What is "hand lettering"?

What is "hand lettering"?


Hand Lettering 101

I use the term "hand lettered" a lot in my shop and in my social media, because that is what my art form is. I’m a hand lettering artist, which means I "draw" letters and words instead of flowers and scenery (although I do a bit of that as well).


I'm going to give you the run down on what exactly "hand lettering" is and share with you why I started hand lettering.

A short explanation: Hand Lettering is a modern (2000's) form of Calligraphy.

When I say calligraphy think of the scripts on the paper certificates you would get as an award in school, sports or even at work. 

Modern Calligraphy and Hand Lettering are essentially the same, they are the "new" way to write Calligraphy.

Most of the time modern calligraphy is associated with a pointed pen and hand lettering is associated with a brush pen of some sort. But both use the same technique and they each take equal amount of practice to master.

Modern Calligraphy makes me think of wedding invitations that are elegant and swoopy and Hand Lettering makes me think of bouncy, whimsical letters in a pretty format. I actually do both, but for Modern Calligraphy I usually use my pointed pen and paper and for Hand Lettering I use my iPad & Apple Pencil or brush pens on paper.

How I got started:

I started my hand lettering journey in April 2017, so I have been lettering for 3 years now. I can't really believe its been that long as I'm writing this but when I show you what my first alphabet looked like there will not be any doubt!

My First Hand Lettered Alphabet

See, I told you so! HaHa

I had loved traditional calligraphy (with the pens you hold at 45 degrees with a straight edge) before finding modern calligraphy and hand lettering. I was on my newly created instagram account that I decided to create just to follow artists and makers and have a space to share my creations, when I saw what people were doing and I was immediately hooked!

I was also looking for a hobby that was quiet, relaxing and NEW. I was a new Mom and I was suffering (unknowingly at the time) from postpartum issues, not quite depression but close. I needed something quiet to do while my baby boy was sleeping, something relaxing for my soul, and something new so I would have to focus on something other than nursing and baby things.

This totally fit the bill and since I already loved writing and pens it was just what I needed, it was SO helpful for my mental health and my mom brain. Soon enough I was buying Tombow Brush Pens and practicing everyday! 

Here is one of my first projects from 2018, I have grown so much and I really push myself to think outside of the box on how I can use my hand lettered art. My most recent project is fabric design! See the second picture for a look at my first fabric!

place cards

stay back

A little more about Hand Lettering/Modern Calligraphy

Modern Calligraphy and Hand Lettering is about applying pressure with your pen to paper (heavy, light, and medium pressure) and controlling/changing that pressure for each letter. This will give you a letter that has both thick and thin lines, when you have multiple letters strung together that look like this you make a word which is unlike regular handwriting. 

Making the letters look pretty and organized takes lots and lots of practice to achieve, its an art form all its own that has really become popular in the last 5 years and I don't see that changing anytime soon!

All of the items in the picture below are things I have used my "hand lettering to design! I have made pins, buttons, stickers, patches, pens, charms, keychains, vinyl decals, fabric and more! The possibilities are endless and SO much fun!


Hand Lettered Products



Ok, so, are you a bit more clear on why hand lettering is a form or artwork and not just handwriting? It’s unique to everyone, just like art and can be done with so many different types of pen and paper, even an iPad, procreate and your Apple Pencil like I do a lot!

As always please reach out to me with any questions!



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