Tips on Improving Your Lettering

Hi everyone!

Just a quick update on the ABCs Challenge. So far, everyone’s been doing great! You can check out more work at the #ABCsBookChallenge hashtag on Instagram.

I’ve been doing lettering for quite some time now – but I always say that there is always something new to learn. Most of the time, I get insights from students in class because they give out a fresh perspective on how to draw letters.

I’ve compiled some of the best ones here from the challenge and I’ll beΒ sharing tips on how to improve your lettering for today. πŸ™‚

Experimental Drafts

Featured work by @kateilao & @jissamari

Before working on your final artwork, it’s important to experiment with a lot of drafts – it opens up options on different ways to create layouts. Aside from having a lot of choices, doing drafts also exercises your creative juices and not limit yourself to just a particular set of font styles.

Font variety

Featured work by @ggprudenciado @nellaventura

After working on your drafts, it’s time to play around with your fonts – opt to add patterns or mixing up your serifs, sans serifs & scripts – you’ll be surprised at the infinite combination styles you’ll come up with. Fineliner pens are handy tools for this since they come in different weights (from thick to thin), making it easier to add variety to your letters.

Gradient Colors

Featured work by @aimrhodora @jazicka

If you’d like to work with color, watercolors are your best bet – take it up another notch by working with gradient styles. Gradients can be a combination of colors within the same family (analogous) or the total opposite (complementary).Β This effect can be achieved by incorporating water and “pulling” the colors as you move from one letter to another. Takes a lot of practice but the possibilities are endless!

Watercolor Washes

Featured work by @yamibears_ @aletejah

I’ve recently discovered the beauty of adding watercolor washes to your background. Instead of just having a plain white background, adding washes makes your work even more vibrant and put together. My tip is leaving it out to dry for at least 2-3 hours and use heavy duty watercolor paper (300GSM).

Illus Lettering

Featured work by @abeplr @jen_mandia

Lastly, level up your letters by making them illustrative, or adding illustrations. Think outside the box and compose different elements that could represent letterforms. Letterforms come in different shapes and sizes so it’s a great avenue to try doodling and drawing.


If you’re participating in the challenge, we have a few more prompts to go until Day 21! I have a big announcement on the 21st day so for those who have been part of the challenge since Day 1, stay tuned. πŸ™‚

On another note, I have opened 2 lettering classes this July & August. Click here to sign up!

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This will be my last few classes for the year to make way for other projects and events. Hope to see you!


And in case you haven’t gotten your copy yet of my book, The ABCs of Hand Lettering, it’s still available at major branches nationwide, on Amazon, Buqo, and at the shop.


Hope these tips helped in improving your lettering. You can join the ABCs Book Challenge to help hone your skills and track your progress.

Any tips/questions you’re curious to ask? Leave a comment below.

Abbey πŸ™‚

PS: Featured photo by Christie Lim, “Abbey Road” font by Mikko Sumulong.

  • Ronne

    . Everything you post is so cool. Btw.What brush do you use Ms. Abbey? ☺

  • Melody

    Hi Ms. Abbey! I super love your blog πŸ™‚ Can you give tips on how to avoid being shaky when doing strokes and proper way of doing shadows?? thanks πŸ™‚

    • abbey

      Hi Melody! Try not to hold the pen / brush too tight, and relax. Don’t be very stiff as it will affect your work πŸ™‚ Good luck!

  • Nadine

    Is it available in National Bookstore? (The ABCs Book Challenge) And can you suggest calligraphy brushes for a 11 year old beginner like me? Thank you Love your works!

    • abbey

      The book is currently out of stock but they will be available soon. You can get brushes at National Bookstore.

  • Justine Joy Lanuza

    HI ABBEY! i love your works! so muchhhh
    But actually wondering, what supplies do you use when you do calligraphy thanks

    • abbey thanks. all questions are answered there

  • Gail Crashtest

    Hey Abbey, i’m a fan of your work. πŸ™‚ i want to know, is calligraphy for everyone? Or, is calligraphy only for people who grew up to be creative and artistic? I grew up to be a very academic person and now want to explore the creative visual world, can I be an awesome calligrafile, even when I’m not good at painting or sketching or things like that?

    Looking forward to your response,

    • abbey

      Hi Gail, it’s not limited to creative people. I think creativity is something we can all have, not just people who do it on a regular basis. I wasn’t artistic/skilled and I also spent most of my school life in academic endeavors (I’m not an art student) so it’s really just how people are open to the idea of learning. You can always try and explore the various ways of opening up to drawing/sketching/making art. Good luck! πŸ™‚

  • Desiree Mendoza

    Hello ms. Abbey!! I am 14 years old and ever since I’ve bought your ABCs of Hand lettering, I started to buy some stuff about hand lettering! Your works were gorgeous and great and pretty and perfect hahahaha, My friends told me that I can’t do some hand lettering because I got a bag handwriting skills since then. And now I’ve proved them wrong and continue to pursue my dream to be like you ^_^

    • abbey

      Yay, that’s great! All the best, Desiree πŸ™‚

  • Rowee Robles

    Hi!! what watercolor do you use? Your lettering are so cool :))

    • abbey

      Please check πŸ™‚

  • Marianna

    Hi Abbey! I just wanna ask if what is your favorite kind of brand when it comes to brush pens and fine liners? Anyways, your artworks are wonderful!!❀️

    • abbey

      Hi Marianna, I use mostly Faber-Castell πŸ˜€ Thank you!