3 Tips on Hand Lettering {For Beginners}

When I was in 4th grade, I started obsessing over my handwriting. I’m talking full-blown – recopying all of my vocabulary words in my journal over and over again until it was perfect – obsessing. This has lasted my entire life. I will still go back and recopy things if they aren’t “neat” enough for me.

I’m a 3rd grade teacher – and the struggle is real. {Anchor charts, white boards, signatures, grades, clinic passes, office notes… EVERYTHING – must be perfect. This is time consuming… which is why I primarily type everything when it comes to school.}

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Once I had Grayson and went on maternity leave, I started doing a whole lot of sitting on the couch… nursing and pumping. It was a full time job. I would spend most of the time reading a book or pinning and pinning and pinning on Pinterest.

As I was mindlessly going through the DIY section of Pinterest, I came across hand lettering. I tend to doodle on everything, so I decided I would give it a try. The problem was, I didn’t know where to start. I know how to make fancy letters… But what next??

I started browsing through tutorials and came across some very useful tips… some tips that were too advanced for me at that point… and some completely useless information. So I decided to share the three most helpful tips for the beginner letter-er {?}.

Tip #1: Use a PENCIL! | 3 Tips on Hand Lettering for the BEGINNER | #HandLettering #Calligraphy #Tutorial #DIY


Start with pencil.

Once I decided to give hand lettering a try, I found a time to go to the craft store, bought some fancy schmancy pens and a sketch book and went for it! I got very frustrated.

I was under the impression that lettering was supposed to be something that came so naturally that I would automatically make masterpieces. I mean, I had only been obsessing over my handwriting for 20 years.


I wasted page after page trying to write my name in the PERFECT cursive font. With every single accidental slip of the pen, I had to start over. I was hesitant about putting pencil down first because of all the fancy schmancy videos that I obsessively watched on YouTube that showed people creating these gorgeous words using only a pen without any mistakes.

What I didn’t realize was… those people were professionals! They had probably practiced their letters thousands of times and could do it in their sleep. I had to drop my Type A-OCD-Perfectionist attitude and embrace that I was NOT going to necessarily be great at this the first time.

EMBRACE THE PENCIL. Also- invest in a good eraser! 🙂

Once you’ve sketched out your letters with a good pencil, I suggest starting with the Micron pens to fill in your work.


Practice by mimicking your favorite fonts.

One tip I found that truly helped me get the “look” I was going for with my hand lettering was to mimic some of my favorite fonts in my writing. I started by searching for free fonts on Pinterest (Again, I spent HOURS pinning and pinning and pinning).  Here are five of my favorites that were great for practicing!

Favorite HAND LETTERING Fonts for the BEGINNER!


1. Ballerina Script 2. In Screaming Color 3. Le Prince Sur Le Mouton 4. Corneria Script 5. DK Innuendo

Tip #3: Make the thick parts the DOWNSTROKES | 3 TIps on Hand Lettering for the BEGINNER | #HandLettering #Calligraphy #Tutorial #DIY #WeeShare

Make the “thick” parts your downstrokes.

The first few (hundred) times I tried to shade in the thick parts of my letters, I just randomly decided what needed to be thick. I was always so disappointed with how it turned out. Finally, I found a tip that changed everything.

Imagine drawing a letter. Wherever your pencil would be going DOWN while drawing that letter is where you need to thicken!!
There are SO MANY more great tips out there on hand lettering. These three are just what I found most helpful when I was just starting.

3 Tips on Hand Lettering for the BEGINNER #Tutorial #DIY #Craft #Calligraphy #WeeShare #HandLettering
What additional tips did you find to be incredibly helpful when you first started hand lettering?

Happy Lettering!



  1. Ami Coote says:

    Thanks for sharing Angela. Another tip I found helpful was practice. A number of hand lettering experts suggest daily hand lettering – even if it’s just 5 minutes a day.

  2. Jessica Smith says:

    Thank you for this post. I’ve been toying with the idea of starting lettering as a hobby (thanks Pinterest x) )
    Can relate to so much you were saying. I’ve been doodling for years, also got to a point when I was younger when I started getting a bit pedantic about my handwriting. So I figured lettering should be a happy medium, but I’ve been wanting to pull my hair out. It’s nice to know someone else is wired like me. Thanks!

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