There are many different styles of handlettering that can create different types of artwork. In this post, I will be highlighting the 4 main types of handlettering and modern calligraphy!
Style 1: Faux Calligraphy
Faux calligraphy is simply using your everyday lettering style, whether that be script or print, and drawing in the downstrokes with a pen or pencil. If you’re not sure what a downstroke is, make sure to watch the included video tutorial to learn how to decide which strokes should be thickened and which should be left thin!
Faux calligraphy is a great place to start for beginners wanting to learn handlettering. One reason that it’s a great place to start is because it doesn’t require new fancy lettering supplies. In fact, you can start learning faux calligraphy with just a regular ballpoint pen or pencil!
Another reason why it’s a great place to start is because it doesn’t require you to apply different thicknesses to different strokes. Many types of lettering do require pressure variation and that can be difficult to master while also learning how to form letters.
If you are looking for more help for beginning faux calligraphy, make sure to check out my favorite faux calligraphy worksheets here!
Style 3: Brush Marker Lettering
Brush lettering with a marker or a brush pen is probably the most common type of handlettering seen. It has become a very popular style to learn and can be seen on so many decor products that you may have in your home!
This technique is achieved by using a pen or marker with a flexible brush tip. This type of a tip allows you to get varying strokes depending on pressure. With brush marker lettering, you put pressure on the strokes that are going down on your letter. When you come back up, you gradually ease up on the pressure of your pen, which allows your stroke to turn from thick to thin.
While this may sound simple, most lettering artists will tell you that it is anything but simple! In fact, this is probably one of the trickiest things about handlettering. But that’s ok! If you are a beginner, then you have probably spent most of your life writing things with one consistent amount of pressure. Retraining your brain to tell your hand to do it differently is not an easy task!
But with enough practice, your muscle memory will tell your hands to change pressure without much thought! In fact, I can hardly even write a grocery list without switching the amount of pressure in which I write. This is one of my favorite things about printable handlettering practice worksheets! They allow you to focus on the pressure, rather than also thinking about where your brush stroke is going next. Some of my favorite worksheets for beginners can be found here.
Style 3: Brush Lettering with a Paintbrush
Brush lettering with a paintbrush is a very similar technique to brush lettering with a marker. The main difference is not in the technique you use, but rather in the supplies that you use. Another huge difference is that the look of this lettering style is much different than with a brush pen. Neither are right or wrong, easier or harder or better or worse. They are just a stylistic preference.
One thing that I do love about using a paintbrush and watercolors is that it can be a bit more forgiving. I hear people often struggle with the frustration of having shaky upstrokes. With watercolor lettering, you can drag your paintbrush a bit more easily and then go back and clean up your strokes if they do become shaky.
Another positive of watercolor brush lettering is that it can be fairly inexpensive. While there definitely are spendier watercolor options, a lot of people have great luck with a basic watercolor palette from Artist’s Loft. I personally prefer using a water brush, but a mid quality round paintbrush will also do just fine and these are not too expensive.
If you’re looking for lettering worksheets that work for waterbrush or paintbrush hand lettering, make sure to check out my large sized lettering worksheets here!
Style 4: Handlettering with Dip Pen and Ink
The last style that I want to mention is hand lettering using a dip pen & ink. You might hear this referred to as traditional calligraphy, although that can mean different things to different people. You can create some very traditional styles of calligraphy with a dip pen and ink. For example, copperplate calligraphy is a very formal script style done using these tools.
But you don’t have to create those formal styles just because you are using a dip pen & ink. I personally love to use this combination to create a small, bouncy style of modern calligraphy. This style is great for smaller projects like handlettering addresses on envelopes. It is also great for when you have a lot of words that you’d like to letter, like writing out a full set of vows.
Modern Calligraphy using Dip Pen & Ink Video
If you want to see some of these styles in action, make sure to watch the video below! And don’t forget to sign up below for our email newsletter for more handlettering education, discounts & more!