Lesson 2 - Curved Strokes


Welcome back! Let’s jump right into Lesson 2.  We’ll be building on the exercises in the last lesson, but first let’s get to the fun stuff and draw your first word!

Exercise 1

We’re going to be drawing the word ‘minimum‘. This is a great starting word as it uses only the techniques you’ve practised so far, with the exception of a tricky letter ‘u’ in there, but I have faith in you to give it a go!

Don’t worry if this seems daunting or if you’re not happy with the result – we’re going to be analysing each letter individually in later lessons. For now, see how you go with this.

Begin the word with the same diagonal line in the very first exercise – this will be the first stroke in your letter ‘m’. You’ll notice the letter ‘m’ is just made up of 3 downward diagonal strokes, connected by the tails we’ve already practised. Seems easier now, hey!

You have 2 options when creating the tails. You can either draw them in one smooth motion, as we’ve been doing so far, or you’re welcome to take your brush off the paper, and create the upstroke in a separate movement. Neither is right or wrong, it’s entirely down to what you feel most comfortable with.

Continue this strategy for the rest of the letters in the word, noticing how each is just a combination of shapes from the previous three exercises.

Repeat this in the same way we’ve been doing for each exercise, filling the page, feeling how the pen moves, and not rushing things. Don’t worry if everything doesn’t come out perfect – the beauty of hand lettering is its organic, handmade quality, so use this to experiment and feel how each letter is formed.

Awesome job! How exciting, you’re already lettering full words!

Our next two exercises are going to be focussed on round shapes, as I’m sure you’ve noticed our work so far has been very linear! We’re going to start with a diagonal stroke again, however we’ll be curving this stroke into an arc.

Exercise 2

To create the curved shape, press your brush pen to the paper in exactly the same way you did for the straight line, firmly, and with the whole side of the brush making contact with the paper, and push outwards then back inwards.

Again, control and consistency are much more important than speed, so don’t feel you have to rush!

For bonus points, create the opposite curved shape as well by pulling the brush towards you rather than pushing away.

Exercise 3

The last exercise is a bit trickier – we’re going to create an oval. Begin with the motion of the curved line in Exercise 2, however when you get to the bottom of the line reduce almost all pressure on your brush pen, and continue a smooth arc back up to where your line first began.

Alternating the pressure during the same stroke is initially quite difficult, so don’t get discouraged! It’s a key skill when it comes to lettering full words and phrases though, so it’s best to dive right in the deep end now and give it a go.

The trick here is to avoid trying too hard to make all of your ovals look identical. Play with the motion, treat it as organic; after all, the true strength of hand lettering over pre-made fonts is its handmade quality.

Boom! That’s Lesson 2 done! Make sure to practice these exercises, and those from the last lesson, and I’ll see you tomorrow for Lesson 3.