3 Hacks For Laying Out Calligraphy Letters

If you are struggling to get your spacing right for your calligraphy, these are going to be life-changing!

Let’s Get Started!

Let’s talk lettering layouts…

The three layouts I am going to focus on are:

  • Beginning Layout
  • Intermediate Layout
  • Advanced Layout

Prefer to watch than read? Feel free to skip right to the video and see these mistakes in real-time! ??

First things first…

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NOTE: this is all going to assume that you know your calligraphy basic strokes. IF YOU DON’T, you need to watch THIS VIDEO right away…. seriously. Stop this video right now and watch this one first!!!!

Before we get into it, let’s pick a quote – it can be any quote you want. For this example, I am using this one:

be the change you want to see in the world.”

Start by playing around with the layout of the letters in regular handwriting.

Keep in mind the x-height, ascenders & descenders!

Then, decide which layout you like best.

Beginning Layout

STEP 1: Write one line in calligraphy.

STEP 2: Write one line in block letters.

Repeat steps 1 & 2 for the rest of the quote.

STEP 3: Use the tracing paper to re-trace and perfect your centering/spacing.

Intermediate Layout

You’ll use the same quote, but write it all in calligraphy this time.

STEP 1: Write out all of your words in proper sizes.

Notice where you have ascenders & descenders running into each other and give yourself LOTS OF SPACE!

STEP 2: Move the tracing paper around to get the centering you want.

Notice where ascenders hit descenders & adjust accordingly.

STEP 3: Look at the design and correct spacing with a red pen.

STEP 4: Re-trace again with tracing paper & finalize!

Advanced Layout

You’ll use the same quote (with a narrower layout for more difficulty), all in calligraphy, adding flourishes!

STEP 1: Write out all of your words in proper sizes.

Disregard the vertical spacing at this point!

STEP 2: Move the tracing paper around to get the centering you want – notice where ascenders hit descenders.

STEP 3: Use the red pen to mark up & add flourishes/adjust the spacing.

Flourishing & combining letters together is a much more advanced technique!

STEP 4: Re-trace, adding flourishes and making adjustments.

And there you have it! The beginning, intermediate and advanced versions of calligraphy layouts!

So now that you understand my process for coming up with a calligraphy layout, you can start tweaking the calligraphy to be other styles, like block letters!

Ready to learn simple block lettering? Check out this video!

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