PSSST! Make sure you read to the bottom and get your free bounce lettering practice sheet!

So you keep hearing this term- “bounce lettering” and wondering what it means? We’ve all been there as beginners (myself included!).

Well, bounce lettering is sorta a vague term. In simple terms, it means exactly what it sounds like: lettering that looks bouncy instead of all rigid on one line.

But lets back up a bit…

First, there are some basic terms you should know. In the diagram below, take note of:

BASELINE: this is the line your letters sit on- and this is the one we’re going to play with most!
WAIST: this is the line the main body of your letter hits
X HEIGHT (green X): this is the height of the main body of your letters- so in the example, the oval part in each letter.

And, less importantly for today’s lesson:

ASCENDER: the height that your top loops will hit (letters d, h, k, etc.)
DESCENDER: the (negative) height that your bottom loops will hit (letters g, p, y, etc.)

When you’re learning calligraphy using your basic strokes, it’s important to stick within the guidelines above.


Once you’re comfortable with the styles that stay within those boundaries, you can begin to break the rules. And that’s where bounce lettering comes in. You will often also hear this referred to as “bouncing baselines”. Why?

Because to bounce your lettering, you will begin to selectively ignore the baseline.

In the example below, notice how some of the letters dip below the baseline? This is the fundamental idea, and the easiest way to start adding some more character to your letters!

Once you’re comfortable with bouncing the baseline, you can also try playing with the waistline (k, I realize that sounds bad…. LOL).

In the example below, check out the difference it makes when you selectively ignore the baseline and the waistline.

Now… this is a very simplified example. Bounce lettering can be extremely challenging- and if you don’t do it carefully, your work can easily turn messy. Although bounce lettering is meant to be a freeform, whimsical style, there are still some general guidelines that you should be following.


Ready to learn my 4 basic guidelines and give bounce lettering a try? Good! Cause I’ve made you a free traceable worksheet.