5 Tips for Brush Lettering (Beginner)

Previously, I shared 3 brush lettering styles you could try out. And today I wanted to go over some fun techniques I use when I letter.

My posts are mainly for beginners, so some of you may already do these or know of these.

I just know that I searched for *all the tips* when I started out and want to contribute to possibly helping others out in this situation.

5 Tips for Brush Lettering (Beginner) | chrystalizabeth

Tip #1: Space It Out

I love the look of letters when they are spaced out. Not just the space between words and letters, but the space within the letters! I think I noticed it most when I was studying modern calligraphy. I love how fancy and fluid the letters look.

5 Tips for Brush Lettering (Beginner) | chrystalizabeth

Tip #2: Large & Whimsical

Have fun with large loops and flourishes. Whenever you’re lettering, take a look and see if it’s fitting to make a loop bigger than it should be. And when you have random space that looks empty and a letter can’t quite fill it up, add a fun flourish.

It’s not easy, I know, but with practice you’ll get better. You’ll notice that mine still aren’t perfect. But, one thing that helps me (and might help you too) is to try to not let your hand and arm rest on the table/desk you’re lettering at. Then you should have better movement.

5 Tips for Brush Lettering (Beginner) | chrystalizabeth

Tip #3: Dry It Out

First, if you’re brush pen is running out of ink, go with it!! The texture is so great and adds to your lettering. I did this with my Tombow Fudenosuke brush pen and I loved it. I even still use the pen now by dipping it in ink. (If you try this, do so at your own discretion because I believe I’m ruining my brush pen 🙂 )

I could have probably, maybe, tried to take the end off and add more ink, but I don’t have the right tools and will most likely make a huge unnecessary mess. I also know that I’m finally able to get some new supplies! Yay! So I’m not stressing about it at the moment.

5 Tips for Brush Lettering (Beginner) | chrystalizabeth

But back to the tip, just go with it. It’s fun! And if you’re using a brush, just use a little less ink than normal and let it run out.

5 Tips for Brush Lettering (Beginner) | chrystalizabeth

Tip #4: Pencil It Out

When I was beginning, the best thing I did was pencil everything out first. This way I wasn’t running out of ink (because I’m super frugal) and I was able to erase and rearrange words/letters/flourishes until I was happy with the results. Or just make a bunch of different styles of the same quote to see what style you like best.

I don’t have a light box so I would eventually just ink over one that I was happy with and erase the pencil. This won’t work if you use the color brush markers (like the Tombow markers) or watercolor, because you’ll see the pencil underneath. (The darker colors might be ok. I’ll have to try that.) And in that case, if you don’t have a lightbox either, you can use your window. 🙂 Just tape everything up there. I use painters tape so it doesn’t stick too much. Washi tape would probably work great too.

5 Tips for Brush Lettering (Beginner) | chrysta

Tip #5 (Last One!) Practice Practice Practice Forever!!

The tip everyone talks about. Practice! It’s so important that’s why everyone recommends it. 🙂 I practice by constantly lettering quotes, the alphabet, and pangrams. They’re super fun. But, remember, even if you don’t see improvement now, or even days from now, you are improving and it will show. It totally didn’t start out this way and I’ve been practicing my lettering for just over a year now.

5 Tips for Brush Lettering (Beginner) | chrystalizabeth5 Tips for Brush Lettering (Beginner) | chrystalizabeth

If you have any questions or want to see something particular in the future blog posts, please let me know in the comments, and I’ll do my best. 🙂

~Chrystal

 

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. 🙂

~Chrystal

 

Cheers Darling! Happy New Year! [A Lettering Tutorial]

Hi Friend! Happy New Year!! I have some cool things in store for you this year, and I wanted to share a little bit about that with you really quick before I break down the process of this New Year’s quote I did for 2016.

I want to focus this year on sharing more of my thoughts with you and more details when it comes to explaining my processes on how I do things. This last year I showed some lettering processes, like with my Brave quote and my Bootstrap Paradox quote (yes, both of those are from Doctor Who ♥♥), but I didn’t share as much detail as I wanted to.

I do hope by sharing more and explaining more, I can inspire you to do a lot more hand lettering this year because I absolutely love hand lettering. And I love brush lettering. And I love modern calligraphy. I’ll go into those more later on this month. But yes. I love writing. I love making words look creative and fun and beautiful.

I’m a huge believer in keeping that alive in this very digital world. It’s almost staring to become a lost art to hand write when we type everything. Especially cursive! 🙂

With all that said, let’s get to the break down of this quote: “Cheers Darling” that I thought was perfect for New Year’s.

  1. I came across this quote on Pinterest and thought it would make a great New Year’s quote to share on Instagram (and other social media). I did a few sketches of the quote, trying to keep the words fitting nicely together and keeping it a bit whimsical and elegant with the flourishing. This is the design I ended up going with.

Cheers Darling - A Lettering Tutorial. A break down showing how I made this hand lettered quote for New Year's. Visit http://bit.ly/1kfsm8h to see more.

2. Once I had that all figured out, I grabbed a piece of tracing paper. I see a lot of people using tracing paper and thought it should work well since I don’t have a light box. I got my pencil out and traced over the sketch from my notebook.Cheers Darling - A Lettering Tutorial. A break down showing how I made this hand lettered quote for New Year's. Visit http://bit.ly/1kfsm8h to see more.

3. Here is the the finished pencil trace of the quote. I added a line with my ruler under the word “Darling” to get it straighter since it looked a little off.Cheers Darling - A Lettering Tutorial. A break down showing how I made this hand lettered quote for New Year's. Visit http://bit.ly/1kfsm8h to see more.

4. Next I grabbed my pen. It’s a Uni-Ball Vision Needle pen that I picked up at the supermarket at some point last year. Or it may have been a CVS. 🙂 Nothing too special, but I do like the quality of it.

I folded the tracing paper in half so that I could easily trace over the pencil trace with my pen. I traced slowly, taking my sweet time, so that I could make the strokes as smooth and clean as possible.Cheers Darling - A Lettering Tutorial. A break down showing how I made this hand lettered quote for New Year's. Visit http://bit.ly/1kfsm8h to see more.Cheers Darling - A Lettering Tutorial. A break down showing how I made this hand lettered quote for New Year's. Visit http://bit.ly/1kfsm8h to see more.

5. Then I scanned it in at 300 dpi. (Confession: I threw it in the scanner still folded with the pencil trace underneath so you can see it a little there. Ugh!) And opened it using my GIMP program (GNU Image Manipulation Program). A free program that is similar to Adobe Photoshop. And cleaned it up. I adjusted the levels (located under Colors in the top menu bar), cropped it, and saved it. You’ll notice it’s still pretty rough.Cheers Darling - A Lettering Tutorial. A break down showing how I made this hand lettered quote for New Year's. Visit http://bit.ly/1kfsm8h to see more.

6. I took that and opened it up in my Inkscape program. Another free program. 🙂 This is a vector program, similar to Adobe Illustrator. I used the Trace Bitmap tool, located under Path in top menu bar, and adjusted the threshold for the Brightness Cutoff option to my liking (not changing any other settings) and saving it.Cheers Darling - A Lettering Tutorial. A break down showing how I made this hand lettered quote for New Year's. Visit http://bit.ly/1kfsm8h to see more.

7. I’m still not completely happy with this outcome, so I opened it back up in GIMP and used my brush (the simple generic hard brush) to clean the letters up a bit more and saved it. You can see that I mainly concentrate on the letters in the word “Darling”.Cheers Darling - A Lettering Tutorial. A break down showing how I made this hand lettered quote for New Year's. Visit http://bit.ly/1kfsm8h to see more.

8. I opened it up one more time in Inkscape and used the Trace Bitmap tool, only adjusting the threshold again, and was pretty happy with it at that point. I saved it and was now ready to create my final design in GIMP.Cheers Darling - A Lettering Tutorial. A break down showing how I made this hand lettered quote for New Year's. Visit http://bit.ly/1kfsm8h to see more.

9. To get this final design, I made a starry background in GIMP. To do that I open up a new document that is 4000 x 4000 px, and 300 dpi, making sure the color is black (usually the foreground color) for the background. Then I go to Filters > Noise > HSV Noise > Change all the settings to the highest option > and press ok.

And to get the the stars to sparkle the way they do go to Filters > Light and Shadow > Sparkle >  Leave all the settings as is except for the Flare Intesity. That you can change up a bit and see what you like. I think I chose 75 for this one. Another option I like to change to see if I like it is the Spike Length and Spike Points that change the sizes of the stars. But seriously feel free to change up any of the settings to see what different starry backgrounds you can create.

For the quote, open it as a new layer. File > Open As Layers. Change size if needed and center it. And for the gold texture, I found a free gold background texture on Pixabay (Love that site! It’s awesome for commercial free images.) and opened it in GIMP as a new layer above my quote layer.

When it comes to using it as a texture overlay, I might be making this complicated, but it’s the way I do it. I’m somewhat of a self-learner when it comes to this. 🙂

I select the gold layer and right click > Layer To Image Size. Then I click on the quote layer > use the Select By Color Tool and select the black lettering. Then I invert the selection. Select > Invert. And while that is still selected, click back on the gold layer and click delete on your keyboard. Done! Then if you wanted to, you can adjust the levels and mode of the overlay. Completely up to you. 🙂Cheers Darling - A Lettering Tutorial. A break down showing how I made this hand lettered quote for New Year's. Visit http://bit.ly/1kfsm8h to see more.

Hope you enjoyed your New Years and Best Wishes for the new year to come! Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll do my best to answer them.

Please remember I am not a professional and this is something I’ve learned along the way. I am still learning but love to share what I’ve learned so far with you.

Cheers!

Chrystal

Cheers Darling - A Lettering Tutorial. A break down showing how I made this hand lettered quote for New Year's. Visit http://bit.ly/1kfsm8h to see more.

The Bootstrap Paradox – Doctor Who Fan Art

I have a new quote to share! I keep forgetting to document my progress when making new quotes or drawing, but here’s one from the latest episode of Doctor Who. I loved it. Especially when he talked about the Bootstrap Paradox.

So here’s the process of how I made this quote:

  1. I sketched out the quote on some old paper I had here at home.

The Bootstrap Paradox | Doctor Who | by chrystalizabeth

2. Here I am inking away.

The Bootstrap Paradox | Doctor Who | by chrystalizabeth

3. Here’s the quote all inked.

The Bootstrap Paradox | Doctor Who | by chrystalizabeth

4. Then to erase all of my pencil sketch.

The Bootstrap Paradox | Doctor Who | by chrystalizabeth

5. One more layer of ink.

The Bootstrap Paradox | Doctor Who | by chrystalizabeth

6. And now to digitize and color. The final product!

The Bootstrap Paradox | Doctor Who | by chrystalizabeth

Bow Tie and Long Scarf {Hand Lettered Quote}

I recently watched the season premiere of Doctor Who this last weekend with many of you fellow Whovians and hand lettered some of my favorite quotes.

This one in particular I absolutely loved. I thought I’d show a little bit of the process from beginning to end on how I made it.

  1. Sketch a rough draft of the quote on whatever paper you have handy to get an idea of what you want with a regular pencil.

Bow Tie and Long Scarf | chrystalizabeth

2. Sketch it again on a blank piece of paper (I’m using plain ol’ copy paper) and then go over with a good pen. I’m using a pen I got in a set from Barnes and Noble that are similar to the Microns by Sakura. I also have some Pitt pens that I use by Faber-Castell.

Bow Tie and Long Scarf | chrystalizabeth

Bow Tie and Long Scarf | chrystalizabeth

3. Then erase the pencil once the ink is dry and scan or take a photo to edit on the computer. I don’t have photos to share for that part of the process. But I did use Adobe Illustrator to trace the lettering and Adobe Photoshop to color everything. If you don’t have access to those, I do also use and recommend Inkscape as a free alternative to Illustrator and GIMP as a free alternative to Photoshop. They’re slightly different but you can get some great results while using these free programs.

4. Below is my final product. This is now also available in my Society6 shop and my Redbubble shop.Bow Tie and Long Scarf | chrystalizabeth

Flowers In Space {How I Made It – Step By Step}

FLowers In Space - How I made it - Step by Step | Chrystal Elizabeth

Here’s a fun little painting I did the other day.

I was trying to think of what would be fun to paint. I was doodling while watching Netflix and started to draw the flowers I always do. And I just happened to be practicing my galaxy techniques. With that said, here is what I came up with! Flowers falling in space. 🙂

Pretty random. But it came out pretty.

Here’s how I made it.

  1. First, I sketched out my flowers with a regular mechanical pencil onto some watercolor paper. Always the regular cheap pad of watercolor paper I find at different places that is at least 140lbs.

FLowers In Space - How I made it - Step by Step | Chrystal Elizabeth

2. Then I grabbed my Art Masking Fluid and “colored in” all my flowers and falling petals.

FLowers In Space - How I made it - Step by Step | Chrystal Elizabeth

3. Then I waited until that was dry. Luckily it doesn’t take too long.

FLowers In Space - How I made it - Step by Step | Chrystal Elizabeth

4. These are the watercolors that I’m using. They’re cheap, and I mainly use them because I love the dark blue in it.

FLowers In Space - How I made it - Step by Step | Chrystal Elizabeth

5. Now I’m just applying different “galactic” colors all over. Usually that is purple/dark blue, pink/red, and aqua or green from what I can tell. But you can use any color of the rainbow. Anything you like. I decided to go with aqua, purple, red, and dark blue.

FLowers In Space - How I made it - Step by Step | Chrystal Elizabeth

6. Then I applied more of the same colors because I like the color to be rich and vibrant.

FLowers In Space - How I made it - Step by Step | Chrystal Elizabeth FLowers In Space - How I made it - Step by Step | Chrystal Elizabeth

7. And I wanted to add some Black India Ink. A bit too much, but I went with it.

FLowers In Space - How I made it - Step by Step | Chrystal Elizabeth FLowers In Space - How I made it - Step by Step | Chrystal Elizabeth

8. Then added some stars using my White Sakura Glaze Pen.

FLowers In Space - How I made it - Step by Step | Chrystal Elizabeth

9. Pulled off the dried Art Masking Fluid.

FLowers In Space - How I made it - Step by Step | Chrystal Elizabeth

10. And started painting the flowers a light red/pink color. And the stems and leaves a green color.

FLowers In Space - How I made it - Step by Step | Chrystal Elizabeth

11. I added more layers of color until I liked it and added some ink for texture and shading.

FLowers In Space - How I made it - Step by Step | Chrystal Elizabeth

And done! Hope you enjoyed seeing how I made this little painting. 🙂

FLowers In Space - How I made it - Step by Step | Chrystal Elizabeth

DIY Watercolor Bookmarks {How I Made It – Step by Step}

DIY Watercolor Bookmark | ChrystalElizabethI love making things and keeping busy. Even if I don’t completely reflect that on my blog here. 🙂

My family just made a trip to the library for the first time since we’ve moved back here to Washington and I realized we had lost all of our old bookmarks.

I know we could use old scraps of paper, a napkin, a post-it, etc. But I love having pretty bookmarks around.

Then I remembered a wonderful tutorial from The Postman’s Knock (I love love love her tutorials!!), and made some new bookmarks.

Here’s the process for one that I made. It’s just a little different than how she did hers.

1. Cut out a piece of watercolor paper that is about 2″x6″. I used some 140 lb watercolor paper I got at Michaels. Then tape it down. I’m using some painters tape on an old cardboard backing of a pad of paper. Wet it with some clean water and let it sit for just a few minutes.

DIY Watercolor Bookmark | ChrystalElizabeth

2. Start adding some color. I’m using a small-ish brush (size 8), and a cheap little set of watercolors that I got at Walmart in a kit which you will see below at the end. I mixed the red and blue to get a nice purple color. And I’m just randomly applying color.

DIY Watercolor Bookmark | ChrystalElizabeth

3. Keep adding color. Any combination is great. Whatever colors you like best. I’m adding some reddish color here that I mixed up. Again, just adding it wherever.

DIY Watercolor Bookmark | ChrystalElizabeth

4. Still adding more color so it’s not too light. I tried adding different colors that are similar. For the purple color, I added some dark blue. And for the reddish color, I added some regular red.

DIY Watercolor Bookmark | ChrystalElizabeth DIY Watercolor Bookmark | ChrystalElizabeth

5. Once all of that dried, I got my pen and ink. My supplies are nothing special. The pen handle is from Walmart and the nib is from a calligraphy set  I got at Joann that came with some really pretty gold and silver ink. All I did at this point was draw some long lines. But, not perfect lines. I like the raw, imperfect look.

DIY Watercolor Bookmark | ChrystalElizabeth DIY Watercolor Bookmark | ChrystalElizabeth

6. Next, I just added some lines diagonally. You can see below. Making a herringbone pattern.

DIY Watercolor Bookmark | ChrystalElizabeth DIY Watercolor Bookmark | ChrystalElizabeth DIY Watercolor Bookmark | ChrystalElizabeth

7. And since I don’t always know when to stop, I added a black outline around the whole thing. 🙂

DIY Watercolor Bookmark | ChrystalElizabeth DIY Watercolor Bookmark | ChrystalElizabeth

And there we go! All done. It looks great!! How simple and pretty.

DIY Watercolor Bookmark | ChrystalElizabeth

The other one you see in the picture below is the same way, except I used a white Sakura Glaze Pen to make the lines and didn’t outline it.

DIY Watercolor Bookmark | ChrystalElizabeth

The items I used [Not pictured – brush and white Sakura Glaze Pen]:

DIY Watercolor Bookmark | ChrystalElizabeth DIY Watercolor Bookmark | ChrystalElizabeth