Playful Hand Lettering with Joanne Sharpe

Since I wrote my first book, The Art of Whimsical Lettering, readers and hand letterers have been looking for complete alphabet samplers. What better way to showcase 55 lettering styles than to combine them in one book! My new book, Artful Alphabets: 55 Inspiring Hand Lettering Techniques and Ideas, offers fun, creative possibilities for making words an artistic, visual expression. Every letter style in the book is shown with a simple step-out and encourages readers to think way outside the box.

Get tons of lettering styles and techniques in one book: Artful Alphabets by Joanne Sharpe.

The alphabets in the new book feature each letter as a tiny work of art. My techniques require the creator to use a whole stash of available art supplies, such as permanent and water-reactive markers, black pens, watercolor and acrylic paints, assorted papers, fountain pens, inks, and more. I encourage the use of various media to create letters with stunning appeal.

How can you use all of these lettering styles? Illustrate words on journal pages or make wall art, handmade cards, scrapbook pages, gift tags, inspirational art, and more. The most important idea is that you play with your letters for each purpose and occasion. Here’s a fun tutorial on using your letters for messages in your art.

Play and Plan

Design a quote or message using your own creative interpretation of a variety of font styles in Artful Alphabets.

• Mix it up! Flip through the book and select five favorite letter styles. I chose: Building Blocks and Baubles (p. 51), Optical Illusions (p. 59), Infinity Doodle Letters (p. 61), Cut Ups (p.71), and Oh My Gouache! (p.135).

hand lettering

• Create your own version of the alphabet. Copy the entire alphabet using the supplies as directed, working on paper suggested in the materials list.

• Scan your alphabets. Make a colored scan and print out two copies of the letter styles you illustrated.

hand lettering

• Play with your artful letters! Create a rough draft of your design. Cut up the letters from the printed pages and use a glue stick to adhere the letters to create a readable layout of the words.

• Use your sample art! Now you have a plan for what letters to use for your message. Use this reference page to create each word style in your own hand, on paper or on an art journal page.

To bring these alphabets to life, I’m offering a brand new online class, Artful Alphabets: By The Book. The class features 15 instructional videos showing alphabets in action, showcasing playful ways to create the several hundred letter samples in the collections. For more information, visit my website:

Joanne Sharpe is a life-long creative artist dedicated to empowering women to embrace their own creativity through national and international workshops and innovative online classes that explore journaling, lettering, textiles and mixed media art. She is the author of several books from Interweave and North Light Books, including The Art of Whimsical Lettering, and Doodle Art and Lettering. Joanne also hosts several instructional videos for Artists Network TV. See more of Joanne’s work on her website:

Get tips from Joanne for lettering with style in this post, an excerpt from her book Doodle Art and Lettering.

Joanne Sharpe is our Artist of the Month for May! Don’t miss your opportunity to get our exclusive Ultimate Lettering Collection, which includes Joanne’s brand new book, Artful Alphabets, three of her videos, plus so much more. If you love lettering, you need this kit!


Art Journaling and Lettering, Blog, Mixed-Media Techniques

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