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Simple Methods for Custom Lettering

Lesson 17 of 21

Lettering By Hand: Sharpie

Brandon Rike

Simple Methods for Custom Lettering

Brandon Rike

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Lesson Info

17. Lettering By Hand: Sharpie

Lesson Info

Lettering By Hand: Sharpie

The next tool is the sharpie everybody's got a sharpie actually san francisco has a big artist who um that that is his weapon of choice is the sharpie and he does his whole all of his pieces in sharpie and I remember him saying something about how it's such a such a uh another underestimated and you know like under respected tool because this thing dries instantly you never have to sit around and wait for it just does the job and you'll learn how how it bleeds over time and how to start uh you know a straight line so let me see give me another word um anything first thing word association chocolate okay so chocolate um let me do okay so what I'm gonna do a chocolate is I will get a little bit bigger working with sharpie um than I would with uh the flare tip pen so as these pins get bigger you know you want to work bigger I think um but there is something there also is something great about that so you can't interes underestimate that but if I was really doing this project I want to do ...

it that way I would do it like this it's spaced out so I can use it inside illustrator you kind of screwed things up for you if you make too many letters touching um I like to scribble with uh sharpie I can get that scratched up look really the only criteria because I don't wanna touch and I you know I'm gonna take these think I want to take these on the computer well we'll say that um but everything makes sense once it's in the computer and you understand how these things react essentially you're making your own font right now and the class or the method of manipulating existing fun you're sort of just gonna end up doing that with this thing that you make now okay that's one way but let me do this so some of the stuff that I'm doing is a little too nice and one of my pillars is that you don't need to have good handwriting so let me purposely do stuff kind of poorly that's nice I already got the a I mean we have to draw on a man so that's yeah call tae so but it's you know, you learn that what you need and what you you know that it doesn't really matter what order the letters are you just sort of just do it. I just wanna find somebody who has the worst handwriting and the whole office and and then say I'll make something else what's fun to is that doing this for so long you learned to write in so many different ways that uh kind of forget what your own handwriting actually is no you know what I'm gonna do on this one is I'm not gonna repeat any letters not that you want it to look like a fun but you know it's it might look kind of cool that you could almost trick somebody thinking it I think I also want to make sure that I'm redefining what the word lettering means and I think that the trend of this beautiful script was a beautiful trend it really wass and I mean is I shouldn't say it like it's gone but um it also scared off a lot of artistic people and that's not what trying you know that's not what the world needs the world needs your unique voice the world needs to see the way you do what you d'oh and you need to give yourself the freedom to do it so don't be afraid of you know you guys saw what I'm doing I keep doing like this punk rock thing because I just that's kind of what I do that's kind of what I really excites me what's fun for me to dio um so that's that's who I am you know and it's fun to like well I guess I could tried it like put a whole bunch of flourishes on here just make this beautiful it's all spelled correctly everything but I could do that right and then I could go back in and the way we illustrated the letter forms and make something just totally beautiful and I um but I don't know if you guys noticed by now it is just not my personality you know and it's not who I um it's not what excites me it's not the motivator inside of me and I don't know that I would be asked to do that project in the first place but if this is your style and do that and figure out how to continue you know like use these things and you know if you feel like you can't do a perfect well then maybe it's better for you to do it with a sharpie and just realize that well I don't do the perfect script but I do the script I do the script that has a court to it I guarantee you after a while people start taking notice he says hey you want copy handwriting right with your opposite hand there you go here we go curious to see what the office and hand looks like all right trying to get I wanna make it I'll try to make it good it's kind of like tales from the crypt I guarantee I could use it some evil chocolate maybe the food words they're gonna make us tio that looks good don't don't I have ten chocolate? Okay, so that's sharpie um it's always gonna be a good go to tool and it sort of just a bigger version of flair to pan with flare tip smaller than that perfect. You know what's cool about the sharpie too as you can get consistent line with so this you know, this whole thing it could almost be a stroke because all that looks pretty consistent you know, these little things with the cool little edges on are going to look so rad once we bring in an illustrator and pull all that stuff out yeah, this is great. And this this is sharpie here or eyes all of all sharpie okay, so she took the sharpie and kind of use the finer tip of it then really pressing hard and going really thick I like this sort of thing. This is great. Um so yeah, this is really cool. We can do something really cool with this because it's so inconsistent you know, the line thicknesses air so inconsistent which look like there was done on purpose and that's gonna be uh that would be a really cool thing and mess with in there. Yeah, you always say I just love doing this sort of thing uh, yeah, this is this one's really cool that one's let's see that was you doing beautiful script and just letting you do your thing the way you do it and I think that's really, really cool I think they make some cool, huh yeah, this is great, I love that this is really cool. That's got a lot of personality because she's mixing capital letters and little tiny food curse of lower case letters that has a whole lot of really cool potential in, they're all really great. Yeah, this is cool. I like that one a lot. I like this a lot. I think you're getting some really cool imperfections on the edges of those, um, it's, just so cool away this, you know, like, you don't have to try that hard with these tools, you just have to embrace what the tool does. And, uh, you know, uh, just just trust in yourself and trust the way you do it.

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.