How To Create Your Own Hand Lettering
Rhonna Farrer, of Rhonna Designs, has a gift for hand lettering. “People say, ‘If I only had your handwriting!’ But they can learn to do it!” When she was young, Farrer borrowed her mother’s calligraphy pens every chance she got. In college, she took calligraphy courses. “They teach you the aesthetics and the principles, learning why something was beautiful and how to do it,” she said.
But after she completed school, she felt her best work was created freestyle. “Artistic styles can be a little rigid, with rigid lines. But if you’re really rigid doing a flourish, your flourish will look ridiculous. Going free, your flourishes and cursive will look a lot more beautiful,” Farrer said. She encourages other artists to create lettering by exploring what looks beautiful to them.
Be Free With It. “I tell my students to get loosey-goosey with your wrist. Really work your wrist, going around and around. It’s all about wrist and hand flourishing,” she said.
Doodle. Inspiration comes from everywhere, Farrer said, and anything can inspire a font style. Look at the space you’re working with and fill it with letters or pictures, whatever comes to your mind. Try any and all ideas.
Take Advantage of Digital Tools. Farrer loves Wacom tools for creating fonts. “With the stylus and tablet, you are free to practice and play. Hit one button, and you can undo what you just did. You don’t have to go through page after page of paper.”
Use Pen Pressure And Sensitivity. “A huge part of calligraphy is pen pressure and sensitivity,” she explained. Remembering to use that can mean the difference between a successful and a not-so-successful font.
Farrer applies her distinctive hand lettering on everything from photos to teacups. “Practice!” she said. “Know what feels good, and it will work!”