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Simple Methods for Custom Lettering

Lesson 18 of 21

Lettering By Hand: Brush Pens

Brandon Rike

Simple Methods for Custom Lettering

Brandon Rike

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Lesson Info

18. Lettering By Hand: Brush Pens

Lesson Info

Lettering By Hand: Brush Pens

So I don't know if you guys have are familiar with brush pins, but I wasn't familiar with fresh pins for a long time and uh I moved on to them and it really everything changed for me, so we've talked about line thickness on some of these so the flare tip gives you a little bit of variation sharpie doesn't give you much variation this gives you a time of variation so earlier I had a word that's said panic and it was done with this the blink one eight two logo was done with this um there's a lot of my work that's done with this because all those little extra things that you tried tio brush out with the sharpie this this does it automatically. So what you want to learn with this brush pin most of the time just to kind of get a feel for it is to start thick? We'll start thick just pushed down and let it go so much you start thick and pushed down a lot of dough you get all these awesome little trails on it, so push down hard and just pull it towards you um and let up then you're gonna get a...

ll these cool little trails that people will try to do with photoshopping brush or people will try to do with a font uh it just doesn't happen that way so in the same way go very lightly just the tip of it and then push harder and let up and push harder and let out push really hard at the end you see all the crazy thickness that you're going to get in that one line just by rotating your hand and um applying less pressure so what I like to do it with this tool is I like tio let's see give give me another word sketch okay, so I'm gonna start really small come around to that side of the s and push really hard and let out you think again trail off, get really sick the top of this and get really thin really think of top of the bar take the top go back down and let yourself kind of push and pull and push and pull so it kind of uh you know what I'm saying it kind of pulses now this isn't going to drives quick is thie sharpie so just know that but it's worth the uh you know the different ways you can get how all the different variations you can get with this told and go for it this makes every word hard to spell somehow do you have this of that? I get it okay, so there's a whole lot of variation in that and then when I get it in tow illustrator aiken skew it I can do whatever I gotta do to make it you know to my liking but there's a lot of variation there so there's that and let me write try punk rock you can kind of see how that blank white too logo happened so when she take those you get him an illustrator and over lapham and you kern them the right way it starts making some really really rad shapes going to the word raven again I think this fits the tool I mean janie has been tuning in all day she says I'm from australia maybe you can try writing australia for her no problem all right and this is the stuff that happens when I'm all by myself just evil voices just myself so I need my other personalities with me okay australia let's see how do I want to do let's go ahead and do script you know script is inevitable I'm not shying away from script but let's see what happens with this brush pen when we're trying to do script so the main thing the main benefit you're going to get from this pen is just this line thickness that works for the kind of gnarly stuff that I was doing before but it also works really well for scripts e m m y me australia for any so you can see that the line thickness that happens is ah it's really been official for script also any other requests out there she actually suggested if we can try freedom freedom fredo I'm not try to do everything straight, which I know will not happen. Ok, so here's something you do in the brush, if you want to have everything chiseled off and go for it, it will give you this really great thickness. You could just use it like a chisel, tip marker or something, and obviously, I know you guys know this with lettering. You gotta identify the middle letter, and if there's not a middle letter, you have tio figure out what the middle two letters are, um, so I know that with freedom, the second e is the middle, but m is thicker so that we'll have something to or wider, I should say that will have to play in a little bit far is trying to get a piece and bring an accident. People wondering what sketch pad you're using. This is a specific this's just slightly smaller than what I usually use. This is a let me say, I think it's cancer, skansen, um, excel, mixed media, so mixed media means that I don't have to go out and buy a different sketch pads if I want a watercolor or marker or whatever. So I get mixed media because I know it's always going to perform well in each watercolor it wants tio have it wants to be absorb it because that adds a whole other thing um sketch pad and once they have a lot of teeth so that it can pull your pencil lead around but mixed media is the best of both worlds so this is what works for me and I usually like I buy so many sketch pads I go into the school supplies section and whatever the sketch pad is in the drawing pad it works for what I need it for so here's freedom let's do like let's use this thing and we'll go thick and thin again wait, I'm thinking about this is if these little lines are a perfect circle at the bottom or if they're not like perfectly where they need to be, I can mess with that inside illustrator you know and also I can take this thing on the bottom and pace it onto the top so that it makes a whole circle so that's the way I'm thinking about this stuff when I'm putting it on paper particular pen that's your favorite that you're kind of your go to out of all of these out of all of these um I really think I just used the sharpie most of the time um I think that there's something I like about the restraint of it I remember um you know, I had this class where goal was teo you know, make some make some layout and all you can do is cut out xerox letters you know so you don't really get to design too much all you had was that parameter so I like having a parameter b like this is the sharp you're using it's running out of ink a little bit but this is what you have to use to make this thing happen and I'll just draw a bunch of things out on the sketch pad and then a scandal men and somehow I'll get the job done that way yeah so I would say the sharp because it's always there I pretty much always have a sharpie um but if you haven't used these brush tip ins you have to get on it I mean, these uh tom bow is good I don't know if I'm pronouncing the name right but that's how I say it I think there's a few other brush pens but you can just go and search for brush pins uh the only goal really brush pan is just don't get something that's too expensive because like I said, you know, you don't want that to stand in the way of you buying another one, so just get something and buy the twelve packs of these things so that you can you know, I probably use it different brush pin every probably last about two or three months and then I'll get rid of it I have to smooth from online tunisia smooth or th th does brandon have a background in calligraphy? I've heard other letters say it helps from there letters and their experiences. I'm sure it does. I wish I had it, but I don't. But, you know, maybe the drawback of having a background in calligraphy would mean that you never really try the other styles is that you say he rest on your laurels of cursive and calligraphy and stuff like that? I would rather be able to do a lot of things now when I see those guys who could use a little sponge like a makeup sponge and they right out a word in calligraphy that takes three seconds that stuffs amazing, so I would never want teo talk bad about anything. I mean, that's amazing it's an amazing craft. And, uh but no, I have no, um I have no background in anything, you know? I mean, I have background and rock n roll and that's all I have and I have background and d I y and and I it took me a few years before I just accepted who I wass and I wanted to be, like, have some pedigree or something, but I just don't and and this is my way, and I think that over time that story has come out in my work that the state is just doing whatever it takes to get by and get the project on, and, um, so I would say that's, my style, so right? So, no, I don't have a shaky hand, and I hope it doesn't mean anything big, but, you know, I've had a shaky hand for a long time, and I wanted to fight that for awhile and just be like, I don't know, I could get discouraged being trying to do something perfectly straight, but, um, you know, for the past, you know, twenty years I can't get this thing to stop shaking, so it just is what it is, it's, not that bad, but it's never totally still and my grandma who's, extremely healthy, eighty something your old she's like, I do the same thing I was on the same thing my whole life, so actually, I'm sorry, she says, I do the same thing, honey, and have done the same thing my whole life, but so my grandma is always like that, and so I'm not that worried about it, but it's part of who I am and you know, if you look really close to some of my hand lettered stuff, you'll see that that's brandon because he was shaking and it is what it is, so I don't know what else I can do about it. Um, instead of saying I'm not going to do anything by hand, I have to embrace it. That's my only the only the only thing that makes sense to me. So let me see what you guys have done with these. Wicked yes, that's totally a brush pin, word smash and joy that andrew is really cool. And then yeah, I mean, this will be so cool, so like, you know, he did this little sun thing here. So what happens with the sun as far that I just smudged, but we can take care of that photo show. So with this sun he's created all these elements that now he can build a full sun inside, illustrate or maybe it's a palm tree? Or maybe it's a palm frond or something that you can make a whole thing out of it. But you've created an element, a shape that has never existed. You made it yourself, and we'll be able to be used for much things. So that's what I think is the appeal of all this stuff, this freedom it's, so great, because it looks like the old eighties, sure, yeah, these old eighty shirts with this freedom so like I see that kind of like in it with like a vintage son behind it and like just something retro from the eighties where it's kind of repeated and you can see the you know, the texture of the tool that they use so the way that this half goes over that's awesome yes. So this is the epitome of what this tool does is the thick and thin the thick and thin and there just this um I did something that was sort of supposed to kind of go along with fear and loathing in las vegas and this brush pin was perfect for that. So the thick and thin ness of it all there's just so many things going on here because there's so many wait so this whole thing takes you on a journey throughout the whole deal this australia is so cool because she tried teo you know, she was perk, you know, purposely made one end of it thick and one and then it looks like, uh, yes that's what it looks like the left side most of the time is the structure and then everything else has been outside of it but this this one down here at the stars great hand, this curse someone is created yeah, you've really got a good handle on the thick and thin that one that was so cool great job yes, I love this all caps so he did he tried to have the interior lines really thin and used the out one's a little bit thicker then all the underlines there's like there's so much texture inside of an underlying when you you know, the underlying I've always find becomes this other tool I mean you could warp that underline and curve it or something to start making a circle with it so we'll find well this little australia see it's like the more dynamic the thin to thick iss the more amazing it s so that was great he has got that's the brush tip in um those of the different things you can do with it uh and it's really, really, really fun to, um explore the thick and the thin so messing with the line weights okay, so, you know, of course the pencil can always do this stuff you're going to get little um you know, let's uh, that's right there's always value in these little things like how whatever comes out there's ways toe like use it later so there's a lot of things in their lives and you're going to get a lot of cool little imperfections and that and how it reacts with the paper texture um karan's got a whole lot of reaction with thea paper texture that's full that comes pre distressed. You know what I'm saying? Like there's texture inside of that it's already done for you. So the crown's really cool. So as an adult, you can go back to buying crowns a lot.

Class Description

You might be surprised to learn that you don’t need to know how to hand letter and draw to create rad custom typography. In fact, Brandon Rike – whose star-studded client list includes everyone from Pharrell to Madonna – creates his unique lettering almost exclusively in Illustrator. He’ll show you how its done in Simple Methods for Custom Lettering. 

Working with type is a huge part of graphic design and custom letterforms can be applied to just about every project you’ll work on. In this class, you’ll take an in-depth look at type and learn Brandon’s methods for customizing it to fit the project. 

You’ll learn about:

  • Matching the typeface to the mood of your project
  • Working with color, shape, and form
  • Customizing letterforms based on existing fonts
  • Improving your workflow

You’ll learn three methods for creating custom typography and how to differentiate between high and low-quality letterforms. Brandon will also teach his super efficient workflow, so your projects aren’t bogged down during the lettering process.

Both beginners and professionals will learn new ways of working in Adobe Illustrator to produce rockstar-quality custom type.


a Creativelive Student

This was a great class to watch. Extremely informative and fun. It's great to see someone so passionate about they work.


A great class that inspires a lot of confidence and shows off some very simple yet effective techniques to create great lettering.

Cory Kensinger

Totally worth my time! I wasn't expecting Brandon to give such an impactful launch into this course. Brandon really gives you an insight into his life and his real experience as a designer, helping you not with just designing cool things but helping you set your mindset and expectations, pursuing this as a lifestyle and craft. I found lots of little workflow tricks that I will be using immediately. The only downside I found in this course was the speed Brandon teaches some concepts. I had to use the 15s rewind button a lot while taking this course. I know it's because Brandon is used to working fast, but I would have really appreciated a more paced explanation of something. For example, he used Option key a lot during the course of the class while using a Pathfinder function. That was one little thing that never got explained. After looking it up, I found it was for creating a compound shape while cutting the shape. Aside from that, one of the best design courses I've seen yet.