In this session, we were joined by one of our Honest Designers Podcast partners, Ian Barnard, an extraordinarily talented hand lettering artist and calligrapher. Ian's career has seen him hand lettering for the likes of Speedo and Hellmann's Mayonnaise - luckily not together.

Ian has a passion for inspiring, entertaining and helping people to get better at their lettering skills, and this session is no different! You'll learn a range of different lettering styles all smuggled into a single session, and did we mention it's freestyle!

Draw a Sketch

Choose the Pencil Sketch Brush and pick a blue color to draw a rough layout of the blueprint. For this tutorial, sketch these words, ‘Be brave enough to be bad at something new’. Add the elements around the words and reduce the opacity. 

Pick the 3D version of the Slipstream Brush from the pack and put your pen on the screen and draw a circle. Without picking the pen, turn the circle into a cloud by giving it some edges. This will give you the cloud outline of the ‘Be’. 

Add Color to the Cloud

Create another layer below the cloud to fill a white color. To do this, click on the outline layer, select reference and click on the one below it. This will transfer all the information from the layer on top to the layer below and prevent all the color from going onto the whole page. Select a white color and fill the cloud.

Pro tip: Make sure to turn the reference off again, so that no other layer is referenced to that layer again. 

Create another layer and pick the Broken Arrow Brush. Pick a black color and write ‘BE’ in capital letters with a freehand.  

Pro tip: When you click on the thumbnail and click Alpha Lock, it restricts everything to the object that is on that layer. 

Add Shading to the Cloud

Select a light blue color and pick the Milky Way Brush to add shading. Create another layer and add a clipping mask. Squeeze all the layers together and turn that into one object. The quickest way of giving it a shadow is duplicating it. So swipe to the left to duplicate the layer, click on the one below and then click outlook. This makes the shadowing restricted to the object itself. Select black and fill the layer, with the Alpha Lock turned off. Move that object down to see the shadow. To reduce the shadow, bring down the opacity.

Pro tip: Select Multiply to get rid of any white and light areas. 

Add Color to the Flag

Create another layer to draw the flag below the cloud. Choose the Sloppy Joe Brush, pick the color black and roughly draw the triangle flag shape. Create a new layer below it, tap on the thumbnail of the outline and select reference. Choose a yellow color and drag and drop the color to fill the flag. Create another layer, choose the Monoline Brush and pick a gray color to create the post of the flag. Draw the post with a freehand.

Add Shadow to the Flag

Turn the Alpha Lock on and add shadow by turning the reference off and adding clipping masks. Select a light gray color to add highlights and more dimension to the flag. Using the Rock and Roller Brush, pick a black color and write, ‘BRAVE’. Zoom in and use the Broken Arrow Brush to soften the edges, giving it a bold and creative style. 

Pro tip: To save space, squeeze all the layers together. 

Use the same shadow trick as before by duplicating the layer and filling it. An alternative method to do this is by clicking on the effects menu, clicking hue, saturation, and brightness layer. Drop the brightness down and turn it black. Click on an icon, reducing it, taking it to multiply, and then move it using the Move Tool to give it shadow.

Draw Letters

Select the High Five Lettering Brush, pick a black color and write, ‘enough’. Grab the Slipstream Brush, pick a white color and add a reflection to it as though the light is coming from top. Draw a line and a dot on the top and bottom of, ‘enough’, to buff it up, making it look old school. Reduce the brightness to get rid of the extra white and add shadow. 

Pro tip: Avoid being accurate with lettering, to make it look more natural and freestyle. 

Create the Speech Bubble

Select the Sloppy Joe Brush, pick an orange color and draw the bubble shape around, ‘TO BE’. Fill the color in and place this bubble above the flag post. Use the 3D brush and write, ‘TO BE’ in capital letters. To fill that, use the same reference model as before. Then, make a simple shadow by duplicating the words and adding on top.

Build Letters

Use the Letter Builder to draw ‘B’. Pick the Monoline Brush and trace the letter freehand with the help of the Letter Builder and then turn it off once done.

Add a 3D Effect

To add a 3D effect, duplicate the layer and reduce opacity. Go back to the original layer and draw lines towards the duplicated layer to give it a 3D effect, by joining one corner to the other. Darken the duplicated layer to give it dimension.

Add Color and Shadow

To fill with color, select Alpha Lock and use the reference layer. Turn off Alpha Lock and fill the ‘B’ with a gray color. Add a lighter gray on the top-most surface. Pick a black color and select the Sloppy Joe Brush to add shadow to the letter.

Pro tip: Hold your finger down to get the Eyedropper Tool and soften the edges with it, giving it a hand-drawn look. 

Now, do the same process with the other two letters as well, i.e. ‘A’ and ‘D’. To make a shadow, copy all of the letters and merge them to give it a shadow layer.

Draw an Abstract Element

Pick a yellow color and draw an abstract brush, around the, ‘ATD. Use the Broken Arrow Brush and write, ‘AD’ with a black color. Add some dots and lines around to give more composition to the word. Using the Broken Arrow Script Brush, pick a black color and write, ‘Something’ below ‘BAD’.

Draw the Main Letters

To write ‘NEW’, use the same method as before. Using the Monoline Brush or Sloppy Joe Brush, pick a black color and trace the letters with the help of a Letter Builder. Draw the outline, duplicate it, reduce the opacity and draw the letters by joining the corners, giving it a 3D effect. Use the Detail Brush to smoothen the edges, making them rounder on the inside. Add a ropey effect, as though the letters were falling apart, by drawing tiny lines and dots.

Pro tip: You don’t have to bother about being accurate with this style. Draw freestyle and make it look organic and natural. 

Add a new layer below this, reference it and pick a yellow color to fill in. Select mid tones to do the shadow areas on the left and right side of the letters. 

To add shadow, duplicate the layer, click on the bottom one and select flatten. This will help flatten the lettering. Bring the brightness and the opacity down and click Multiply. Move your objects to see the shadow layer. 

Add Finishing Touches

Pick a gray color and draw dotted lines around the lettering. Get a new layer and click on the Wing Man Tool to get the arrow. Turn it around horizontally and flip the arrow, where it overlaps. Pick the Sloppy Joe Brush, choose white color, add reference, and color inside the arrow. Pick a darker gray color to add shadow below the arrow.  

Fill in the areas in between by adding some stars and confetti. Choose the Sloppy Joe Brush and draw a face in between by picking its eyes, nose and mouth from the pack. 

That’s it! Your freestyle lettering masterpiece is ready. You can create such amazing freestyle lettering using the Freestyler Brush Pack by Ian Barnard.