This session was pre-recorded and brought to you by the incredible Jillian and Jordan of Loveleigh Loops. They started sharing their passion and knowledge with others back in 2016 via YouTube tutorials and in 2017 branched out into in-person workshops. Following the success of these two avenues and a real demand from their students, they entered the world of online courses and haven't looked back. Tens of thousands of students later and these two amazing ladies are transforming calligraphic skills around the globe, and this session is set to be no different.

In this tutorial, learn the process of creating a lettering project in Procreate. From initial sketching and creating a color palette to adding finishing touches, you'll get the full works. You'll learn how to use smudging, clipping masks, text, and how to make a perspective shadow. It's one not to miss!

Understand the Elements of a Lettering Project

In a lettering project, there is the use of lettering, calligraphy or typography. This is different from an illustration or a cartoon of a different subject matter, like people or animals. It is specifically about projects that have some sort of artistic letters in them. Usually, the letters have some effect on them as well, whether it's shadows, highlights or textures, that make them look 3D. It's not just a flat letter. The piece often has a background, color or texture, depth and dimension, and a cohesive color palette for the project.

Here are some examples that point to some of these elements. See the images below for reference:

The confetti example below has letters that are textured and have a shadow on them. There is depth in this piece because you can see the blurry confetti in the foreground. It looks like it's closer to you, making it look realistic.

The galaxy example below has a nice color palette and background, which adds dimension to it. There’s some texture and the letters have a blend mode on them to make them look neat on the galaxy background.

The gem example below looks realistic because of the shadows, the highlights and the way the letters are shining. This is because of the usage of highlights, layers and multiple blend modes.

Finally, the celebrate example has a nice color palette. It has dimensions and the shadow perspective almost makes it look like it's sitting on a table. There’s confetti all around it and a subtle highlight in the background.

Understand the Project Creation Process

Start with some concept ideation of what you want to create. For example, something that inspires you. For inspiration, you could also look at Pinterest, see a book or a TV show, etc.

The research phase requires you to look at examples of any realistic based design to understand its characteristics. For example, the Great Gatsby movie poster below. Research can be really important, especially if you're trying to base something off of a realistic piece. It can help to look at photographs.

Then make thumbnail sketches with main concepts before completely sketching the piece. Make iterations on layers and then proceed to the final piece. Put final touches and organize the layers, giving them names.

Now let’s create a digital lettering project in Procreate. In the project, start off with text and lettering. Add some color on top and swirl the colors together. Then fill the text with those colors. Create a shadow that is distorted and has a horizon look. Then add some confetti highlights and dimension to the piece to help frame it and bring it to life. 

Add Lettering and Texts

Start by adding lettering and texts. Insert the text, go to your actions, and then add text. Type the word celebrate and change the color to black. Double-tap on the text and then change the color.

Go to edit style to change the font properties. Keep the default font and make it bold. Increase the size to 280 points, or expand the text box to the left and right, and then increase this to 280 points.

Pro tip: If you pull your Apple pencil further away from the slider, it will allow you to get more precision.

Zoom out and move the text down towards the center of the canvas. Tap the arrow to select it. If a blue line appears right in the middle then create a new layer above the word celebrate. Choose a new layer and then choose the brush from the brush library. Find the Calligraphy Set and pick the Monoline Brush. Reduce the brush size to 10%.

On a new layer write the word ‘let's’ and turn the guidelines on for any help. Once done, hide the large guidelines and tap the arrow to move the word around to make it bigger or smaller.

Merge the “let's” layer with the celebrate layer. This will make the celebrate layer un-editable. So make sure you have the words spelt correctly. Tap on the top and choose merge down.

Add Color

Fill the letters with some color. Create a new layer above the word, celebrate and change it to colors. Use symmetry for this because it's going to be mirrored the same on the left and right. Go to actions, canvas, and then turn on the drawing guide. This will make it a 2D grid. Choose edit drawing guide, and then click the “options” button, and choose the word symmetry.

Now when you open your layers, you'll see the word assisted under the word color. Choose a brush from the brush library and find the Airbrushing Category. Choose Medium Airbrush and size it to 30%.

Use the colors from the color palette. Pick an orange color and the second lightest teal color. Draw an opaque line, covering the letters. Choose a pink, purple and blue color. Color the entire word from top to bottom.

Reduce the opacity of the colors layer, to see underneath. Make sure that the colors are covering the letters all the way up. You can tap your arrow and resize this. Make sure that the center node of the rectangle lines up with the vertical line.

Once all of the letters are covered, bring the opacity back up. Smudge the colors together making it look like watercolor. Choose Water and Wet Sponge to blend. Set the size of this brush to about 10% and lightly smudge the colors together, wherever they overlap. Use light pressure and swirl the colors together, giving it a flowy look.

To fill our letters underneath with these colors, change the color layer to a clipping mask. Tap on the layer and use a clipping mask. This will confine the colors to what is showing on the layer below it. Then, edit and reposition the words.

Turn off your drawing guide by going to actions and then toggling off. That will get rid of the lines going down the center. Group the colors together with the celebrate layer.

Duplicate the Text for Shadow

Duplicate the group by swiping it to the left and choosing duplicate. This will form two copies of the group. The lower copy of the group is what's going to end up becoming the shadow. Flatten this group, which basically means these two layers will no longer be individual layers. They're going to be on the same layer. To do so, tap the layer and select flatten.

Select the celebrate shadow layer and flip it upside down to start with the shadow. Choose flip vertical to make it upside down. Make sure you have magnetics turned on so that you can move this straight down.

Shorten and distort the shadow by choosing freeform. This will allow you to just shorten it. Scale the words proportionally. Choose distort and take the bottom right node and drag it to the edge of the right side of the canvas, and then do the same thing on the left.

Make Adjustments

To make this look more like a shadow, make some adjustments to it. Decrease the brightness, saturation and opacity. Making sure you have the celebrate shadow layer selected, go to the image adjustments and choose hue, saturation and brightness.

Take the saturation slider and drag it down to 40% and then the same thing for brightness. To make the shadow more transparent, open up your layers and reduce the opacity to 30%.

Change the Background

Change the background color of the whole piece by clicking on the background color, and choosing the light teal color. Create the appearance of a horizon by creating a new layer, above the celebrate shadow layer. Create a rectangle in the middle of the canvas from the selection tool.

Selecting that area, choose the third teal color from the color palette. On the horizon layer, tap it and choose the fill layer. To blur it, choose gauzy and blur in the adjustments, and then drag the pencil to the right until it says about 30%. Drag the horizon down, clear off the top part of this rectangle to make it a flat top. With the horizon layer selected, go back to the selection tool and make sure you have a rectangle on starting, at the top left of your canvas. Make a rectangle.

The bottom of the rectangle should be right in between the edge of the letters. Reduce the layer opacity to transparent. Tap on the end, next to the horizon and move it down to 50%.

Add Depth and Dimension

Create a new layer above the horizon and rename it to confetti. Use the Boca Lights Brush from the Luminance category. Make some adjustments to the brush first by creating a copy of the original brush. Choose the brush settings and then go to color dynamics and set all of the sliders down to 0% or none. This will not give any color variation. Size it to 25%.

Add some confetti around the edges of the canvas. Press lightly to get transparent pieces, closer to the edges. Press harder to get darker pieces. Increase the brush size to 30% to add bigger ones just around the very edge.

Add Highlights

Add a highlight in the middle and a darker framed border around the edge. Add a new layer and rename it to highlights. Move it below the horizon layer. Use an Airbrush and pick a Soft Brush. Set the size to 20%, and then the color white. Draw a highlight behind the words ‘let's celebrate’.

Pro tip: Try to stay mostly above the horizon and just lightly draw with white to brighten the area right behind the words let's celebrate.

Reduce the layer opacity to 80%. It might be higher or lower based on how much confetti you have in front of it.

Add a new layer and rename it to frame. Use the same brush, same size, and the teal color from the color palette. Draw a border around the piece at the edges and blur it. Increase the blur to 30%. Then tap your arrow and expand it. Finally, reduce the layer’s opacity down to 35% and darken the edges.

Congratulations on completing this project!