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Adding Lettering to your Artwork

Lettering is an art form onto its own. However, adding words, sentences or whole quotes to your art is  a great way to tie it together and is a well know practice in mixed media art.

There are books, websites, YouTube videos  and whole courses dedicated to lettering to help you learn any style you want so I am just going to share with you some of the ways that I have used add words, sentences and quotes to spice up  art pieces, that you can use too.

 Cut them out of newspapers

mixed media collage

I have an artist friend who is always snipping words in various fonts out of newspapers and magazines to use in her artwork. She stores them and this way way she always has the perfect words she can use for her art. 

The piece above was done at a summer art educators workshop​ and I felt like I needed some words to give some kind of idea of what I was trying to to depict. When I posted this I thought that I had cut it out of a newspaper but, then realized that I had typed it out and then cut it up.I decided to keep it in anyway because I saw that  I did not have any samples using newspapers and it really is a great idea . 🙂 (and looks like it could have been cut from a paper)

Stamp them

mixed media piece using tree stencil leaf cutouts and quote

This quote was stamped onto card stock, cut out and then pasted on. Depending on what material you are working on will determine if you can stamp on it and how. You can often stamp directly onto the artwork but, then you'll have to deal with mistakes. Adding them to other papers first takes care of that problem. There are many sizes and styles of alphabet stamps that you can use.

Stencil them

mixed media piece using complementary colors

I stenciled this through an alphabet stencil that was a bit too large for this space. I purchased a set of alphabet stencils on eBay which are not as useful as I thought initially because they are all the same size and there is no variation.

Buy them 

mixed media piece using ephemera cleaners tickets for background

Adding words is a huge part of scrap booking &  you can buy  so many  different types of letters. These were small cardboard squares but, there are peel and stick letter, tiles, transfer letters etc.

Type them with different fonts

 I devised this method of being able to get words of many fonts onto art pieces.

  • Find fonts you like on the computer and download them
  • Type the quote you like in that font in the size you want it
  • Print it out
  • Take a piece of tracing paper, lay it over the quote and trace it
  • Cut around the letters and then using gel medium, paste it onto your art work. The tracing paper will usually blend into the background.
  • If you have a way of printing directly onto tracing paper that would be even better.
typing interesting quotein large font

I created the piece below with this method. Someone wanted to buy it so I had to redo the lettering for her since it got smudged with the type of pen I used. Make sure you use a waterproof pen.

mixed media piece with newspaper background and collaged eyeglasses

Below are some of the fonts I downloaded onto my computer to have to choose from. I type the complete alphabet in each font so I can see how they will look.

Write with a calligraphy pen

If you have calligraphy pens you can get a pretty good calligraphic look without too much skill. Of course, learning how to really use the pens will make it much nicer and you'll then appreciate how much you didn't know without knowing what you were doing. 🙂

mixed media piece with newspaper background, sunset sky and stenciled bridege
mixed media art with tree and flowers
mixed media art with stenciled images of tree horse and birds

Learn some fancy hand lettering

If you want to try your hand at learning some new hand lettering, then create each new style on a separate sheet with the full alphabet so you will be able to copy it when you want to use that style lettering.

alphabet written in fancy lettering
alphabet written with gel pens and glaze pens

Use any number of homemade fonts

I have a few books on lettering and have been trying out various handwritten fonts to see which are easy to use and pretty to look at.

quote on water color background

Journal them

Journaling  basically means just writing in script. Adding some handwritten words give art pieces a very cool look and what I tend to do is just write words to songs so it flows and I don't have to think up any deep, dark secrets to write on my art pieces. (I can just imagine my kids finding some art piece describing what it was like bringing them up)

mask with 4 women sprayed over with ink
abstract art with circles and journaling
art journal spread using tree stencil depicting autumn and spring

A combination of lettering styles 

There are different ways people use lettering. Some use it to add to a piece and some make it the central part of an art piece. In this piece (done by my daughter) since the quote was the whole piece, she experimented with different ways of adding lettering.

So that's what I've got for you...If you feel like you hate your handwriting then using lots of the ideas here would be perfect for you to be able to add some lettering, that extra touch to your art piece.

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