You’ve made it! It’s the final lesson of your two-week Lettering Studio immersion, and boy have we covered a lot! You’ve gone from the very basics of brush lettering right through to working with your lettering in Photoshop and Illustrator! What’s the next step, though? Sharing your work and finding more inspiration! And that’s where this lesson comes in.
After the intensity of the last few lessons today’s class will be a bit lighter, so you’ll be able to focus on the exercises from the past few days while digesting the info in today’s lesson ?
Lesson Aim: To learn how to use Instagram and Pinterest for lettering.
Instagram and Pinterest feel like they were made for lettering artists. If Facebook is for keeping up with friends and family, Twitter is for following news and celebrities, and Snapchat is for flower crowns and dog filters (let’s be honest, that’s what we all use it for), then Instagram and Pinterest are the ‘lettering artist’ social networks.
There are a couple of ways you can use each to take full advantage of the platform, and I’ll be going through each in this lesson here. They’re quite simple, however, when used will result in more lettering inspiration than you can possibly know what to do with!
Let’s start with Pinterest!
Pinterest for Hand Lettering
If you’ve never used Pinterest before, the easiest way to describe it is that it’s a visually-led, virtual pinboard for sharing and saving amazing images. Due to its visual focus, it’s a goldmine for artists, creatives, designers, and of course, lettering artists.
The first thing to do is run a search for your favourite lettering style! For this example, I’ll search for ‘monoline lettering’. This is what shows up!
Sweet, we have some pretty cool stuff here! Let’s open one up. Now here’s the best part of Pinterest, in my opinion – related pins! Being able to scroll down from an opened image and see related pins is an amazing way to hone in on a particular lettering style! Pinterest’s algorithms are usually pretty excellent, so if you find a lettering piece on Pinterest you love the look of, and want to see more examples of how it can be used or created, simply open up the image, scroll down to related pins, and get exploring! I’ve lost hours of my life this way, it’s an amazing way to feel inspired and get some new ideas.
Pinterest’s algorithms are usually pretty excellent, so if you find a lettering piece on Pinterest you love the look of, and want to see more examples of how it can be used or created, simply open up the image, scroll down to related pins, and get exploring! I’ve lost hours of my life this way, it’s an amazing way to feel inspired and get some new ideas.
The last thing to do here is to save all these amazing pieces you’re finding. See that ‘save’ button in the top right? Click that little guy, and Pinterest will ask you what board you’d like to save the piece to. I’d recommend starting a new board just for lettering! This way, as you save more and more, you’ll always have a board full of fresh lettering inspiration. And you can then open each one of these amazing saved pieces and explore its related images, and so on and so forth. It’s endless! For an example, you can find my Lettering board right here.
Alrighty, let’s jump on over to Instagram. Things get a bit more interesting here! If Pinterest is all about discovery and curation, Instagram is creation and sharing!
The first thing to do is think about who you follow. My recommendation would be a combination of two types of accounts.
- Lettering artists. These guys are the artists themselves, those creating and sharing their own work, day in and day out. Awesome to see how they work, what they do to create their pieces, and as an insight into different artists workflows.
- Curation profiles. Instead of creating pieces themselves, these accounts collect and reshare incredible lettering art from all over Instagram. You’ll be using these accounts to find new lettering artists, new styles, as well as trying to get featured yourself.
I featured some awesome lettering artists back in Lesson 2, so make sure you’re following them, and you’ll find some of my favourite curation accounts right here:
There are so many of these, but this list should get you started ? The best way to use these is to check out the captions of posts that stand out to you – they’ll always tag the original artist, and you can then check out the artist’s profile, their other work, and boom you have a new lettering artist to follow and be inspired by!
There’s one other feature I’d like to point out – Instagram’s ‘save‘ function! This is relatively new, and fantastic for people like us trying to build a bank of inspiration.
Under each image you view on Instagram you’ll see a little bookmark icon. This lets you save the image to a private section on your profile (look for the bookmark icon once again!). I use this to save lettering pieces I want to come back to, experiment with, or use as reference work – so much better than the old method of screenshotting and endlessly scrolling through your Photos app trying to find that awesome piece from a few weeks ago!
Sweet! Okay, let’s look at some tips for posting your own work on Instagram. For hand lettering, hashtags are your new best friend. In your explorations of your favourite artist’s Instagram accounts you may have noticed they go heavy on the ol’ hashtags! This is definitely a good thing, and something you should be doing as well – it gives you that all-important exposure when just getting started, and also lets you catch the eye of those curation accounts we just talked about ? My advice would be to think about your intended audience, those you want to see your work. The best thing to do to accomplish this is to emulate your heroes! Let’s look at an example and check out an awesome lettering piece:
Cool, right? Definitely follow this guy, one of my favourites. But check out all those tags! Tagging your work like this does two things:
- Lets new people find your work.
- Let’s the curation pages find your work.
This second point is arguably more important, as if these curation pages like what they see they may feature you. They usually have hundreds of thousands of followers, so getting featured opens up your work to huge new audiences!
I usually check out a few lettering artist’s posts I like, look at the hashtags they use, and compile my own list based on a combination of different artist’s choices. If these hashtags are working for them then odds are they’ll also work for you, so get tagging! Here’s an example of the result of that in action:
All I want to do is explore ? Monoline sketch done with Staedtler Lead Holder, digitized in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator // #type #typo #typography #calligraphy #cursive #lettering #script #handlettering #handtype #letter #thedailytype #typographyinspired #typespire #handdrawntype #calligritype #goodtype #thedesigntip #typographie #typenation #calligrammywork #brushtype @thedesigntip #typegraphics #letteringco #typegraphics #typematters #typegang #simplealphabets @50wordsongrey #50words #strengthinletters #letteringco
NOUN SPREE ▶️ some more gems from the nouns tag here for y’all: • The surely simple spotlight is on✨: @biaohui @wordsbyjames @claire_and_letters @swaysquared • Awesome work! Be sure to check out all their accounts and hit the follow button ? • This is the week of NOUNS (1st-7th July) • Upload a handdrawn/handlettered video/image of a noun and tag it with: ▶️#SimpleAlphabets ▶️#SimpleAlphabets_noun • Be sure to tag me @surelysimplechallenge @surelysimpleblog too! You get multiple entries so post away! You may be featured next! Don’t miss out! • Teacher features and 5 things coming up! • #brushpens #watercolorsketch #pencilartist
Lastly, don’t forget to tag your work with #letteringstudio as well! I’d love to see the pieces you’re making with the skills learnt here!
And that’s it for the free lessons of Lettering Studio! You’ve made it, and what a journey it’s been! It’s wonderful hearing how much fun you’re all having with this and seeing the amazing things you’re making.
I’m currently working on expanding this short course into a full-length video course and dive a lot deeper into practical exercises, different lettering styles, doing case studies on different methods, materials, and artists, and exploring the world of lettering in much greater detail, so if this sounds like something you’d be interested in let me know in the comments! As well as anything you’re burning to know about lettering, I’ll see what I can do about including it in the upcoming lessons ?
This next chapter will be coming out very soon, but in the meantime keep practising and posting, and I’ll speak to you soon!