Hand Lettering

This lesson is based on a tutorial created by Marzi at her site: Made by Marzipan. Perfect for an Advanced Drawing class or a non-tech project for a Graphic Design or New Media class. This lesson requires students have some technical drawing skill and understand a bit of typography.

Lesson Level:

  • High School Advanced
  • High School AP/IB



CA Content Standards:

  • 2.0 Creative Expression
  • 5.0 Connections, Relationships, Applications

Art History & Vocab:

You can connect this lesson to real world hand painting businesses, like New Bohemia & El Sapo Sudio, who are creating eye-catching signs that are making a huge comeback in shops and local businesses world-wide. Mastering Typography is a skill necessary for Graphic Designers, Web Designers and hand lettering is a skill Tattoo artists use every day.

There is a ton of vocabulary that accompanies this lesson, but here are a few main concepts to focus on: Typography, Font, Typeface, Hand Lettering, Serif, Sans-Serif, cap height, x-height, baseline, terminals, crossbars, tails, bowls.


– Original website tutorial & video (links in the lesson body below)
– sketchbook paper
– pens/markers
– pencils & erasers
– Beginner’s Guide Handout
– Words in different fonts printed out or viewed from a computer screen


You may want to go over what Typography is and the terminology that goes with it, especially if you are using this lesson in a traditional drawing course and not a new media class. A great resource to learn about Typography, the different parts of a letter, and a ton of links to more resources is at TutsPlus’ article A 20 Minute Intro to Typography.

Read the full tutorial before proceeding: http://www.madebymarzipan.com/?tutorial=intro-to-hand-lettering This tutorial has some blatant marketing for a specific marker/pen brand but you can use any brand that is affordable for your classroom.

Here is the video:

Practicing letters is the first step in this lesson. If your students are in front of computers, this step is a lot easier. You can print out copies of words in various fonts for your students to practice with too.

Marzi provides a handout that helps with understanding typography and practicing, you can download it here: Handout Hand Lettering

Once you feel that students have become comfortable with their practice lettering you can introduce the main project, creating a hand drawn logo or sign. It is up to you what the finished product is but I feel like creating a logo is a great real world skill to have. They could be personal brand logos or for a fictitious or real business. You could even have students compete with one another and have them all do the same company’s logo. There are so many possibilities! You could also have the students illustrate a phrase or quote.

Remember to spell out exactly what you expect students to deliver in their final project. For the logo: How many different fonts are required? Do they have to include a tagline or founded/established by date? Are they going to be black/white or in color? What is the final size of the logo?

Here are some examples of hand drawn type ideas I found:


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