How-To-Letter: Beveled Block Letters

Hello, everyone — happy Thursday! Today, we’re going to learn how to letter beveled block letters! Beveled block letters can be kind of difficult to get your head wrapped around at first. So I’m going to show you an easy way to draw beveled block letters using inlines as a guide / reference!

But before we get started with beveled block letters tutorial — did you notice our new name?! We’re now  “Salty Collective”! Our name has been Salty Blog since it was mainly Crystal’s personal blog until recently. (Sister Tip blog is a segment within Salty Blog in which Crystal and I collaborate). It has always been Crystal’s dream to publish her own magazine one day and she had been working hard to expand. Partial thanks to #QuarantineLife (Bored-In-The-House-In-The-House-Bored), this growth naturally happened! Recently more creators have joined to collaborate so we can produce more content on diverse topics! So we changed our name in order to better represent all contributing creators!

Moving forward, we’ll have guest creators to share their knowledge and tips but here are our main creators for weekly content:

  • Melissa  / skincare expert. She’s giving you skincare tips and must-haves at different price points (yes, even the boujee ones).
  • Stacey / resident mental health expert. As a self-care advocate, Stacey will be sharing her experience and research on mental health and also practical ways you can take for your mental health — gotta stay healthy mentally!
  • Cassie / celebrity makeup artist. Our resident famous person who does makeup for other famous people! She will be sharing her tips and tricks on how to get the most flawless glow up.
  • Crystal / creative work, business, beauty + skincare. Yes, she writes about everything so you’ll see her all over the place in different categories! She’s also the chief manager / operator of Salty Collective (both the website and instagram).
  • Julisha (ME!) / creative work and business. As a designer, lettering artist, muralist and former industrial designer, I share a wide range of knowledge and tips on creative work and process within the Sister Tip segment. I also give business tips based on my experience running a business with Crystal at Studio Salty.

In the spirit of today’s word “learn”, let me share with you what I learned this week. I learned how to edit videos and made today’s video! Simple video editing on Premiere Pro was something I’ve always wanted to learn since videos are a very effective way to show and explain creative work and processes. But I had been snoozing for the longest time because Premiere Pro’s interface is too complicated to self-learn for a newbie like me. So this past week,  I got hold of Crystal to virtually teach me via google hangout. Here’s what I learned: trimming down and putting multiple videos together, tweaking the video speed to create time-lapse or slow-mo, adding background music and animating the logo! Shall we take a look at the beautiful video I managed to create and learn how to letter beveled block letters?!

[Click this photo to view full video!]

pink background, lettering and styling by julisha kim, salty collective, beveled block letters, how to draw beveled block letter, learning lettering, pencils, pink sticky notes with cute lettering

 Materials you need to draw beveled block letters are:

  • Paper: Grid paper — any type of grid paper is fine but dot grid paper is recommended. Line grid paper is totally ok too if that’s what you have but grid lines in the background can be visually distracting. For this tutorial, I’m using a page from my Archer and Olive kraft paper dot grid notebook. Archer and Olive notebooks are on the pricey side; if you’re looking for a more affordable option, try this Dot Grid Notebook (160 Pages + 160GSM Ultra Thick Paper).
  • Pencil & Eraser: Can be either a regular pencil or mechanical pencil — your choice! I always prefer mechanical pencils (because I don’t like sharpening pencils). My favorites are: Staedtler Mechanical Pencil, 0.7mm and Staedtler Triplus Micro Mechanical Pencil, 0.7mm.
  • Ruler: Not super necessary but use it if you want to draw clean guidelines. Freehanding guidelines is 100% cool!
  • Black Ink Pen: In this tutorial, I used two different brands in different tip sizes / thicknesses. Thicker pen is used to draw the outline and thinner pen is used to draw hatching lines. I used a Tombow Dual Brush Pen (firm fine tip) and Sakura Pigma Graphic Pen, 1mm.

Simple five steps to draw beveled block letters are:

  1. Draw Guidelines
    For this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to draw beveled block letters using inlines as a reference. For this reason, we’ll be drawing the same word twice so you can see inline and beveled block letters side by side for comparison. Hence, we’ll draw four guidelines total (cap line and baseline for each word). Space between the cap line and baseline is 8 grids.
  2. Draw “Skeletons”
    Once guidelines are drawn, you’re going to roughly space out the letters. For this step, we’re going to simply make marks in order to indicate where outlines of the letters are and where corners of each letter are. Here are some measurements for letters and spacing to help you draw:

    1. 8 grids tall
    2. 5 – 6 grids wide (depending on the shape of the letter)
    3. 2 grids thick (uniformly since these are block letters)
    4. 1 grid apart from each other.
  3. Put Some Weight
    In this step, we’re going to complete the letters by drawing the line weights. Refer to the letter size specification (in grids) explained in the previous step as much as you need to.  All letters are uniformly 8 grids tall, 2 grids thick and 1 grid apart from each other. But by the nature of letter forms, some letters are going to be wider than others. When drawing block letters on grid paper, it’s tempting to draw all letters with the same height and length. But the tip to draw block letters visually balanced is to draw certain letters wider than others. For example, letters L, A and R should be wider than letters E and N. In this tutorial:

    1. letters E and N are 5 grids wide,
    2. letter L is 5.5 grids wide and
    3. letters A and R are 6 grids wide
  4. Stylize Letters
    After letterforms are drawn, we’re going to stylize the letters (yay, the fun part)! As I explained earlier, we’re going to draw beveled block letters using inlines as a reference. So first, draw inlines on all letters. All letters are 2 grids thick so draw your inlines right at the center, 1 grid in from the outlines. Then, for comparison and reference purposes, we’re going to add bevels to the bottom word only and leave the top word as-is. To draw bevels, what you have to do is: connect the corners of the outline and the corners / ends of the inline, at a 45 degree angle. Letters A, R, N can get a little tricky because of the diagonal and curved lines. Refer to the video as many times as you need for visual reference.
  5. Ink It
    Outline the letters using a black pen with thicker tip size for bold outlines. Let the ink dry and erase pencil sketches. Then, we’re going to give dimension to the beveled block letters by shading in. Notice that the letters have four distinct sides: top, bottom, left and right. We’re going to shade each side differently, imagining that the light source is from the top left hand corner. For each side, draw the following pattern and, voila — you have dimensional beveled block letters!

    1. Top: blank (this is the brightest side)
    2. Left: wide hatching lines (for light shadow effect)
    3. Right: cross hatching lines (for dark shadow effect)
    4. Bottom: solid black color (this is the darkest side)

Did you enjoy today’s tutorial? Let me know if it was helpful to you — we want to hear from you! Now it’s your turn to try drawing beveled block letters! What will you letter? 

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About Sister Tip: #sistertip is a weekly educational series on branding, creative content creation, business, and marketing from our boutique creative studio – Studio Salty! We hope you enjoy all the tips and tricks of what we learned while operating a small boutique studio! We are a woman owned and operated studio that focuses on helping small businesses amplify their message. We’re always taking requests for our #sistertip blog post, so feel free to comment below what you want to learn next!

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