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Hand400
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4.2 Joining Letters and Extra Flourishes

In this lesson, you'll now learn how to turn the letterforms into words, including how to connect letters together and the importance of baselines, fluidity, and varying angles.

4.2 Joining Letters and Extra Flourishes

Hello, thanks for joining me again. In this lesson, we'll learn how to join the individual letter forms into words so that they flow together smoothly. These lessons are teaching you the basic techniques which, once you finish the course, you can then practice further and have the confidence to experiment. Most letters will be joined with a thin upstroke you learned at the beginning of this course. Let's letter the word magic. At this point, you don't have to create the word in one continuous loop. It's actually easier and neater to create them individually by applying each brush stroke one at a time. So for the m we'll start with an upstroke, a thick down stroke, up and down again, up and down again. We'll finish with the upstroke going up to the a. We'll do an oval which overlaps the upstroke from the m, and then add in a descending stroke. The g is similar. So we'll do an oval, which overlaps. A long descending stroke, which goes into a loop. And back up with a basic upstroke. We'll add in a descending line for an i. Back up again with the upstroke. Pen off the paper. We'll do an open oval for the c, and we're done. So this is a good word for practicing letters that all sit within the x-height. Now let's letter the word following. We'll create the f and the o with a simple upstroke to join. You can reference the alphabet you created in the previous lesson to copy your lettering style. Now here's where the most common mistake in hand lettering occurs, going from a lower letter to a loop. Because we are doing each letter individually, we won't make that mistake. We stop and start the lettering as we would if it was on its own. A loop and then a long brush stroke down and then up. The shape is nice. A mistake that is often made is to do it all in one swoop. I'll show you an example and you'll see the difference. Here's my o going straight up to the l. It's okay, but it's thrown at an angle that makes the letter inconsistent so it looks amateurish and sloppy. It also encourages the hand to keep going, so you'll end up finishing the word in one go, and the result will be messy. Now, let's finish lettering the word, using the separate brush strokes and upstrokes to join. Here's another example to letter, Hollywood. We'll start with a capital letter H, two downstrokes and a crossbar. We'll do an oval for the o, add in the upstroke, but don't go straight into the loop of l. Down with a long downstroke, up again, loop again for the new l and down. Remember we're stopping at each letter. For the y we'll go down, up again and then a long descending loop to join for the w. The w is down and up, down and up, into an oval, Another oval. We'll finish it off with a half oval and descending stroke for the d. You can pick any words now to practice joining individual letters together. Overlapping the joining strokes as you do so. Some letters that connect together are called ligatures, which is when you use strokes to form one character rather than two. The most common is f and i, which get joined together like this. The dot of the i gets joined as the top of the f, and the crossbar of the f joins the i. You can apply this to other letters in hand lettering, such as a t and an h. With the curve of the h becoming the cross of the t. This h is a lot more ornamental than basic letters. Adding swashes like this gives your lettering more interest, and can also fill more space around your type. Movement is key to create visually stunning pieces of hand lettering, and I'll cover this in the next video.

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