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Add Dimensional Shadows to your Hand Lettering piece

Updated: Dec 19, 2018

Today on the blog, I want to share a tutorial about how to create a 3D effect and dramatic shadow to your hand lettering.

What you’ll need: Pencil, paper and the Tombow USA Dual Brush Pen (I chose the Black one, but feel free to use whichever color you like, or do a combination of them for the different traces).

Step 1: To start, sketch the outline of any word, in any style of lettering you want to use.

Step 2: Using the Fine Tip of the marker, start outlining the word. You can make this line as thick or thin as you’d like, just make sure that you’re leaving some white space around each letter. I like using the thin tip for this part because it’s harder, and you can have complete control over the width of the line as it doesn’t vary with different pressures.

Step 3: This is the most important step. When you’re thinking about shadows, you need to think about the sun as your source of light and where the sun rays will be reflecting your shadows on the same angle. Using my pencil, I picked the top left corner. If you’re having trouble remembering what direction you’re going to be using, draw an arrow to keep that direction top of mind. 

I want to show you one of my favorite tricks for creating shadows. Using tracing paper, trace the outline of your word, place it behind the original and move it for perfect shadow guides! Just place it at the angle that feels better for your composition. In this case, I liked the left angle better.

Step 4: Using the Thin Tip again, outline the shadows you’ve drawn in pencil.

Step 5:  Now using the Flexible Brush Tip of your marker, fill in the areas of shadow that you have created.

Step 6: Now is time for creating shadows using the stippling technique! Using the opposite angle this time, imagine your source of light is to the right this time. With your pencil, outline your second shadow.

Step 7: This technique is called Stippling, which we will utilize to create a surface with numerous small dots. Using the Fine Tip, the first thing I like to do is go around my pencil outline and draw dots over it.

Step 8: Continue using the Fine Tip, and fill in all the white space with small dots.

You have now created a 3D effect and bold shadow that makes any word really stand out off the page! If you would like to practice this 3D effect and stippling shadow technique here is a pdf of the outlined word “Flawless” for you to download and print. Click on the image below…

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