Tuesday, March 31, 2015

lettering with makewells: painting letters

Hello - Megan from Makewells here! I'm back with a post introducing my favorite aspect of hand lettering: adding color!
In the last few lettering posts, I've talked about the infinite possibilities there are with drawing letters. Now, with the addition of color, the variations are going to continue to grow. 

To get started, below are my favorite paints to use when I add color to my hand lettering pieces:

This is the one area of lettering where I do tend to splurge a little. You can use any combination of acrylics and watercolors, however, my favorites are: 
I primarily use titanium white and mix it with my watercolors to give them a little more of an opaque body. Golden's High Flow acrylic series is wonderful if you are trying to achieve smooth brushstrokes. 
Dr. Ph. Martins Hydrus Fine Art Watercolor and Radiant Concentrated Water Color -(link: http://www.dickblick.com/products/dr-ph-martins-hydrus-fine-art-liquid-watercolors/
Oh how I love these little bottles of magic. The colors are absolutely striking - super rich. 
These are very affordable and I have just about every color. They're very versatile. 
I'm not a "purist" by any means when it comes to painting, so I mix these three paints together all the time to achieve the colors and consistency that I'm looking for. Remember, it's all about what works for you (and your budget!). So find paints that work for you and splurge only if you want to. 
As for brushes - I typically stick with very small, synthetic, round bristled brushes for lettering. I have been using Blick Master Synthetics recently and love them. 
If you plan on adding paint to your hand lettering, getting started is no different than drawing. I always start with sketches!

Once I'm happy with my initial concept, I'll redraw in pencil very lightly (I sketched darker above so you could easily seeon Strathmore Vellum Surface Bristol Board.  (link: http://www.dickblick.com/products/strathmore-300-series-bristol-board-pads/) This is my favorite surface to work on because of how smooth and sturdy it is. 
Next, I do a first "wash" of paint just to block in the shapes of each letter. 

When the first layer is dry, I'll usually go back and erase any pencil lines before going in for more detail.

I love adding dimension to letters by adding shadows and highlights. 

I'll blend and fade colors as well to add even more interest.

And just like drawing letters, it takes a lot practice. Developing your own unique style is half the fun!

I love adding embellishments to certain words/letters as well. Sometimes all it takes is a few polka dots!

Sometimes I'll give a letter/word a washy drop shadow.

Or go back with a super fine brush for detailed lines and patterns.

For practice, if you've worked your way through the 1 Letter 100 Ways exercise, try mixing up the alphabet in all sorts of styles and colors:

Make sure to show us your work by hashtagging your photos on instagram #redefinecreativelettering. I'll be back soon with some tips on crafting phrases!


Makewells Instagram: @makewells
Makewells Website: http://www.makewells.com


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