Pencil Lettering and Calligraphy


In today's lesson, I will show you how to do hand lettering with a tool I'm sure all of you already have at home. And if you don't, then you probably live under a rock.

I'm talking about the PENCIL


Do you have any idea how many beautiful art pieces have been created with just this basic tool? 

Thousands, millions, billions. Ok, I don't have the exact number, but I'm sure it's a whole lot. Take a look below and tell me you're not blown away. 

You may think that sketching out your lettering first is for amateurs and those who aren't good because they need the pencil for help. 


The pencil is there as a tool so you don't have to keep making mistakes and end up with a bad design. Which would make you look like an amateur? So just suck it up, and use that pencil. 

You can use the pencil for:

  • Lettering itself and let that be your tool of choice.
  • Use the pencil for pencil calligraphy. Yes, it's a thing.
  • Just as a sketching tool to help you with your layout and ideas.

Now take a look at these and tell me pencils are lame?


Here's a breakdown of the different pencils



You are probably most familiar with the regular #2 pencil, something we've all been using since we were little.

But there are so many more to choose from. The letter "B" means that it's soft and the letter "H" means it's hard.

Soft pencils will give you dark thick lines and hard pencils will give you very thin lighter lines.


Now let's see these babies in action. I won't experiment with all of them, but you'll get the idea.


So you can see that the soft pencils are great for that modern calligraphy look and the harder pencils are probably best for sketching out your ideas, layouts and of course for grid lines, they're also easier to erase if you don't press really hard.

I recommend anything from 2B to 5B for Pencil Calligraphy. 6B 7B and 8B may be a little too soft. But you can experiment on your own.

Another great thing about pencils is you can ERASE them. I'm sure you already knew that. So why aren't you using these more often? 

Don't torture yourself, don't waste ink and markers, just sketch out your idea first. And then grab that fancy tool and go over the pencil, or better yet, invest in a light pad and avoid those annoying pencil lines altogether. 

Working with a pencil will also improve your layouts because you won't be stuck with anything, you can easily move things around, add flourishes and fill in gaps for a beautiful end result.


So here are some pencil recommendations

Yes, it's possible to do modern calligraphy with just a pencil, and it still looks amazing. Try it, or just use your pencil to sketch out your ideas. Etiher way, pencils and lettering go hand in hand.


There are 3 different types of pencils out there. At least the most common ones. 



The lead holder: Like the mechanical pencil, except, this holder holds bigger pieces of pencil lead. Thicker, more like the wooden pencil, and there is a sharpener just for the lead itself. The lead comes in all the different softnesses.


The wood pencil: The lead is encased in wood and has an eraser at the end, which I don't recommend using. The red erasers always leave a red residue on paper. Good for all kids of drawing and lettering purposes, but do get some variety in lead softness.


The mechanical pencil: Hold thin pencil lead pieces and you can't get anything other than a 2B. Best for quick sketching.



So grab some pencils, and start lettering. And don't forget to comment below with any questions or share a link to your latest pencil lettering.