I’m a lefty so I can’t do lettering or calligraphy…
“I’m a lefty, so I can’t do calligraphy”
Is this something you say to yourself?
Or maybe someone else thought this about you? Well I’m here to prove you and them wrong!
Lefties damn well can do lettering and calligraphy and I’m living proof! Let me help you change your mindset.
Read on my friend…
Can Lefties be Successful at Lettering and Calligraphy?
“I’m a lefty and I have horrible handwriting so I can’t do lettering.”
Does this sound like you?
I’ve heard it both ways…”Wow you’re a lefty!? I’m surprised your hand writing looks that good, usually lefties have horrible penmanship”
“Oh, you’re a lefty!? I wish I was a lefty, they always have such beautiful hand writing.”
The bottom line…some lefties have good hand writing, and some don’t.
JUST like some righties have good hand writing and some don’t.
It’s as simple as that.
But here’s the thing, if we’re getting technical here…which we are 😉…hand WRITING is actually very different from hand LETTERING.
Think of lettering as actually drawing your letters. You’re taking your time, going slow and drawing each stroke of your letter separately, with precision. Then you’re going back over the strokes to tweak and add detail.
And think of brush calligraphy (brush lettering), using a brush pen, as the ART of writing. You are taking your time and drawing each stroke very slowly and meticulously.
That being said, from this day forward, you are no longer allowed to use the excuse “I have horrible hand WRITING so I’d never be able to do hand LETTERING or brush calligraphy”
It IS possible with a BUNCH of practice, patience and dedication.
But why is Lettering and Calligraphy Harder for Lefties?
Specifically for lefties, I’m not gonna lie…we definitely have it a little harder than our
Depending on how you hold your hand and paper, any or all of the following can be true for you when doing brush calligraphy (brush lettering):
1. As we write, our hand drags over top of our letters SMEARING the ink or pencil as we go. 😭
2. As we write, we can’t see the previous letters because our hand covers them. This makes it hard for us to write on a STRAIGHT LINE and stay consistent with the sizing and spacing of our letters.
3. As lefties, we have to “push”’our upstrokes instead of “pull” them with the brush tip. This makes it more difficult to get thins lines and to stay consistent.
4. Our letters always seem to slant left, instead of straight up and down or slanting to the right like they are “supposed to”.
5. As we try to avoid smudging, we do not move our hand along with the letters naturally as we go, resulting in uneven letter spacing and smooshed words.
How can Lefties Improve and Move Past these Issues?
Let me take you through each of the issues above and give some tips one by one…
1. Smearing ink–Try to avoid the infamous lefty smudge by:
A. Moving your hand above your words when you write. Try resting your pinky on the paper so the rest of your hand hovers above. (this is my preferred method)
B. Turning your paper 35 degrees counterclockwise while keeping your hand above your letters. This allows you to see the the letters you’ve just written a little better and lessens the chance of smearing even more.
C. Turning your paper 35-45 degrees clockwise and moving your hand underneath your letters so you are writing beneath as you would in traditional calligraphy using a dip pen. (Personally this method does not work for me but I’ve heard it does for others so I wanted to mention it)
2. Hand covers words–see #1 😉
3. Pushing upstrokes–Try and work through this inevitable issue by:
A. GOING SLOWER. Seriously, write slower. Like painfully slow. This will give your brush tip time to revert back from being pressed down, making it easier to get a thin upstroke.
B. Keep practicing to eventually find your own best practice in how you maneuver your brush tip. You will eventually get a better feel for it, and it will become easier with continued CONSISTENT daily practice.
4. Slanting letters– Try to avoid this by:
A. Moving your hand above your words when you write. This will change the position of your brush tip angle to the paper and set you up to make slanted strokes which slant to the right instead of the left.
B. Turning your paper 35-45 degrees clockwise and moving your hand underneath your letters so you are writing beneath your words. This will mimic how a right handed person writes and allow you to naturally slant your letters to the right. (Personally this method does not work for me but I’ve heard it does for others so I wanted to mention it)
5. Uneven letter spacing and smooshed words– Try to avoid this by:
A. Get into the habit of lifting up your hand after each letter. This way you’re constantly reassessing your word to ensure that the letters are:
1. staying evenly spaced
2. are on a consistent baseline
3. that it’s visually balanced overall.
B. Doing the steps within #1 above will also help with this.
Where can I find tutorials and lettering templates/worksheets that are perfect for Lefties?
Well you’ve come to the right place my friend! I happen to be a lefty (in case you forgot 😉 and have some awesome resources to get you moving in the right direction!
Learn WITHOUT a fancy brush pen
If you’re completely new to the world of hand lettering and calligraphy, then this is the place to start!
Let's do this brush pen thing!
Are you finally ready to crack the code and learn brush lettering from the ground up? Let’s do this!
Want to check out the brush pen I’m using here in this article? CLICK HERE
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Thanks a lot Tanya for this great and very complete post! I am sure it will be very helpful for all the leftie letterers! You are doing a great job!
My pleasure!! Thanks for checking it out and sharing!