4 Reasons to Keep Creating + Lettering Tutorial

lettering Feb 04, 2021
hand lettering quote ombre

One of my favorite things about this lettering community is -- the community. I love that there are constantly other artists there to vent with, laugh with, and support each other. I had no idea, starting out, that there were so many people with the same lettering obsession as I have and I could not be happier!

That community played a huge role in keeping me motivated, inspired, supported, and even better, some are real-life friends now!

Hi there, I'm Lindsay from @lshannondesigns. I'm so excited to be able to share with you all a look into my lettering world and a little bit of behind-the-scenes! Art and anything involving creativity has been an interest of mine and my lettering interest started when I was in high school, which mostly consisted of doodling things for friends.

It wasn’t until the fall after I graduated college (2015) that I decided to start practicing and really working with it. In October of 2015, I entered a Tombow USA Design Team call. Long story short, I didn’t make it and was super bummed (but it ended up working out for the best)! After I didn’t make it I got an offer to become a Brand Ambassador, which has been the most amazing experience. In January of 2016, I created my Instagram and really started to dedicate my time to practicing and documenting my work. Consistently practicing (like hours at a time and day after day) made all the difference for my work!

Prior to being an ambassador I had really just started getting into lettering so I wasn’t sure what kinds of pens or products to use. Tombow was basically a gateway to my new addiction to all lettering things. I had new products to try each month and eventually found some of my favorite pens but also had a better idea of what I was looking for.


My Bag 



I can never decide what my favorite pen is, which is why I carry WAY more than necessary. I’m very indecisive when it comes to my art. Here is what you will find with me basically anywhere I go:

Pentel Color Brush in black | I loves the texture these brushes create. It is so unique and reminds me of using an actual paintbrush.

Water Brush | An absolute must for me. Tombow USA Mono Drawing Pens | I love using these when I’m creating small details or adding fun embellishments.

Prismacolor Pencil Sharpener | I’ve had this eraser since college and I love that it catches all the clippings. Tombow USA Eraser | Love the fine details I can erase with this specific eraser. Tombow USA Drawing Pencils in HB and 5B | I like to have both a light pencil and a dark pencil so I can go back over the lighter one for a final piece.

Tombow USA Calligraphy Pen | One of my all-time favorites but with grey on the other side. I love this one. Molotow Paint Pen in Chrome | Just recently discovered this but I’m already obsessed. It is amazing in person. Tombow USA Dual Brush Pen | Really nice when I’m sketching out ideas.

Tombow USA Fudenosuke in Hard and Soft tip | My favorite and most used pens. These are a go-to almost every time for me. Love love love. Pentel Sign Touch Brush Pens | Another favorite. Similar to the Fudes but in fun vibrant colors!



Reason #1: Practice, Practice, Practice! 

Practice really changed everything about my work. When I was first started out I was so intimidated by other lettering artists. I started out thinking I would never be as good as these super talented artists I was following and would get discouraged. After a few weeks of documenting my work and looking back, I started to see with my own eyes how much I was improving. It really sparked the desire to practice more and continue to get better.

It’s interesting to hear people now that are just starting out say the same thing. This is always one of the first things I tell people who are just starting out: practice, practice, practice.


Reason #2: Stress Relief

One of the main reasons I’ve always done art is stress relief. Even in college, before I knew anything about lettering, art was my therapy. It was amazing how calming it was to me just to pick up a brush and paint. I still, to this day, find it incredibly therapeutic to sit down and sketch out designs. I love that about it. Even today when I’m stressed out about commissions and custom orders, I take a ten-minute break and just letter for fun -- SO relieving.


Reason #3: Discipline

Another challenging aspect of this field -- discipline. There are definitely days when I am so lacking in inspiration or motivation to do anything, especially when starting out, but those are the days forcing yourself to sit down and create something really helps. Some of my favorite projects and ideas have come from days that I forced myself to sit there and just make something, and some days I absolutely hate what I have created... but at least I made an effort. Even just sitting down to sketch out a rough design for half an hour or playing with different embellishing techniques, do something to get some practice in.


Reason #4: Community 

I absolutely love the lettering community out there. Not only is it constantly inspiring to see what different artists are creating, but it is incredibly uplifting. There have been so many days when I’m struggling because I can’t get something right or am just plain stuck in a creative rut and within minutes there are people there to support you. It is so encouraging to know that you are not alone with your daily struggles. The lettering community that we are surrounded by is by far my favorite thing about this lettering journey that I am on. Not to mention, how awesome is it that some of these calligrafriends have turned into real-life friends?!



My Work...



One of my favorite moments this year and one of my favorite projects were the wood signs that were picked up by Hobby Lobby. I’ve been obsessed with Hobby Lobby ever since I first got into art so it was SO exciting to hear that they actually wanted to have some of my designs hanging in their store. SO cool and a moment I’ll never forget. I’m so happy I spent all those hours practicing because it really paid off in the end. One of my biggest goals and so happy to see it come to life.


A quick blending tutorial:

If you’re following along with me on Instagram then you know my obsession with blending. I started out only doing ombre type of blends, which I will never-not be obsessed with, but this year I discovered a water brush. Life-changing. This is also a tool for those of you that struggle with blending can use to help you out. Seriously, if you don’t have a water crush you need to go grab one!

Step 1: Get your supplies

Gather your supplies: Multimedia paper, water brush, different color brush pens, and finer pens for details.

Step 2: Draw your design

Draw out your preferred design using the lightest grey that will show up.


Step 3: Fill in the design with chosen colors

Next, fill in the design with whatever colors you want. This can be a simple color below color or more random (think galaxy).


Step 4: Blend colors together

Once the design is all filled in, take your water brush and blend the colors together and watch the magic happen. This step is fairly tedious depending on the design so be patient!



Step 5: Add embellishments



Once your design is fully blended and dried, go back through and add your embellishments. Shadows, lines, dots... whatever your heart desires. This step is fun and really can be done anyway! It's fun to play around with colors here to really get creative and unique.

I hope you all had a great time seeing a little behind the scenes of what my lettering world is like! Please come say hi and check out some new work!

Find me on my Instagram