Beginning Lettering

It doesn’t really matter if you start with doodling or lettering.
My advice is to start with where you feel the most confident.
Do what you are sure of first is my one art rule.

In this lesson I will start with the lettering. Lettering begins with using our own handwriting, and written in this lesson are some helpful tips written in the text of this lesson on how to expand and improve your lettering skills.

feather-emily dickenson quote

Here is a photo and list of supplies you will need for this lesson (or something similar) to begin doodling in pen: 

Doodling-Lettering Supplies copy


  • Journal Pages of watercolor paper to doodle and write on
  • Pencil
  • Eraser –  kneaded eraser and/or white eraser suggested
  • Permanent drawing/writing pens, preferably in a few various widths, such as Fabercastell Pitt Pens (fineliner set which includes sizes XS, S, F, M) or Copic Fine Nib Inking Pens set which includes sizes 0.3, 0.1, 0.05, 0.03. Microns may work too, but tend to smear when writing over layers of acrylic medium or paint, so they aren’t my first choice.


PRACTICE writing some of your favorite quotes in different styles of writing such as:

  • Write in your own handwriting in cursive
  • Write in your own handwriting in printing using all caps
  • Write in your own print handwriting mixing up the caps and lowercase letters, and staggering the
  • If you are more comfortable doodling than lettering, think of writing as DRAWING letters instead of writing the letters.
  • Get inspiration from Pinterest – my Pinterest board for Words and Letters is: http://www.pinterest.com/valeriesjodin/words-letters/
  • Check out calligraphy/lettering books from the local library and practice with your drawing pen instead of a calligraphy pen
  • Look in your computer fonts and print out an alphabet. Then use it as inspiration to make your own.
  • To improve writing, I usually use graph paper or a grid journal. It is amazing how practicing in it helps get one in practice of making letters more consistent and the spacing in between the letters.

In this video I share some thoughts on using our own handwriting:

The password for the video is: do-letter

The following video shows the demo of writing the Emily Dickenson quote in my own handwriting:

The password for the video is: do-letter

 EE Cummings quote




  1. kmmonfort@redbarnvet.com

    Valerie, This will sound totally dopey, but you are my guilty pleasure. I hoard your class videos and watch them for inspiration, when I have run dry, and learn something new or am inspired every time. (and your video presence is like having an old friend help me with a problem – art-wise). Thanks for making the workshops, I am one of the old, original students and these were worth the wait.
    Kathy Monfort

    • Kathy, you are so funny! Can you feel me smiling? You made my day! Hugs and many creative blessings to you! No guilt needed though 🙂

  2. Carolyn

    Valerie: Looking forward to the workshop. I have searched for some time for something that would give me that “yes-this is it” feeling and there you were on Pinterest! Wow! Am so excited and I am a newbe wannabe. Am told I have some talent so we will see.

    • Welcome! We are happy to have you join us!

  3. Terri

    This is my second video class purchase in TWO days! I devoured one last night….staying up way past my bedtime to watch all the lessons! You are such a calming presence that inspires creativity in even the least of us! I believe, just listening to you, that I CAN do this and it will be all my own creativity that will pour out!! I feel a long distance kindred spirit!!
    Thanks for the videos! I look forward to more and wish you were closer for a class in person!!
    Terri S.

    • Thank you Terri. Yes you can! The world is getting smaller all the time, so we may connect in person at some point. Many creative blessings as you art journal!

  4. Suzanne

    all I can say is “can’t wait to try it” awesome

    • Suzy, Yay! Blessings of joy as you letter and doodle! – Valerie

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