In this course, we'll look at Procreate for hand lettering, as well as how to vectorize hand lettering in Illustrator. Create your own design with this iPad lettering tutorial.
Intro to How to Create Hand Lettering Projects
1. iPad Lettering Tutorial Introduction
Welcome to the course! Follow along, step by step, as we create some beautiful hand-drawn lettering in Procreate and Adobe Illustrator. This course assumes some familiarity with these two programs. It's a perfect choice if you're looking for an iPad Procreate lettering tutorial, but it's also a great fit if you're looking to learn about Adobe Illustrator lettering. You get a taste of both.
However, if you don't have an iPad with an Apple Pencil, you can still follow along with pencil and paper—many of these skills are transferrable across media. For example, calligraphy on Procreate is a digital take on the same process, by hand.
"Learning the art of lettering can help you to bring words to life on the page or on the screen."
In this course, we'll use the following tools to create our hand lettering project. This course is part iPad procreate lettering tutorial and part how to vectorize hand lettering in Illustrator:
This software is available for the Apple iPad (model compatibility may vary).
An Apple Pencil is typically used for drawing in Procreate on the iPad.
Adobe Illustrator is professional vector art software, available for both PC and Mac.
Many artists prefer working with a screen protector on their iPad, to simulate a more paper-like tooth on their drawing surface. You may want to also seek out a similar screen protector if you prefer a more textured surface.
Again, if you don't have an iPad or an Apple Pencil, you can also use a traditional pencil and paper. The ideas here are similar, and you could still transfer your work to Adobe Illustrator if you'd like to.
It can be difficult to dig into hand lettering if you don't understand the ins and outs of letterforms—even if you prefer digital media, like Procreate for hand lettering or Adobe Illustrator lettering.
So let's begin with a look at some important terms to know and understand.
What's the Difference Between Calligraphy and Hand Lettering?
Typically has a specific process, guidelines, and conventions.
Usually uses nibbed or pressure-sensitive instruments to draw.
A broader umbrella term for letters that are drawn by hand.
Doesn't necessarily utilize or require pressure sensitivity.
We'll also look at Raster and Vector artwork:
Raster Artwork relies on pixels and is a specific size. This is the kind of work often created in Procreate.
Vector Artwork is more mathematical in construction. It can be scaled to any size, without loss of quality, because it's not pixel-dependent. This is the kind of artwork typically created in Adobe Illustrator.
Both have their benefits, and we'll get a taste of them both in this course.
In addition, we'll review some typography anatomy and terminology in this lesson, so you get a solid feel for how letters really "work". Knowing these type terms will be helpful throughout this process.
Want to Learn More About Type Anatomy?
We'll explore some type anatomy basics in this course.
However, you can learn even more in this video lesson from Envato Tuts+. Tune in to push your lettering and typography skills even further!
How to Get Started With Hand Lettering
4. Choosing a Phrase
What will you choose to hand letter? I recommend that you choose two to six words for your project. Try to choose something of interest—something engaging and interesting to illustrate.
Try to avoid a word with many descenders sitting directly over a word with many ascenders. This can make for a difficult or awkward composition to work with.
5. Finding References
References can be a valuable resource, especially if you're new to hand lettering. Let's take a look at some ways you can find visual inspiration.
Social media can be an amazing source of visual inspiration. Try checking out hashtags associated with hand lettering to discover specific visual styles.
Looking for even more references and ideas? Check out these guides from Envato Tuts+. They're full of added insights and inspiration to help as you explore hand lettering.
In this lesson, we'll look at how to sketch in Procreate. Thankfully, it's easy to jump in and start drawing—Procreate can be a really user-friendly tool, even if you haven't customized or collected any Procreate lettering brushes yet.
However, don't worry if you're not sure where to begin—we'll look at all the essentials you need to experiment with lettering in Procreate.
7. Setting Up the Canvas
Next, let's look at setting up our canvas together in Procreate. Keep in mind that these are recommendations, designed to help you get started. You can work at any size best suited to your project. Ready to get started? Let's dig in.
8. Thumbnail Sketching
In this lesson, we'll start our design process with thumbnail sketches. Why? Thumbnails are your opportunity to experiment and try things out. Make some quick sketches to figure out how you'd like your composition to look. Whether you're here for an iPad procreate lettering tutorial or you're drawing by hand, this is an essential step.
Don't worry about perfection at this point in the design process. It's time to experiment and figure out your creative direction.
9. Drawing Guidelines
Guides can help you further map out your composition. This is especially helpful with lettering in Procreate (and digital calligraphy on Procreate too) because it can take some of the guesswork out of drawing. For example, if you want to draw on a particular baseline, a guideline could help you with that.
10. Working With Layers
In this next lesson, we'll explore working with layers in Procreate. Layers are a wonderful tool for so many different reasons—from organization to keeping our content separate. They're easy to create and easy to work with. Ready to get started?
Need some extra help with Procreate layers? Check out this free tutorial, here on Envato Tuts+. It walks through all the ins and outs of working with Procreate layers.
We'll take what we've learned so far and start cleaning things up in this part of our iPad lettering tutorial. Again, layers can serve so many purposes in our composition. This time, we'll work with a clean, new layer, and start to polish things up. Let's get drawing.
How to Create Hand Lettering in Procreate
12. Working With Brushes
Whether your goal is calligraphy on Procreate or Procreate for hand lettering in general, the brushes can really make a big impact on your work. We'll use some Procreate lettering brushes in this iPad lettering tutorial.
Want to learn more about Procreate brushes? Whether you need help installing your Procreate brushes or you'd like to learn to create Procreate brushes of your own, there's plenty of extra help here on Envato Tuts+. Learn how to customize your brushes and more with these helpful walkthroughs:
You can also find Procreate lettering brushes on Envato Elements. The entire collection (hundreds of brushes!) is available for one low price.
13. Adding Flourishes
Flourishes can be such a fun, beautiful addition to hand lettering—especially simulating calligraphy on Procreate—but where do you start? Let's explore that together in this lesson. We'll create some test flourishes and experiment with ways to get our design just right.
14. Intertwining the Letters
In our next lesson, let's take our lettering and flourishes and experiment with intertwining them using our Procreate lettering brushes. While you don't necessarily have to do this in your composition, these visual relationships can prove to be really interesting, engaging, and unifying. This lesson concludes the iPad Procreate lettering tutorial portion of this course.
The lettering in Procreate we've created here would be perfect for sharing online or on social media—but we'll push onward to create some vector art, perfect for merchandise and print.
How to Create Hand Lettering in Illustrator
15. Exporting to Adobe Illustrator
Now, on to Adobe Illustrator lettering! So we've created raster artwork in Procreate. How do we export from Procreate and get our work into Adobe Illustrator? In this lesson, we'll walk through how to take our lettering in Procreate and export it for use in Illustrator.
16. Setting Up Adobe Illustrator
Let's explore how to do hand lettering in Illustrator in this next lesson. Our first step is to set up our new document. Follow along to get your work set up and ready to try out Adobe Illustrator lettering.
Remember, you can always choose different specifications—work with document sizes and specs that suit your design project and goals.
17. Tracing the Letters
Adobe Illustrator lettering is a very different process from drawing in Procreate. Let's explore how to do hand lettering in Illustrator. There are a number of tools and techniques that can take the guesswork out of how to vectorize hand lettering in Illustrator too. Let's get started.
18. Tracing the Flourishes
Your flourishes might sometimes warrant some different considerations than your letters. Check out the tips and tricks in this lesson for getting just the right result as you draw your flourishes in Adobe Illustrator.
19. Refining the Lines
This lesson focuses on additional insights for getting your lines just right in Adobe Illustrator. You'll likely want some variation in line width, for example, and there are a number of ways we could achieve that. Follow along in this lesson to try out these recommended techniques.
20. Interweaving the Letters
Check out our progress so far—looking great, right? Let's push our work even further in this next lesson. It's time to interweave our letterforms and push our design even further. The techniques in this lesson will help with this finishing touch in how to do hand lettering in Illustrator.
21. Adding Colour and Exporting
Congratulations—you've made it to the finish line! In this final lesson, we'll look at adding color as we finalize our hand-lettered composition.
We'll also cover exporting our work in Illustrator, so you can use your design in a variety of different ways.
Remember, if you need some extra design help, you can always turn to the collection of professional design resources on Envato Elements. You can download brushes, fonts, templates, and more!
Learn More About Procreate
Want to learn more about working in Procreate? Check out these other free video lessons, and continue learning more about Procreate today.
Learn More About Adobe Illustrator
There's plenty more to learn about Illustrator on Envato Tuts+. Check out these amazing, free resources you can take advantage of today.
Illustrator for Beginners
Learn Adobe Illustrator for free with our Illustrator for Beginners course. It's a perfect primer for those completely new to the software, but it's also a great resource for those looking to freshen up their skills.
As a type nerd and veteran designer, I love to share my passion with people outside the field. Nearly everything we encounter in daily life was designed by somebody. I like to stop and unpack the factors that formed those designs.