You don’t have to be a master of Spencerian handwriting or embellished and flourished scripts to add hand-lettered charm to your bullet journal or classnotes. Here’s my easy cheatsheet:
Recently I took a few minutes to catalog 21 different ideas for non-script hand-lettered fonts that build on basic handwriting (rather than requiring a light box and penciling in advance and 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 to bullet journals that don’t take hours- is the ability to move quickly to keep up with your thoughts (journals) or someone else’s thoughts (sketchnotes in class, lectures, 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 and thicken lines, add serifs, or otherwise modify your handwriting to become eye-catching and beautiful fonts.
Download Your Printable Hand Lettering Worksheet Below:
Tips for Practicing Hand Lettering:
- Practice consistently. If you can take notes in class or meeting, choose to handwrite (as a bonus, it boosts memory!)
- Experiment with different pens (Smooth paper and soft pencil lead will help you increase fluidity in your penmanship, while scratchy paper and felt tip pens may help improve control)
- Work on lined paper at first (or, if you work digitally, use a grid layer underneath your writing layer) this 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 on Etsy and Amazon, 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 Sarah, sans serif, and script fonts that are created free hand. These hand-drawn fonts, unlike their computer-generated cousins, have a natural variation in spacing, tilt, and size that creates a unique visual look that no computer-generated modern calligraphy font comes close to duplicating.
Learning to hand letter with Alphabets vs Text
Although many people learning to hand letter fonts with pen and ink or on a digital tablet with stylus 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.
When I began practicing hand lettering- a promise I made to myself as part of my New Year’s resolution a few years ago- I would cozy up on my sofa with a binge-able TV show and begin lettering whatever quotes stuck out to me as poignant, funny, or memorable. This practice, where I could take my time and practice the same words are the same quote over and over again was a great rehearsal for taking live notes in class or as a graphic recorder.
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.