Arts & Culture

Tis the Season to Letter

It’s finally December!

As Christmas is right around the corner, it’s time to prepare all the Christmas cards, Christmas signs, and the gift tags! These might sound scary to beginners, but fear not my fellow lettering friends, for this article about brush lettering will guide you in conquering them all. Indeed, you can use the techniques from the last article to get by, but who doesn’t want their style to grow a bit more flourishing?

For brush lettering, you can use either brush pens or watercolor brushes with watercolor (I will use black brush pens so it’s more visible in this article). The theory for brush lettering is actually fairly simple, because it’s the same as the fixed tip pens—always have thick down strokes, and thin upstrokes. No matter if you’re writing print or cursive, just remember: thick down, thin up.

Here are some examples:

As you can see in the photo above, the down stroke is thick and the up stroke is thinner.

Brush lettering takes more time to master because controlling the brush tip can be tricky. When writing the down stroke, you need to apply more pressure on the pen. Conversely, when writing the thin up strokes, it requires less pressure, but at the same time the line needs to be smooth and not shaky. It took me about two years to learn to write like the examples in the photos and it’s still far from perfection, so don’t be distressed when you can’t write like you imagined you would in the first few tries. Also, please do not panic when the lines turn out shaky at first; there’s nothing wrong with your hands, it’s just that you haven’t mastered how to control the pen just yet. Practice, patience, and more practice. Don’t let the pen control you, control the pen.

And here’s another vital tip when doing brush lettering —write it SLOWLY.

Literally, write slowly. Take time. Don’t rush yourself. Lift your pen from the paper each time you finish each stroke, start the next stroke from where you ended the last one, and repeat.

the one on top is written slowly and the one underneath is written fast


It might seem like a long and never-ending process, but trust me, it’s worth it. Here’s an image that shows you the difference of writing it fast without lifting the pen and writing it while lifting the pen after each stroke:


They look similar in the first hand, but the latter looks better. The Israelites endured four hundred years of silence before Christ was born; I bet you can have some patience to perfect this process as well.

Indeed, it’s really tempting to copy YouTubers and Instagrammers and at least try to write fast and “perfect” just like them, but please keep in mind that chances are–those videos are sped up. Also, if you keep writing fast, you will develop bad habits and it will be hard to notice what you’re doing wrong!

When writing, mixing print and cursive together can create fun effects. You can make the letters bouncy, thin, or wide for alternatives. One thing I personally enjoy is to mix brush letters with fix tipped letters. I’ll write the words I want to emphasize with brush letter and the ancillary words with the fixed tip pen. Like these: 

Now it’s your turn! Grab your brush and paper and start writing. As always, share your results on Instagram using #rosyhandlettering. I love to see what you guys come up with! I hope you can use this to bring happiness and joy to others during this blessed season. Have a wonderful Christmas and remember to write!


One Comment

  1. This was great as always! Can’t wait to try these out. Thanks, Rose.