In issue 2 of Simply Lettering, Andra Danciu shows us how to get started creating digital lettering using and iPad and the Procreate program. Read on to find out more
When I think of digital lettering, I think of the infinite possibilities of creating letters using just a pencil! I am referring to the Apple Pencil, which is like a magic wand. I use this with my iPad Pro and Procreate. Of course you can letter using a lot of other styluses, devices and software, but in my opinion the above combination can’t be beaten if you are a digital hand lettering artist, or learning to be one.
The Apple Pencil has pressure control, and with Procreate brushes you can achieve the thick and thin lines that are the main component of manual brush lettering.
I personally could not pick a single traditional medium over digital lettering. I love stationery, brush pens, calligraphy pens, inks, coloured pencils, colours, watercolours, embossing powders and paper textures, but I also love the fact that there are some pretty mind-blowing effects in Procreate that mimic every one of these. You can create your own brushes, import brushes bought from other artists or offered for free and import textures. You can have all the colours, combinations and blends you can possibly imagine!
Digital lettering can be used in business too. You can create a piece of lettered art and this design can then be repeatedly printed in high quality on a mug, a t-shirt or a card. You can use it with vinyl, foil and your electronic cutting machines to make multiple personalised gifts, instead of using a computer font.
1 Open Procreate, press the + in the right corner and select a new canvas. Depending on your project, you choose the width, height and dpi (resolution quality) already set or opt to create a custom size. Here I created an Instagram-friendly format of 2048 x 2048px. Tap the circle in the top-right corner and pick black as your colour.
2 Tap the brush icon, go to the Calligraphy folder, choose Brush Pen, tap it and make sure that in the Stroke Properties you have the Streamline at Max because this will help you write straight. To help with consistency, pick the first icon in the top left near Gallery, which looks like a tool, then select Canvas – Enable Drawing Guide and now you have a grid on your canvas.
3 Set the brush size to 11% and opacity to 100%, then write your word.
4 At this point you can stop, save it, print your written text and use it for vinyl or foil, but we will continue adding some colours and effects! In the top-right corner select the two squares, tap the layer and select Alpha Lock. Go to the colour circle, pick a colour and scribble over the first letter. Continue to pick a different colour for each letter.
5 Blend the colours by selecting the wand icon in the top-left corner then Gaussian Blur. Once the Gaussian Blur appears, you have to move the slider to the right to adjust the blur; I went for 40%.
Looks good, isn’t it? Let’s take it further and add a shadow.
6 Go back up to the Layer icon, tap it, uncheck alpha lock. With two fingers slide the layer to the left, duplicate it, select the second layer, by taping the arrow up in the left corner you check it and drag it down in the right corner, carefully, just to add a subtle shadow. Tap the second layer again, select, pick black, tap again the second layer, pick Fill Layer. Go back to first layer, tap it, select, go back to second layer, tap it, choose clear, go to arrow, up in the left corner and drag it to position the shadow. By doing all these steps I achieved the blank space between my written text and the shadow.
7 Now, for the shadow to be more realistic I am going back to Gaussian Blur where you can also find opacity and set them by your preferences! I’ve set the Gaussian blur to 14% and the Opacity to 85% and dragged the shadow even further.
8 To add a few splatters go to Water Brushes, pick Water Flick, Mad Splashes, Blotch, Water Drip, combine them, choose the size and the colour, create a new layer and splash here and there!
9 You can leave it like this or you can also add a textured paper like watercolour.
You can merge all the layers by dragging all of them together. Put your index finger on the first layer and your thumb on the last one and get then bring them together. After you do this, tap the merged layer and copy. Before exiting to the gallery, undo the last actions so you won`t lose the work on layers.
You are now in gallery and instead of tapping the +, you tap photo and import the watercolour background. Select the wrench icon, add action and paste. Now you have your design on a watercolour paper background. To create a textured effect on your design you tap the N on the inserted image and pick Linear Burn.
Look at these beautiful textured details. It`s done!
You can sign it and use it as you wish. Select the wrench icon, share, share image, JPEG or PNG.
Andra Danciu is a modern calligraphy, and a traditional and digital artist. Follow Andra on Instagram for more inspiration…
Learn more about Procreate for iPad here.