The Cricut Brightpad is not just for weeding vinyl! I use mine all the time to practice my hand lettering—all you need are practice sheets, blank paper, and a pen!
Using the Cricut Brightpad for Hand Lettering
One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to make more “me” time. I’ve spent the last few years deep in the baby and toddler stages with our boys, and the growth stage with my business. It’s been a long time since I’ve learned something new; something that’s just for me. So I decided this year to pick up all of these hand lettering supplies I’ve had taking up space in my craft room for too long! It’s my goal to practice my hand lettering an hour a week—and it’s turned into one of my favorite hours of the week.
Today I wanted to share three ways that I’ve been using my Brightpad for hand lettering practice. I still have so long to go before I could even consider myself a decent hand letterer (as you’ll see below—I still need a lot of practice!), but I am finding the slow, deliberate practice to be good for my brain, my body, and my soul. It’s an hour each week when I’m not on my phone, not thinking about work, not cooking mac n cheese, not composing social media posts in my head. Just me and my pen.
Last week I talked about how I use my Cricut Brightpad for weeding vinyl to cut on my Cricut. Today I’m sharing three ways I use the Cricut Brightpad for hand lettering, with Tombow pens and their free practice sheets. I love using practice sheets because they build the muscle memory needed to become good at hand lettering—the thick downstrokes and thin upstrokes, the fluidity, the precision.
To do follow along, you’ll need:
Reusing Practice Sheets
To start with, I often use my Brightpad when I am working on my practice sheets. Instead of printing off copy after copy of my practice sheets, I tape the original practice sheet to my Brightpad using a little washi tape if you’d like, and then place a blank sheet of printer paper over the top. The size of the Brightpad, at 9″ x 11.5″, is perfect for this.
Turn on the Cricut Brightpad and it’s so easy to see the practice sheet through the paper over the top. This means I can save myself ink (which is not cheap), as well as the time it takes for my slow printer to print out a set of practice sheets. It also allows me to use regular printer paper for practice, vs. tracing paper which is pricer and harder to find.
Creating Original Artwork from Practice Sheets
From here, I can use these same practice sheets to start hand lettering actual words. I like using my Tombow ABT PRO Markers. I just place the practice sheet with the first letter of my word and trace. Then swap it out for the second letter of my word and so on.
It feels a little strange, but after taking a few classes I realized that learning to hand letter is often about each individual letter, not stringing them together like you would cursive writing. This helps me build the muscle memory to take my time and to stop after each letter.
Refining My Artwork
Finally, I can use this same method to refine my artwork. Instead of the practice sheet, I use my own word I created above and continue to trace over it, refining curves and how the letters fit together. I can add flourishes, a little more bounce to the letters, and other words from other practice sheets. It works really well!
Without a lightbox, this process would be much more difficult, particularly that last step.
And Cricut has really created the perfect lightbox. It’s slim so it doesn’t bother my wrist when I’m writing, there are five different light settings, so I can always find the perfect brightness no matter the time of day, and it’s really durable, which is important to me as a mom of kids who love to steal my stuff. I love that it’s so lightweight because I move the paper a lot when I practice, and moving the Brightpad is easy.
Make sure to pop over to my other Brightpad post to learn more about it! And then check out my favorite Beginner Online Classes for Learning Hand Lettering!