How to get started drawing art. Writers know this well, and calligraphy and lettering enthusiasts know it even better. Some might find it anachronistic to talk about the art of beautiful writing nowadays, when we almost inevitably rely on keyboards and touchscreens to write our messages, from emotional to business ones. However, the opposite is true: the skill and design of writing – of beautiful writing – come out almost exalted by the digital age, carving out an intriguing world in its own right.
What is lettering
Lettering, or better still hand lettering, is defined as the art of drawing letters. It is therefore not a question of “writing,” but of a real work of art. Each letter within a sentence is created in detail and plays a unique role within the composition. Behind the lettering, therefore, there is a profound study of letters, a creative process, during which, typically, different styles, different configurations are tried, up to the chosen model.
To what we have said above, we must add the principle of perfect reproducibility that the drawn letters must-have. Each character must be capable of being reproduced identically through graphic, digital drawing, and printing software. This feature makes lettering and calligraphy two distinct concepts. The latter provides that the realization of the letters is always the result of freehand landscape drawing.
The art of beautiful writing
Anything can write, and its value doubles if it is written well, in an original and impactful way.
Every single letter is defined by the sound, by the meaning, and by its shape. It is no coincidence that, already in the Renaissance, characters such as Leon Battista Alberta and Luca Pacioli were dedicated to applying the classical balances to the letters of what was then called the Roman lapidary, father of our capital letters.
There, in every single letter, the intellectuals of the Renaissance wanted to see beauty and perfection, inserting each character into geometric shapes that, which have come down to us, can only remind us of those that contain Leonardo Da Vinci’s, Vitruvian Man. The visual potential of writing, therefore, must never be overlooked. Indeed, it should be exalted, as do calligraphy and lettering enthusiasts. However, these two disciplines, often confused and overlapping, are not the same: before going to see the accessories for making calligraphy and lettering, we will dedicate a few lines to differentiate these two artistic activities.
Markers for lettering
Among the main accessories for lettering, the Brush Pen markers cannot be missing, which, with their flexible tip – which in many respects resembles that of a brush – allow you to give free rein to the creativity typical of lettering, so much so that in many cases are correctly referred to as brush-lettering. These markers are ideal for both lettering professionals and beginners. If you want to know more, we’ve put together a list of what are the best lettering pens, in our opinion. Many artists use the Brush Pens proposed by Talens, which are the felt-tip version of Eco line inks.
Equipped with a nylon fiber tip and flexible, they will allow you to draw excellent lines and marked and energetic strokes simply by varying the pressure of the marker on the sheet. If you want to learn more about Talens Brush Pens, I suggest reading our article “Creative Lettering with Talens Brush Pens.” Other artists alternatively use Sennelier’s Brush Pens, which are characterized by a tip like an actual brush and by the presence of 100% ecological ink. They contain ink based on pigments and not on dyes. It gives a higher degree of purity and an optimal color rendering. The ink used is completely safe for humans and the environment and, in addition, ecological.
The difference between calligraphy and lettering
Yes, both terms refer to beautiful writing. And yes, in most cases, the accessories for making calligraphy and lettering are the same. However, we are dealing with two similar but distinct disciplines. Not everyone agrees in defining one and the other in a specific and univocal way: the differences, in some way, fade between one definition and another. For the famous Dutch designer Gerrit Noordzij, for example, calligraphy is a peculiar form of art expressed in a single stroke of the pen. In contrast, the lettering is expressed through letters that, all together, make up a drawing. These short definitions are correct, but they are not enough to explain the differences between calligraphy and lettering to a beginner.
Let’s start with calligraphy and, cutting off the bull’s head, let’s look at the definition given to us by the Vocabulario Treccani, which speaks of “art, akin to drawing, which teaches to trace writing in an elegant and regular form.” Calligraphy was born well before lettering, before the birth of printing, in all those manuscripts written with care with fascinating characters today even more than then. Conversely, lettering – better yet, hand lettering – refers to the art of drawing letters. Here, we no longer speak of ‘writing’ but instead of ‘drawing’ itself.
Each letter, each word, is unique, aiming at the configuration of ad hoc designed characters, which therefore do not correspond to specific parameters – as is the case for calligraphy. Behind the lettering, therefore, there is a profound study of letters, a creative process during which, typically, different styles and configurations are tried, up to the chosen model. In short, we are dealing with a discipline that is even more distant from mere writing with lettering. These two disciplines are therefore different, although they are not too distant from each other. Indeed, those who usually deal with lettering can certainly draw beneficial ideas from the study of calligraphy, just as those who do calligraphy can find a fascinating diversion in lettering.
How to make simple lettering?
Well, now that you’ve got everything you need (paper, pencil, and Brush Pen) sorted out, it’s time to get down to business. It may seem difficult at first, but nothing is impossible with constant practice and a good dose of creativity! Start by choosing your font, and this phase is critical because you have to look for the font that best suits the theme you want to represent. If you want to make something original, you can create your font!
Also Read: Choosing the paper for painting