In this session, we were joined by two of our absolute favourite people, Jimbo and Tea from ShoutBAM! This duo run an incredible creative agency in Croatia and really do make the world a lot more colourful.

With their unique style of design and lettering, a blend of super modern with antique, they set themselves apart. We absolutely love what they do and know you do too.

While some may join ShoutBAM's sessions for the hair (Jimbo's locks are so fine he has actually been asked to make a design brush to create the effect), everyone stays for the incredible amount of value these two deliver. So it's hardly surprising we asked them back to teach us all more and help us master lettering layouts. And thankfully, they said yes!

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To help you follow along, you can use the written tutorial below.

Let’s have some fun learning Everything Lettering Layouts with Jimbo and Tea from ShoutBam! Starting from the sketches, guiding into the details, and finally kicking into the final layout.

Defining the Sentence

Whoever reads your lettering piece should know what it means just by having a peek at it. The stone of the quote of your sentence has to be communicated well by figuring out the hierarchy of your quote. Thus, defining what’s the most important part of your sentence is crucial. So, even before looking at the layouts, you have to look at the words that you’re going to use. To communicate the message the right way, play with their sizes,colors, and contrasts..

Divide the words into three kinds - Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary. 

Composition Practice through Quotes

Start by thinking about a meaningful quote that can be guided from an idea into a wonderful finalized lettering piece.  

From General to Specific: In the general phase, it’s not important how pretty the whole sentence looks, rather the specifications of its details. 

Begin with a blank page and decide a canvas size you want to work on. The size can vary for Youtube, Instagram post, channel, banner, etc

Start by defining what sentence you want. It could be fun, it could be quirky, it could be anything. 

Decompose your quote into four levels - 

  1. Essential Words
  2. Secondary Words
  3. Tertiary Words
  4. Connectors or Fluff. 

The essential words in your quote should pop more than the rest. As a general rule, in order for them to pop, they need to be bigger in size than the other words. Position and Contrast play an essential role, so define your Essential Words and Secondary Words. 


Here, ‘BLANK’ and ‘BEGINNING’ are Essential Words 

‘NEW’ is a Secondary Word.

‘A’, ‘FOR’ and ‘A’ are Tertiary Words or Connector Words (seeing the hierarchy in this example)

Now, strike through the words, in their lengths, (like this)  before choosing a layout or grid with which you’d like to proceed. With these lines, you can make your grid from scratch.

After picking a grid, write the words in the format. If you have a word that is lengthy, count its letters first. Now number them each. Locate the middle number and mark it. Now write that middle letter on the strikethrough lines in the center first, then write the first letter in the starting of the line and the last letter at the end of the line. Now you can equally fill all the letters in between the leftover spaces.

Now make boxes around each word. Make bigger boxes for Primary words and smaller ones for Secondary words and so forth. Once your boxes are ready, you can make slight changes to them by slanting them or putting them in different shapes. Now place them in proportions. 

Sketching the Piece

Now, start sketching the piece. There are two ways to put a word into a curved or a lined box: 

1.Structure the words at a 90degree angle, by placing the center letter first and then the others. 

2. Take the center and draw a straight line. Now draw lines in an arc next to it and then place all the letters on these lines.

You can move the whole word left or right placing them in the center.

Style the words in singularity. 

For example, the primary words should be styled in the same manner. The tertiary words can be different from primary or secondary but both tertiary words should be styled in the same manner. The secondary word can be a completely different style altogether. 

Create a square composition by focusing on the words. Draw vertical lines. 

Then draw your arcs with the words. To check if the arcs are put proportionately, draw perfect circles by filling them with any color and put them in between the arcs on the words. You can balance your arcs accordingly. Erase them once you’ve checked it. 

Create all these arcs and group them together, so you can save them. Then duplicate these and flatten them out. 

Now, use thicker brushes for primary words and color on them. They need not be perfect. It can have a crayon effect and you can do this child-like. While using smaller brushes on secondary words, try and put more pressure. You could also use monoline brushes for this. You can use calligraphy brushes for tertiary words.

Draw a box on the letters to check the letter thickness. These can also be used as strokes. You can see what weight you want and determine the letters accordingly. This helps you determine the thickness consistency throughout. 

Now, draw the letters with a pencil on the thickness layer for your letters. You can also add motifs or serifs. Drop colors inside the letters now, painting them. 

Now, use the same style color on the words together. For example, all primary words can have one color, all secondary ones can have one color, and so on. 

Check for final white spaces. You can choose to either keep them while itself or punk it up by adding a new layer of color that shouts. You can figure out what spaces you want to color and ones you want to leave empty. 

Finally, add stem work and ornaments. You can add them in between words and spaces, by duplicating or mirroring. It ties everything and unifies everything together. 

Voila, it’s done!

Wondering where all of these incredible guide brushes are it's all part of The Layout Lettering Masterclass with the all-new lettering pack brushes, workbooks, composition theories, design principles, texturizers, pencils, sponges, brush stamps, composition practice, how to cover blank spaces - 3D letters, ornaments and flourishes, introduction to media and fun exercises. Check it out below.

If you found this tutorial useful, why not check out ShoutBam's Procreate Lettering Tutorial too.

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