In this session, we were joined by world renowned artist, best selling author and award winning educator Peggy Dean, founder of The Pigeon Letters.

Exploration of creativity and artistic passion is something Peggy promotes, helping individuals to discover their potential. Peggy is a self-taught artist embracing the art of imperfection and living out loud, empowering other creatives along their own journey.

During this session, Peggy taught us the fundamentals of brush lettering. A stroke of genius in our opinion; sometimes taking a step back to the basics will help you take a leap to new heights.

Create A Practice Sheet

Choose a thin brush and pick a light peach or a light gray color. Draw a horizontal line with light brush pressure. Hold a finger down and move the line which will help make it straight. 

Go to the Layers Panel and duplicate the layer to make another line, right below the first one. Make sure both lines are straight, centered and aligned and then merge the two layers together. Similarly, make multiple lines like that as shown in the image below, by duplicating and merging the layers to form your own practice sheet. This is your guideline to work on. 

The cap, x and b are your ascending and descending line, as shown in the image below. 

Understand Formation

Draw four dots as shown in the image below, for formation of your letters. Draw an ‘a’ from top left to bottom left and then to top right. This marks how you can form the other letter between the four dots. 

Similarly, you can draw dots on your main practice sheet to fit your letters, as shown in the image below. 

Use Guides

You can also build your letters using guides that look like stamps, from the brush set. You can even make italic letters or use them from hand lettering using these stamps.  

Understand Strokes

While doing brush lettering, use the brush calligraphy to form your letters. Make the letters thicker with your down strokes and hover on the letter while doing upstrokes without adding any force. The brushes will work themselves.

For example, see ‘d’ in the image below. So, a weight line is done on Procreate by adding more pressure, whereas if you hover on the letter lightly, the upstrokes will form without any thickness. 

Pro tip: While using any brushes, make sure to check the brush settings and duplicate. A 30% streamline gives you much flexibility to work with.

Connect Letters

Pick two letters, ‘d’ and ‘e’. Start by drawing the d with pressure on the downstrokes and light hovering on the upstrokes to form the letter. To bounce the letter, put pressure below and again, lift the pressure while coming up. 

The space between the two black lines (as shown below) is an exit stroke. This determines the spacing between two letters. So, start by drawing an ‘e’ right next to the ‘d’, with the determined exit space. Make sure to flick the ‘e’ upwards. 

Pro tip: No letter should ever be connected with one stroke. So, life your hand and then apply the strokes, overlapping the previous letter from its last stroke. 

Structure the Letters

Structure your letters as you like. Notice the two ‘word’ written below. Both have a different structure and style, however they’re both connecting letters like a cursive lettering. The formation of the letters should also fall in-between the dots. To check this, you can also draw dots and see your formation. 

Pro tip: Use a Monoline Brush to practice consistency and formation. 

Understand Composition

Use the Grid Builder for composition on lettering. It is also a great time saver to structure letters. Use the Sketch Brush and write ‘nature is alive and talking to us’. So,’nature’ and ‘alive’ are the focus words for this particular example, as shown in the image below. 

Decrease the opacity and shrink all the letters to a side. 

Create a new layer and re-write the focus words, structuring them. Then, create thumbnail sketches of the same words in a landscape format. Decide which structure you like better and select the format of the same structure to begin. 

Pro tip: If you wish to remove any stroke or line, click on the dot in between the brush slider and drag it, hovering over the stroke or line. This will automatically tell you which layer was it and you can then delete the same layer, to remove the stroke or line. 

Add grids to your layer as your guide. Then choose the Oily Brush and write ‘nature’. Use the bounding box in the yellow toggle on Procreate 5x and adjust the way you want it. 

Pro tip: Make sure that your focus words are larger than the other words.

That’s it. You have successfully learnt all the fundamentals of brush lettering.