Hand Lettering

I Asked, You Answered: 5 Bonuses to Enhance Your Lettering Pieces

Let me first say, “THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!” to the support and encouragement given to me for starting this blog! It made me feel overwhelmingly happy. And an even bigger thank you to everyone who answered my survey! I had so many ideas in my head about what I wanted to write about. But the most important thing is writing about something that you want to read, right?!

With that being said, the survey helped inspire this blog post and some of the March 2017 Challenge I am hosting with the lovely and talented Hannah (@daintydaisydesigns_) on Instagram this month for the Letter 5 Ways Challenge! Below are the prompts. Jump right on in by following me (@flotographydesign) and Hannah on IG and using the hashtag #letter5ways.


This blog, inspired by survey answers, isn’t necessarily about how to letter. It is about what you can add to your lettering to make it stand out from the crowd. I look forward to expanding on each of these topics with some how-to and tutorials in the next several weeks!

Also, don’t get me wrong, there is NOTHING at all wrong with the basics – but it doesn’t hurt to add a little something-something to your work. Right?

I like to add these different elements below to enhance my composition. What is composition? Composition is placing pieces or elements together in a distinct way to make a piece of art. How you arrange your letters and styles and bonus elements can really bring it out in a new way.

Here are 5 something-somethings you can add to your lettering pieces:

1. Doodles

Doodling is a favorite of mine. I am not exactly the best at drawing. But doodling can be for everyone! Whether it be a little banner or flag, a few botanical elements on a wreath, or a cute animal to go with your prompt. These little doodles can help people get to know you and your style. They can bring a different dimension to your lettering. For me, I like to add doodles, particularly banners, to play with my composition. Banners help break up words and adds a little regal flare in my eyes.

Screen Shot 2017-02-22 at 8.31.41 AM.png   Screen Shot 2017-02-22 at 8.31.07 AM.png   IMG_0245.JPG

2. Watercolor or Paint

Again, I am not an expert painter by any means. But I can definitely do a mean watercolor background using my beloved sandwich bag technique. I don’t know if that is the official name for it, but I know my girl Alyssa (@lyssletters) coined this phrase during her challenge a few months ago, so I am going to roll with it. I don’t have the fanciest of watercolors (YET!) but in my experience, watercolor videos on Instagram have been a huge crowd pleaser! All 3 of these examples were done using Tombow ABT Dual Brush Pens. Check out this video for the sandwich bag technique and this video for the phoenix.

screen-shot-2017-02-22-at-8-41-38-am   Screen Shot 2017-02-22 at 8.43.00 AM.png   Screen Shot 2017-02-22 at 8.43.49 AM.png




3. Blending and Flourishing

Blending and flourishing has been one of my recent focus areas lately. Blending. Blending can be done in so many different ways and with so many different tools. My favorite tool to blending is my Tombow Dual Brush Pens (here are some Towbow tutorials on blending – blending palette, colorless blending penMarie Browning tutorial). You can also check out feeds like Alisse (@alissecourter), Amanda (@amandakammarada), and Kristen (@kphletters) who all do amazing things with blending. If you aren’t ready to break the bank with Tombows yet, try practicing with some Crayola markers. They are able to blend also!

Now flourishing is just fun! At this point, I don’t plan out all of my flourishing like I have in the past. I let my hand do what flows and feels natural. It doesn’t always play out as well as I would like. But sometimes it leads to magic (the T on “aguamenti” below was totally unplanned and I am beyond proud of it!). I love Dawn Nicole’s Fun with Flourishing FREE practice sheets. They allowed me to build up the muscle memory and strength in my hands and helped me figure out hand positioning and more.

Screen Shot 2017-02-22 at 8.30.02 AM.png   screen-shot-2017-02-22-at-9-31-22-am   screen-shot-2017-02-22-at-9-33-09-am

4. Shadows, Highlights and Outlines

I love to use shadows, highlights and outlines to create more dimension so it feels like the words are jumping right off the page at you.

  • Outlining has been one of my most recent WOW items that followers have seemed to love! I am a sucker for outlining using the various sizes of my Sakura Microns.
  • Shadowing can be done using grays, blacks, or slightly darker shades of your main color. My favorite shadowing tool is my Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen, Twin Tip using the gray tip.
  • I love white highlights. I like to put in little stars and hearts. However, one of the coolest things you can do is create a bubble effect by using a white highlight opposite your shadow (find an example here). My favorite tool for highlights has to be the Uni Ball Signo White. It is a roller ball pen with white ink. Gelly rolls also have some great options and they have a bonus because they sparkle and catch people’s eyes!

Screen Shot 2017-02-22 at 10.01.51 AM.png   Screen Shot 2017-02-22 at 10.02.11 AM.png   screen-shot-2017-02-22-at-10-04-27-am

5. Cute Items

Now, you may or may not have noticed from the above items, but I love paper clips. Yes, cute paper clips shaped like pineapples, cacti, hearts, arrows and more are my ultimate bonus item. I have also been known to throw in a succulent or 2. Even something as simple as your pen and cap can make your audience fall in love and learn more about the products you are using!

Most of these things, I don’t even spend much money on. In fact, more than half of my paper clips and stationery add ons were found in the Dollar Spot section of my local Target. I’ve also had some great success stories come from Home Goods and Etsy! To me, nothing beats a good paper clip though!

Screen Shot 2017-02-22 at 10.01.17 AM.png   Screen Shot 2017-02-22 at 10.00.46 AM.png   screen-shot-2017-02-22-at-10-05-33-am

Look out for next week when I go into some more details on doodling banners with the start of the Letter 5 Ways Challenge on Instagram!

~Erin Floto



**Note that no items or individuals were paid or have paid me to promote them or their products. These are all products that I have very much enjoyed using and people I have very much grown to adore in the lettering community. Always remember #communityovercompetition!**

2 thoughts on “I Asked, You Answered: 5 Bonuses to Enhance Your Lettering Pieces

  1. This is awesome, Erin! Great information for adding those little extras that have a big impact! Thanks for the shoutout, lovely!


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