Case Study 001: How I started practicing Hand Lettering.

I wanted to share with you how I began to practice lettering. 

I was first introduced to calligraphy in college with Professor Lorrie Frear. She was passionate about typography, graphic design, calligraphy and hand lettering. One of my really good friends was enrolled in one of Lorrie's elective calligraphy course and chimed me into taking the class. We met once a week and learned a few basic hand writing styles like roman capitals, unical and round hand. 

Lorrie gave us plenty of hand outs and encouraged us to find quotes we liked to practice calligraphy. Since I enjoyed the first class so much I decided to follow up with the second class, which is where she introduced us to hand lettering. 

There are many differences between the two and I will be sure to address them in more detail in a later post. 

While the handouts from college were great I wanted to learn more than what google images were providing me. Fast forward five years and I stumble across Sean McCabe. After purchasing the starter videos from Sean McCabe’s Learn Lettering, I immediately jumped in and began to practice capital letters in the style of Garamond. I chose Garamond because I love the way the lower case g is so playful yet quirky. Sometimes I wish I had that letter in my name. But its okay, I'll find another letter to obsess over. I quickly realized how much value was in Learn Lettering and decided to save up to purchase the master class. 

garamond letter a


When practicing, I would trace the letter using a light pad, then draw from reference, then draw from memory, then compare the two. See below for a few images from my practice binder that I've put together. I would take my sweet time in these practice sessions, practicing one letter at a time. 


I am still learning, my next step is to review a few published books on hand lettering. While I would like to have my own little library reference, I am going to use my local library to save up the nickle and dimes. This will also help incase I am not interested in purchasing the books I review, I can have a preview of it to know if it will be useful for my own learning. Do you have any books or videos you'd like me to review? Share them with me! 


Are you ready to start lettering? 

Here are three things you should know before you start to practice. 

1. Research the history of where type come’s from.

2. Know the basic line strokes.

3. Use tools you can afford and gradually explore from there. 

4. Share your work and practice daily. 


Hungry for more?

I am working on putting a packet together just for you! In the mean time, Sign up for my newsletter to know when it launches and to receive some basic guidelines of what you need when you begin to practice learning hand lettering. 


What ways do you practice? Share with me in an email below, I love to hear from you! 

Keshna Donia