You don’t have to be a master of Spencerian handwriting or wedding lettering to add hand-lettered charm to your bullet journal.
Today, I’m showing you my cheat sheet of simple hand lettering fonts that you- yes even you! – can make. All it takes is easy modifications to your existing handwriting to create beautiful hand lettering for your journal. Here’s my easy guide & handy cheatsheet.
Recently I took a few minutes to catalog 21 different ideas for simple hand lettering fonts that build on basic handwriting. Unlike most fancy handwritten scripts, these don’t require grid paper, a light box, or penciling in advance. Avoid all that fancy hand-lettering craziness.
These fonts are perfect for sketchnotes and bullet journals because they build on your existing handwriting. One element to successful sketchnotes- and bullet journal spreads that don’t take hours- is the ability to move quickly to keep up with your thoughts (in the case of journals) or someone else’s thoughts (like for class notes, etc).
Since these build upon basic handwriting- you can add your headers and titles to your page in normal- or slightly modified- handwriting, then return to it later when the speaker is telling a story or you’re waiting for journaling inspiration to strike.
In a second pass, thicken lines, add serifs, or otherwise modify your handwriting to become these easy hand lettering fonts that are eye-catching and beautiful.
Download Your Printable Hand Lettering Worksheet Below:
Download My Free Lettering Worksheet
Tips for Practicing Hand Lettering:
- Practice consistently. If you can take notes in class or meetings, choose to handwrite. As a bonus, writing notes by hand boosts memory! 1 )
- Experiment with different pens (Smooth paper and soft pencil lead will make your penmanship more fluid, while textured paper and felt tip pens improve control)
- Work on lined paper at first or, if you work digitally, use a grid layer underneath your writing layer. Guides, like grids or lines. will help while you learn how to maintain spacing and evenness with your hand lettered script fonts.
How to Learn Hand Lettering Fonts
I learned hand lettering fonts through practice. Hand lettering fonts is one of those few instances, in reality, where the old adage “practice makes perfect” is actually true.
I learned how to hand letter fonts in the classroom – taking notes in class is the perfect opportunity to practice and perfect your hand lettering learning.
My method, using this cheat sheet of simple hand lettering fonts, works great for live notetaking in class because you don’t need to slow down to hand letter these fonts.
Because these fonts build upon a standard letter- adding thickness or embellishment to regular lines – all you need to get started is neat penmanship. As long as you take your notes in class with clean lines and even spacing, you can use downtime in class (like when a teacher is answering questions or handing out materials) to go back and practice your hand lettering fonts over the text already on your page.
Initially, you’ll probably only be able to get headers and important text embellished with hand lettering fonts styles, but with practice, you’ll learn to be faster and to be able to make all of the text in your notes hand-lettered fonts if you choose.
Getting started hand lettering for beginners
Although there are countless hand lettering workbooks and practice sheets for sale, the truth is that you don’t need these guided resources- basic inspiration and a lot of practice well perfect your hand lettered script. Although hand lettered fonts are popular in the digital world, like in graphic design and social media, there’s something particularly charming about serif, sans serif, and script fonts that are created free hand. Hand-drawn fonts are a unique and beautiful way to add a personal touch to your documents and designs. Unlike computer-generated fonts, hand-drawn fonts have a natural variation in spacing, tilt, and size that creates a unique visual look. Computer-generated fonts can never replicate the look of hand-drawn fonts, making them the perfect choice for anyone looking to add a personal touch to their work.
Learning to hand letter with Alphabets vs Text
Although many people learning to hand letter fonts choose to practice their lettering using an alphabet, I find this method to be not as helpful as practicing my hand-drawn font using natural words and speech.
I began lettering as part of a promise I made to myself as part of my New Year’s resolution a few years ago. When I began practicing hand lettering I would cozy up on my sofa with a binge-able TV show and letter whatever quotes stuck out to me as poignant, funny, or memorable.
This practice, where I could take my time and practice the same words or the same quote over and over again was a great rehearsal for taking live notes in class or working as a graphic recorder.
Improving Handwritten Fonts: Should you Practice with Pen or Stylus?
There are benefits to both using a tablet and stylus and using a pen and paper to learn better penmanship. With a tablet and stylus, you can see exactly how your letters are formed and how they connect to each other. This can be helpful in seeing where you need to make adjustments in your letter formation. With a pen and paper, you have the benefit of being able to physically feel the movement of your hand and the pen as you form the letters. This can help you to identify the muscles you need to use to form each letter correctly.
Additionally, when you are writing with a stylus, there is less friction between the pen and the surface, resulting in a smoother writing experience. This is especially noticeable when you are writing for long periods of time. With a pen, you will eventually start to feel the friction between the pen and the paper, and your hand will start to feel the strain of holding the pen in place. With a stylus, you can write for hours without feeling any fatigue in your hand- however, you’ll have more control to adjust your penmanship. In addition, the ink from a pen can bleed through the paper, making your writing less legible. With a stylus, the ink is deposited on the surface of the screen, so there is no risk of bleed-through.
Ultimately, the best way to improve your penmanship is to use a combination of both a tablet and stylus and a pen and paper.
Hand Lettering Practice Sheets
Although at various times I have been tempted to create hand lettering practice sheets to accompany this free cheat sheet of hand lettering sample fonts, I haven’t yet created this resource. Instead, I recommend practicing on any paper you can find.
Anyone can learn to create simple hand lettering fonts using this cheat sheet and a little bit of practice. With dedication, people of all ages can learn ways to embellish their standard handwriting so that it is interesting and beautiful.