Learning the basic brush strokes - The Gothic Letter - Lesson 1 - part 2

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LESSON #1- part 2

Preparing your practice Boards
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Use a 2' x 3' sheet of poster board or Masonite.
For best results use Masonite or hardboard: With a 3" roller, roll 2 light coats of white oil-based primer on the board (let dry between coats).

Drawing guidelines to practice brush strokes:
Place the 2'x3' sheet of Masonite on a table. Looking at the horizontal sheet, measure 1" down from the top and draw a line across. Measure 3" down and draw another line across. You should now have a 3" rectangle across the length of the board for your letter strokes to fit in. This is known as the "line of copy". Measure down 1" and draw another line the length of the board. Measure 3" down and draw a line across. Repeat this process until you have a series of 3" rectangles across the length of the board with an inch between each rectangle to produce multiple "lines of copy". (See diagram).

How to load your brush with paint

Cut off the top portion of a paper coffee cup (found in your local convenient store), with a single edge razor blade. DO NOT USE STYROFOAM. The chemicals in the paint will eat through the bottom. Basically you're cutting the rounded edge off of the cup. Pour a few ounces of paint into the cup. With a "Gator Aid" filled bottle of thinner, add a few drops to the paint. Dip the brush into the paint up to the metal ferrule. Gently stir, then scrape the excess paint from the brush hairs, using the cut edge of the cup. Flip the brush over and gently scrape again. Leave about a ½" of paint on the tip of the brush.

Learning the Basic Strokes
Here are the sequences of brush strokes you must practice.

Click image for larger view!
Click on image for larger view.
Then print and practice.

click here for video
Click here for video
To learn how to paint
the basic Gothic brush strokes.

Practice one full line of vertical strokes, then one full line of diagonal strokes, and so on, until practice board is full. Fill an entire board with horizontal strokes, another with vertical strokes, and so on. Practice until your brush strokes become almost second nature.

NOTE: If you find that your brush is starting to pull slower,
add a few drops of thinner to the cup of paint.

The key here is to produce consistent strokes throughout the entire line of letter strokes.

Remember as with any trade or sport, "repetition is the mother of skill". The more you practice, the easier it becomes. So don't get discouraged if your brush strokes aren't perfect the first time you try to paint!

HERE'S A TIP! When starting a curved stroke, use a light pressure. 
When approaching the end of a curved stroke, lighten up on the pressure as you end the stroke!

NOTE: When drawing curved strokes, slightly twist brush while pulling brush stroke.

Be sure to reload brush with paint before starting next stroke.
Pay close attention to the amount of pressure you are applying to each stroke.

Note: To clean your brushes after painting dip your brush in a cup of paint thinner. Work the thinner through the hairs and down into the ferrule or metal casing of the lettering brush. Dip brush hairs into a little "Motor Oil". Work the oil thoroughly into the hairs. This will keep the brush soft until the next use. Remember this is one of the most important aspects of keeping your equipment in good working order!

You must master these basic strokes before attempting to paint any style of lettering!
Trying to paint a letter without knowing the correct order of numbered sequences in a specific letter will distort your lettering and possibly destroy your willingness to learn more.

If your brush strokes are basically straight and consistent, please move to the next step: connecting the brush strokes to form actual letters.

Connecting the Basic Strokes to form actual letters.
Lettering is just a series of connected brush strokes.

click for video
Click here for video

To learn how to connect the basic
Gothic brush strokes to form letters.

This means you have mastered basic brush control: the skill most needed in HAND LETTERING.
...GOOD WORK!...

Now continue to LESSON #2 - Mastering The 4 Basic Letter Styles!

Complete course NOW ON DVD!
The Basic Letter Strokes Gothic Letters Buy This Video - Learn the Art of Hand Painted Lettering
Roman Lettering Old English Lettering
Hand Script Roman Numbers

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