How to Create Hand Lettering Artwork on Paper

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For this tutorial, you’ll need at least a pen, a pencil, and paper.

But it’s easiest if you have all of the following:

  • Pencil
  • Large eraser
  • 0.35 mm tip ink pen or line marker — I suggest using Sakura Sigma Micron pens
  • 0.2 mm tip ink pen or line marker
  • Ruler or T-square
  • Large piece of paper (I’m using 9" x 12")

You’ll notice that I’m not picky about the brand of supplies you’ll be using (the ink pen is just a suggestion and you should feel free to use whatever you have at hand).

I want this tutorial to be approachable for you and allow for some creativity. Feel free to add your own style throughout this tutorial. Heck, if you’re a coffee shop owner, you might want to try this on your chalk board using chalk instead of ink. Go ahead!

Like I said, at the very least, you can do what we’re about to do with just a pen, pencil, and paper.

Step 1: Create Some Guiding Lines

Use your ruler to map out the size of each letter and the space between each letter. Draw very light guides using pencil. I highly recommend having the space between each letter remain consistent — a ruler or T-square will help you to that. The width of each letter can vary, but you’ll notice that I’m keeping the same dimensions for every letter.

The dimensions I’m using are as follows:

  • Letter height: 1 1/4 inches
  • Letter width: 1 inch
  • Space between letters: 1/8 inch

Step 2: Sketch Out the Letters

You can see here that I’m sketching out very geometric letters. Feel free to copy this style. However, I’d also love to see some of you try more rounded letters or even slab serif letters (and post a link to your results in the comments below).

Look at some typography on the Internet. Make sure the letters fill your guides and be creative! This is your chance to make this yours if you want to.

Note: Fat letters work best for the text effect we’re going to be doing later below.

Step 3: Outline the Letters in Ink

This is pretty self explanatory. Use a ruler if you’d like, but I usually do this free hand because I prefer a natural look-and-feel.

If you were good with your pencil guides, this should be an easy step! I use the larger tip pen for this.

Step 4: Create an Interesting Border for Each Letter

This is a technique I’ve seen in some of my favorite hand lettered artwork. To do this technique, simply draw a line with ink within the outline you just created to produce a nice border around your letters.

Try to keep the border width consistent throughout. I use a smaller tip pen for this. I also do it by hand, but you can use your ruler or take measurements if that’s easier for you.

Step 5: Draw Horizontal Lines Inside Each Letter

This is when our hand-lettered artwork really starts to look interesting. Simply draw small horizontal lines (using a thin tip pen) within each letter. Make sure the lines have consistent distance apart to keep things even. Also, don’t draw the lines into the borders you created.

If the lines aren’t perfectly straight or even, that’s okay! In my mind, the beauty of hand-lettered artwork is that it’s supposed to look natural and hand-made.

You may be tempted to stop now. It’s looking pretty cool. Let’s keep going just a bit more. We’re almost done.

Step 6: Erase Your Guiding Lines

Make sure you give the ink at least several minutes to dry and then erase the pencil guides you made earlier. If you erase too soon, the ink might smudge.

Step 7: Add Some Shading

Adding shading takes the whole design up a notch.

In this example, I lightly shaded the entire center of each letter (leaving the border section clean). I also added a bit of a inner shadow within each letter. If you’d like to add the inner shadow to your hand lettered artwork, lightly shade under the top and right edges of the border you created. See what I mean below:

And you’re done!

Tutorial Summary

In this tutorial, I discussed my process for creating hand lettered artwork.

If you’re looking to get better at hand lettering, I would look up examples of typefaces and other hand lettering compositions. Try to replicate these even if you have to trace them at first. Practice until you can replicate your favorites without any rulers, tracing paper, or anything.

After that, create your hand-lettering style. Make your own unique shapes, patterns, and more.

Here’s a short looping video that I created using Vine while I was writing this tutorial for you:

An Open Letter to New Internet Marketers and College Grads: How to Thrive in the SEO Industry

Dear College Graduate/New Internet Marketer,

Congratulations! You worked your tail off, followed the tips for studying SEO in school and landed your dream job in SEO! You may be experiencing a lot of different emotions right now… excitement, relief, eagerness, nervousness, sadness in leaving your classmates, etc. Well, brace yourself! The days of waking up at 11am and going to the all-you-can-eat dining hall may be over, but trust me, your life is about to change for the better 😉

Have you ever seen the movie The Pursuit of Happyness? If you haven’t, here is a synopsis. It is a classic rags-to-riches movie where Christopher Gardner, played by Will Smith, overcomes unfathomable odds to become a stockbroker for Dean Witter. How did he do it you may be asking? Well, as Trevin stated in his previous letter, he “hustled.” Gardner developed a mindset where failure was not an option, and he strove to reach his goals – regardless of the price.

“You got a dream… You gotta protect it. People can’t do somethin’ themselves, they wanna tell you you can’t do it. If you want somethin’, go get it. Period.”

Persuit of Happyness

I would like to challenge you to develop a similar mentality as you enter your career in Internet marketing.  Initially, leaving the classroom where you were probably at the top of the totem pole (you wouldn’t have gotten the job if you weren’t!) and entering an environment where coworkers have more knowledge and experience can be a difficult pill to swallow. One of the greatest benefits of SEM is that if you develop the mindset mentioned before, the rate of change in the industry is so great that you can bridge the gap sooner than you think. But how??

First off, classes may be over but you HAVE to become a student once again. Before you start the job, invest $20 to $40 in a book that will provide you with a foundation of mostly basic knowledge, but some advanced information as well (SEO: An Hour a Day is a good place to start). Here is the kicker… you actually have to READ IT! In college, you may have been able to get away with skimming chapters and playing Angry Birds in class, but this is an entirely different ball game. Read it once, twice, even three times… take notes, create flashcards; do whatever you have to do to get that information engrained in your mind.

Secondly, take this knowledge and apply some of it to your personal website or blog! SEO and SEM are great to read about it, but I would argue that it won’t really click in your mind until you try it out. Take chances! If you break your personal site once and a while, it’s okay (hopefully you backed it up)! Test what you are learning to see the direct impact your efforts can have.

If you remember one tip from this letter, remember this next point: Some of the most impactful knowledge I learned in Internet marketing came when I was listening to others on the phone. Open a Word document and start a daily notes journal. Did your coworker use a phrase that you are not familiar with? Jot it down and look it up! Did they state a statistic that would be beneficial to learn? Memorize it! Did they have a direct and informational response to the client? Remember it to use later! My point is there is a wealth of knowledge that you have at your disposal aside from the normal training sessions. Take advantage of it!

Next up, find a concentrated area of Internet marketing that you are interested in and become the office expert in it! After work, go home and study markup. Learn so much about it that you become the go-to person in the office for any and all questions on that subject. After accomplishing this, move to another topic. Make your foundation so strong that not even Google can bring you down.

Another beneficial tip is to call your friends and family. Wait… what?! Exactly. Call them to explain what your job actually entails, what you are learning and what results your hard work has helped to achieve. More than likely, your parents don’t know the specifics behind SEO. By practicing and explaining the work you do to your parents, you will be a lot better equipped to explain and answer questions your future clients have down the road.

Lastly, set 30 minutes to 1 hour aside every day, outside of work, to research and find the day’s latest Internet marketing articles. Ask colleagues what their favorite sources are, set up a Google Reader, visit Inbound.Org and comment/interact on different blogs to improve your SEM credibility on the web.

This letter could go on forever but I am going to stop it here. In summary, if you want to become one of the top Internet marketers in the industry, it will be difficult but it is not impossible. Become a student once again and go get it. Period.

College Graduation



Google Search Algorithm Change For Freshness

Google introduced a “freshness” algorithm update to its search results yesterday. This change will help users find pages relating to recent events, news and products much easier and more accurately.  This algorithmic update is based on its caffeine infrastructure. Google claims this change will make results more relevant for its users, which they believe is what truly sets their company apart from that of their rivals.

The last big update to the Google algorithm, known as Panda, affected only 12% of searches, while this update is will affect 35% of search queries (what users typed in the search bar in Google).

At the moment, you can see these changes taking effect when you search for items involving Basketball, Microsoft and the Wall Street Journal, but eventually, this will spread across the board.

Read more about it:

Here is a White Board Friday video from SEOMoz I recommend watching:

Steps You Can Take:

  • Add a blog, news and/or articles section to your website (if you haven’t already).
  • Have an effective presence on Social Media channels. Communicate with your followers/fans directly rather than automating your Tweets/messages.
  • Facilitate product reviews from the general public on your website. Take Amazon for example. With millions of reviews from real people who have actually used the products, not only do more users trust the products they purchase from Amazon, Google trusts their content more. There is no other particular type of content that has the same impact on the search results; and with the freshness update to Google’s algorithm, this content is a great way to ensure your website is updated on a regular basis.

Note: When you bring together your Twitter followers, blog followers, and Facebook fans, you create a community. It is important to enhance that community and continually provide fresh content through reviews, debates, chats, etc.

An example of creating a community:

  • Pick a product – (i.e. ceramic cookware)
  • Create a target audience – Moms (target blogs made specifically for moms)
  • Get in touch with the bloggers of said blogs about your product
  • Offer free products to the bloggers in return for a blog post dedicated to a review surrounding your product

Return you will experience:

  • Links from each blog
  • User-generated content
  • Word of mouth to other mothers and their followers
  • “Domino effect” links
  • Tweets and Facebook “Likes”, translated: social signals, (read: even more links)
  • Example: Type in “ceramic cookware” in Google and you will see “Xtrema” as a result of doing just this!

How to create dynamic content with the tactics outlined above


Let’s say I write a blog post on SEO for the WebFX blog. I then make sure to tag the blog post for ‘SEO’. This subsequently creates a snippet on the SEO category page, which brings in the top 3 latest blog posts written for SEO. This in turn not only keeps the blog fresh but also the SEO category page fresh.

Social Media:

Like Blogs, you can create snippets and ensure continual fresh content in this way. In fact, this will even add to the conversation you are currently having with your followers. All the better, is it not?


I am not certain whether Google considers brand new links coming into a website to be “fresh content”, but I don’t see why they wouldn’t either. Links have always been an important factor for SEO and will most likely remain one of the most important factors in the future.


Once again you can create a snippet for this type of content. For example, if someone writes a review about WebFX’s SEO services, the snippet would automatically pull the review and subsequently place it on the SEO page.

Actual car review:


























It’s as simple as that, well for the developers I mean :).

Google is certainly rolling these changes sooner than later. Let me know what your thoughts are about this change.

Visual Inspiration: 30 Clean and Elegant Web Designs

1. TH= SUM


2. Prince Street International Films

Prince Street International Films

3. Image Mechanics

Image Mechanics

4. For The Record

For The Record

5. Grain & Gram

Grain & Gram

6. Digital Media 2011 Stockholm

Digital Media 2011 Stockholm


8. Harry Ford

Harry Ford

9. Drexler


10. Jax Vineyards

Jax Vineyards

11. Tobias Bjerrome Ahlin

Tobias Bjerrome Ahlin

12. Precinkt


13. DBA


14. Build


15. relogik


16. MCQ


17. The Waiting Room

The Waiting Room

18. Alexander Munk

Alexander Munk

19. Actual Size Creative

Actual Size Creative

20. Hicksdesign


21. Dark Sky Magazine

Dark Sky Magazine

22. Iggmack


23. Ecoforms


24. Kevin Richardson

Kevin Richardson

25. Eight Hour Day

Eight Hour Day

26. Iron to Iron

Iron to Iron

27. Gareth Hughes

Gareth Hughes

28. So1o


29. Style & Conscience

Style & Conscience

30. Zero Zero Project

Zero Zero Project

Font Collection: 10 Free Bold and Beautiful Script Fonts

1. Lobster

To make the perfect bridges between letters, Argentinean type designer and web developer Pablo Impallari drew various versions of each letter and letter-pairs (ligatures).


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2. Louisianne Black

This interesting bold script font by Dieter Steffmann, a professionally trained typesetter, appears almost retro in aesthetics.

Louisianne Black

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3. Wrexham Script

Wrexham Script by Roger White, who scans text from original artwork and digitally remasters them, produced this strong script font.

Wrexham Script

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4. Marketing Script

The Marketing Script font designed by Dieter Steffmann looks professional, yet friendly and approachable at the same time.

Marketing Script

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5. Ballpark

By Mickey Rossi, Ballpark is an expressive script font that’s perfect for when you want to display an energetic narrative.


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6. QuigleyWiggly

This beautiful script font is created by Nick’s Fonts–a modest foundry by Nick Curtis with a mission to preserve typographic heritage from eras such as the Wild West and the Jazz Age.


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7. Holla Script

The Holla Script font by Dieter Steffmann has an organic look-and-feel, perhaps because of its calligraphic-like serifs.

Holla Script

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8. Black Rose

The name of this font may have been derived from its bold letters that have serifs that are thorny, just like roses.

Black Rose

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9. Forelle

Another creation by Dieter Steffmann, Forelle is a compact and dense script font that’s elegant and versatile.


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10. Creampuff

In 1999, Nick’s Fonts created Creampuff, a very bold script font that feels retro in appearance.


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