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Old 08-27-2005, 03:13 AM   #1
Kwiix
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Default Lettering--and how you can too for only 3 payments of $100!

First I'd like to make it clear that this really isn't going to be a tutorial. This is more of a way of encouraging people to practice their penmanship. Not only does it help your art work look more professional but can also help you in other areas of your life.

For example, I have always spent extra time filling out my work applications. When managers (or HR people) are looking for someone to hire, and they have a stack of equal qualified applicants, which one do you think will stick out more, the messy one or the nice, neat one? In my last two jobs, the interviews started off with a compliment about my writing. When you want a job you want to start off with points before you even say anything. Everyone will tell you to look presentable, be polite, be confident, but they leave this one thing out.

Not only has it caught my future employer's eyes but also other people's eyes. I have had girls give me compliments on my writing which can be cool at times. The only drawback is that once people see how nice your school notes look like they will always come to you when they need to copy lectures they missed. That's if you kids still take notes in class or just download the lecture onto your iPods or laptops. But whatever. Even here, on PK, people seem to comment more on my writing than on my art.

The second thing I should say is that I'm not a professional letterer. I took four years of drafting in high school and then majored in architecture (switching to engineering) in college. But before all that my dad really made me practice writing (his printing is awesome!) You can say that I wanted to be like my father so bad that I would practice a ton.

Okay, enough of that boring stuff. What will you need? Here's a list of some stuff:

Lettering guide
Mechanical pencil (0.5 works nice)
Straight edge (T-square if you have one)
Micron pens (again, 0.5 works great)
Eraser (anything but the pink kind)
Erasing shield (optional)
Circle & ellipse template (if you want to make word bubbles)
And of course paper

As some of you know Lettering guides are used to make guide lines. They are only a couple of dollars and come with instructions. If you don't want to spend money on one then you can draw the guide lines the old fashion way, with a ruler. But for practice you don't even need to draw the lines. All you need to do is open a Wordpad or Notepad and hold the underline key (____) until you fill a page, then print it out. You can place a clean sheet of paper over this and use the lines underneath as a guide. I recommend you draw the lines out though.

Here are some writing samples I just did real quick:





A few things you should notice: It's not perfect, it doesn't really matter what you write as long as you practice all the letters, and that, just like drawing, you'll come up with your own style. You don't like how I make my Rs? Good. Come up with your own R. Again, the whole point of this thread is to practice, practice, practice. And that's not even hard. While watching tv or listening to music, write what you hear. You'll never run out of stuff to write, trust me.

So what looks nice? Straight lines! Notice that my style is really all about straight lines. This will give the letters a “high-tech” kind of look, which is exactly what I'm after. Another thing I try to keep in mind is that the letters will look better if they are wider than they are tall. In my opinion, the wider you make them the better they'll look. Also notice that just because I have guides does not mean that I will always make the letters perfect. In drafting or engineering drawings your lettering will need to be a little more perfect, but here we don't really want stiff looking letters. That leads to the last and most important tip: You must print fast to get the confident looking writing! Just like inking drawings, if you do it slow you will end up with shaky lines. But this will come with practice so don't worry about that too much when you are first starting out.

That's pretty much it. Simple, huh? Originally I thought I'd actually show how to draw word bubbles and all that stuff but with Photoshop it's more of a waste of time. PS wont help you personalize your artwork though. There are times you will want to add notes to your sketches and you'll be force to print so it's always a good idea to practice.

Anyway, if anyone reads all this and has any questions or wants to add anything to this, feel free to do so. I might add more later as I see fit and/or post more examples. I hope it can atleast help one of you messy writers to come to neat side.
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Old 08-27-2005, 06:45 AM   #2
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Nice job.
Dunno if i will ever do anything like this, i always tend to write as fast as humanly possible. (and you can just imagine what that looks like.)
But i'll give it a whirl.
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Old 08-27-2005, 09:53 AM   #3
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That's really neat =)
And if people have a program for creating fonts, they can make their own personal font, so they won't have to handletter all their pages, to get that personal feel. AND with Opentype they can include a multitude of versions for each letter, so that it won't look too preproduced ^_^

Haven't really gotten around to making a "handlettered" font yet, but I have made a couple of others, where I started out with a guide on paper, and then did the cleaning in illustrator and photoshop, to get all the letters to match in linewidth and size.
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Old 08-27-2005, 07:49 PM   #4
Kwiix
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I bought one of those font making programs and made my own fonts. The second one I made came out just okay. Maybe it was the program I was using or maybe it was because I didn't spend enough time cleaning it up, but it still wasn't anything I'd want to use. I should try again one of these days and really try hard to do a good job.

I have some ideas on stuff that I can add to this thread. Maybe, if I have time, I'll add it later tonight.
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Old 08-28-2005, 02:32 PM   #5
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Sweet. Can't wait =)

The program I've used for creating fonts is Macromedia Fontographer. Which is pretty decent.
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Old 09-03-2005, 03:36 PM   #6
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neat thread, i love writing but it gets annoying when you make it messy nice idea with the music or tv thing.
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Old 09-03-2005, 04:01 PM   #7
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This reminds me of "HERO". Broken Sword pointed out that the sword and the brush or writing instrument share the same principles. In both arts the wrist is involved. By strengthing the wrist helps makes for better writing and drawing or whatever that involves the wrist. So I'll take you advice and further my practice in writing and drawing. Thanks.
It's always good to know someone who thinks on the same line.
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Old 09-03-2005, 07:52 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AsakuraStar
This reminds me of "HERO". Broken Sword pointed out that the sword and the brush or writing instrument share the same principles. In both arts the wrist is involved. By strengthing the wrist helps makes for better writing and drawing or whatever that involves the wrist. So I'll take you advice and further my practice in writing and drawing. Thanks.
It's always good to know someone who thinks on the same line.
YES!

I like that part in Hero too. Another cool scene is in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon where Ziyi Zhang's character writes Michelle Yeoh's name. Damn, I must have watched that over a dozen times. I really would like to learn chinese calligraphy. In fact, I've practice some a while back but it's very, very hard. I had an easier time with Kanji. It's just too bad I had no idea what I was writing most of the time.

The point is that practicing your printing will help you when it comes to drawing. I have always thought of printing as a form of drawing anyway. Anything that helps you feel comfortable with a pencil/pen in your hand is a good thing.

Anyhow, I'll try and add more to this soon (I hear ya, PhisH!). Some practice stuff should help some people out so I think that that's what I'll do.
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Old 09-05-2005, 02:40 AM   #9
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I can add some typographical theory, if people are interested. =)
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Old 10-10-2005, 09:02 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kwiix
And of course paper
Erm... I draw on my arm...
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Old 01-10-2009, 05:36 PM   #11
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i know this is a MASSIVE thread bump, but i just wanted to throw in a link that i found that has really helped my handwriting.

http://www.paperpenalia.com/handwriting.html

Apparently i've been writing with my fingers instead of my forearm, and as soon as i changed over it has helped a lot.
Luckily as an artist my forearms motor skills are already trained so i didn't need to do all those tedious exercises to train them.....

Thanks kwiix, this is still one of my fav tuts here .
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Old 01-11-2009, 10:05 PM   #12
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Damn this is some nice stuff muzz and kwix. my hand writing is bad bad bad. maybe I can improve it now.

cheers
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Old 01-12-2009, 06:00 AM   #13
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I'm trying to nail down cursive (I can't write print letters for shiz because I'm too impatient to write out the letters one by one no matter how hard I try, so the way to go is cursive...). You got any tips for that? I have a good grasp of how letters would join together, but I can't seem to make it look very neat (Maybe I write too fast).
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Old 01-12-2009, 06:15 AM   #14
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Astrapho, did you read the link i posted? I think that could help if you currently write with your finger muscles.

Other than that have a look at some cursive styles you like, and try and adapt your writing to that.
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Old 01-12-2009, 06:48 AM   #15
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Thanks, Muzz, I'm starting to try out the little exercises from that site. I've been writing from my fingers, apparently... but I'm already starting to see my words get slightly more relaxed and generally better after 5 mins of practicing writing from the shoulder/forearm (Which is awesome). Thanks again! xD
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