Hand Lettering for Kawaii Drawings, Part 1 – Week 10

Chalk board letteringFor Week 10 of my 6-month kawaii drawings challenge I am learning about hand lettering and typography.

A picture is worth a thousand words. But better yet is a picture + words!

Drawings and doodles can benefit greatly from a few whimsical letters and words. They can communicate the message of the artwork, or they can become beautiful images in themselves.

Below are examples of gorgeous lettering designs, along with a book that will teach you how to create lettering designs yourself.


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12 Stunning Examples of Hand Lettering

Lettering has always been a difficult area of design for me. Even scary! Whenever I go to sign a card, I just end up using same handwriting style I use in every day life. But for kawaii illustrations we need to use words and letters that are really expressive and that add to the picture.

Since I didn’t know where to start, I went to the one place an artist goes for inspiration ;) – Pinterest. Here is what I found!

Many of the images I saved on Pinterest looked like they were done by the same artist and in the same style. A trend was emerging, so I decided to look deeper into it.

That’s how I  discovered hand lettering on chalk board. And that’s how I discovered Valerie McKeehan.

Best Hand Lettering Book

The Complete Book of Chalk Lettering by Valerie McKeehanI eventually stumbled upon a pin that looked like a book cover. It was! So my next step was to go to Amazon and purchase it :). What better way to learn lettering than from Valerie herself!

Here it is: The Complete Book of Chalk Lettering by Valerie McKeehan.

So far I am very happy with a book. Valerie starts out by going through the basics of lettering and typography. She then shows examples of lettering effects (3D, texturing, shading), followed by a few typefaces to practice.

The section I found most helpful is where Valerie demonstrates places to add flourishes and decorations. For example, the tails of letters F and T are an ideal place to add a few swirls.

There is not much text in the book, which can be good or bad depending on the type of learner you are. I prefer to see pictures, so it works for me. The book covers a pretty basic set of skills for hand lettering. It’s not exactly your in-depth guide. But again, what I am aiming to learn right now is introduction to lettering. This book came at an ideal time, and I am very happy with my drawing results.

Here are a few examples of drawings I made from the book:

Stay Wild at Heart Sketch

First sketch from Valerie McKeehan’s book on chalk lettering

Friends Forever Hand Lettering

Practice drawing for hand lettering from Valerie McKeehan’s book on chalk lettering

Practice Sketch for Hand Lettering Script Font

Practicing script font, drawn from Valerie McKeehan’s book on chalk lettering

Lettering Shadow Effects

Practicing shadow effects, drawn from Valerie McKeehan’s book on chalk lettering

Four lettering styles

Four lettering styles: 3D box, 3D box with shadow, graduated fill and outlined stroke with 3D box

Next week I will continue to practice lettering by exploring lettering styles and fonts. I also plan to create at least one “original” lettering design to practice what I’ve learned. Check it next Monday, Jan 30th!

Materials Used This Week

Drawing References

Drawing Time Diary

Monday, Jan 16: no drawing
Tuesday, Jan 17: one session, 20 mins
Wednesday, Jan 18: two sessions, 1 hr, 20 mins
Thursday, Jan 19: one session, 1.5 hr
Friday, Jan 20: one session, 1 hr 20 mins
Saturday, Jan 21: no drawing
Sunday, Jan 22: no drawing

Total drawing time: 4 hr 30 mins

Read all about my 6-month masterplan and track my drawing progress week by week.

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