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Lessons:15Length:31 minutes
Hand400
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3.1 Practising Your Lines and Strokes

In this lesson, you'll begin to practise the basic shapes of all the letters, as well as practising strokes and line density. Download the source files and print out the Basic Shape Worksheet!

3.1 Practising Your Lines and Strokes

Welcome back. It's time to get some ink down on paper. First of all, you want to get comfortable using your pen. Holding the pen in your dominant hand, just play around creating strokes. This is just practice so don't worry about creating any letter forms yet. You want to see how the pen reacts to pressure, angle and speed. Where you hold your pen will define how much control you have. So I recommend holding the pen quite low down for precision inking. This will result in your lines being more defined, but you want a happy medium between this and the lines it enforce. Relax your wrist as you want a real flow in the movement and this will stop your letter forms looking unnatural. Pay around with large wide strokes at first before restricting the movement to a smaller area. Speed is another element in lettering. Going slowly will allow you to be precise as to where you are placing your lines, but the brush stroke will be forced and lack movement and energy. Going too fast will give you no control. So spend as much time as you need to achieve a balance you feel comfortable with. Letter forms are all made up of the same shapes. So using the basic shape practice sheets provided, we'll get comfortable creating these. Although it may feel repetitive, the more practice you do here will mean lettering really will feel like second nature. The practice sheets have four lines which we'll use as guidelines for the letter forms we'll create in the next lesson. The basic shapes also follow these, but can be applied to the letters in different ways depending on the size and the letter. The lettering sheets have four lines, the base line where the text sits, the median line above is where the excite of the character sits, and that's this space here. And then the line above and below this for ascender and descenders or letters. The most important lesson in the technique that forms hand lettering is this. Apply more pressure on every downward stroke and less going up. The examples on the lettering sheets show these basic straights that apply to all letters, all with a thick down-stroke and a thin upstroke. Go ahead and practice these so you can get a feel for each shape. With each time you practice, the more it will be ingrained in your muscle memory. The second thing to look out for when you're practicing these shapes is your angle. You want every stroke to be at a consistent angle. So when placed together, they flow nicely and aren't jarring. Again, this comes with time and practice. Here are all the basic shapes and I'll walk you through them. The first is a good one to practice your angle. It's a simple downward stroke. The second is the opposite, a simple upward stroke. Remember to apply a lot less pressure on your pen to achieve this. You'll also notice that I'm being light and free flowing with my movement, it isn't harsh. The next two strokes that we'll practice applies this movement in a free flowing way. You can apply both of these ways in one shape. Move slowly as you do this to keep control. If you're finding this tricky separate them out again so like the first strokes, but with extra elements. The oval shape is trickier, as you still want to keep the consistency in the angle. The thick down stroke and light up stokes should start to feel natural to you now. The final two shapes are the ascender and descender lines for longer letters. This combines a simple down stroke with a loop, either at the top or bottom. Print off the practice sheets as many times as you need. You can also graduate to gridded or dotted paper, or even plain paper once you feel more confident. Now it's time to put these into practice and create actual letter forms in the next lesson.

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