Ambassador Tips

Getting Started with Watercolor Lettering

Getting Started with Watercolor Lettering

Royal & Langnickel ambassador Jennifer Song Kim has always been artistic, but she never planned on doing art for a living, instead going to college for economics. Discovering a watercolor paint palette in her parents' basement changed all that, though, and led her to find her true passion–watercolor lettering. For those interested in getting into watercolor lettering themselves for the first time, Jennifer offers her tips and favorite materials below.

Watercolor lettering practice

How do you recommend someone get started with watercolor lettering?

Start with trying to get your letters down. You can use any style, but start writing with pencil or pen and get comfortable with that paper to pen motion. Once you're comfortable with individual letters, practice four or five words, writing each word over and over again. Then you can start with a paintbrush since you have that comfort of knowing what the letters look like.

Watercolor Lettering - Holding brush like a pencil

What tips do you have for working with watercolors and a brush for lettering?

The water concentration in your paint is really important, so for beginners I recommend using liquid watercolors. They allow you to skip the step where you have to continually mix paints. How you hold your brush is also key. The pencil hold is a good reference point in terms of how to hold a brush, but it isn't the ideal hold for watercolor lettering. In the pencil hold, the fingers are closer to the point and there is more pressure in the grip. However, the ideal hold is the relaxed hold where the fingers are not as bent.

Watercolor Lettering - Moderna brush

What brushes do you recommend for someone just starting out?

Rounds are my go-to for lettering. I wouldn't start with a super fine brush–2's, 3's, or 4's are good for beginners as they are easier to control. My go-tos right now are brushes from the Sofia, Moderna, and Majestic lines, but for beginners I always recommend Soft-Grips. I feel very much at home with the Soft-Grips, and they're so easy to find and have such a great price point that I feel good recommending them. They're also so pretty and photograph really well.

See more of Jennifer's work on Instagram @jenmanship and on her website,

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