In this tutorial I’m going to explain how to create five different textures using the same font style. This tutorial is not about creating font styles, but I will touch briefly on them. Instead this tutorial will focus on textures. I will give you some options to fill in, or color, the letters with something besides a standard uniform dark tone. This is the first of a multipart series on lettering textures.
Watch a YouTube video version of this tutorial by clicking on the icon to the left.
Now, let’s get to work.
SKILL LEVEL: 1
- Writing tip
- Shading tip
Note that I’m burning on Montval 140lb (300g) cold pressed watercolor paper by Canson. Why I even have this paper I have no idea as I hate painting. Heck, I don’t even know how long I’ve had this paper on hand, but at least I finally have a use for it.
Since the paper is cold pressed it has a lot of texture on it. I burnished the paper by rubbing a large wooden block firmly over it to remove some of the texture, but I couldn’t remove all of it. Some of the lettering isn’t as smooth as it could be due to the paper’s texture.
There are 4 easy ways to get different font styles for your letters.
1 – There are numerous stencils available in many font styles and letter sizes. Stencils can be found online and in numerous stores. For the record, I used a Roman font stencil with 1” (2.54 cm) letters for this tutorial.
2 – Again, there are numerous different alphabet stamp sets available that you can find online and in craft stores.
3 – Word processing and/or card making programs. The great thing with this option is that you can set the size of the paper to match the size of your board and then adjust the font size accordingly.
4 – Free online font generators. Just search for ‘Font Generator’ and numerous online sites will pull up. You type in your message and it gives you a font that can be printed. Or copy/paste the font into a word processing to adjust the size. If there is a particular type of font you are after then search for that font. For example: Calligraphy Font Generator, Gothic Font Generator, Tattoo Font Generator, etc.
For this tutorial I used a stencil with Roman font.
TEXTURE 1 – ROUNDED
Here’s how the letters looked after I drew them in using a stencil. As I said before, the stencil is a Roman font.
If using a stencil, draw lines to close the gaps. This way it won’t be so obvious that a stencil was used.
Here’s how the letters looked after I drew in lines to close the gaps.
Next use a writer pen tip to burn along the edges of the letters.
This photo shows the outline of the letters burnt in, but the pencil marks are still visible.
Rub over the letters with a standard pencil eraser to remove the residual pencil lines.
On narrow areas of the letter, shorten the pull-away strokes accordingly.
Rotate the paper/board and burn pull-away strokes on all of the lines that you can burn where you are pulling the pen tip towards you.
Rotate the paper/board and burn pull-away strokes along the applicable lines.
Rotate the paper/board one last time and burn pull-away strokes along the remaining lines.
Also, burn a couple of pull-away strokes on the inner corners or points on the letter.
Then burn over the center of the letter. While doing this just make sure the center is paler than the edges. On narrow areas of the letter just burn down the length of the letter.
When you are done, the edges of the letters should be dark and the color should gradually fade towards the center of the letter. The combination of dark edges and paler center is what gives the letter its rounded appearance.
TEXTURE 2 – VERTICAL GRADIENT
Like before, I used a stencil to put the lets on the paper and now I’m drawing lines to close the gaps.
Then use a writer pen tip to burn along the edges of the letters.
Rub over the letters with an pencil eraser to remove any residual graphite.
Switch to a shader and burn a dark line along the top edge or edges of the letter.
Then burn pull-away strokes that start on the dark line and pull the pen down towards the center or middle of the letter.
Burn pull-away strokes all along the top of the letter. Notice how the burn stroke gets paler as I near the middle of the letter.
To build up the color, repeatedly burn pull-away strokes on the upper portion of the letter. Always start the stroke on the dark line along the upper edge of the letter and pull it towards the middle of the letter.
Continue to burn numerous pull-away strokes until the color has reached the level you want.
It’s important to use pull-away strokes for this step versus uniform strokes. Pull-away strokes are burned fast enough that the stroke starts darker than it ends. Uniform strokes are burned at a constant hand speed so the color stays the same throughout the burn stroke.
Rotate the paper and burn a dark line along the lower edge(s) of the letter.
Then burn numerous pull-away strokes on this side of the letter.
Like before, start the stroke on the dark line and pull it towards the middle of the letter. Move your hand fast enough so that the burn starts dark and fades as you near the middle of the letter.
I want to point out that I kept the heat at the same setting for the ENTIRE burning of this letter; even when I burned in the dark line along the top. I adjusted my hand speed to get different tonal burn results. For the dark line I slowed my hand speed down and this produced a nice dark burn.
TEXTURE 3 – SANDSTONE
Then use the flat of a shader to burn irregular circular motion on the letter.
In some areas I barely burned on it and in others I burned longer. This gave me a variety of tonal values. The goal is to burn the letter to an overall tan tone with a few light tan spots and some dark tan spots.
In the narrow areas of the letter, there isn’t a lot of room so you can just tap or lightly press the pen tip here and there to get color. Just vary how long you hold the pen tip in place.
Here’s a close-up of the letter after the base layer of texture was done. Notice that it has a lot of tonal variations on it.
Switch to a writer pen tip and apply a layer of tiny dots over the surface of the letter.
Lastly use a writer pen tip to burn cracks onto the letter.
Below is a composite photo showing how the letter look after each step was completed.
TEXTURE 4 – SIMPLE LEATHER
Use a shader to burn a row of dark blotches along the top of the letter.
Press the pen tip to the paper, pause, lift, and repeat. The next blotch should be slightly touching the previous one.
Each new row of blotches should be slightly touching the previous row.
Don’t worry if there are little gaps between the blotches as that will add to the overall texture.
Continue working your way down the letter burning row after row of dark blotches.
TEXTURE 5 – STIPPLED
Like all of the other letters, close the gaps if using stencils, burn around the edges of the letter, and then rub over the letter with a pencil eraser to remove any graphite.
Apply lots of dots around the edges of the letters.
Work your way around the letter burning lots of tiny dots near the edges.
Burn fewer dots in the center of the letter. If you gradually decrease the number of dots the closer to the center you get, the more rounded or puffed the letter will look.
You can burn lots of dots all edges of the letter first and then burn the dots in the center.
Or you can burn the center dots and then work on the edges.
Or you can work segments of the letter at a time. Hopefully you understood that the order you apply the dots doesn’t matter as the end result will look the same.
In this photo I’m burning more dots near the edges to transition the dark edges and the pale center. Or, put another way, the edges have lots of dots, and the center has fewer dots. To transition between the two areas, burn a band than has less dots than the edges, but more than the center.
We’re done. I hope that you found the information helpful and easy to understand. I’m planning more lettering texture tutorials, so if there is a particular texture you’d like to see, then leave me a comment and let me know.
Until the next blog,
Feb 8, 2019
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