Hey friends, Ali LePere here, and I want to share how I make beveled lettering! This has been one of the trickiest hand lettering styles for me to learn. I hope that through this post, I can help anyone out there who has been struggling with this style or anyone who simply wants to learn something new! Let’s get started!
- Tombow MONO Twin Permanent Marker
- Tombow MONO Graph Mechanical Pencil
- Mixed media, marker, or smooth bristol paper
- Tombow ABT PRO Alcohol-Based Art Markers, Pink Tones, 5-Pack
What are Beveled Letters?
Before I get started with the steps, I want to talk about what makes a beveled letter beveled. The term ‘beveled’ usually refers to an edge of some kind being sloped rather than square. In the case of beveled letters, it means that the illusion of a slope is given by drawing a few extra lines. That’s how it starts.
There are three main parts to the beveled letter: the foundation of the letter, the outline, and dimension lines. I’ll go over how to draw these in more detail later, but I wanted to point them out in a diagram before starting the tutorial. Remember to imagine that the foundation of the letter is the peak or the highest point of the letter. The rest of the lines are meant to go downwards from that peak to create the illusion of sloped edges.
In order to further add to the illusion of dimension, color needs to be added. An imaginary light source needs to come from somewhere off the paper that casts light on some parts of the beveled letter and shadows on other parts. There should be light and dark sides to each letter. I will go into more detail about this in step four of the tutorial. For now, you can see how I did this with a simple square in the picture above.
I started by drawing the basic letter with a MONO Graph Mechanical Pencil. This basic letter shape will serve as the foundation for the rest of the drawing. For beveled lettering, I stick with capital letters. Lowercase letters are usually more complicated and don’t fit this style of lettering as well. For the sake of simplicity, I drew a sans serif letter I.
I drew an outline around the basic letter shape. With a capital I, you can see the outline is a simple, rectangular shape. With more complicated letters, it can be tricky to space the outline just right. The most important part of this step is to make the space between the basic letter shape and the outline even.
I added diagonal dimension lines to the ends of the letter. These dimension lines come out from the top and bottom points of the basic letter shape and meet the inner corners of the outline. These lines are placed wherever there are corners and are there to give the illusion of dimension.
When adding color, the key is to have an idea of where your “light source” is located. When you are trying to give the illusion of dimension, you have to create an imaginary place where light is coming from. This will give your art dimension by creating shadows. My imaginary light source is located on the right side of the letter, toward the bottom. This means I will use the darkest color in my palette to color in the side that is sloping away from the light. In this case, I’m using the color P757 from the Pink Tones ABT PRO Alcohol-Based Markers 5-Pack.
On the side opposite the darkest color, I will place my lightest color. I used the second lightest marker in the Pink Tones 5-Pack, P703, to color in that section of the letter.
On the remaining top and bottom triangle shapes, I add the in between colors left in my color palette. For the bottom color, I use the lighter P743 because that section is closer to my imaginary light source. The color I use for the top is the slightly darker P755 color.
I usually reach for the ABT PRO 5-Packs when I do this kind of beveled lettering. They have the perfect combination of shades in each pack and it really takes the guesswork out of picking the right colors!
I used the MONO Twin Permanent Marker to ink over all of the lines. This step is more of a personal choice because I like bold ink outlines. I think adding this outline also helps make the letter look more clean and finished.
I’m aware that I picked the easiest letter to illustrate for the tutorial. I focused on a simple letter because it’s important to understand all of the concepts before moving onto more complicated letters! Now, I’m going to quickly go over a few things that will help you construct more letters.
Tips for Tricky Beveled Letters – Extra Lines and Corners
The letter A has two parts that can complicate the beveled letter: the crossbar and the apex. Pay close attention to the extra dimension lines I added. Remember when I said that the dimension lines are usually placed where there are corners? The letter A has extra corners. Just remember that the dimension lines usually come out from the basic letter shape to meet a corner of the outline. For example, three different dimension lines come out of the apex on the basic letter shape to the outline. Two of the three go upwards and diagonally toward the top two corners of the outline. The remaining one goes down towards the inner top corner of the outline. Remembering this will be helpful with letters like M and W.
When adding color, remember how the slopes are angled. The bottom section of the crossbar will slope in the direction as the bottommost parts of the letter. The top part of the crossbar will slope in the same direction as the topmost part of the letter.
These tips also apply when drawing letters like E, F, and L. These letters have horizontal arms and legs that only connect to one part of the letter. They have ends that slope downwards in a similar way to the letter I from the tutorial. And of course, when coloring, make sure to remember the slopes and your light source!
Tips for Tricky Beveled Letters – Curves
As you can see, the letter O doesn’t have any corners. But you can also see that I added dimension lines anyway. While it is possible to square off any letter that has rounded parts, I add these suggestive dimension lines and kept the curves as a stylistic choice. To add to them, I imagine that there is a central point to the shape and the dimension lines angle diagonally out from the center. This can be done with any letter that has rounded parts, like U, R, and D.
Beveled letters can be very tricky to draw at first. Like with most styles of hand lettering, you get better and better with practice! If you’re curious about learning about other hand lettering styles, check out Buffalo Plaid Lettering With Dual Brush Pens by Grace Myhre or Marcella Astore’s Stitched Lettering Tutorial. You can also check out this video where I make blended beveled letters using Tombow Dual Brush Pens!
Make sure to tag Tombow if you follow along with any of these tutorials so we can see your work and cheer you on! Until next time, happy crafting!