How To Letter Leafy Letters

Happy Thursday, everyone! It’s Julisha here with a lettering tutorial!


Today, I’m showing you how to letter leafy letters. As I mentioned in my previous blog, I’m keeping flowers the theme for the entire month of May and I brought you a different style than last week — leafy letters! Leafy letters can seem daunting to get started at first but once you have the right framework, leafy letters are so therapeutic to draw. Also, leafy letters look so cool and complicated, you’ll feel so proud of yourself after you finish! Let’s get started on learning how to letter leafy letters — shall we?


[Click this photo to watch the video!]

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Materials you need to draw leafy letters are:

  • Paper: In this tutorial, I’m using a blank watercolor postcard by Strathmore (4×6 inches). The reason why I like to use watercolor paper is because ink doesn’t bleed on watercolor papers, making it a good option for ink drawing. Also, I personally like the bumpy textures on watercolor papers.
  • 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.
  • Black Ink Pen: In this tutorial, I used black pens in two different tip sizes. I used a Sakura Pigma Graphic Pen in 1mm to draw the stems and a Sakura Pigma Micron Pen in 0.5mm to draw leaves and buds. 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 leafy letters are:

  1. Draw Guidelines
    For this tutorial, we’re going to draw a bounding box and two horizontal lines. First, draw the bounding box roughly half an inch away from the edges of the paper. Then, draw two horizontal lines inside the bounding box, dividing the box equally in three parts. These lines will act as both x-height and baselines for the letters.
  2. Draw “Skeletons”
    Once guidelines are drawn, you’re going to roughly space out the letters, G-L-O-W. For spacing-sake, we’re going to draw the first and last letters first. Then we’re going to draw R and O in the middle. For dynamic composition, we’re going to draw the O shorter and extend the leg/tail of the R and slide it underneath O. 
  3. Add Weight
    In this step, we’re going to add weight to the skeletons of the letters. We’re going to add uniform weight to the letters to make it monoline block letters. Block letters will be used as a guide when drawing leaves. Keep in mind of the spacing between the letters. Positive space of the letters and negative space around the letters should be approximately the same so that the letters look visually balanced. It’s definitely ok to not draw perfectly the first time! Keep erasing and redrawing as much you need to.
  4. Stylize Letters
    After letterforms are drawn, we’re going to stylize the letters. First, we’re going to draw wavy stems inside the block letters. Stems are naturally wavy with inconsistent waves so loosen up your hand and draw freely. Next, we’re going to roughly place big leaves sparingly on the stems across all letters. This will help you with drawing smaller leaves and buds in the next step. 
  5. Ink It
    Now, let’s get into the inking step! First, we’re going to ink the stems with a black pen with a thicker tip and the big leaves with a thinner pen. Then, using the same thinner pen, we’re going to draw smaller leaves and buds, filling up the block letters we drew as a guide. Refer to the big leaves we drew in the previous step as guide and draw smaller leaves in various directions and sizes. Fill in small spaces with buds (aka small dots). For legibility-sake, make sure to draw everything inside the block letters we drew as a guide. Once all leaves are drawn, erase the pencil marks and color in the leaves. For a more dynamic look, leave some leaves blank.


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? 


Julisha Kim / @julishakim


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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