Do I need to be good at sketching?


Don’t know how to draw a straight line? That’s ok. Neither do I. While knowing how to draw helps, it’s not a prerequisite for lettering.

That image at the top of the post–I did that in grade 7 (the City Project part, anyway). Most of us have drawn something like that, and I bet you did, too. It was probably drawn without even thinking it was a drawing–and that’s exactly what it is.


You write letters all the time. It’s not a huge step to draw them.

Full disclosure: I’ve been drawing since I was a kid, and I studied art in school. That absolutely gives me an advantage. But it was only through a lot of deliberate effort over many years that I improved my skills.

Those with a ‘gift’ for drawing didn’t magically arrive there. Talent will only take you so far. Get comfortable with creating lots of imperfect work. It will feel awkward, but it’s how you get to the good stuff.

Learn to love the process. Rather than committing to goals (“I will create one hand-lettered piece per week”) commit to building a process (“I will spend one hour per day practising my lettering”).


Focus on the habit, not the result.

There’s a lot of fantastic lettering out there, and it can be intimidating. The thing is, those artists you admire have likely already put in thousands of hours of practice to get where they are. If you must compare, understand that we’re all at different skill levels. By all means, look to others for inspiration, but don’t let it paralyze you.


We all have to start somewhere.

One important note: It’s okay to copy to gain experience. It’s how most of us do it. Heck, I copied tons of stuff over the years. However, never put something you’ve copied online or in print. If you must, then seek permission from the original artist first, and be sure to credit them.