I recently made a little process video of a pencil composition and as I was editing the video, I realized that I did a few things while drawing this piece that would make a nice little lettering tips post. Most of these things involve a simple folded up sheet of printer paper. It’s amazing how many things it can come in handy for. Before I get into my tips, here’s the video for reference:
I've fast forwarded this video quite a bit so below I've tried to screenshot the frames that I am talking about for visual reference.
Have you ever had the problem of your hand falling off the side of your sketchbook while you’re drawing? When you’re at the edge of the page, it’s so uncomfortable when your hand just keeps falling or tilting off the page, making it difficult to draw. My solution to this has always been to just find a book that’s as thick as the space between your table and the page you’re drawing on and just prop your hand up on it. You’re just creating a level surface for yourself and it makes drawing a WHOLE lot more comfortable and manageable.
The Magical Piece of Paper
So I use a sheet of folded up printer paper in this video for a few different things.
First, and the reason I even had this sheet in the first place, was to prevent my hand from smudging the sketch underneath since I was making this entire thing in pencil. A sheet of paper is the perfect little hack to prevent annoying smudges and a lead-colored hand.
The second thing I used my sheet of paper for was measuring. Yes, measuring! No ruler required. For those times when you’re just too lazy to get up and find your ruler, you can easily just line up the edge of your paper to your sketchbook and mark off a measurement. What I needed to do here was to make sure that the word “Patagonia” ran straight. So I lined up a sheet right below the “P” and marked off where it met the edge of my sketchbook. Then, I took that measurement to the last letter of the word “A” and made sure that the bottom of this letter was at the same level.
As a part two of this measuring method, you can then line the sheet of paper up with the first letter and the mark where your last letter is going and use it as a straight edge to draw the word.
Another thing that a piece of paper is great for while you’re drawing is testing. I didn’t do it in this video since I already had the skeleton of the sketch laid out but if I am drawing something and I’m not sure how to draw a certain letter, for instance, I will test it first on a scrap sheet because I feel less bad about trying things out on a throw-away piece of paper. I use this method most often when I am using color because most of the time, when you put down a color, it’s permanent so you need to make sure it looks right beforehand. A lot of the time, I will actually use a small piece of the same paper I am coloring on to see how a certain pencil or marker reacts on that particular paper.
Anyway, those are my tips! I told you it would be a little post :) I hope you’ve found them helpful!