Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Crayola Marker Graffiti Style Lettering Tutorial

It's tutorial time! I've been sharing some of my hand lettering practise on my Instagram lately (follow me @liliflorapretty), and I'm always surprised by how many likes and new followers it scores. People genuinely love lettering and type, and no wonder! It's such a wonderfully direct way of expressing yourself, combining communication, inspiration and art to do so.

typography, how to, lettering, handlettering, tutorial, graffiti, markers, calligraphy

Today I'm going to share a technique that uses inexpensive materials to give a fun result reminiscent of graffiti. It's casual and versatile. You could use it to decorate cards and scrapbooking pages for teens, to decorate canvas shoes and bags or to create great edgy home décor prints and transfers.

So let's go!

To produce the lettering in this tutorial, you will need:
  • Kraft Paper Crayola Markers (I'm using the Super Tips)
  • A metallic gold paint pen or Crayola marker
  • A white gel pen (I'm using Uniball Signo)
  • A dark brown pencil (I'm using Faber Castell classic colour no.376)
Crayola markers, metallic markers, kraft paper, markers, gel pen

This is a pretty basic tutorial, with the idea being that by changing up the colours, shaping the letters slightly differently and even experimenting with different papers and shadow techniques, you'll be able to create your own signature version.

I recommend that you start by practising holding the marker and making the different letter forms until you feel comfortable with it. The style here is very casual and also very forgiving of errors. Hold the marker on it's side, so that as much of the marker as possible is touching the paper, and form your letters with sharp slashing strokes, mostly downward, to get the thicker line at the top, and the pointy line at the bottom. The exception to this is when you're making the crossbars of letters like "A" and "H" where you make the motion going upwards.

 We're also going to be padding out the letters by making strokes alongside the original ones. You'll notice that Crayola markers don't blend like alcohol one's do, but the extra layers you will make to colour it consistently will make the colour bolder on the kraft paper, so it still works out well.

When you feel ready, (and hey even if you don't!), write out a short phrase or a word on a fresh sheet of kraft paper using a pink marker. Don't worry about padding out the first pass, you're just laying down the basic shape of the letters, looking at the spacing and layout, and making sure you're happy with the basic structure before you get too committed. When you're happy with it, do the second pass where you are putting on an extra stroke next to the ones you've already done, overlapping them slightly, and then going over both strokes again to make sure you have an even colour. Give it all a moment to make sure it's dried before adding the next colour.

For this example, I'm using metallic gold  Crayola markers layer dark over light quite well (see the title as an example with dark green layered over light green), try experimenting with different colours on a scrap of paper for your own creations. While I'm using the Crayola Metallic Marker in gold, you could always use a gold Sharpie or similar gold paint pen to get the same effect.
 Colour the bottom third of each letter and punctuation mark in your phrase, trying to maintain the shape of the letter. Once this has dried, apply small dots at the top of the part you just coloured gold, putting more dots at the bottom and fewer as you go up. Don't extend this more than a little bit above the metallic part. Its supposed to look like the gold is fading out as it gets further up, to transition nicely between it and the background colour.

You could leave the colouring at that, but just to introduce a bit more interest, I've gone ahead and used a purple marker to colour just the very tops of the characters, also adding the dots to make it fade down nicely.

Now it's time to make the lettering stand out and refine the shapes of your letterforms. Grab your white gel pen and draw outlines around your letters. Make them as thin or thick as you like, and take your time to make sure these lines are fairly neat and solid.

Finally, to make your letters really pop out of the page, we're going to apply a drop shadow in dark brown pencil. Draw a strong, narrow, dark line of brown on the left side and the bottom of each of your strokes. Go back through and draw a wider, slightly less bold line of brown that starts to blend the shadow out. Finally, go back and apply a very broad, very light area of brown that blends back into the darker browns.

Blend it in with light passes of your pencil or a blender pencil.

You did it! And I'd love to see it! Please share your results on Instagram and remember to tag me in @liliflorapretty.  I hope you enjoy this tutorial and find it useful. If there's anything I could explain better, anything else you'd like me to make a tutorial on, or if I've missed something here, please comment below to let me know!

Take care until next time!


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