How To Create Your Own Hand Lettering

A few months ago I started to wonder if I could make my own handwritten graphics. For a few years now, I’ve been creating quote pictures for Instagram with regular fonts. I wanted to try giving my Instagram feed more of a unique, personal touch, so I decided to figure out (in my own way) how to do hand lettering.

By no means do I have amazing writing, I’ll be the first to admit. It’s a bit messy, a bit shaky and some letters really don’t look like they’re meant to. But I think that’s why I like it, it’s just different and kind of interesting. I’m also self taught in Photoshop, so if any of these steps seem out of the ordinary to those more knowledgeable in that program, that would be why.

There are so many ways you can create hand lettering, but I want to show you how I personally do it. So onto the tutorial!


  • white paper
  • thick Sharpie (I use Sharpie Chisel Tip)
  • camera or phone camera
  • Photoshop


1. Choose your words

Firstly, you need to know what you want your image to say. This could be one simple word or a quote using several words. Once you figure out exactly what you’ll be writing, you’ll know how big or small your writing needs to be to fit everything in.

2. Start writing

Next up, grab a piece of paper and your Sharpie and start writing! If you want it to be really even and neat, I’d suggest drawing some straight lines with lead pencil and perhaps all your letters in lead first too (so you can keep erasing until it’s perfect). I tend to just let my hand do the work, I don’t like to overthink it, as I love my writing to be quirky and interesting. Sometimes I’ll write the same word/s down ten times per piece of A4 paper, until I’m happy with one.

3. Photograph your piece

Once you have finished writing and have selected the written piece you’re happy with, take a photo of it with your phone or camera. Try and make the photo as clear as possible, and don’t worry if your photo includes bits of other writing around it, as they can be cropped out later.

4. Edit the photo

Load your photo into Photoshop and crop it so you’re working with the writing only. Use the erase tool to remove any unwanted bits.

Go to Enhance > Adjust Lighting > Levels. Drag the white triangle to the middle of the first black blob, then drag the black triangle back to the middle of the second. Your writing should now be black on a white background.

5. Fix up the writing
To smooth out your writing, go to Filter > Filter Gallery and select ‘Cutout’ in the Artistic folder. Adjust the levels until the edges of the writing looks smooth and click on OK.

Using the Magic Wand tool select all the white space around your writing. Go to Select > Inverse and it will select your writing instead. While it’s selected, go to Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Colour and press OK. It will now allow you to choose what colour your writing is.

You now have a piece of your own writing ready to drag into a new graphic.

6. Create your image

Create a new blank file that’s 1000px by 1000px. Drag your writing into the new file and resize it to fit. You can add a different coloured background by filling a new layer with a colour and dragging it under the writing layer. You can also use Photoshop paint splatter brushes to create the effect that you’ve been drawing with paint, or use a paint brush to draw an image (like a heart) to go with it.

Did you give it a go? I’d love to know πŸ™‚
If you have any trouble, let me know in the comments.

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  1. Thanks? I’m just starting with trying to actually make something from some of my doodles. I have 50 million sharpies, but i wish i could find something very similar, but maybe a bit smoother? Like the way that chalk markers feel when you use them on a chalkboard? Anyways, if you have any additional good tips,/tutorials, even if they seem trivial to you, id super appreciate and love to take a look. (Only if you a have time, of course. πŸ™‚ ) Thanks again for your help! πŸ™‚ Take care! πŸ™‚

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