Modern Brush Lettering Series - Part #1 - Basic Drills

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Today I'm starting my Modern Brush Lettering Series! In this Part 1 I'll show you the basic drills you need to learn and practice, practice, practice. Repetition will create muscle memory, and muscle memory will help you get a feel for the different strokes--most importantly upstrokes and downstrokes, pen angle and grip, consistency in line thickness and smoothness, and a feel for pen pressure. In each part of my brush lettering series I will also have printable worksheets available for you to use for practicing, and a list of great tools that I recommend.

(tutorial continues below)

For regular followers of my blog and my youtube channel: you've probably been wondering why I've taken so long to post this tutorial when I mentioned over on Facebook that it was actually ready and edited 3 weeks ago. There are 2 reasons for this; the first is that I've had problem after to problem with my affiliate links. Everytime I start to generate my links I run into a new issue... it's been about 4 times now. Basically, after all my efforts to solve the issue, in the end I can't provide Amazon affiliate product links for U.S. followers any longer for now. Even though I am Canadian, most of my readers here and viewers on YouTube are American. I can still provide everyone with links to the products I recommend, so that's great, but the affiliate links help me out because I make commission from sales through those links that help me fund more projects for this blog! So it's a bit of a bummer for me, I thought I could find a solution to the issue, and each time I though I had, a new problem popped up.  So that's most of the cause of the lengthy delay! Grrrr!

The other reason it's taken this long to get this tutorial up is that my mom was visiting us the for 2 weeks from across the country. I'd been spending lots of wonderful time with her and working on this post when I had a moment here or there... which wasn't a lot, with all the above mentioned issues, and because I just love spending time with my mom! Family is so important and time with them becomes even more precious when you live so far away! 

This year has actually, unfortunately, been full of distractions and absences from my blog and channel, as you may have noticed, and I am sorry to any of my loyal followers! If you're still following me I am so thankful that you're still here! That being said, I am looking forward to the future of this blog and my youtube channel, and believe everything happens for a reason! Lots of projects on the go right now including some rustic end tables I made, a chevron coffee table I'm building, and more in this series!

Now, on to the rest of the Modern Hand Lettering post!


In the video I show you 16 basic hand lettering drills. I've chosen the ones that I feel are most helpful, though there are many, many drills out there to practice. In a later video I will show you some more drills, and when I start going over the alphabet those will also become drills to practice as well. Basically, like many things, learning and improving your hand lettering/brush lettering skills is all about practicing! I also recommend that you check out my Faux Calligraphy Tutorial here! This is also great practice when learning brush lettering!

If you're interested in my the printable worksheets you can find those in this post below the video frame, along with all the links to brush lettering tools that I recommend.


I've given you all the option to download the worksheets individually or all together. To download them click on one of the links below. If you're downloading all the worksheets at once you will be brought to a screen that has a list of all the files (worksheets) in the folder - just click the download icon (looks like an arrow pointing down to a horizontal line) in the upper right corner of the screen. If you get an error that reads "Whoops! There was a problem with the preview." you'll still see a download icon directly below that message, click on that! If you're going with the individual sheet downloads, you'll see a preview of the worksheet, just click the download icon to download that worksheet. I believe you will also have the option to print the sheet directly from that screen (printer icon to left of download icon) if you'd rather not download it at all.

If you have an issues downloading or printing the worksheets, let me know by leaving a comment on this post. I'll fix it as quickly as I can!


Some of these tools in this list I use in this video, some I may use in future videos in this series, and some I recommend as additional options you may like for practicing your lettering, but all are tools that I do like, and are great for beginners and as you get better and better as well. You definitely don't have to buy all of them and I've listed similar tools of different brands and prices for you to decide what you feel you'd like best. You will need at least one type of brush pen, one type of paper, and if you use water brushes rather than markers, you'll need to choose between inks or watercolours for your pigment. Obviously you can try as many tools as you like to find what you prefer; you may like something different than I do.

Derwent Water Brushes - 3 Pack {CAN link}  |  Derwent Water Brushes - 3 Pack {US link} - (the ones I use in the video)
Derwent Water Brush - Small {CAN link}  |  Derwent Water Brush - Small {US link} (my preferred size from video)

Watercolours & Inks
Crayola Washable Watercolour Set - 24 Colours {CAN link} (super, super inexpensive option for practicing)  |  US readers try your local Walmart, Amazon doesn't have this exact set but does have others 

HP Bright White 24lb. Inkjet Paper {CAN link}  |  HP Bright White 24lb. Inkjet Paper {US link} - this is paper I use in video - nice and smooth so your marker tips last longer. Don't use regular, cheaper copy paper because your pen tips will start to fray and wear faster.
Rhodia Dot Pad No.19 {CAN link}  |  Rhodia Dot Pad No.19 {US link} - *
Rhodia Graph Pad No.19 {CAN link}  |  Rhodia Graph Pad No.19 {US link} - *
Cambridge Graph Pad {CAN link}  |  Cambridge Graph Pad {US link} - * (super inexpensive option)

* = one of these options will be great for practicing letters once we get there and have learned about the line structure.


That's it for Part #1 of my Modern Brush Lettering Series! I hope you enjoyed it and if you'd like to continue learning more, Part #2 - Terminology & Basic Cap Lettering is now up!! See you soon!



  1. i am trying to print the worksheets and they will not print. I keep getting error messages. Could you email them to me?

    1. What steps are you taking to try and print them?

  2. Thanks for taking your time to teach. Really appreciated. I could not print the bundle, but I was able to print the individual worksheet.

    Thanks again. Let me go back to practicing and practicing. Upstroke still kinda wobbly. :)

    1. Oh good, I’m glad you could print them in the end. Just curious; did you download them to your computer first or print them directly from online?

  3. Hi! I just wanna say thank you for making the worksheets free :) helps a lot. Cheers X



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