Happy Thursday, everyone! It’s Julisha here with a lettering tutorial! It’s the last week of May (time is flying!) and I’m here to show you the last flower themed tutorial — botanical letters! As I mentioned in my previous blog, I had chosen flower as May’s theme and you can check out the previous tutorials here. For today’s botanical letters tutorial, I brought you something a little different from the previous tutorials. Botanical letters tutorial explores a little bit more detailed in illustrations and more simple with letters. Also, there’s a good mix of leaves and flowers, hence the name, botanical letters.
Before we get started with botanical letters tutorial, let me show you some flowers I have at home! My parents normally invest more in edible plants (like Korean lettuce, cherry tomatoes, strawberries, herbs, perilla leaves, green onions, etc) but this year, we put in a bigger budget to plant flowers. Flowers have been blooming so beautifully around the house and I want to share some photos with you. as they’ve been putting smiles on me on a daily basis!
Now, let’s get started on learning how to letter botanical letters — shall we?
Materials you need to draw botanical letters are:
- Paper: In this tutorial, I’m using a sheet of black paper from Fabiano Black Black Pad 300gsm — I had a scrap piece in 4.5 x 6 inches. This is by far my favorite black paper for ink drawings because the paper is nicely thick and high quality so the ink doesn’t bleed and appear very pigmented.
- Pencil & Eraser: Can be either a regular pencil or mechanical pencil — your choice! I always prefer mechanical pencils simply because I don’t like sharpening pencils. My favorites are: Staedtler Mechanical Pencil, 0.7mm and Staedtler Triplus Micro Mechanical Pencil, 0.7mm.
- Ink Pen: In this tutorial, I used both white and black pens. For both illustrations and letters, I used White Gelly Roll gel pens in Bold tip (size 10 / 0.5mm). Gelly Roll gel pens also come in smaller tip sizes as well. For “erasing” the white pen, I used a Sakura Pigma Micron Pens in 0.5mm and 0.8mm. Sakura Pigma pens can be purchased in various sets.
- Ruler: Rulers aren’t 100% necessary but use them if you’re a bit of a perfectionist and want to draw clean guidelines (like me). But freehanding is definitely cool too!
Simple five steps to draw botanical letters are:
- Draw Guidelines
For this tutorial, we’re going to draw a bounding box and six horizontal lines. First, draw the bounding box roughly half an inch away from the edges of the paper. Then, draw two sets of three horizontal lines inside the bounding box: one set in the top half and the second set in the bottom half of the paper. These horizontal lines are cap lines, x-heights, and baselines.
- Draw “Skeletons”
Once guidelines are drawn, we’re going to roughly space out the letters, B-E-A at the top and U-T-Y at the bottom. For spacing, always draw the first and last letters first to position / space letters nicely. Today’s tutorial breaks the word “beauty” in half so draw B and A first at the top and U and Y first at the bottom. After the letters are draw, we’re going to roughly draw the stems of the flowers and leaves to establish the basic composition.
- Add Weight
In this step, we’re going to add weight to the skeletons of the letters. For this tutorial, we’re going to draw sans serif letters that have a difference in stroke thicknesses. The vertical and diagonal strokes are going to be roughly as twice as thick as the horizontal strokes.
- Stylize Letters
After letterforms are drawn, we’re going to stylize the letters and illustrate the flowers and leaves. First, we’re going to ornate the letters by adding diamond shape details to the letters. Then, we’re going to illustrate the flowers and leaves in the background. One tip in drawing leaves is to diversify the directions of the stems and leaves. Plants grow naturally in multi-directions so it looks more natural if you draw the stems and leaves kind of all over the place.
- Ink It
Now, let’s get into the inking step! Because the letters and illustrations overlap in a visually busy fashion, you could easily get confused and make mistakes while inking. To make things easier, ink in this order: 1) outline of the letters, 2) flower and leaf illustrations, 3) inside the letters. To make letters more legible, we’re going to “erase” the illustrations around the letters with a black pen, separating the illustrations and letters. This creates a visual black outline around the letters, making the letters more legible!
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 draw leafy letters. What will you letter?
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