Learn to Letter: A Study of the Alphabet

I started the alphabet to be “trendy,” but I quickly learned why I was really doing it.

It started in September 2018 when many were heading back to school, many were starting alphabets of their own using hashtags and challenging their friends. I wanted to be on the same bandwagon.  

Not far into the alphabet, I knew I wasn’t going to finish in a timely manner with everyone else. Learning the structure and anatomy of each letter was no easy task and it took time and patience to draw straight lines and creatively find new letter styles to draw.

The whole alphabet took me seven months to finish!

It doesn’t have to take you this long, but after this exercise, I highly recommend everyone draw the alphabet more!

Materials

I have a lot of OCD tendencies so I wanted a notebook dedicated solely for the use of this project. Materials didn’t matter as much to me for this project as my purpose of starting the alphabet challenge was to learn about the alphabet and how I could manipulate the letters with any tool.

Here are the tools I used:

  • Rhodia dot grid pocket notebook
  • Pencil
  • Eraser
  • Ruler
  • Tombow Hard Tip Fudenosuke pen for brush strokes
  • Staedtler fine-liner pen pack

You don’t need fancy tools to draw the alphabet!

Lettering Anatomy

We all learn to write the alphabet from a young age and almost every time I would start with that same skeleton formation. Building from the skeleton, you can increase weight and width to your letters to create the block letter that fills many inspirational letters.

When you create block letters, truly studying where the lines connect, you begin to recognize that most letters connect in similar places making them easier to connect. This sans serif and block letter in a simple form, gives the foundation to build upon and create fancier styles and designs.


Building upon the block letter form, you can add serifs, geometric shading, art deco styles shadows and more! The possibilities are endless.

Even after finish the alphabet, I keep learning numerous additional styles that I can try or could have added to my small sample.

Beginning Tips

Start today. Start somewhere. The alphabet will never grow old the more you learn about it and the more you practice.

Everyone can learn to letter because you already know the alphabet and you already use it. That’s the beginning of all lettering and calligraphy.

Do one letter each day or each week. Start small and remember, it’s meant to be fun! If you get stuck thinking of styles and different ways to write each letter, print out my compositional style cheat sheet for help!

Share Your Alphabet Journey

The best part of the alphabet study and journey is sharing your work with others. I would love to chat with anyone about their lettering journey and the lettering community is always inviting to all beginners!

Lastly, whichever letter you decide to practice, start with or focus on, post about it on Instagram.

Tag @fontabulousdesigns and use the hashtag #FontabulousDesignsStyles so I can engage with your work and see what you letter.



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