Resources for Learning and Practicing Digital Hand Lettering and Illustration
One of the most frequent questions I get is what tools and brushes I use for my illustrations, as well as good resources for people looking to learn. So below, I've rounded up some of my go-to resources for you!
Note: Some items are affiliate links, which just means if you purchase my recommendation, I'll earn a small commission at no cost to you. Thank you!
First, let me say - you can and should practice your drawing with a good ol' fashioned paper and pencil. It's affordable, easy to get and transport with you, and will help you develop a steady hand and good technique, which will only make your work all the better if/when you move to an iPad. I didn't upgrade to an iPad until almost 10 years into my illustration journey! But if you'd prefer to work digitally, here's what I use!
The options for which iPad to get can be overwhelming, and there are great comparisons online to help you decide depending upon what's most important to you (budget, realistic drawing feel / lag, pressure sensitivity, etc.) I personally use the 12.9" iPad Pro (mine is an older model than what's currently available), but this really comes down to your own preference. I like that it's about the size of a real sheet of paper, and the upgraded hard drive space. I of course have the Apple Pencil to go with it! I find that the newer generation pencil is a lot better than the original, so I made sure the iPad I went with would support that pencil. I work almost exclusively in the Procreate app for all of my drawings.
I found that my palm was sometimes interfering with my gestures and your hand doesn't glide on the iPad glass as easily as it does on a piece of paper, so I bought a little glove that solved both of those issues. There are tons of options out there, but this one fits my small hand pretty well! I also love Paperlike screen covers for the iPad. They create a subtle, paper-like (heyo!) texture that feels more natural to draw on. Plus they protect your screen!
I also find that when I'm drawing for a long time, the Apple Pencil isn't super comfortable to hold, so I also use these grips or this Apple Pencil Sleeve that looks like a No. 2 pencil, to make it a bit more ergonomic.
My Favorite Procreate Brushes
Gouache Shader Brushes
These are the brushes I use for almost all of my shape drawing, and a lot of my texture work.
Woodland Wonderland Brushes
I also use these a lot – I love the gritty edges of a lot of them, and the texture!
Grid Builder Brushes
These are a go-to for setting up guides for my lettering. It honestly feels like cheating, they're so helpful!
The Rusty Nib
These brushes are somewhat new to me but I've been loving the distressing as I continue to experiment with my illustration style!
There are a ton of incredible classes on Skillshare, and you can actually try it for a month for free with my link, which is more than enough time to work through a few classes if you're committed!
Martina Flor is an absolutely incredible letterer and designer with several great classes!
Charly Clements is a fabulous illustrator who makes creating colorful, fun illustrations feel so achievable.
Of course, Jessica Hische also has some wonderful classes to help you get started, and her work is totally unmatched.
Jarom Vogel has some fantastic classes to help you get the hang of Procreate!
There are a TON of incredible books out there, whether you're looking to learn illustration techniques, lettering, or just general creativity. Here are just a few I love!
In Progress by Jessica Hische is a must-have if you're wanting to get into Illustrator and vectorize your work. She breaks it down and makes it so easy, and it's so fun to see where some of her work starts as thumbnails.
The House Industries Lettering Manual by Ken Barber is amazing! So many lettering styles, including guides on how your brush/pen/pencil should move to create the shapes.
The Golden Secrets of Lettering by Martina Flor is also a great book, with beautiful inspiration and really wonderful advice and guides for how to create beautiful lettering.
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