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Script lettering for beginners: a step-by-step guide to cursive hand lettering

Updated: Oct 13, 2021


Script lettering is a popular style amongst many hand lettering lovers. This article is suitable for anyone who is keen on learning how to letter this much-loved cursive style. I will be covering the core principles behind script lettering, starting with the basic strokes, followed by upper case and lower case exemplars as well as some of my personal tips for composition, hierarchy, layout and overall presentation.


Equipment required for this tutorial:

  • A ruler

  • A pencil

  • A Pentel Touch brush pen (or any similar brush pen)

  • iPad Pro & ProCreate app (optional)


Step 1: Basic stokes


The foundation behind script lettering is the contrast between the thick and thin strokes. Your own individual style will emerge with time and practice. To start with, the general rule of thumb is to remember that the upstrokes are thin and the downstrokes are thick. Let’s practise this principle with some basic strokes.





Step 2: Alphabets


You can now apply the principle you learnt in step 1 to form cursive letters. Using the exemplars provided, refer to the direction of the arrows marked in blue.


Majuscule exemplar


Minuscule exemplar



Step 3: Pencil sketch your layout ideas


Now that you've practised the basic strokes and alphabets, let's pick a short phrase and start sketching. I prefer to start by loose-sketching multiple layout ideas. I use a rough baseline but avoid the constraints of a full grid (this will come later). This step is solely focused on experimenting with layout ideas and seeing what looks good.



Consider the dimensions of the piece. Are you working towards a landscape or portrait format? Let your composition be led by the final format required.


I've broken down the 4 different sketches to outline some possible approaches you could take while sketching:



This first sketch plays with an angled baseline. Each word evenly stacked, forming equal emphasis on each word.



While sketching, you may want to consider hierarchy. Is there a particular word you'd like to highlight? These 2 sketches display how visual hierarchy can really change the meaning of your phrase and what you choose to communicate.

You might also like to introduce different styles into your sketch.



You might choose to digitise your sketch











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