Aurora – Hand Lettering & Watercolor

Here’s another real time video for another lettering challenge. 🙂 This was for the #letteringwithtombow lettering challenge that I’m doing on Instagram.

Aurora is another word for dawn, so I thought I’d do a watercolor wash for the background that kind of resembled dawn.

Please let me know if there is anything particular you’d like to see me do regarding lettering in the near future. 🙂




The Days Are Long – Hand Lettering Video

I’m so excited to announce that I will be adding real-time videos of my lettering processes on my new YouTube channel! I have quite a few people that have asked about my process and I finally got a tripod (YAY!) so I can now make some videos to show you. Please let me know if you have any questions. 🙂

Here’s the first video, available now!

There’s no talking or sound because I’m shy and I also forgot to add some music. 🙂

Let me know if there’s anything particular you’d like to see me do lettering-wise in the near future.


Thoughts On Hand Lettering

Thoughts On Hand Lettering | chrystalizabeth

I know I’ve shared before some of the reasons I love to do lettering. I love lettering in general. I love the feel of pen on paper (or pencil, marker, etc.).

It’s something I was complimented on at somewhat of a young age that made me feel great when times were crazy.

I hadn’t given it much thought again until I had my last two babies and wanted something to do that was just mine and made me happy. I done other things like art journaling, drawing, watercolor painting, and making handmade jewelry. But, there’s something that makes me really happy when I can make words look as beautiful on paper as they sound when said aloud.

I also noticed that hand lettering seems to be at an all time high at the moment. At least that is what Google Analytics said. 🙂

When I first started getting into it again, I started searching google and searching hash tags. Anything to help me.

If you happen to be in that same boat, I wanted to share some of my biggest influences when it came to lettering. I believe it’s important when starting out to have someone to look up to who is a “Pro”. Someone that gives you ideas and sparks creativity and motivates you to start practicing.

There are three in particular (among many others) that I wanted to share that helped me get started with hand lettering, brush lettering, and modern calligraphy.

  • The Postman’s Knock – I fell in love with her site instantly. Lindsey has wonderful tutorials when it comes to modern calligraphy and brush lettering/calligraphy. She has freebies available and some worksheets you can purchase for the cost of a latte (which I totally did!). She breaks down everything with explanations and tons of photos. She even has giveaways (I believe weekly) on her Facebook and Instagram accounts.


  • Mary Kate McDevitt – Her style is amazing. The color and details are to die for. She was one of the first people I came across when searching for tutorials and inspiration for hand lettering. She has an amazing class on Skillshare that is worth checking out. And if you’d like, you can check out and follow a board I dedicated to her lettering on my Pinterest.


  • Amanda Arneill (Say It Pretty Designs) – While I’m on Instagram I like to go through the lettering hashtags periodically. Some of my favorite hashtags are #handlettering #moderncalligraphy, #brushlettering, and typography. While doing just that, I came across Amanda’s Instagram account and can’t begin to say how *pretty* her lettering is. I love the way she interchanges her lowercase and uppercase letters and how she goes from print to script when lettering. She also has a lettering course that looks amazing that you can check out if interested.


Going to Pinterest and Instagram (and sometimes Tumblr) have been what keeps me motivated. Being able to search for things like tutorials, and quotes, and other things are super helpful. (Quick note: when lettering quotes, always include the author/source of the quote. If you can’t find it on the site you found it on, you can google the quote and usually find the source that way. I do that to try and always credit the person.)

I’ll be following up this blog post with more on what I tend to concentrate on when it comes to practicing and creating my hand lettering.

And feel free to check out my lettering boards on Pinterest. I try and add to them daily.


Easy To Make Valentine Heart [A Watercolor Brush Marker Tutorial]

Easy To Make Valentine Heart [A Watercolor Brush Marker Tutorial] | chrystalizabeth

I’ve noticed lately that some very creative people are lettering with a technique that ends up with some incredible results.

It looks like it started trending the beginning of this year and is really taking off. Some of the places I’ve seen it at are:

Kiley In Kentucky

One Artsy Mama


Simon Says Stamp

If you’re on Instagram, you can even check out the hashtag that Kiley set up #heftyhack to see her work and the work of others that are also giving it a try. Everyone has had some beautiful results!

I’m always looking for new ideas for Valentine’s day cards, or any cards for that matter, and I was thinking that it would make a gorgeous Valentine’s Day card (be sure to use watercolor paper) or framed artwork, or even a canvas. It’s great because you can give it to someone special, or just have it at home as part of your fabulous Valentine’s Day decor.

No matter what, you’re going to get some great looking artwork out of it.

Now let’s get to it.

Valentine Heart Tutorial using Watercolor Markers | chrystalizabeth

The materials I used were:

  1. Canson Mix Media Paper (98 lbs / 7 in x 10 in) – I would have rather used some watercolor paper, but I’m out at the moment
  2. Artist’s Loft Watercolor Dual Tip Markers (Red and Blue) – They’re like the Tombow makers, but a cheaper version available at Michael’s
  3. Water Dropper from Faber Castell that came with a Gelato Kit I got a while back, but you can use a paint brush, or even your finger. 🙂
  4. A small snack size Ziploc baggie, but you can use any plastic baggie with a smooth surface.
  5. Pilot Pocket Brush Pen with the soft tip – Got it at Jet Pens (love that site! – wasn’t even paid to say that.)


Valentine Heart Tutorial using Watercolor Markers | chrystalizabeth

Take your red and blue markers and draw a heart directly on the baggie. I recommend making the heart narrow on each side because you’ll be moving the water around and it will become fuller as you do it. It does not have to be perfect. You can keep the colors separate, or you can mix them here and there to get all different types of effects.

Valentine Heart Tutorial using Watercolor Markers | chrystalizabeth

Then add a few small drops (2-3) on the paper you’ll be using. I did it on the baggie, but I’m pretty sure it will turn out better doing it directly on the paper so it doesn’t drip while you’re trying to place it upside down like it do to me.

Valentine Heart Tutorial using Watercolor Markers | chrystalizabeth

Now just move the water all around trying to keep it in somewhat of a heart shape. I apologize for not taking more photos of that part. But really, you just need to rub your finger around and try to make a heart shape out of it. I honestly think the messier the better for a more artistic and fun look to it.

Valentine Heart Tutorial using Watercolor Markers | chrystalizabeth

Here’s how mine turned out. I chose red and blue colors so that some of it would come out purple. And as you can see it’s nice and messy. 🙂 At this point, you can blot it with a napkin or paper towel, dry it with a heat gun, or just let it air dry which is what I ended up doing since I wasn’t in a rush.

Valentine Heart Tutorial using Watercolor Markers | chrystalizabeth

Now just take your brush pen (or any pen for some faux calligraphy action as explained and shown here at The Postman’s Knock) and write out the word “love” on the heart at any angle that you prefer and as fancy as you want. Make sure to apply pressure on the down strokes for that the thick to thin look.

Valentine Heart Tutorial using Watercolor Markers | chrystalizabeth

For my finishing touch, I outlined a heart with the brush pen. You don’t have to do that if you prefer the way it looks in the last step. Totally optional. I just thought it was a nice touch.

If you end up doing this tutorial, I’d love to see the results! Leave me a comment below if you want. No pressure. 🙂



The Goblin King [Hand Lettered]

I’m getting some things together for upcoming blog posts, but I wanted to share this little lettering project I did in honor of The Goblin King.

I was so saddened to hear about the passing of David Bowie late last night. He was so amazing; so fantastic. And to many people a Hero.

I was first introduced to him when I was little and my grandfather put on Labyrinth for me and my brother. It became one of my all time favorite movies.

This is the from the song ‘Within Me’. I love this movie so much! It will always be something magical.

WIthin Me | The Goblin King | Labyrinth | David Bowie | Lettering by chrystalizabeth

And in case you wanted to listen to it again really quick:


RIP David Bowie! ♥

From Start To Finish: Jane Austen Quote {Lettering & Watercolor}

I love books. And this quotes is extremely accurate.

Here is a break down of how I put this quote together. 🙂

Part 1: The Books

I sketched the books out. I found an image on Pinterest and went with it. (It looks like the photo was pinned from Time Worn Interiors.)

Start To Finish: Jane Austen Quote | chrystalizabeth Start To Finish: Jane Austen Quote | chrystalizabeth

I inked it and erased all the pencil marks.

Start To Finish: Jane Austen Quote | chrystalizabeth

Then I put down the first watercolor layer and once that dried, the second layer.

Start To Finish: Jane Austen Quote | chrystalizabeth Start To Finish: Jane Austen Quote | chrystalizabeth

Part 2: The Quote

Later, I started on the lettering. I actually already had the books done before coming across the quote. Luckily it was perfect.

First is the sketch and inking.

Start To Finish: Jane Austen Quote | chrystalizabeth Start To Finish: Jane Austen Quote | chrystalizabeth

Then I clean it up using GIMP.

Start To Finish: Jane Austen Quote | chrystalizabeth

And vectorized it in Inkscape. I like to vectorize it so I can change it without ruining the look of it. I changed the layout and some of the sizing of the words.

Start To Finish: Jane Austen Quote | chrystalizabeth

And here it is finished. I used GIMP to place the lettering on top of the books and messed with the levels and overlays to get it that way. 🙂

Start To Finish: Jane Austen Quote | chrystalizabeth

October! Time for Inktober & Drawlloween!

Hello October | chrystalizabeth

I love this time of year! For obvious reasons. The change to nicer weather (nicer for me since I love the cool crisp Autumn air), the atmosphere, and Halloween. Just to name a few.

But also because of Inktober and Drawlloween! If you haven’t heard of them, you should do a quick google search or search their hashtags on Instagram or Tumblr. It’s so much fun. I participated last year for the first time and I am so ready for this year.

Basically you draw all month in ink for Inktober to practice and improve your skills. And Drawlloween gives you prompts everyday of what to draw with a Halloween theme using any type of drawing medium. I (along with some others) decide to put them together and draw all of the Drawlloween prompts in ink.

Here is my first drawing for Day 1: Ghost

Inktober & Drawlloween / Day 1: Ghost / chrystalizabeth

If you want to follow along with me (along with other random things I post) you can here: Instagram / Tumblr

If you are doing it too, I would love to follow you back!