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Chalk Lettering

Lesson 2 of 5

Creating a Sketch and Adjusting in PS


Chalk Lettering

Lesson 2 of 5

Creating a Sketch and Adjusting in PS


Lesson Info

Creating a Sketch and Adjusting in PS

So the first thing to talk about is how it is that we're going to get this image that then you're going to be able to use to do you are mural so depending on where you're at, you can either sketch stuff out by hand if that's how you're most comfortable you can lay things out on the computer you can work off of other pieces that you found that you really like it's really about finding what's going to be the most enjoyable for you this is this should be fun that should be easy that shouldn't feel at this stage like like there any obstacles for you yet the easiest way for me to work is to sketch on paper that's how I prefer to start so that's what I'm going to do here and since I'm here working at creative live, their slogan is create every day so that's the phrase that I'm going to be working with today so when I first get started I don't necessarily know yet where I'm going to go with this. I'm not exactly sure what's going to work best think there are a couple of things that I want to ...

play with so that's where I'm going to start I think I like the idea of combining three totally different styles for this so I'm just going to start drawing the words create every day and a bunch of different ways and see what's starting to work for me when I'm feeling and eventually I'll move on to the computer and work on creating my layout that I'll be working from on the computer so when you get started really you can work in any style that's most comfortable to you I spend a lot of time doing sign painting and looking at a lot of sign painting work, so I tend to draw a lot of references from old sign ege new sign ege everything from me on signs always fascinate me like old vintage signs teo the kind of sign itch that you would see in supermarkets which are done really quick you know, the things that change out every week um so you know, I have this sort of arsenal of type going in my head all the time and whenever I need inspiration, I ill I'll tend to look through my phone I take photos constantly as I'm walking around of different letter forms that I really like. So what? I'm feeling stuck that's a really great place to look and so I don't worry too much as I go around a lot of times they start out with and outlines sort of shape to block in where something is but it really depends on the type of letters that I'm doing sometimes they start with more, um of just the spine of the letters so I might say ok this is the general space that I want this to occupy and then I worry about building out the letters from here versus doing something where it's an outline first that I fill in but I'm done filling this and I'll go on to the next word so I start off with just sort of the inner workings of the letters here and I'm working on building it out into sort of giving it more body in style I have a tendency to work on graph paper as much as possible um it gives me a great way to keep the words even I find if I'm working just on regular online paper plain paper um I have a lot of trouble keeping a good baseline the weight changes more than I would like it to between letters but it all depends what affect your going for if you're comfortable with that sort of variation and by all means you don't need to use graph paper at all ah, I just find it a little bit more comforting to get that that extra bit of consistency in there. So as I'm doing this, they're a couple things that I am not worrying about yet I'm not worrying about my overall composition yet that's going to come later I'm not necessarily worrying about this spacing that I have going on here that also will come later so I'm really now on ly focusing on the letter forms um I don't need to get caught up in anything else besides just the style of the letters that you're looking at right now um maybe you have some other go to styles for letters maybe you're very into calligraphy and you want to start doing aa lot of um script styles and that's great to its whatever whatever feels most natural for you and if none of this feels natural to you if you don't want to do any of this can hop right on to the computer and go straight into selecting fonts that are already created and I tend to start drying pretty pretty late and then get darker as I get more comfortable ah with the shapes that I'm creating um but I don't worry too much about a racing even though I have my wonderful little peanut or ease air here faster racer I've ever had um because none of this is going to be final so if you've got three outlines around the edge of this are that is totally fine makes no difference everything can be tightened up later the sketch is khun b loose and quick and then you can in titan everything up when you go into uh two in your final layups yeah the graph paper here is helping me keep this in check I've learned most of what I know about drawing letters from looking really intently at at other people's typography on dso things that you can start to look for that will help make your type stronger are things like where the weight falls in the letter that's something that's super important, um, and can help make your help. Make your letter farms look a lot more comfortable than a lot more pro, so there's some things that you want to look at, like the's letters have really bizarre weight distribution. Normally, you'll find more weight in the horizontal than you do in the verticals, but a lot of sort of old western e kind of lettering you see the opposite happening, I'm going against it a very distinct look and a very different feel. Um, so paying attention to the wait that's going on in your letters is important. Also something like this is I start to get into, like, playing around with the baseline a little bit that that also can help inform the personality of your of your letters. Um, really, looking and practicing is the best thing to dio you can start with looking at you can print out a number of different either inspiration, things that you see that you can look at while you're while you're working or you can print out some type faces that you really like to look at while you're working, um but I would always encourage you to draw things by hand, as opposed to tracing whenever possible. Um, it will help make you look more closely and realize a little bit more about the letters, and it is important if you do ah, start off with an outline you really want to look at the letter forms filled? Um, it might seem a little bit like a waste of time, but the letter forms will take on a very different feel what's their solid versus justin, an outline form if you are, if you are uncomfortable doing any of this sketching part at all that's totally fine, you can go ahead and open up photo shopper, illustrator, whatever you like to work in, and you can create your layout with fonts on the computer, and we can start from there. So when I do my sketching attempt to be a little all over the place, and I'll cut out the pieces that I'm really liking in the end, and a lot of times, my notebooks are full of things that have started and not quite come to fruition. But I'm going to take all of these pieces, and I'm going to scan them all in, and then I'm going to start picking which things are really working for me, and which things I wantto just forget about and move on from okay, so once I have everything scanned in I'm going to go in and start selecting the words that I like the most on the script wasn't really working for me I didn't love the way these letters were stacking but what I really was like in was thiscreate and this every on this day so I went ahead and I took those and I pasted them all in here and these are just really rough I am scaling these things I'm not worried about resolution I'm not worried about any of that stuff um and when I first place them and they were a little bit more awkward but what I did was I put in some guides for myself because I really wanted this to be lined up and none of my sketches were lighting up so I put in all of these and then I just went in and I actually you know, I resized some things I wasn't happy with you know, this e seems a little shorter than the eonni end so just the smallest changes in here just cause it's easier to do at this stage before I start uh trying again and lines air getting messed up and it looks pretty growth and that's all totally fine because this is really just to establish the layup so things that I work on here are making sure that things are lined up but I want to be lined up and that things are the right scale that I want them to be and that spacing and angles it's looking good are looking good on the outline around these is really off, but I'm not going to worry about that now, that's something that I can fix, what I'm redrawing it, so I'm gonna take this, I'm going to print it out, I'm going to go straight to the light table and I'm going to trace over everything, and when I do that, I'm tightening up a lot of stuff. Um, I'm still having some giant issues with spacing here that I'm gonna again scan this, and I'm gonna go in and fix that up, so I went ahead and I created my next layout in photo shop. I fixed the spacing between d a and why? So that was really off on my sketch on then I wasn't totally feeling thiss little drop shadow along here, so I raised that on the computer and I printed this out and I did a second layer with new edition on the light table again. And so now I have these additional pieces where I wanted to get a three d going on the day, and then I added an extra drop shadow, not every and I added in some lines and some flourishes to really fill out the whole piece. But now, in order to show this to creative live, I really wanted them to be able to see what the final product would more closely resemble. So I just inverted it and a pencil sketch. When you invert, it looks a lot like how shock is going to look on a chalkboard, which is really handy. So this is what I sent off to creative live. They were really happy with it. So then I am ready now to go on to discuss with you guys how I'm going to take this image and blow it up large to do it in one of their walls upstairs. And I'll show you different methods for that in the next section.

Class Description

A typographic mural uses words to produce a stunning and highly communicative piece of art. In Chalk Lettering, Annica Lydenberg will take you through the process of completing a large scale installation as she makes a chalk mural on-site at CreativeLive's San Francisco headquarters.

Besides being artistically gratifying, chalk lettering is an in-demand service that can bolster your client work. In Chalk Lettering you’ll learn the many ways to turn a small sketch or something you designed on the computer into a piece on a wall. Annica will discuss methods you can use to create temporary or long-lasting chalk murals and demonstrate freehand sketching and grid mapping. 

You’ll learn:

  • How to prepare your surface
  • Multiple options for transferring an image to a wall
  • Techniques for stylizing letter forms
  • The pros and cons of chalk, conte crayons and paint markers

Annica will help you develop a system for choosing type styles that work well together while enhancing the message of of your mural. She’ll also discuss the benefits of chalk and how practicing facilitates fine-tuning and makes murals less daunting.

Bending words into art, typographic murals are visual powerhouses. Watch one come to life and learn the techniques and process that go into making one in Chalk Lettering.


  1. Introduction - How to Develop Image
  2. Creating a Sketch and Adjusting in PS

    Annica shares her “getting started” process and how she transfers her sketches into Adobe Photoshop.

  3. Three Methods of Image Transfer
  4. Your Tools: Chalk, Markers and Beyond
  5. Chalk Lettering Mural in Action


Manish Gupta

Annica obviously has great talent, her method needs patience, truck loads of it. Of course, if you don't have patience, you should not purchase this course. This is a great course for someone starting off in chalk lettering. I would personally love to have a segment on the actual techniques used in photoshop to fine tune the chalk lettering done on paper/pencil. I especially loved the technique of doing it with paper pencil and just inverting it in photoshop. Overall, a great class. However, I felt, portions of the video could have been time lapsed ( like the wall mural segment) to save the students some time. Looking forward to seeing more from her.

Letter Shoppe

What a great class! This was the best online education I was able to find on Chalk Lettering by far. Annica's approach is fresh and she does a wonderful job of showcasing her process in a easy and fun way. Highly recommended!