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Rubber Stamp Carved Look

Yogi's Lettering Tutorial
August 2009

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Readers and customers often remark about Yogi's lettering techniques and have written to ask her about it. Below is her answer....a tutorial she put together to help us all become better at lettering. A skill that you will happily use over and over.

First, a bit about Yogi. All from her blog....which is a good place to get ideas for cards. She posts complete directions describing in detail how each project is accomplished.

Calgary, Alberta, Canada
A great blog with lots of technique information.

I've been an artist for as long as I can remember. Took a two year course at Sheridan College of Applied Arts (Commercial Art/Graphic Design). And many workshops and mini classes since then. I've tried many different forms of art including, macrame, pottery/ceramics, needlework (embroidery, crewel, knitting & sewing), stained glass, and several others. My passion these days are with Calligraphy, bookbinding and other paper arts

Brushing up on FUN lettering skills with Yogi
© Yogi 2009 – feel free to copy this for your own, non monetary, personal use.
Please ask permission for any other use.

Everywhere you look there are glorious letters. And I know many of us say, "I would love to do that."

The easiest way to learn is by using your computer and practicing. Lettering is not something you sit down to, pick up a pen, and get gorgeous letters the first time out (at least not for most of us). It takes practice and use. Becoming familiar with a lettering style. There are 1000’s of fonts out there in cyber world and on your computer.

Open your word processing program and check the fonts you have on your computer. Find one that is basic, and without serifs, and has some visual appeal to you. Something like Arial, Curlz, Enview, Hobo, Jester,  these are all fun lettering styles.

Type out every letter of the alphabet for that font in both majuscule (CAPITALS) and miniscule (small letters). [lower case] Note: doing miniscule letters is usually harder than doing capitals, so it’s OK to only do the Caps. BIG GRIN. Format your font size to very large, something around 75 to 100 so when you print your page, your letters will be around 1” tall.

Use a piece of tracing paper, draw lines the height of the “O” or “o” (this letter is what most fonts are built in relation to) and place over your printed page and start tracing the letters you printed and keeping within your drawn lines. Don’t worry about the thickness of the letter at the moment, just get the letter shape. Make sure you ’re using a sharp HB pencil, preferably not a mechanical pencil. Keep doing this, until you feel comfortable doing it free hand. You’ll make mistakes, but that’s ok, just keep practicing.

Until you learn to do them free hand, you can cheat a bit. Print out the words you want in the size you want on some tracing paper. Rub your pencil on the backside of the tracing paper (this creates a faux carbon paper), then go over the letters in the place you want them on your artwork. Then go over the letters on the artwork with a permanent pen like a Zig Writer or a Micron pen. Wait for the ink to dry thoroughly, then erase any of the transfer lines.

The letters below are a mix of various letters I’ve learnt, picked the ones I liked, put my own twist to some of them and created my own alphabet. They are a basic style with character. They are also expandable to decorate.
They are only Capital style letters with a few small letters for variation within words. Notice the dots in the “M:, “W”, and under the “O”, great place to put some glitter or a faux rhinestone if doing a single large word.

Also notice the way the letters follow the horizontal line and gently curve on the “B”, “C”, “D”, “G”, “P”, “R”. These letters are tall and on the slim side rather than fat and short, which makes them an elegant letter.
Notice the end of the “C” and “G” fall at the same point as the upper portion of the letter. Letters are straight & vertical, not slanted.

This lettering style is great for journaling, card sentiments and just about anywhere you need some fun letters.

Now by adding a rectangular piece on one side of a letter, lots of decorating and fun can be had.

Here ’s a sampler using the basic style letters and adding the rectangular shape to each letter, then coloring in with various media.

A trick to getting all your rectangles the same size. Get a piece of clear plastic, like stenciling material or a plastic folder. If you are working with approx 1” letters, cut out a rectangle, using an x-acto blade, approx 5/16” w (this will give you about a 1/4" w rectangle) x about 2” long and put it against the line you want to add the rectangle, then just add your small horizontal lines.

PS--it comes in handy as a stencil too.

You’re ready to color.


ggd LOVES this tutorial.! Over the years we've tried many times to master lettering. Being impatient and never wanting to practice the "scales," we never got very far.........BUT, if for nothing else.....THIS is the best "hint" for "acceptable" (if not wonderful) lettering we've ever run across! Expect to use this hint over and over!

"you can cheat a bit. Print out the words you want in the size you want on some tracing paper. "

Can you patent this Yogi? You'll be rich!!!



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Yogi used this stamp for a January Challenge.

It also shows the versatility of one of her lettering styles/techniques.


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