Did you know that 10% of the population is left handed. I happen to fall into that 10% although I do everything else right handed. I was told it was hard to hand letter as a left handed writer, but I took that a personal challenge. Oh yeah, watch me! And yes, sometimes being a lefty is extra hard, but I feel a little honored to be apart of this special club of people who have managed to learn despite our handedness.
Listen to a recap of this post on anchor.fm:
It’s good to determine what kind of lefty hand letterer you are: overwriter or underwriter before getting help with your specific problems. Here’s a great article on determining which one you are by Pieces Calligraphy. I happen to be an overwriter.
Left Hand Tips: Smudging
First thing about being a lefty is that you WILL smudge things. I smudge everything if I’m not careful. It’s pretty much a lefty move. I have to always be conscience of where my hand is laying. This is particularly frustrating when using a pen that doesn’t dry fast or doing watercolors. EVERY TIME! I’ve learned that I have to be patient with that part of the process. I have to physically wait, as well, for things to dry before plowing ahead.
Here’s a great video for left handed letters. It shows some tips for how to avoid smudging.
Left Handed Tips: Angles
When you are learning, the best tip I can give you is to not be afraid to change the angle of your pen or the angle of your paper. I have to turn my paper to write and if I don’t, my lettering looks wonky. So try different angles. Some people say to turn it one way, while others turn it another way. There is no right answer. You just have to see what works best for you.
Lefty Lettering Tips: Practice
Another important thing to factor in is that it’s not as simple as it looks. Brush Lettering requires controlled movements, but not so controlled that your hand starts shaking. It requires muscle memory. It requires lots and lots of practice. So while many will get so much better after even 6 months of practice, it takes years to be as good as the pros. I keep reminding myself of that 8 months in. I’m good enough to create cards and hand lettered prints, but I could be SO much better if I keep at it for another year or two and even then, I still need to keep at it so I don’t get rusty. It’s just like anything. You won’t be as good if you fail to practice.
Lefty Hand Lettering Tips: Callouses
Another issue I face is that I end up getting a callous on my left middle finger whenever I brush letter or even when I paint. It sometimes can get big if I am doing a lot of work. So to combat that, I soak my hand in warm water for 5 minutes. Then I pat it dry and use one of those stones for dry feet, or a file, and I gently try to smooth it down. I moisturize when I’m done. Sometimes it takes more than one time of that so I wait 24 hours and do it again the next day. My callous never completely goes away, but I can minimize it by this process. Sometime adjusting the grip of your pen or brush is the answer to getting callouses. See the video I posted above.
Lefty Hand Lettering Tips: Tools
The process of hand lettering for lefties is the same as righties as far as tools go. You don’t need special pens, special brushes, or any other special equipment. I use all the same tools as my right handed lettering friends do, but I use them differently. For instance, angling my paper, or being more aware of where my hand is resting.
The pen you decide to use is really what feels best in your hand. For me, I really like the Pentel Sign Brush Pen (affiliate link) because it comes in a variety of colors and is easy to use. The only problem I have with it is that it doesn’t dry very fast, so I have to be careful about smudging.
I’m still learning through this process, but hopefully these tips will help any other left handed letterers out there. If you have some tips, share them in the comments.