Okay friends, are you ready for this?? The most important lettering tool you can have is…
That’s right – a good eraser.
Now before you get all upset that this email is about an eraser, hear me out and don’t worry – I’m including links to lots of my favorite supplies. This is good stuff!
Here is a little secret: all of that “amazing” lettering you see me do with a fancy brush pen in videos on Instagram? Well, a majority of the time before filming those with a pen, I whip out my trusty pencil and eraser and sketch and re-sketch many many times before getting it right. I mean look at this rough draft…
Most of the best lettering artists you’ve seen sketch with pencil a TON before coming up with their final designs too, I’m promise you.
Save your ink!!! I mean it. It’s so fun (and tempting!) to write with those beautiful (and pricey) pens right out of the gate, but I’m telling you that you’ll be so happy to save paper and ink by sketching first.
But then how do you create your final piece you might ask?? Let me tell you…
– you can either use tracing paper and place it over your sketch to trace if you are going to digitize it anyway. (*This is what I mostly do!)
– you can refer to your sketch as a guide and copy it onto another piece of paper
– you can sketch lightly and then go over it with pen and erase the pencil marks.
And now for a little low down on erasers…
Pictured here is a regular paper mate white pearl eraser. What’s great about this and the pentel white eraser is that they don’t leave any pink smudging on your paper like pink erasers do & are soft and gentle on your paper too. They’re the best!
The type of paper you sketch on does matter. You can totally use regular printer paper, but it does tend not to last as well through lots of erasing. I absolutely LOVE Rhodia Dot Pad paper. It is so smooth and so sturdy, I feel like I can sketch and erase a hundred times without the paper coming apart.
As far as pencils go, I am not a pencil snob. I actually prefer to buy boxes of pre-sharpened yoobi pencils at Target (am I lazy or what?!). I know there are fancy pants pencils and I have used lots of different ones, but the 2B is a great one for me when I’m sketching.
Another eraser will actually erase ink!
This is a Tombow Sand Eraser and it really will erase pen! (as you can see in this photo). It is not meant for erasing a whole letter or word. This is for minor things. You get a smudge of ink on an envelope and don’t want to re-write the whole thing – you can gently use the sand eraser and it will sand off a tiny bit of that envelope to “erase” the smudge. This can truly be a lifesaver!
And there you have it… I could have said that the most important lettering tool is a pencil and it sort of is but unless you have a good eraser, the pencil can’t quite do its job, right? Right. So remember, sketch, sketch sketch! It will change the way you compose your lettering and you will find your final drafts are so much better.
Do you have something you’re struggling with in your lettering?
I can help. Take a look at the Creative Lettering Journal!
The Creative Lettering Journal will show how to get started making your own faux calligraphy creations. It’s 84 pages with guides for practicing the entire upper and lower case script alphabet, step-by-step directions for how to make your lettering look like modern calligaphy and finished lettered design to trace to practice.
And if you’re interested in something more in-depth you should consider taking my online course where you can watch me show each step.