Letter Love: 7 Prompts for Handwriting in Your Art Journal

Art journaling speaks to us for many reasons; one of which is the freedom to incorporate not only images and drawings, but also words that can be symbolic or straightforward. In my journal, I recently drew some flowers and then added a phrase from a song that I’m really digging right now. The drawing expresses happiness and the meaning of “home” in a way that is both light and obvious. It’s what I was in the mood to do. Of course, the text wasn’t in my normal handwriting (which you can see in my signature below); I was experimenting with a more flamboyant style, such as you can find in The Art of Whimsical Lettering (part of this exclusive kit) by Joanne Sharpe.

“Look at your own writing and you’ll see that it has a distinct look; it shows your personality,” says Sharpe. “Your handwriting is your identity; it’s as much a part of who you are as your voice, your laugh, and your walk. It’s how you show yourself to the world and how you respond to the universe in visual form.”

Get art journaling ideas with The Art of Whimsical Lettering
Art journal pages by Joanne Sharpe; photo by Joe Coca.

To give you a snippet of inspiration for your art journaling adventures, here are seven of Sharpe’s tips for lettering (She has a list of 25 in her book, as well as a plethora of examples and so much more).

7 Tips for Art Journaling Handwriting
by Joanne Sharpe

1. Play around with your own handwriting, creating words and entire alphabets with all the pens or markers on your desk.
2. Write several pages of words and alphabets in many styles of letters; all capital, upper- and lowercase, large, small, tall, wide, skinny, and fat. Don’t judge, just write pages and pages, sampling your letter flow and creativity.
3. Doodle letters with colored markers. Add colorful patterns, swirls, stripes, lines, and dots to embellish the letters.
4. Look through old magazines and other printed materials to find words and phrases in assorted typefaces and sizes that you find interesting. Cut them out and paste them in your journal. Become a pasting pack rat with anything that you hand letter and make sure it ends up in your journal.
5. Using assorted markers, color in layers and add words on top of each layer.
6. Collect brochures or magazine clippings with interesting letter placement and unusual compositions and layouts of text to inspire new ideas and direction for your lettering projects.
7. Do an Internet search for topics relative to lettering, such as lettering, fonts, typeface, handwriting, letters, alphabets, calligraphy, etc. Use your colorful pens and markers to jot down notes and inspirations in your journal as you come across ideas that “speak” to you. ~JS

Which one of these tips speaks to you the most? Do you have a lettering tip to share? Personally, I like to experiment with different sizes of pen tips. Fine tips are great for details, but wider tips seem to let me write more loosely.

Until next time,


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Art Journaling and Lettering, Blog, Mixed-Media Techniques


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