I’m a firm believer that what works for one person, it’s NOT always right for the next, but I also love sharing what has worked for me along my journey! Over the past two years, my process for hand lettering has changed quite a bit, and I’m excited to share my favorite hand lettering tools and resources with you! I hope this post helps you try a new a tool or approach to creating!
First up are my traditional tools – things I keep on hand, and recommend having in your back pocket.
Honestly, I work with what I’ve got – HOWEVER, a few of my favorites include Micron and Tombow. I buy my pens in black since I do color work in Adobe Creative Cloud, but if I see a pen that looks interesting, I buy it and play around with what sort of shapes and lines it creates.
I’ll use pretty much anything that’s laying around, but a fun fact is that I don’t typically like drawing in bound sketchbooks – I like being able to tear a piece out, and recycle it once I’ve documented/scanned it (especially if it’s a reject). I keep any sacred pieces that are special, but I’ve been using some form of the Konmari Method for paperwork for most of my life. When I want to ink something, I usually grab a pad of Bristol paper.
PENCIL & ERASER
Again, nothing fancy here – I love blackwing pencils because I feel FANCY AF but I’ll use a good old mechanical that’s laying around. I really like using my Draft/Matic pencil, less waste, and it’s really reliable! I use a really hard lead so that my lines are lighter and easier to erase. Magic Rub is my all time favorite eraser. Reading this back… Magic Rub is quite a name!
I love my lightbox! It’s super lightweight and makes for really easy transfers and tracing. To be clear – I’m tracing my OWN work, not someone else’s. I trace over the sketch to refine it using a lightbox (over and over) if I’m working on a finished piece with ink. The one I have isn’t available anymore, but the one linked here is a good alternative!
SCANNER & PRINTER
I purchased an Epson Workforce printer when I was printing my line of stationery at home, it’s been reliable, customer services has replaced or been available to troubleshoot as needed, and all around I’m happy with it.
IPAD PRO & TABLET
I was skeptical about the iPad at first – seeing how people used the brushes, and thinking it would take away from the handmade quality – but this really surpassed my expectations, and sped up my workflow immensely. I love playing with procreate brushes so much, that I made a few of my own you can purchase here. I also have a wacom tablet, which isn’t seeing much use these days, but I do love it. It’s a smaller investment for this particular model, but you can do so many incredible things with a cintiq too! These aren’t required or necessary for success, but they definitely have made my life easier! I think this is obvious, but I also heavily rely on my computer – formatting files, prepping things for print, and some of my process isn’t possible without the use of one – along with the Creative Cloud apps.
I used to print, cut, score and pack each one of my cards. It was a ton of work, lots of time (and papercuts) but saved me a lot of money when I was starting. My favorite tools are a paper cutter, a scoring board, a bone folder, and an x-acto knife.
I went to school for Graphic Design, so navigating my way through Illustrator and Photoshop was a skillset I already had, but I’m always learning new things about the programs, and new ways of doing things. I love taking classes on skillshare to try new methods, learn new approaches, and get inspired by other artists. I teach a class about using the pen tool here, and there are tons of other classes you can take to learn more!
Interested in seeing more about my lettering, and how I’ve turned it into passive income? Sign up below to get updates about my licensing class, where I’m spilling all the details!