The great thing about lettering is that it requires very little to get started. Most likely, you already have the basic tools right now to get going.
Pencil – A wood, mechanical or clutch pencil–whatever you have on hand and prefer to work with. If you don’t have one, I would suggest a simple wood pencil to start.
Eraser – A decent eraser will make things a lot easier. Look for one of those big, white “drafting” erasers.
Sharpener – If you’re using a wood or clutch pencil, you’ll need one of these.
Paper – A ream of printer paper, a scratchpad or a cheap notebook. Right now, it’s simply something to get started with. I’ll talk more about sketchbooks in an upcoming post.
If you need to do some shopping, go to the store with your notebook, and try out a few pencils. Don’t overthink the gear and keep things simple. An HB pencil is a good place to start.
Adding to the toolbox
As you gain experience, you’ll start to have a preference for certain tools. I went through a lot of pens before I settled on a favourite.
Inking pens, rulers, set squares, light tables, grid pads–these are all tools I’ll talk about as we move on. For now, keep things simple.
Do I need a computer?
A computer isn’t necessary, but it helps. A lot.
You can do the basic process of lettering with ordinary, analog tools … pencil, pen, paper, etc …
There are a few steps that become much easier on a computer, such as cleaning up artwork, colouring and editing. Although I use Photoshop for most of my work, you don’t necessarily need to be hooked into an Adobe Cloud membership. There are less expensive, one-time purchase apps available, such as Affinity Photo. The iPad Pro and an app such as Procreate is an option, as well.
Not having a computer simply means that your process will be different. And if you have a smartphone, you can still post your “analog” artwork.