I do not know enough about lettering to call myself any kind of expert.
seriously. (check out some of my art with lettering in it for verification of that)
I am sometimes shaky, I am often confused by fonts, and although I have done thousands of tattoos with text in them, I still struggle with the forms and shapes. I owe the little I DO know about lettering to B.J. Betts, who is well-known in tattooing as a real expert on this stuff- he has some books out, if you are a professional tattoo artist you should keep your eyes peeled for them and buy them. (but if you work in a shop or have been around a while you already own all his stuff…)
I learned to do lettering before I ever heard of his work- the way I learned was through calligraphy, and through sign painting. A combination of those things and Betts’s work has formed my meager abilities.
Here’s a walk through on drawing this stuff. If you’re a tattooer you will naturally make the proper adjustments to the text as you go in order to make it applicable to skin, so I won’t be explaining the precise tech needed for that. If you just want to add a tattoo to a painting, a drawing, if you are not a tattoo artist you can use this how-to to make script lettering … or if you are doodling reference for your tattoo artist to build you a tattoo from, you can do this to give them an idea of what you’re after.
This is a step-by-step for script, cursive lettering in a slanted style in which the letters are connected.
I will post a separate one for block or stylized lettering next.
Liquid acrylic ink,
(with round nib- just what I prefer)
(for beginning sketch/marking symmetry)
standard black #2 pencil
tracing paper, paper that is easy for ink lines
(I am using a scrap of srches hotpress here)
The rest of the steps, after the jump.