons every month!

A Lettering Experiment

After going through the examples in Joanne Sharpe’s Lettering Lessons: Lettering With a Personal Touch, I was inspired to include a cool phrase–“dance in the dark”–in an art journal page. Drawing the individual letters was a great way to come up with new designs and patterns that I’ve not tried before.

I started by picking up a writing utensil I don’t normally use. While I prefer black ink pens with fine tips, this time I started with a pencil. I even tried holding the pencil in a different way. I suggest you try doing the opposite of your normal routine: small vs. large letters, precise vs. loose, use marker vs. colored pencil. All of these factors will help you come up with unique lettering styles, especially when you follow along with the advice in Lettering Lessons on creating specific design elements.

Lettering styles for art journaling |

For this lettering page, I started by holding a pencil lightly and drawing my chosen words in my regular handwriting, but much larger than I normally write. Then I went even bigger, outlining the words to create bold text, which gave me room to play within the lines.

Art journal, lettering ideas | Cherie Haas,
My art journal page / lettering exercise

Next, I got out my set of colored pencils, which normally don’t see much action. That might change, though, after this exercise–I had forgotten how much fun they are to use! I chose three colors and then randomly began filling in the letters, drawing patterns, using varying pressure with the pencils to add color, and just playing. By doing this, I can look at the page and choose my favorite styles, which I can continue to enhance. The ones I don’t care of as much? I now have a visual reminder of what I don’t want to do in the future. If you ask me, it was time well spent!

After you experiment on your art journal page with Joanne’s lettering techniques, you’ll have another great technique to add to your mixed-media art.

Download Lettering Lessons: Lettering With a Personal Touch here and you can start following Joanne’s hand lettering techniques in moments! Use her tips to create handmade cards, embellish your art journal pages, and more. The download even includes a video so you can see the artist in action creating lettering.

Happy lettering,

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Art Journaling and Lettering, Blog


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