Drawing Type: An Introduction to Illustrating Letterforms

Spotted this awesome book in Chris Piascik’s Instagram Feed.

Drawing Type: An Introduction to Illustrating Letterforms by Alex Fowkes.

Chris has some work featured inside and I thought it would be good to take a further look.


Part inspiration and part workbook, the images of hand-drawn type will inspire and excite any designer to draw and explore type. Drawing Type features real-world projects and sketchbooks of well-known type designers, including interviews about their processes.

Playful, hand-drawn type can easily be used in a range of disciplines within design and illustration such as packaging, editorial, posters, advertising, online graphics, and signage, and the hand-made aesthetic is more prevalent now than ever.

Alex Fowkes will help you to create custom lettering that clients seek for their projects. Alex walks you through the steps to drawing serifs, san serifs, scripts, etc. With ample space on the pages for designers to mimic and draw their own typefaces, this book is perfect for learning at home or in a classroom that you can refer to again and again!


I would encourage you to use at the “look inside” feature on Amazon which lets you preview pretty much the whole book!

Section 1 – Inspiration & Interviews

This section features visual examples of world class lettering together with interviews and is broken into chapters containing the different classes of lettering:

  • Chapter 1 – Hand Rendered
  • Chapter 2 – Vintage twist
  • Chapter 3 – Playful type
  • Chapter 4 – Contemporary type

Featured artists include:

  • Matthew Tapia
  • Jackson Alves
  • Ginger Monkey
  • Jon Contino
  • Jill De Haan
  • Linzie Hunter
  • Joluvian

Here is a quick peek inside this section of the book:


Some more pages shared by Matthew Tapia:

Section 2 – Drawing Type

This instructional section encourages you to start your own lettering practice and covers the following areas:

  • Type Categories
  • Letterform Anatomy
  • Tools
  • Method
  • Exercises
  • Specimen Sheets

drawing type

I love that the book comes with some type sheets to kickstart your practice:

drawing type tips


This book is packed full of world class lettering to give you ideas and inspire your own practice whichever level you are at.

Combining clear and simple instruction with practice sheets and exercises to help you begin lettering, this is a really great introduction to anyone getting started in the world of lettering.


You can pick up a copy here:

Drawing Type: An Introduction to Illustrating Letterforms


My book recommendations are designed to be useful and give you options that can help you on your hand lettering journey.

Please remember that books are not essential to making progress with lettering, however they are wonderful tools to inspire us into practice, which is the most important thing. Practice makes progress!

About the Author

Alex is based in London has worked with many high profile clients to create some amazing lettering art.

Watch him in action:

Video 1 - Sony Music Timeline (05:25)

Video 2 - Sony Music Timeline – Timelapse (02:00)

If you are reading via email, you can watch the videos here.

Happy Hand Lettering! :D

- Emma

Jon Contino Learn Lettering Tip Featuring Seb Lester

I spotted this tweet featuring learn lettering advice from Jon Contino:

This is the video of Seb Lester which he linked to:

If you are reading via email, please view the embedded video here.

Such beautiful calligraphy and music in this captivating film!

I also discovered that you can download the track for free here:

Hope it inspires you all to get your letters on!

Remember practice makes progress.

Thanks to Jon, Seb and Jonathan.

Happy Hand Lettering and Calligraphy! :D

- Emma

Martina Flor Hand Lettering Workshop London

I just spotted that awesome lettering artist Martina Flor is teaching a hand lettering workshop in London for all us UK heads.



I attended a brush lettering workshop with her Lettering vs Calligraphy partner Giuseppe Salerno last year, which was awesome and I imagine this workshop will be just as good.

If you haven’t, check out this post on Lettering vs Calligraphy to see their interaction on video.

Workshop Details

When: 3rd May 2014, 12.00 – 18.00.

Cost: £150

Where: Jackson’s Art, 1, Farleigh Place, Farleigh Road, London N16 7SX, UK.

Workshop Overview

In this is a hands-on intensive workshop. You will drive the process of thinking, drawing and refining a custom lettering. In this one day session you will be introduced to effective techniques to create a lettering from scratch.

It is ideal for beginners and for those with previous experience who want to improve their techniques to draw letters. You will walk away from this workshop with a sharper eye when working with typography and with practical tools to improve your own creative work.

Prerequisites: There’s no prerequisites to take part of this workshop. You need to bring your own mechanical pencil. The rest of materials will be provided.

What you’ll learn: You’ll get practical techniques to create hand-lettering and insights for the continuation of your own practice after attending this workshop.

How to Book

Please visit Martina’s Good Type site to book:



Happy Hand Lettering! :D

- Emma

One Inexpensive Tool To Help You Make Progress With Hand Lettering


Today I want to share a simple, inexpensive tool that I believe can help you make progress with hand lettering.

It’s not a pen, a pencil or a tutorial of any kind.

It’s an app.

“An app? I can’t do hand lettering on an app”, I hear you cry!

This is true.

But do you know what the number one barrier stopping you making progress with lettering is?


The bottom line is that if you want to get better at lettering, you need to do it daily, even if it’s for just 10 minutes.

When you do this, magic begins to happen. Just look at Scott Biersack’s 365 project as an example.

Commit is an app that I believe can help you develop this habit of daily practice.

The App

Let’s take a closer look at how it works, then I will explain why it works.

Commit is a simple app that helps you form habits to learn or practice something every day.

The following pictures are screenshots of the app running on my phone.

Step 1

Enter what you want to commit to, in this case, lettering:


Step 2

Once you have committed and when you’ve done your lettering for the day, simply just tap the big green button …


Step 3

…then you get one progress bar on the chart at the bottom of the screen and which tells you how many days in a row you have completed:


Simple eh?!

I made this short screencast video of it in action on my iPhone so you can see it in action:

Why It Works

Practicing Lettering

Commit keeps track of every day that you letter (in this example) and reminds you on the days you forget. It also keeps track of days in a row so that you build up “chains” of days (i.e. you’ve lettered 32 days in a row).

Keeping Your Commitments

If you have been consistent for many days, but don’t feel like doing it today, not breaking the chain is a good incentive to maintain the habit.

So the more consistent you are, the less likely you become to break your chain.

Don’t Break the Chain


Commit tracks how many days in a row you do each commitment. As you build up 10, 20, 50 days in a row your motivation to practice lettering comes from not wanting that count to reset to 0. If you’ve already made a chain of 30 days, how hard could it be to add one more?

Don’t break the chain is a motivation technique reportedly used by Jerry Seinfeld to help him write:

  1. Pick a goal.
  2. Mark off the days on which you work toward that goal.
  3. Use your chain of marked off days as a motivator.

Your only job is to not break the chain.

If you’d like to read a bit more on this, I recommend this article by James Clear which explains it further.

More Details

Commit costs $2.99 / £1.99 and is available here:



Download from iTunes

I am not affiliated with Commit in anyway, just a little something I find useful and thought it might help you too!

More Inspiration

I’ll leave you with this quote which I hope inspires you further:

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”

- William Hutchison Murray

Happy hand lettering practicing! Don’t break that chain! :D

seanwes Learn Lettering Courses

Hey folks.

Sean McCabe of seanwes has launched his eagerly anticipated Learn Lettering Classes!


Sean was one of the first resources I found when I was looking for hand lettering tutorials, so I was really excited to hear that he was planning a course like this. I’ve since joined his online community which continues to inspire and educate.

I’m all signed up to the Master Class and have been diving into the course material to bring you this overview and review, so you can explore if it might be a good fit for you.

Here is Sean’s overview / intro video that explains what the course is and why he has created it:

You’re not just learning how to draw letters.

You’re getting a contextual education that equips you with the skills to create, and the business knowledge to succeed.

Course Overview

Each of the following 10 courses contain multiple video lessons:

  1. Introduction to Typography: Typographic Fundamentals for Lettering Artists
  2. Mastering the Art of Letterspacing & Applying Kerning Principles to Lettering
  3. Lettering Tools in Use: Lead Holders, Microns, Brush Pens
  4. Drawing Letterforms: Sans-Serif, Serif, & Script
  5. Designing Quotes for Strong Compositional Hierarchy & Visual Interest
  6. Digitizing Hand Lettering: Creating Organic & Precise Vectors
  7. Creating, Selling, & Pricing Original Artworks
  8. Custom Type Logos: From Concept to Completion
  9. Understanding & Writing Design Contracts
  10. Making Sense of Licensing & Utilizing Its Power

Class Options

The courses are bundle together in the form of 3 different classes that cater to beginners, all the way up to those who wish to make this a career.

Option 1 – Starter Class
1 Course, 5 Videos

Typographic basics overview for the lettering hobbyist.

Option 2 – Intermediate Class
3 Courses, 17 Videos

Core fundamentals for improving your lettering and adding a solid set of skills to your toolkit.

Option 3 – Master Class
10 Courses, 50 Videos

Exhaustive series on everything from compositional hierarchy, custom type logos, digitization, selling, licensing, and design contracts. 8 hours of videos.
Make a living as a hand letterer.

My Review

Here is my own personal experience of the courses:

I opted for the Master Class to satisfy my thirst for hand lettering knowledge!

Once you sign up, you get access via Sean’s site where you log in to view each of the courses and lessons. They stream in high quality HD.

There is an absolute wealth of information where Sean shares everything he knows about lettering, broken up into different courses which each contain video lessons.

Everything is very well laid out and organised and it is easy to work your way through in order, which I am currently doing slowly.

Each video lesson length is just about right, broken up into chunks of 5 – 8 minutes on average. Some of the drawing letterforms lessons are longer due to the nature of the material, as you get to see a whole alphabet being drawn and follow along, which I found super useful.

The videos feel very personal, like Sean is right there with you guiding you through.

You can mark off your progress as you go which makes it very easy to see at a glance how you are progressing and aids motivation.

Alongside each video lesson are useful links to further resources, including Sean’s own podcast and more in-depth articles from external sources that are aligned with the topic.

The courses which deal with transitioning into making this a career are extremely comprehensive, and although I am not yet at that stage, it’s very reassuring to know that the knowledge is coming from Sean’s own personal experience of being in the industry for 10 years.

It really is a full and complete education on everything lettering, all in one easy to access online learning environment.


This is by far the most detailed and comprehensive course on hand lettering that I have seen yet.

Whilst you can pick up tips from various other classes, this course really covers everything you need to know in great detail, whether you are just starting out with lettering, or want to make this your career.


How To Sign Up

Get the full details and sign up to the course here:

> seanwes Learn Lettering Classes


Happy hand lettering! :D

- Emma