Are You Making These Common Lettering Mistakes? Find Out

Lettering is such a fun way to add some style and flair to your designs! But it can be easy to make mistakes when you’re new to the craft. Avoid these common mistakes to take your lettering from meh to fabulous! This blog post will share four of the worst lettering mistakes that beginners often …

Lettering is such a fun way to add some style and flair to your designs! But it can be easy to make mistakes when you’re new to the craft.

Avoid these common mistakes to take your lettering from meh to fabulous! This blog post will share four of the worst lettering mistakes that beginners often make.

You’re Using the Wrong Paper

Every time you sit down to create art or calligraphy, there’s a risk that you will make a mistake. Whether it’s an ink blob, paint speck or typo, there are few things worse than having to redo your work from scratch. Fortunately, while it’s impossible to avoid all mistakes entirely, there are ways to minimize them.

One of the biggest mistakes that hand letterers can make is using the wrong paper for their project. Different papers have different qualities, and if you don’t choose the right one, it can drastically impact the outcome of your work.

For example, some papers are more textured or grainy than others, and this can cause your ink to smear or feather. In addition, some papers aren’t suitable for painting or gilding. If you’re not sure if the paper you have in mind is suitable for your project, ask to see a sample before you buy it.

Another common mistake is trying to use too many lettering styles in a single piece of work. This can lead to a chaotic design that looks confusing and unorganized. It’s best to start with a simple “skeleton” of each letter and then add the weight (aka thickness) and decoration later. It’s also a good idea to stick with only 2-3 styles that have some sort of contrast between them.

It’s also important to know when it’s okay to thicken the thickness of a stroke. If you thicken a stroke at random spots, it can look messy and unprofessional. Try to thicken the stroke only at the point where it changes direction, in order to achieve similar results to Cliff Digital’s custom rub on lettering transfers methods.

Thickening a downstroke can be a little tricky, especially if you’re transitioning it to an upstroke. Ideally, you want to leave a space between the bottom of the downstroke and the top of the upstroke. This space will help ensure that your letters aren’t too thick and choppy.

No matter how long you’ve been lettering, it’s never too late to start minimizing your mistakes! Keep practicing consistently, even if it’s just for a few minutes a day, and you’ll soon notice the results in your work.

You’re Adding Flourishes in the Wrong Place

Flourishes are the little swirls and dramatic swashes of strokes that make lettering look pretty fancy. It’s easy to see how these can turn a boring project into a beautiful one, but it’s important to be mindful of where you place your flourishes so that they don’t ruin the overall composition of your work.

It can be tempting to fill up every empty space with a flourish, but that’s where you’ll get into trouble. If you’re a beginner, it’s best to limit the number of flourishes you add to your pieces and be careful not to overdo it. You want to leave enough room for the letters to be readable.

One of the biggest mistakes new letterers make is adding flourishes to a word before it’s even finished. This makes the work feel disjointed and confusing for the reader. It’s important to understand how to plan out a word or quote before you start flourishing it.

Flourishing can be used to correct alignment errors in a line of text, but it shouldn’t be the only way you use embellishments. It’s also important to practice balancing white space in your work.

When you’re a beginner, it’s easy to look at the work of more experienced calligraphers on Instagram or TikTok and be amazed by how much they can do with just a few lines. But that doesn’t mean you should try to emulate their style exactly. In fact, their work probably looked a lot different when they started out too.

Another big mistake that many beginner letterers make is not knowing how to use the right amount of embellishment. It’s important to balance the weight of your letters so that they are all consistent and readable. You can also use the weight of your letters to create interest by varying the thickness of your strokes.

To help you get started, we’ve created a free PDF guide on the basics of flourishing. In it, you’ll learn about the five key spots to flourish (the crossbar of the letter t, the ascender loop, the descender loop, the exit stroke and the entrance stroke) and how to use each one to create different shapes. You can download it here.

You’re Adding Loops in the Wrong Place

Lettering can be a great way to add flair and style to your designs, but it’s important to avoid overdoing it. Adding too many loops, flourishes, or other details can quickly make your composition look messy and difficult to read. If you’re not careful, you may also create gaps between words or create unintentional widows or orphans (which are a big typography no-no).

While it’s fun to experiment with new lettering styles and decoration techniques, you should try to limit how many you use in one composition. Too many different styles can make a design look crowded and messy, so it’s best to stick with 1-2 new lettering concepts at a time and work on them thoroughly before adding any others.

One common mistake that people make when creating letters is using too many large loops. This can be a problem because large loops tend to block for too long and can cause the letters to become disconnected or even blurry.

It’s also important to be careful about how thick you are drawing the loops. It can be easy to overdo this, especially when you’re trying to create a more dramatic effect. When in doubt, you can always use a ruler to help you find the perfect thickness for your loops.

When it comes to the letter f, it’s particularly important to be careful about the size of your loop. Traditionally, the cursive f has a curved tail that closes into a bunny-ear type of shape. When you draw the tail too wide, it can create a gap and start to look like a cursive b instead of a f.

Lettering is a delicate art that requires precision. By taking the time to practice your compositions and avoid making these common mistakes, you can be well on your way to creating beautiful hand-lettered designs that are both polished and professional.

You’re Thickening the Downstroke Instead of the Upstroke

Lettering can seem daunting, especially if you’re a beginner. But with practice, you can avoid the most common hand lettering mistakes to make your work look more polished and professional.

When you’re practicing your lettering, it’s important to think about how the strokes you’re creating connect together. Every time your pen goes up on the page, that’s called an upstroke. These should be thinner than your downstrokes.

However, one common mistake many new letterers make is thickening their downstroke instead of the upstroke. When you do this, it can confuse your readers and leave them wondering what the letter you’re writing means. This is because an upstroke should go upward, not downward.

The best way to prevent this from happening is to pay attention to the difference between an upstroke and a downstroke. An upstroke should be thin and progress upward, while a downstroke should be thick and progress downward. This can be tricky because some upstrokes may be a bit of an angle or pitching forward, but the general rule is that upward progression is thin and downward progression is thick.

If you’re still having trouble, try slowing down your lettering to make sure you’re drawing each upstroke and downstroke the same thickness. This will help you get more consistent with your spacing and style, which will lead to a more polished end result.

Also, if you’re having difficulty with your thin upstrokes, try practicing by forming an “o” shape in the air. This will give you a good idea of how to create this stroke with the right amount of pressure and direction. Alternatively, you can also check out our Copperplate Guide that shows the components of both uppercase and lowercase letters to help you learn more about how these strokes are formed.

The best way to improve your hand lettering is to start out slow and be patient. Practice consistently, even if it’s for just a few minutes a day, and you will see progress over time. With patience and consistency, you can develop your own unique style of hand lettering that will stand out from the rest!

Julie Cochran

Julie Cochran

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