Hand-Lettering For Beginners: A Complete Guide To Creating A Hand-lettered Web Graphic From Start to Finish

Pssst...did you know I now have a super fun and affordable e-course to get you started with hand-lettering? If you're interested in learning more, you can check it out by clicking here.

More and more these days I’m using hand-lettering as a design tool throughout my brand presence, not just in the art I produce, but also in things like web graphics and social media images (like these:)

download (3).jpeg

I love that it adds a personal touch of humanity to otherwise standard digital designs, and I also love that it allows me to include "typography" that I know no one else in the world will have. 

If that's something you're interested in doing for your own brand, I thought it might be helpful to show you my step-by-step process from start to finish for creating these kinds of hand-lettered graphics. 

The process can be broken down into three phases, and hopefully this in-depth post will help you get started mastering all three! 

ps. Scroll all the way down to download a free traceable alphabet that was previously only available inside the Better Lettering Course! Consider this post your peek behind the curtain of that online class! 

Now... on to Phase 1!


 
 

Decide on a basic composition by sketching out some thumbnails.

 

Whatever your phrase is that you want to hand-letter on your web graphic, you want to begin by planning out the basic composition of how the words in that phrase will fit together.

When I say "composition" here, I'm simply referring to how the various parts of your hand-lettered sketch fit together and are positioned in relation to one another. 

(Over time and with practice, you may be able to streamline this process and come up with these in your head, but I still try to put my ideas down on paper to make sure I don't have to re-do my piece down the road.)

Some things to keep in mind about composition:

  • Emphasis. Think about what word or words in your phrase you want to emphasize. You may want to make those words stand out by making them bigger, bolder, or in a different style.
     
  • Balance. Is there a way to create symmetry or balance in your design? Look for words or phrases that can be paired up or reflected in a similar way.
     
  • Connection. Do you want any of your letters to connect with one another? OR do you want them to mold around each other like puzzle pieces? Look for opportunities to create connection between letters/words if so. (ps. There's a bonus video below on how to cultivate this skill!)

For example:

Let's say I want to letter the phrase "Just Keep Creating." Below is how I might draw out three different "thumbnails" (aka tiny sketches) with different compositions.

Ultimately I realized that I wanted the most important word to be "creating" so by making Just Keep slightly smaller and making the "C" and "G" of Creating a bit taller, I've made a little cradle of sorts for the two less important words in my composition to hang out. 

I may not have been able to see that at first had I not sketched out a few possibilities first.

download (1).gif

 
 

Draw out your piece in pencil first and then fill in your letter forms in ink. 

Once you have a basic idea of what you want your composition to be for your hand-lettered piece, the next big step is, of course, to DRAW IT!

Now, if you’re new to hand-lettering, I’ve broken this down even further into mini-steps, showing you how I build my individual letters in phases.

1. Draw the "bones" of your letter form in pencil. 
 

2. Once you have your basic letter form, you can go back over it in ink (here I'm using a Sharpie!)

 

3. Add some "muscle"😉  by thickening your strokes to your liking.
I'm using a PaperMate Flair pen for more accuracy here!

4. Fill in your letters.
If you want that "shine" look, leave empty white areas in your strokes.

 

Or... if you want a bolder look, fill your letters in completely like this!

5. Now erase your pencil marks (once your ink is dry) and voila!

 

And now here's how my "Just Keep Creating" piece came together in these stages!

  Step 1: Letter forms in pencil!

Step 1: Letter forms in pencil!

 Step 2: Going back over in ink. (You'll notice I just use my pencil marks as a guide so I can focus more on letting my hand flow and less on "tracing" my pencil perfectly!)

Step 2: Going back over in ink. (You'll notice I just use my pencil marks as a guide so I can focus more on letting my hand flow and less on "tracing" my pencil perfectly!)

 Step 3: Thickening strokes.

Step 3: Thickening strokes.

 Step 4: Filling in my letters.

Step 4: Filling in my letters.

 Step 5: Erasing any stray pencil marks.

Step 5: Erasing any stray pencil marks.


 
 

Make it digital! Add your lettering to your web graphic.

Now that you have your hand-lettered piece, it’s time to add it to your web graphic using Photoshop. (Scroll down to see these steps presented in video format!)

 

Step 1: Take a photo of your piece with your smartphone. 

Be sure that you’re taking your photo straight on and not at an angle or it will warp your letters. You also want to make sure it’s good lighting. 

You can also use the settings on your camera to turn on gridlines if it helps you keep things squared up. 

This is why it’s also important to do your hand-lettered piece in black ink on white paper because you want maximum contrast between your lettering and the page. 

(Note: you can also scan your photo, but I find that taking a photo is faster and usually works just as well.)
 


Step 2: Send your photo to your computer. 

Usually I use Airdrop to send my photo from my phone to my laptop over wi-fi, but you can just as easily email it to yourself as well. Just make sure if you do that you select “Actual Size.” You want your photo to be at the highest resolution possible when you pull it into Photoshop! 
 

 

Step 3: Open both your web graphic AND your lettering photo in Photoshop. 

Whatever photo you want to add hand-lettering to, whether it’s a blog post image, a sidebar banner or just a photo, make sure you have that open in Photoshop first. Then, select your photo that you just sent to yourself, and open that in Photoshop as well. 


Step 4: Adjust the Levels in Photoshop to maximize contrast. 

Hit Command + L (on a Mac) to pull up your Levels menu in Photoshop.

You’re going to use the Levels sliders to make the whites/highlights of your paper as light as possible (right slider) and the darks/shadows of your lettering as dark as possible (left slider).

Be sure you don’t slide the left hand side too far or you’ll start to lose the crispness on the edges of your lettering. (However, if you want a more rough and textured look, you might like that!)

For good measure, I also hit  SHIFT+ Command + U which brings the saturation all the way down, making the photo black and white. This aids in the contrast by removing any colored “halos” that might show up around your letters. 


Step 5: Cut your lettering and paste into your web graphic. 

Once your lettering looks nice and crisp, use the selection tool to select the area around your lettering and use CMD + X to cut it from your document. 

Then, pop over to your web graphic document and hit CMD + V. This should paste your lettering in as a new layer. Then you'll just want to resize it so it fits on your canvas. (Be sure to hold down your shift key as you transform so you retain your proportions!)

 

Step 6: The magic! 

Now that your lettering is in your web graphic, there’s just one problem -- there’s a big white background around it!

To fix this with one click, head over to your Layers palette and make sure your lettering layer is selected. Change the layer style to “Multiply” which will turn everything that’s white transparent! 

Then you’re free to adjust your lettering as you wish. 

...And ta-da! 

A fun, hand-lettered graphic for your branding/social media needs!


Step 7 (Optional): Change the color of your lettering. 

If you don’t want your lettering to be black, here’s how I change the color of my lettering.

First, undo the last step by setting your Layer Style back to “Normal.” 

Then, Command + click your lettering layer which should make a selection pop up of only that layer (look for the dancing ants around your layer!)

Head up to Select > Select Range... and use your eye dropper to pick up the white color of the paper background around your lettering. Be sure you click the eye dropped in the white INSIDE your dancing ants. This will tell it to select everything that is that color within your lettering layer. 

Then hit... DELETE. This will leave only your lettering remaining. 

Then, head over to your Layers palette and add the Color Overlay layer style where you can select whatever color you like. Be sure to use your erase tool to erase any remnant edges around the outside of your old paper halo.  

If you want SUPER crisp edges around your lettering and you don't like the rough texture from your pen/paper, you can also vectorize your lettering in Illustrator at this stage (something I go over in video form inside the Better Lettering Course! Click here to join for just $20!)

Ta-da! (Again!)


**BONUS FREEBIE AHOY!!**

If you're curious about how I draw my letterforms and get my signature "shiny" style, pop in your email to get this free traceable alphabet worksheet!

 
 

And of course, if you're interested in learning more about the basics of hand-lettering in depth, I created a comprehensive but affordable online course sharing everything I've learned about hand-lettering in six lesson modules and nine video lessons. If this is a skill that you'd like to learn, join over 3,000 students inside the course!

#BetterLetteringCourse May Challenge #NewMediumMay

Psst..This challenge has already finished from May 2016. Feel free to use the prompt list below but prizes are no longer available! For the latest challenge details, click here.

Back by popular demand, it's New Medium May!

Last year I challenge the #BetterLetteringCourse community to try lettering with an unfamiliar medium, and due to the awesome feedback I've decided to bring back the theme this year. 

The idea is to go beyond the medium that you typically work in to try something new and really expand your skills.

As always, you don't have to participate in the theme to be eligible for prizes, so if you're still a beginner learning the ropes, don't feel pressure to abandon your favorite tools. BUT if you're like me and you've been at this for a while, use this month as a reason to pick up a new tool and give it a go! 

Last year as my new medium I picked watercolors and it led me to acrylics which ultimately became this year's Abstract Affirmations Daily project. That just goes to show you: You never know where this challenge could lead you!

This year I've been inspired by Karin over at ipadlettering.com to invest in an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil to bring my lettering into the digital world. Here's just a short example of what I'm excited to explore with it!:

Anyway, I hope you'll consider joining me this month and invite your friends to do the same!

Join me in @ckelso’s #BetterLetteringCourse challenge for #NewMediumMay! 3 prize winners chosen! http://madevibrant.com/challenge

May Prize Pack Giveaway Details

WHAT'S UP FOR GRABS?

This month we're giving away THREE prize packs worth over $60 each! Check out what's up for grabs below:

 
 

1. Strathmore Softcover Watercolor Journal - $13 (aff link)

2. Artist's Loft Fundamentals Watercolor Pan Set - $13 (aff link)

3. Pentel Arts Aquash Water Brush (Assorted Tips) - $14 (aff link)

4. MV Art Shop Abstract Affirmations Hand-Lettered Print Of Your Choice - $25

Use these new art goodies to try your hand at watercolor as a medium and get messy exploring new art styles! 

 

HERE'S HOW THE CHALLENGE WORKS:

Every day of May, post a photo of your lettering practice on Instagram using the prompt list below as your daily subject. Interpret each prompt in any way you like and for fun, try incorporating the style prompt to try out new lettering styles.

Every day you complete your practice counts as ONE ENTRY to win the prize packs up for grabs that you see above. (Max one entry per day for all 31 days of May.)

The more days you practice, the more chances you have to win!

Three winners will be randomly selected and announced on Instagram in early June.

THREE SIMPLE RULES FOR ELIGIBILITY:

1. You can letter any word, phrase, lyric, sentence, etc., but it must be at least one word and the word(s) or phrases must be different every day of the challenge. The May prompt list below is encouraged, but it's not required. You can choose whatever subject you like!

2. You MUST include #BetterLetteringCourse in your caption.  (Also feel free to include #NewMediumMay, but it's not required.)

Please don't post photos of work you've already completed -- the point is to show up that day and create for the sake of practice! I do my best to check out everyone's work, but feel free to tag me in your caption so I can see your daily pieces - I'm @ckelso!

3. You must be a student of the #BetterLetteringCourse to enter. If you haven't joined us yet, it's only $20 for lifetime access to all 15 videos, teaching you the basics of hand-lettering! I update the course every month with a new resource!

Get Access to the course - $20

Here's your handy prompt list. I recommend pinning to your Pinterest account, or saving it to your phone/desktop for quick access!

That's it! Looking forward to seeing all the new styles you come up with!

 
 
 
 

#BetterLetteringCourse April Challenge: #ExpandYourStyleApril

Psst..This challenge has already finished from April 2016. Feel free to use the prompt list below but prizes are no longer available! For the latest challenge details, click here.

Hello, lettering lovers, and welcome to an all new Better Lettering Course monthly lettering challenge!

Inspired by last month's theme all about personal growth, I thought this month we could focus on creative growth and expanding the style of our lettering. That's why this month's theme is: #ExpandYourStyleApril!

If you're anything like me and you've been lettering for a while now, you most likely have settled in to a particular style that you go back to time and again. To break away from that a bit, this month I've provided for you not only words to letter as daily prompts, but also STYLE PROMPTS for you to interpret any way you like! 

I'm going to be reaching outside my comfort zone all month long and posting my work on Instagram, and I hope you'll join me in doing the same.

Join me in @ckelso’s #BetterLetteringCourse challenge for #ExpandYourStyleApril! 3 prize winners chosen! http://madevibrant.com/challenge

April Prize Pack Giveaway Details

WHAT'S UP FOR GRABS?

This month we're giving away THREE prize packs worth over $60 each! Check out what's up for grabs below:

 
 

1. Strathmore Softcover Watercolor Journal - $13 (aff link)
2. Artist's Loft Fundamentals Watercolor Pan Set - $13 (aff link)
3. Pentel Arts Aquash Water Brush (Assorted Tips) - $14 (aff link)
4. MV Art Shop Abstract Affirmations Hand-Lettered Print Of Your Choice - $25
 

April-Lettering-Challenge.jpg

HERE'S HOW THE CHALLENGE WORKS:

Every day of April, post a photo of your lettering practice on Instagram using the prompt list below as your daily subject. Interpret each prompt in any way you like and for fun, try incorporating the style prompt to try out new lettering styles.

Every day you complete your practice counts as ONE ENTRY to win the prize packs up for grabs that you see above. (Max one entry per day for all 31 days of April.)

  Here's your handy prompt list. I recommend pinning to your Pinterest account, or saving it to your phone/desktop for quick access!

Here's your handy prompt list. I recommend pinning to your Pinterest account, or saving it to your phone/desktop for quick access!

The more days you practice, the more chances you have to win!

Three winners will be randomly selected and announced on Instagram in early May.
 

THREE SIMPLE RULES FOR ELIGIBILITY:

1. You can letter any word, phrase, lyric, sentence, etc., but it must be at least one word and the word(s) or phrases must be different every day of the challenge. The April prompt list below is encouraged, but it's not required. You can choose whatever subject you like!

2. You MUST include #BetterLetteringCourse in your caption.  (Also feel free to include #ExpandYourStyleApril, but it's not required.)

Please don't post photos of work you've already completed -- the point is to show up that day and create for the sake of practice! I do my best to check out everyone's work, but feel free to tag me in your caption so I can see your daily pieces - I'm @ckelso!

3. You must be a student of the #BetterLetteringCourse to enter. If you haven't joined us yet, it's only $20 for lifetime access to all 15 videos, teaching you the basics of hand-lettering! I update the course every month with a new resource!

 
 

That's it! Looking forward to seeing all the new styles you come up with!

 

#BetterLetteringCourse March Challenge: #LetterYourGrowthMarch

Psst..This challenge has already finished from March 2016. Feel free to use the prompt list below but prizes are no longer available! For the latest challenge details, click here.

Spring is upon us, my friends!

March is right around the corner and I don't know about where you are in the world, but here in California I'm starting to notice all those amazing Spring things.... warmer days, green everywhere, flowers in bloom!

Spring historically is a time for growth, rejuvenation and transformation, which really got me thinking about all the ways we're constantly transforming in our own lives. That's what this month's challenge is all about! 

Each prompt is designed to have you contemplate a different way in which you have changed, grown or transformed in your life. What did that feel like? How are things different? 

I hope #LetterYourGrowthMarch becomes your opportunity to take advantage of this season of transformation and really find gratitude in the many evolutions you've already undergone. 

Now, ready to make it happen? Read up on the rules below and invite your friends using the tweet below! 

Join me in @ckelso’s #BetterLetteringCourse challenge for #LetterYourGrowthMarch! 3 prize winners chosen! http://madevibrant.com/challenge

March Prize Pack Giveaway Details

WHAT'S UP FOR GRABS?

This month we're giving away THREE PEN-demonium prize packs with all my favorite pens worth over $50 each! Check out what's up for grabs below:

 
 

1. Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pens 2 pack - $9 (aff link)

2. Sakura 6-Piece Gelly Roll Classic White - $9 (aff link)

3. Micron 6-piece Pens Set - $9 (aff link)

4. Paper Mate Felt Tip Pen, 8-Pack, Core Colors - $9 (aff link)

5. Stabilo Pen Set of 10 - $8 (aff link)

6. StaedtlerTriplus Neon Coloring Pens 6 pack - $10 (aff link)

 

HERE'S HOW THE CHALLENGE WORKS:

Every day of March, post a photo of your lettering practice on Instagram using the prompt list below as your daily subject. Interpret each prompt in any way you like.

Every day you complete your practice counts as ONE ENTRY to win the prize packs up for grabs that you see above. (Max one entry per day for all 31 days of March.)

The more days you practice, the more chances you have to win!

Three winners will be randomly selected and announced on Instagram in early April.

 

THREE SIMPLE RULES FOR ELIGIBILITY:

1. You can letter any word, phrase, lyric, sentence, etc., but it must be at least one word and the word(s) or phrases must be different every day of the challenge. The March prompt list below is encouraged, but it's not required. You can choose whatever subject you like!

2. You MUST include #BetterLetteringCourse in your caption.  (Also feel free to include #LetterYourGrowthMarch, but it's not required.)

Please don't post photos of work you've already completed -- the point is to show up that day and create for the sake of practice! I do my best to check out everyone's work, but feel free to tag me in your caption so I can see your daily pieces - I'm @ckelso!

3. You must be a student of the #BetterLetteringCourse to enter. If you haven't joined us yet, it's only $20 for lifetime access to all 15 videos, teaching you the basics of hand-lettering!

Get Access To The Course - $20

Here's your handy prompt list. I recommend pinning to your Pinterest account, or saving it to your phone/desktop for quick access!

 
 
 
 
 
 

#BetterLetteringCourse February Challenge: #SelfLoveFebruary

Psst..This challenge has already finished from February 2016. Feel free to use the prompt list below but prizes are no longer available! For the latest challenge details, click here.

Hello, hand-lettering lovers!

February, the Month O' LOOOOVE, is upon us, but instead of stressing out over whether we have valentines, what we want to give our valentines, how much chocolate is too much chocolate to consume (answer: there's no such thing), I thought we could use this monthly challenge to focus on the most important recipient of our love -- ourselves.

This month's prompts are designed to not only help you think positively about yourself, but to also challenge you to feel confident putting those positive feelings out into the world. 

It's not always comfortable to say we love ourselves out loud. Many of us are taught from a young age that doing so might come off arrogant or overly confident. But I believe vocalizing our self-confidence in a sincere way can really help us improve our self-esteem and remind us why we're worth taking care of in the first place. 

When we love ourselves, that's when we're in the best place to love and give to others. 

So, enjoy these self-love prompts all month long and let's encourage each other this month! (Scroll down for the full list of daily prompts!)

Ready to join me? Let's do it! Read up on the rules below and invite your friends using the tweet below! 


Join me in celebrating #SelfLoveFebruary for @ckelso’s #BetterLetteringCourse challenge! 3 prize winners chosen! bit.ly/FebLettering

February Prize Pack Giveaway Details


WHAT'S UP FOR GRABS?

This month we're giving away THREE mega prizes worth over $50 each! When I was a kid, it was my DREAM to get one of those huge multipacks of Crayola markers, so this month I thought it would be fun to give one away!  Check out what's up for grabs below:

 
 

1. Hand-Lettering Ledger - $11 (aff link)

2. Crayola Washable Marker Variety Pack (64 Count) - $21 (aff link)

3. Strathmore Tracing Paper Pad, 9 by 12-Inch - $8 (aff link)

4. Micron 8-Piece Pen Set - $14 (aff link)


HERE'S HOW THE CHALLENGE WORKS:

Every day of February, post a photo of your lettering practice on Instagram using the prompt list below as your daily subject. Interpret each prompt in any way you like.

Every day you complete your practice counts as ONE ENTRY to win the MEGA prize pack up for grabs that you see above. (Max one entry per day for all 29 days of February.)

The more days you practice, the more chances you have to win!

Three winners will be randomly selected.


THREE SIMPLE RULES FOR ELIGIBILITY:

1. You can letter any word, phrase, lyric, sentence, etc., but it must be at least one word and the word(s) or phrases must be different every day of the challenge. The February prompt list below is encouraged, but it's not required. You can choose whatever subject you like!

2. You MUST include #BetterLetteringCourse in your caption.  (Also feel free to include #SelfLoveFebruary, but it's not required.)

Please don't post photos of work you've already completed -- the point is to show up that day and create for the sake of practice! I do my best to check out everyone's work, but feel free to tag me in your caption so I can see your daily pieces - I'm @ckelso!

3. You must be a student of the #BetterLetteringCourse to enter. If you haven't joined us yet, it's only $20 for lifetime access to all 15 videos, teaching you the basics of hand-lettering!

GET ACCESS TO THE COURSE NOW - $20
 

Here's your handy prompt list. I recommend pinning to your Pinterest account, or saving it to your phone/desktop for quick access!

 
 
 
 
 
 

#BetterLetteringCourse January Challenge: #In2016WhatIfI

Psst..This challenge has already finished from January 2016. Feel free to use the prompt list below but prizes are no longer available! For the latest challenge details, click here.

New year, new possibilities my gorgeous friends!

To kick off the dawning of another amazing revolution around the sun, I wanted to use this artistic community to meditate on the idea of possibilities this month. 

Each and every one of our lives has unlimited potential; our ability to unleash that potential, however, depends on whether we first take the time to imagine the unseen places our paths could lead us and then take action in our daily lives to get there. 

That's why, for this month's lettering challenge, I want us all to explore the possibilities that this new year could bring. Each day in January I want you to fill in the following sentence using the prompt list below, and I want you to really allow yourself to imagine where your life could take you in 2016 if you take action on just a few of these ideas: 

"In 2016, what if I..."

(Scroll down for the full list of daily prompts!)

Ready to join me? Let's do it! Read up on the rules below and invite your friends using the tweet below! 

Share your #In2016WhatIfI this month for @ckelso’s #BetterLetteringCourse challenge! 3 prize winners chosen! bit.ly/JanLettering

January Prize Pack Giveaway Details

 

WHAT'S UP FOR GRABS?

This month we're giving away THREE mega prizes!  Check out what's up for grabs below:

 
 

1. More Creative Lettering - $13 (aff link)

2. A custom "paint smear" lettering piece by me! You give me your phrase or quote, I'll design an 8 x 10 hand-lettered piece with your custom colors!

3. Sharpie 24-Pack Colored Markers - $13 (aff link)

4. Canson Multi Media Paper Pad - $10 (aff link)

5. 6-pack Black Micron Pens - $11 (aff link)

 

HERE'S HOW THE CHALLENGE WORKS:

Every day of January, post a photo of your lettering practice on Instagram using the prompt list below as your daily subject. Interpret each prompt in any way you like.

Every day you complete your practice counts as ONE ENTRY to win the MEGA prize pack up for grabs that you see above. (Max one entry per day for all 31 days of January.) 

The more days you practice, the more chances you have to win!

Two winners will be randomly selected and one winner will be voted on by the Instagram community

 

THREE SIMPLE RULES FOR ELIGIBILITY:

1. You can letter any word, phrase, lyric, sentence, etc., but it must be at least one word and the word(s) or phrases must be different every day of the challenge. The January prompt list below is encouraged, but it's not required. You can choose whatever subject you like! 

2. You MUST include #BetterLetteringCourse in your caption.  (Also feel free to include #In2016WhatIfI, but it's not required.) 

Please don't post photos of work you've already completed -- the point is to show up that day and create for the sake of practice! I do my best to check out everyone's work, but feel free to tag me in your caption so I can see your daily pieces - I'm @ckelso!

3. You must be a student of the #BetterLetteringCourse to enter. If you haven't joined us yet, it's only $20 for lifetime access to all 15 videos, teaching you the basics of hand-lettering! 

Get Access To The course Now - $20 | Learn More

Here's your handy prompt list. I recommend pinning to your Pinterest account, or saving it to your phone/desktop for quick access!

 
 

Let's kick 2016 off right and imagine all the fantastic opportunities in store!

 
 

#BetterLetteringCourse December Challenge: #LetteredReflections

Psst..This challenge has already finished from December 2015. Feel free to use the prompt list below but prizes are no longer available! For the latest challenge details, click here.

It's hard to believe it but the holiday season is already upon us!

For the last monthly lettering challenge of 2015, I thought it would be fun to reflect back on the year and stay mindful of all the wonderful memories, challenges, lessons, revelations, etc. that it brought.

That's why December's theme for the Better Lettering Course Instagram Challenge is #LetteredReflections! 

Every day of the month, use the prompt list in this post to reflect back on a different aspect of 2015. Not only will it be a fun way to soak in the final days of the year, but there are also some fantastic lettering prizes up for grabs -- with more winners than ever before!

Ready to join me? I hope so! Read up on the rules below and invite your friends using the tweet below! 

Share your #letteredreflections this month for @ckelso’s #BetterLetteringCourse challenge! 13 prize winners chosen! bit.ly/DecLettering

December Prize Pack Giveaway Details

 

Two ways to win! WHAT'S UP FOR GRABS?

This month we're giving away more prizes than EVER before!! Not only will we be giving away ONEPRIZE A DAY for the first 12 days of December, but we'll also be giving away one MEGA prize pack at the end of the month as well! Check out what's up for grabs below:

 

-- 12 Days of Giving --

For the first 12 days of December, I'll be picking one student/entry each day to win one of the awesome lettering goodies below. I'll be selecting them at random so you won't know what you get until you receive it in the mail! 

 
 

1. In Progress (Hardback) - $19 (aff link)

2. Creative Lettering (Paperback) - $16 (aff link)

3. More Creative Lettering - $13 (aff link)

4. 6-Pack Black Micron Pens - $11 (aff link)

5. Tombow Dual Art Brush Pens & Tombow Blending Kit Palette - $31 (aff links - pens / palette)

6. Pentel Arts Aquash Water Brush Assorted Tips - $15 (aff link)

7. Prisma Colored Pencils, set of 24 - $20 (aff link)

8. Sakura 6-Piece Gelly Roll Classic Pens - $9 (aff link)

9. 2 Canson Multi Media Paper Pads & Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen - $29 (aff links - paper / pen)

10. A custom "paint smear" lettering piece by me! You give me your phrase or quote, I'll design an 8 x 10 hand-lettered piece with your custom colors!

11. Liquitex Acrylic Paints - $21 (aff link)

12. Loew-Cornell Brush Set & Simply Art Assorted Palettes - $17 (aff links - brushes / palettes
 

-- Mega Prize Pack --

But the fun doesn't stop there! As a reward for posting ALL MONTH LONG, I'll also be selecting one winner at the end of December to receive this MEGA prize pack, listed at over $100! 

 
 

1. A custom "paint smear" lettering piece by me! You give me your phrase or quote, I'll design an 8 x 10 hand-lettered piece with your custom colors!

2. 2 Canson Multi Media Paper Pads - $16 (aff link)

3. Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen - $6 (aff link)

4. Simply Art Assorted Palettes - $6 (aff link)

5. 6-Pack Black Micron Pens - $11 (aff link)

6. Liquitex Acrylic Paints - $21 (aff link)

7. Tombow Dual Art Brush Pens - $20 (aff link)

8. Tombow Blending Kit Palette - $7 (aff link)

9. Sakura 6-Piece Gelly Roll Classic Pens - $9 (aff link)

10. Loew-Cornell Brush Set - $11 (aff link)


HERE'S HOW THE CHALLENGE WORKS:

Every day of December, post a photo of your lettering practice on Instagram using the prompt list below as your daily subject. Interpret each prompt in any way you like.

Every day you complete your practice counts as ONE ENTRY to win the MEGA prize pack up for grabs that you see above. (Max one entry per day for all 31 days of December.) 

Also, December 1 - 12 only, one entry per day will be chosen to receive one of the 12 Days of Giving prizes! 

The more days you practice, the more chances you have to win!

 

THREE SIMPLE RULES FOR ELIGIBILITY:

1. You can letter any word, phrase, lyric, sentence, etc., but it must be at least one word and the word(s) or phrases must be different every day of the challenge. The December prompt list below is encouraged, but it's not required. You can choose whatever subject you like! 

2. You MUST include #BetterLetteringCourse in your caption.  (Also feel free to include #LetteredReflections but it's not required.) 

Please don't post photos of work you've already completed -- the point is to show up that day and create for the sake of practice! I do my best to check out everyone's work, but feel free to tag me in your caption so I can see your daily pieces - I'm @ckelso!

3. You must be a student of the #BetterLetteringCourse to enter. If you haven't joined us yet, it's only $20 for lifetime access to all 15 videos, teaching you the basics of hand-lettering! 

Get Access To The course Now - $20 | Learn More

Here's your handy prompt list. I recommend pinning to your Pinterest account, or saving it to your phone/desktop for quick access!

 
 

I'm looking forward to using this challenge to reflect back on all this year has brought us and begin to look toward 2016. 

Wishing you a happy and mindful holiday season!

 
 

#BetterLetteringCourse November Challenge: #LetterYourGratitude

Psst..This challenge has already finished from November 2015. Feel free to use the prompt list below but prizes are no longer available! For the latest challenge details, click here.

Holy (pumpkin-spiced) guacamole, y'all, it is almost NOVEMBER!

That means Thanksgiving is just around the corner -- one of my favorite holidays of the year! Food, family, warm and coziness.... did I mention food? :)

Even more than all that though, this time of the year inevitably leaves me with my mind centered on gratitude. And that's what I want to focus on with this month's challenge.

You guys know I love the challenge of cultivating a daily art practice, but you know what's even cooler than that? When I can also turn that into a daily mindfulness practice. And that's the goal here: allow your art to help you bring attention each and every day to one thing you could be grateful for. 

So... November's theme for the Better Lettering Course Instagram Challenge is #LetterYourGratitude! 

Every day of the month, use the prompt list below to zero in on one unique aspect of your life and turn that into a lettering piece so you can sit with a moment or two of gratitude each day. 

Ready to join me? I hope so! Read up on the rules below and invite your friends using the tweet below! 

Join me and #letteryourgratitude this month for @ckelso’s #BetterLetteringCourse challenge! Win 1 of 5 prize packs! bit.ly/NovLettering

November Prize Pack Giveaway Details

 

WHAT'S UP FOR GRABS?

The prize pack listed below is worth over $60 and this month again, FIVE winners will receive this full prize pack:

 
 

1. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert (Hardcover) - $13 (aff link)

2. Sharpie Pine Point Assorted 24-Pack - $13 (aff link)

3. Just Add Color: Geometric Patterns by Lisa Congdon - $11 (aff link)

4. Sanford Prismacolor Watercolor Pencil Set, 12 pack - $12 (aff link)

5. A custom hand-lettered “Sharpie” lettering piece by me! You give me your phrase or quote, I'll design an 8 x 10 hand-lettered piece with your custom colors!
 

HERE'S HOW THE CHALLENGE WORKS:

Every day of November, post a photo of your lettering practice on Instagram using the prompt list below as your daily subject. Interpret each word in any way you like (or just letter the word itself!)

Every day you complete your practice counts as ONE ENTRY to win one of the five prize packs up for grabs that you see above. (Max one entry per day for all 30 days of November.) 

The more days you practice, the more chances you have to win!
 

THREE SIMPLE RULES FOR ELIGIBILITY:

1. You can letter any word, phrase, lyric, sentence, etc., but it must be at least one word and the word(s) or phrases must be different every day of the challenge. The November prompt list below is encouraged, but it's not required. You can choose whatever subject you like! 

2. You MUST include #BetterLetteringCourse in your caption.  (Also feel free to include #LetterYourGratitude but it's not required.) 

Please don't post photos of work you've already completed -- the point is to show up that day and create for the sake of practice! I do my best to check out everyone's work, but feel free to tag me in your caption so I can see your daily pieces - I'm @ckelso!

3. You must be a student of the #BetterLetteringCourse to enter. If you haven't joined us yet, it's only $20 for lifetime access to all 15 videos, teaching you the basics of hand-lettering! 

Get Access to the course now $20 | Learn More

Here's your handy prompt list. I recommend pinning to your Pinterest account, or saving it to your phone/desktop for quick access!

 
 

Let's use this month's challenge to stay mindful of the all the positive things that touch our daily lives! 

Happy lettering! So grateful for you all!

 
 

#BetterLetteringCourse October Challenge: #InspiredbyInstaOctober

Psst..This challenge has already finished from October 2015. Feel free to use the prompt list below but prizes are no longer available! For the latest challenge details, click here.

I'm especially excited about October's lettering challenge, because this month we are switching it up, my friends!

Not only are we changing up the prizes, we've got a fun new theme that should stretch your creativity and get you excited to keep creating on a regular basis!

As most of you know, for the past few months I've been giving away one MEGA prize pack to a lucky, randomly selected winner who participates in the monthly challenge.

And while it's been awesome to see the excitement generated by that, I have to be honest, every month I find myself thinking, I want more people to win! (What can I say, I'm a sucker for giving away fun prizes!)

So... this month I've decided to up the ante and give away 5 (yes, 5!) total creativity prize packs, each with lettering and creativity goodies that will leave you inspired, plus a custom hand-lettered piece by me! (You can check out what's in each prize pack below!)

Now, what about the new theme?

Introducing... #InspiredByInstaOctober! I wanted a way to bring a fresh perspective to the daily prompt list, plus encourage more interaction in the fantastic #BetterLetteringCourse community that has developed, and that's where the "Inspired by Insta" idea came from. 

The idea is to look through your Instagram feed and find photos that inspire you. Then, every day of the month, use the prompt list below to create a lettering piece based on the word of the day and created with your inspiration photo in mind! Tag the user who inspired you in your caption, and share your photo so we can see your beautiful work AND see how you interpreted a unique piece of inspiration! Here's an idea of how that might work so you can visualize it: 

 
 

**Keep in mind you DO NOT have to include the "inspired by" tag actually on your image like I did, just be sure to include it in your caption.** 

So... what do you say? Are you in?

If so, I hope you'll click this tweet and invite some of your friends/followers to play along! The more people in the community, the more we can encourage each other with our art. 

Join me in the #BetterLetteringCourse October Challenge by @ckelso! 5 prize packs are up for grabs!

Join me in the #BetterLetteringCourse October Challenge by @ckelso! 5 prize packs are up for grabs!

October Prize Pack Giveaway Details

 

WHAT'S UP FOR GRABS?

The prize pack listed below is worth over $60 and this month, FIVE winners will receive this full prize pack:

 
 

1. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert (Hardcover) - $13 (aff link)

2. Sharpie Pine Point Assorted 24-Pack - $13 (aff link)

3. Just Add Color: Geometric Patterns by Lisa Congdon - $11 (aff link)

4. Sanford Prismacolor Watercolor Pencil Set, 12 pack - $12 (aff link)

5. A custom hand-lettered “Sharpie” lettering piece by me! You give me your phrase or quote, I'll design an 8 x 10 hand-lettered piece with your custom colors!

 

HERE'S HOW THE CHALLENGE WORKS:

Every day of October, post a photo of your lettering practice on Instagram using the prompt list below as your daily subject. Interpret each word in any way you like (or just letter the word itself!)

As for the style of your lettering piece, select a photo on Instagram to serve as your inspiration and be sure to tag the user who inspired you in your post caption.

Every day you complete your practice counts as ONE ENTRY to win one of the five prize packs up for grabs that you see above. (Max one entry per day for all 31 days of October.) 

The more days you practice, the more chances you have to win!

 

THREE SIMPLE RULES FOR ELIGIBILITY:

1. You can letter any word, phrase, lyric, sentence, etc., but it must be at least one word and the word(s) or phrases must be different every day of the challenge. The October prompt list below is encouraged, but it's not required. You can choose whatever subject you like! 

2. You MUST include #BetterLetteringCourse in your caption AND tag an Instagram user whose photo served as your inspiration in order for your entry to be counted. 

(Also feel free to include #InspiredByInstaOctober but it's not required.) Please don't post photos of work you've already completed -- the point is to show up that day and create for the sake of practice! I do my best to check out everyone's work, but feel free to tag me in your caption so I can see your daily pieces - I'm @ckelso!

3. You must be a student of the #BetterLetteringCourse to enter. If you haven't joined us yet, it's only $20 for lifetime access to all 15 videos, teaching you the basics of hand-lettering! 

GET ACCESS TO THE COURSE NOW - $20 | Learn More

 
 

Excited to see what all of you create this month. Let's stretch our creative legs and push our own boundaries! 

Happy making! Looking forward to it!

 
 

#BetterLetteringCourse September Challenge

Psst..This challenge has already finished from September 2015. Feel free to use the prompt list below but prizes are no longer available! For the latest challenge details, click here.

Another month, another opportunity to win big by committing to your creativity!

After I came back from vacation last week, I was all jazzed up about acrylic painting (which is why you may not see some lettering posts for a while) BUT that doesn't mean I'm slowing down with the monthly challenges! 

I absolutely LOVE seeing everyone's work over on Instagram, and even more than that, I love giving away awesome prizes in the mail! 

This month we've got a fresh new list of 30 prompts, plus another Mega Prize Pack up for grabs! Check out the details below to join in on the fun and make sure you click through to grab the $20 e-course so you can participate and improve your lettering skills!

Click this link to share with your friends on Twitter and so I know you'll be joining us!

Join me in the #BetterLetteringCourse September Challenge by @ckelso! $150 prize up for grabs! http://bit.ly/SeptLettering

September Prize Pack Giveaway Details

WHAT'S UP FOR GRABS?

This MEGA prize pack, valued at over $150, is filled with art goodies galore! Some hand-lettering books, watercolor and ink lettering supplies, and some of my favorite classic pens for lettering.

Plus a mystery item from my favorite shop in San Diego, Pigment

 
 

1. Whatever You Are Be A Good One (book of hand-lettered quotes) by Lisa Congdon - $11 (aff link)

2. Hand-Lettering Ledger: A Practical Guide to Creating Serif, Script, Illustrated, Ornate, and Other Totally Original Hand-Drawn Styles by Mary Kate McDevitt - $15 (aff link)

3. Little Book of Lettering by Emily Gregory  - $13 (aff link)

4. Mystery item from my favorite local paper shop! - $20

5. Fw Fluorescent Acrylic Ink Neon 6 Set - $20 (aff link)

6. Pentel Aqua Water Brush Assorted Tips, 3 pack - $16 (aff link)

7. Loew Cornell Simply Art Watercolor Cakes $4 (aff link)

8. Creative Letterer Watercolor and Beyond Brush Set - $8 (aff link)

9.Tombow Dual Brush Pen Art Markers, Bright, 10-Pack - $22 (aff link)

10. Pentel Slicci Metallic 0.8 mm Gel Pen, Assorted Metallic 3 Pack - $10 (aff link)

11. Sakura 6-Piece Micron Ink Pen Set, Black - $9 (aff link)


HERE’S HOW THE CHALLENGE WORKS: 

Every day of September, post a photo of your lettering practice on Instagram using the prompt list below. Interpret each word in any way you like (or just letter the word itself!)

Every day that you complete your practice counts as ONE ENTRY to win one MEGA prize pack that you see above with some of my favorite lettering goodies. (Max one entry per day for all 30 days of September.) The more days you practice, the more chances you have to win! In addition to the prize pack, I'll be giving away 5 gift certificates to the #BetterLetteringCourse so you could win the chance to give the gift of lettering to a friend, plus a signed lettering piece by yours truly! 


THREE SIMPLE RULES FOR ELIGIBILITY: 

1. You can letter any word, phrase, lyric, sentence, etc., but it must be at least one word and the word(s) or phrases must be different every day of the challenge. The September prompt list below is encouraged, but it's not required. You can choose whatever subject you like! 

2. You MUST include #BetterLetteringCourse in your caption (so I can keep track of who's participating the in the challenge!) Please don't post photos of work you've already completed -- the point is to show up that day and create for the sake of practice! I do my best to check out everyone's work, but feel free to tag me in your caption so I can see your daily pieces - I'm @ckelso!

3. You must be a student of the #BetterLetteringCourse to enter. If you haven't joined us yet, it's only $20 for lifetime access to all 15 videos, teaching you the basics of hand-lettering! 

Get Access To The Course Now - $20 | Learn More


Here's your handy prompt list. I recommend pinning to your Pinterest account, or saving it to your phone/desktop for quick access!

 
 
 
 

#BetterLetteringCourse August Challenge

Psst..This challenge has already finished from August 2015. Feel free to use the prompt list below but prizes are no longer available! For the latest challenge details, click here.

August is almost here and that means yet another monthly lettering challenge on Instagram!

The Mega Prize Pack seemed to be a big hit last month so I'm going to give another one away in August. Check out the image below for everything that's included. 

I haven't decided what kind of lettering I'll be doing for the month, though I really enjoyed my "Sharpie frames" from this month: 

So, will you be joining us? 

Check out the details below and feel free to tweet and recruit some friends! I love seeing everyone's work -- and I especially love seeing the progress over the course of the month. Can't wait! 

Join me in the #BetterLetteringCourse August Challenge by @ckelso! $150 prize up for grabs! bit.ly/AugustLettering

August Prize Pack Giveaway Details

 

WHAT'S UP FOR GRABS?

This MEGA prize pack, valued at over $150, is filled with art goodies galore! Some hand-lettering books, watercolor and ink lettering supplies, and some of my favorite classic pens for lettering. Plus a mystery item from my favorite shop in San Diego! 

 
 

1. Whatever You Are Be A Good One (book of hand-lettered quotes) by Lisa Congdon - $11 (aff link)

2. Hand-Lettering Ledger: A Practical Guide to Creating Serif, Script, Illustrated, Ornate, and Other Totally Original Hand-Drawn Styles by Mary Kate McDevitt - $15 (aff link)

3. Little Book of Lettering by Emily Gregory  - $13 (aff link)

4. Mystery item from my favorite local paper shop! - $20

5. Fw Fluorescent Acrylic Ink Neon 6 Set - $20 (aff link)

6. Pentel Aqua Water Brush Assorted Tips, 3 pack - $16 (aff link)

7. Loew Cornell Simply Art Watercolor Cakes $4 (aff link)

8. Creative Letterer Watercolor and Beyond Brush Set - $8 (aff link)

9.Tombow Dual Brush Pen Art Markers, Bright, 10-Pack - $22 (aff link)

10. Pentel Slicci Metallic 0.8 mm Gel Pen, Assorted Metallic 3 Pack - $10 (aff link)

11. Sakura 6-Piece Micron Ink Pen Set, Black - $9 (aff link)

 

HERE’S HOW THE CHALLENGE WORKS: 

Every day of August, post a photo of your lettering practice on Instagram using the prompt list below. Interpret each word in any way you like (or just letter the word itself!)

Every day that you complete your practice counts as ONE ENTRY to win one MEGA prize pack that you see above with some of my favorite lettering goodies. (Max one entry per day for all 31 days of August.) The more days you practice, the more chances you have to win! In addition to the prize pack, I'll be giving away 5 gift certificates to the #BetterLetteringCourse so you could win the chance to give the gift of lettering to a friend! 

 

THREE SIMPLE RULES FOR ELIGIBILITY: 

1. You can letter any word, phrase, lyric, sentence, etc., but it must be at least one word and the word(s) or phrases must be different every day of the challenge. The August prompt list below is encouraged, but it's not required. You can choose whatever subject you like! 

2. You MUST include #BetterLetteringCourse in your caption (so I can keep track of who's participating the in the challenge!) Please don't post photos of work you've already completed - the point is to show up that day and create for the sake of practice! I do my best to check out everyone's work, but feel free to tag me in your caption so I can see your daily pieces - I'm @ckelso!

3. You must be a student of the #BetterLetteringCourse to enter. If you haven't joined us yet, it's only $20 for lifetime access to all 15 videos, teaching you the basics of hand-lettering! 

Get Access To The Course Now - $20 | Learn More


Here's your handy prompt list. I recommend pinning to your Pinterest account, or saving it to your phone/desktop for quick access!

 
 

#BetterLetteringCourse July Challenge & $150 Lettering Prize Pack

#BetterLetteringCourse July Challenge & $150 Lettering Prize Pack

Summertime is a-foot and there's never been a better time to practice your lettering! There's something about summer that inspires that childhood spirit of play and creativity in me ...

#BetterLetteringCourse June Challenge

#BetterLetteringCourse June Challenge

Another month, and another lettering challenge is a-foot, my friends!

This month's #NewMediumMay challenge has pushed me creatively in so many different ways ...

May #BetterLetteringCourse Challenge: New Medium May

May #BetterLetteringCourse Challenge: New Medium May

Another month is creeping up on us and you know what that means - another monthly Instagram challenge! As usual, I've been so blown away by all of the beautiful work you #BetterLetteringCourse ...

April #BetterLetteringCourse Challenge

April #BetterLetteringCourse Challenge

March is coming to an end, and you know what that means - another lettering challenge! I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed checking out all the entries from #MeetYourselfMarch ...

Meet Yourself March: An Instagram Challenge for Soulful Creatives

Meet Yourself March: An Instagram Challenge for Soulful Creatives

There are only three days left in February, and I have been blown away by the response for the #BetterLetteringCourse Instagram Challenge ...

Holiday Gift For Creatives: Hand-Lettering Course Gift Certificate

Holiday Gift For Creatives: Hand-Lettering Course Gift Certificate

It's official. We've now welcomed over 270 students into the 30 Days To Better Lettering e-course! 

I've been overwhelmed by the excitement for the course and the creativity that has been kindled in so many people!