I suck at brush lettering!

I suck at brush lettering!

That's what I told myself 3 years ago. It was really frustrating when the gap between expectation and reality is very wide. Maybe your someone who has been trying this out for a while. Maybe you're a complete beginner with zero experience. We all have one thing in common. All of our work will suck at the start.

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Hey, just noticed how I phrased that. The key words there are "at the start". In every skill that we are trying to learn, we were all beginners at some point.

I captured a moment on my Instagram account when I was starting to learn brush lettering.

The caption was correct. It did suck! I was really shaky. My hand was all over the place. I couldn't even control the brush pen correctly. It was really hard. I felt frustrated every time I tried to write something! It also did not help that I keep on seeing a lot of great lettering and calligraphy work online.

As I was learning, I found out that there were 3 Basic Skills that you should learn first when getting started with lettering and calligraphy. In any course and workshop that I took, these were the constant topics that are often discussed first. Most beginners skip over these 3 Basic Skills and just go straight to writing.

I know this because I made the mistake of skipping one of these skills. When I look back, I felt that my improvement could have been a lot faster if I spent time doing this.

I'm a self-taught lettering artist and graphic designer. For the past year, I've been using my brush lettering skills to create custom designs for clients. I've been searching and trying a lot of ways on how I could get better at using these pens. I've enrolled in different online courses, read books and attended live workshops.

The amount of effort you put would reflect the quality of work that you create.

It won't be easy at the start. This is true for every new skill that we try to  learn. The real question is:  How bad do you want to learn this? 

The 3 basic skills to know first when learning brush lettering

These are the topics that you can search online. There are a lot of free resources out there, but the guide questions that I included would let you know what to look for.

1. Basic Typography

  • What are the basic typographic terms that you should know?
  • What's the difference between Typography, Lettering, and Calligraphy?
  • What are the different tools used for lettering and calligraphy?
  • What are the different styles of letters?
  • How are different types of letters constructed?

2. Basic Letterspacing

  • What is kerning, tracking and leading?
  • Why is letterspacing important?
  • How to apply proper kerning to lettering and calligraphy?
  • How to sketch your work for proper spacing?
  • How to prevent and recognize letterspacing problems?

3. Basic Strokes and Drills

  • What are the basic strokes of modern brush calligraphy?
  • What are the basic drills of modern brush calligraphy?
  • What are the common mistakes that you should avoid?
  • How do I start my practice routine?
  • How do I learn new lettering styles?

The last topic was the one that I often skipped. You'll still improve when you go straight to writing with your brush pen. But for me, I've seen some significant improvement when I just tried doing these for a couple of weeks. I'm still far from where I want my skill to be. I'm pretty sure that I could have made so much progress if I only spent time doing these consistently.

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Practice makes progress. 

The other ways that could help you improve is to read different lettering and calligraphy books and attend an in-person workshop.

If everything is already found online for free, why do I need to read a book or attend a workshop?

Yes, everything can be learned online. But there are a lot of resources out there and it can be overwhelming for a beginner.

I love reading design books and the value that I get from it is more on learning about the process of the artist. There's always something new that I can add to my own process.

Attending a workshop can give you the structure for learning. Here are some benefits of attending one:

  • Receive immediate feedback. There would be times that when you do your work, you know something is wrong and you just can't figure out what it is. That's the time that having a more experienced opinion is invaluable.
  • Learn new tips and tricks. Every time I attend a workshop or a conference, this is something that I always get. Not everything is found online so there might be some cool new way to write something or a trick that can help you save your time. There's something new that I learn every single time.
  • Connect with other people with the same interests. It is always fun to meet new people that are also passionate about what you love. Who knows, you might also find new art buddies or calligrafriends there!

You can choose to learn online, attend a live workshop or even do both! It is up to us to find out which learning path is right for us. What matters is that we are willing to give the time in order to get better with our craft.

Brush Lettering and Digitizing Workshop

Brush Lettering and Digitizing Workshop

I'll be having my 3rd batch of my From Pen to Pixels workshop on Sept. 29, 2018. The title of the workshop is best explained by watching this 1-minute video.

This is suitable for beginners that have zero experience in using brush pens. Only one skill is required for you to have when taking the workshop. I am confident that most of us already know how to do this. No, it is not beautiful handwriting. It is an advantage if you have one, but it's not required. You can definitely learn this even if you have bad handwriting.

Check out some photos from the 1st workshop at Launchpad Coworking in Alabang. Hover over the page and click on the side arrows to browse through the photos.

Check out some photos from the 1st workshop at Launchpad Coworking in Alabang. Hover over the page and click on the side arrows to browse through the photos.

The 2nd batch was held at Artemis Place Hotel in Makati. It was the hangout and chill edition of the workshop as we get to do it in their Penthouse Suite. Hover over the page and click on the side arrows to browse through the photos.

All materials that you'll need will be provided such as different types of brush pens and lettering guides. I'm also including a workbook that you can use for future reference.

The goal is for beginners to come and take home intermediate level knowledge about lettering and calligraphy. Everything I shared here will be discussed there. Plus you'll also learn these:

  • How to create your own lettering compositions?
  • How to discover your own style?
  • How to digitize your work with just using your phone?
  • How to create a digital format of your work for printing on shirts, mugs or bags? 
  • How to promote your work online through social media?
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 The venue is at Work/With Coworking in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. The exact address is at The Penthouse, Cocolight Building, 11th Avenue, 39th Street.

 We also have a special rate for all attendees of The Freelancer Fair held last August 25. Just present a photo of your ID or your E-ticket and you'll get a discount. This is available until September 7.

Invite a friend and avail of the Buddy-Rate! Share this with a friend and register as a pair to get this rate. This is available until September 15.

If interested, please sign-up here:

 The venue is at Work/With Coworking in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. The exact address is at The Penthouse, Cocolight Building, 11th Avenue, 39th Street.

 We also have a special rate for all attendees of The Freelancer Fair held last August 25. Just present a photo of your ID or your E-ticket and you'll get a discount. This is available until September 7.

Invite a friend and avail of the Buddy-Rate! Share this with a friend and register as a pair to get this rate. This is available until September 15.

If interested, please sign-up here:

P.S.   For any questions you might have, feel free to send me a message at regie@regie.ph or just simply click the contact me button below.

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Copyright © 2018, Regie Bariuan, All Rights Reserved 

Copyright © 2018, Regie Bariuan

All Rights Reserved