Brush lettering is so much fun and I love playing around with different styles of writing but also different mediums to letter with. Most of the lettering I create is done with Sumi Ink. I love Sumi Ink as it’s a great texture and dries a solid black.
However, brush lettering with watercolour paints is so much fun as colourful lettering prints are really pretty but also I love the effect of watercolours with some letters being less pigmented than others. As you can see from the picture above, you can also blend different colours for a really nice effect. When I first started brush lettering I played around with lots of different types of brushes (thick, thin, long etc..) and once I found the one I was most comfortable with and which gave me the style I wanted to achieve I was ready to really get stuck in. Make sure before you start you have a brush you are comfortable with and some really good watercolours. I use Winsor & Newton Cotman Water Colours.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED
- Paint brush
- Watercolour paper
- Watercolour paints
- Pot of water
So to begin with make sure you wet your chosen paint colour quite a lot. It needs to be about a 50/50 mixture of paint and water. If you don’t have enough water your brush wont slide easily enough to create smooth letters and a nice smooth colour. But also if you add too much water you wont have the pigmented colour in your letters.
The brush in the picture above is the brush I use for the majority of my lettering. I like how thin it is as I find this creates the nice thin up strokes but also with added pressure on the down strokes I can make these a bit thicker as the brush pushes down. I also like the length of the bristles. I do, however, use a nice thick brush to wet my paints as the thicker brush can hold more water so makes this process a bit quicker.
Once you have created a good consistency of water and paint you can start lettering on your watercolour paper. Make sure your brush isn’t too covered in the water/paint mix because you don’t want it to drip on your paper before the brush meets the paper. It will also create a large splodge at the start of your letter. Getting the right amount of paint on your brush is very important.
You will start to see when you need to dip your brush into the paint again. From the picture above you can see in the ‘u’, ‘h’ and the ‘t’s that I was starting to run low on paint so I dipped my brush again. I do really like the effect of some letters being a bit more dull than others and see the paint journey in each letters. It creates a nice texture and adds a little more to the lettering rather than it being block colour.
Don’t be afraid to use different colours and try blending them. After playing around with different colours you will see which ones blend together better than others. Write one letter (using the above ‘watercolour’ word as an example) I wrote the ‘W’ in red and then washed my brush and dipped it in orange. I made sure that where the letters w and a first met it blended well by making sure I had enough water and paint on my brush and that the ‘W’ hadn’t dried before I got to it with the orange ‘a’. If it has started to dry then add some more watery red paint onto it and then touch the newly wet paint with your orange paint/water mix.
You can also use the technique of writing out the whole word in one colour and then touching the wet paint with another colour at the end to add a bit of another colour in all the letters. As you can see from the picture below, I wrote it all out in pink and then when it was still wet I dipped some purple paint in the most wet area of each letter to create the blend effect. I also played around with different lettering styles.
I hope this tutorial was helpful. Please give it a share if you enjoyed reading. 🙂