My inspiration for this project came from the wonderful book, Hand Lettering, by Marci Donley & DeAnn Singh. The authors call this technique “Writing Between the Lines”, but I think “Dense Text” describes it better. I tried it with my middle schoolers and the results were fantastic! You’ll find so many applications for this fun lettering style.… use it to write out a favorite verse, quote, or poem, make greeting cards for birthdays and other holidays, or simply fill your art journal with a beautiful message. I’ve also seen this technique described as “Slow Journaling”.… check out the Daisy Yellow blog for some great examples. Call it whatever you like, but be sure to try it!
- paper (we used 9x12 white heavyweight construction paper)
- pencil and eraser
- black “F” Sharpie marker
- Crayola Watercolor Pencils
- Choose the text you want to write out.
- With a pencil, lightly draw a ½” border along each edge of your paper.
- Next, lightly draw some wavy guide lines across your paper. (If you’re copying a specific text, divide it up by how much you want to write on each line. That way you’ll know how many lines to draw!)
- Now add your text lightly in pencil, filling the space between each line, using basic san serif letters in all capitals (a.k.a. “stick letters”) . Touch both the upper and lower lines with your letters. (To make your text fit on each line, you’ll be making some letters wider or narrower as needed.)
- Trace over your letters with Sharpie, but do not trace over the lines!
- Erase your guide lines, border, and any other pencil lines that are still showing.
- Use watercolor pencils to add color inside the closed shapes of each letter. Then fill in around your letters with contrasting colors. It’s okay to leave some areas of white if that works with your design.
- Finally, blend your colors with a damp brush. You only need a small amount of water when you work with watercolor pencils, blotting your brush on a paper towel each time you rinse it. And be careful not to let complimentary colors mix, or you may end up with “mud”! (Complimentary colors are colors that are across from each other on the color wheel: red/green, blue/orange, yellow/violet… try mixing these colors when you want a variety of interesting browns!)
Can you think of a good name for this lettering style?