Celebrate spring with Ilona Regnery’s guide to capital serif letters

01 Apr 2020 0 Comments Feature, Tutorial arty, brush lettering, serif, watercolour

Make your cards eye catching with serif capital letters. They have the bold punch that a 3-dimensional word would have, but the serifs add a touch of extra detail to them, softening them a little and making them look detailed and impressive. You can use serif letters for single words as a focal point to the message but also for complete sayings or short poems.

In issue 9 of Simply Lettering, Ilona shares more details about mastering this style but here’s what you need to create the project above.


  • traditional Watercolour pans, Ecoline liquid watercolour in different colours or water soluble brush pens e.g. Ecoline, Tombow, Karin
  • mixing plate with deep wells
  • water
  • paper towel
  • round brush (no. 2)
  • hot-press watercolour paper
  • Tombow Fine-liner 03
  • pencil
  • eraser


  1. Transfer the template (included with issue 9 or available for download HERE) with a pencil, very delicately without any pressure. If the strokes are too dark, erase them until they are only just visible. Please keep in mind you can’t erase the pencil strokes after lettering/colouring with watercolour.
  1. Prepare the mixing plate. If you’re using watercolours in pans apply a bit of each colour and thin them with clean water. The Ecoline liquid watercolours won’t need to be thinned. When you are using brush pens apply a little bit ink of each pen and add some clear water to every section. Do not worry if the colours start to dry on your plate, you can reactivate them with a bit of water.
  1. Take your clean, wet brush and a paper towel and start to fill out the first letter with a colour your choice. Try to work reasonably quickly and use enough water or thinned colour to fill out the letters. Before you work on the thinner serif lines, dry your brush a bit with a paper towel and pick your colour from the plate without any extra water, so that you have more control in these smaller areas. Clean your brush after every letter.
  1. Follow the lines of the small words with a Tombow Fine-liner 03. Use faux brush lettering if you prefer, by thickening the downstrokes afterwards. After the ink is totally dried, erase any visible pencil lines underneath.

  1. For more depth add some outlines, shadows or both to your watercolour letters. Add the outlines to the right sides and under your letters. Additionally, you can add shadows with a light grey colour, for example with Ecoline liquid 704. When you leave a small distance between letters and shadow you will get a fun drop shadow effect.

For more inspiration from Ilona, you can find her at:



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