Write the name and address in pencil – consider mixing script and non-script hand lettering styles for texture and personality. For example, try writing just the name in script and the rest of the address in non-script, as seen above. If you’re as confident as Molly, go ahead and start your address with Sharpie.


6 5



Trace over the hand lettered pencil address with a Sharpie of your choice. We LOVE the metallic Sharpies because they show up really well on virtually any envelope and add some sparkle.


4 3



Finish the lettering by adding a thicker line weight on the down strokes. This gives your hand lettered design some dimension.  Don’t forget to erase pencil marks after the marker has dried. Also, think about adding some fun details on the envelope like polka dots or other simple illustrations! Don’t worry too much about where you’ll be putting the stamp at this point – just make sure that no important information is up near the top right corner of the envelope. It’s okay if polka dots are there.


2 1



Finally, write the return address on the back flap.  Molly started in Sharpie, but feel free to use pencil first. When you’re finished, add on a illustrative element like a little heart, vine, or polka dots. These small details make it much more exciting when someone gets the letter in the mail!

Tutorial: Create a Freestyle Script Font
Type Workshop with @MollyJacques Register
Tutorial: Pencil Calligraphy
Pencil Calligraphy @mollyjacques


Yesterday I shared my thoughts on Blackwing pencils. What they’re great for, what they’re not so great for. Today, I want to share with you a fun and easy tutorial using the same pencils! Let’s learn a bit more about how to create modern calligraphy using just your pencil!




Pencil Calligraphy @mollyjacques


STEP ONE: Pressure Variations

Pointed pen calligraphy is based on the pressure and release system. Pressure on the downstrokes to create “swells” and relief of pressure on the upstrokes to create “hairlines”. You’re going to play around with the exact same method, but this way is a bit easier as you’ll simply use your pencil – no ink, dipping, or nibs needed!

Start by getting a feel for three variations of pressure: heavy, medium, and light. To create a heavy line, push down hard on your pencil when you draw a stroke. This will apply more graphite on the paper and is similar to how you’d create your swell strokes. Do the same thing with medium and light pressure. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll notice that the less pressure you put on your pencil as you draw, the thinner (or lighter) the line will be. This is also similar to how you would shade an illustration.

Once you have a grasp on your pencil pressure, you can move on to some simple letters!


Pencil Calligraphy @mollyjacques



Ready to practice calligraphy using just your pencil? Use the pressure techniques practiced in step one to assemble your alphabet. Write as you regularly would, whether in cursive or a non script, and simply apply heavy pressure whenever you make a “downstroke”. Take a peek at my practice alphabet to see where all of my downstrokes are. Notice how the downstrokes are thicker than the upstrokes? I achieved that by applying heavy pressure on those areas and light pressure on the other areas!


Did you try this modern calligraphy technique? What did you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below! Tag @mollyjacquesworkshop in your project on Instagram so we can follow what you’re up to and potentially feature your lovely hand lettering and pencil calligraphy!


Supplies: Palomino Blackwing Pencils
Supply Review: Blackwing


As an illustrator of letters, I find myself always going back to my tried and true art supply: the pencil. Pencils are the perfect tool to capture the essence of your sketches. They come in all different softnesses, colors, shapes, sizes. Pencils effortlessly capture gesture and liveliness and can easily be erased when needed.

So what makes the perfect pencil? Well, it’s different for each artist. For me, I prefer a middle of the road softness, preferably HB or 2B. I like a pencil that keeps its sharpness and has a beautiful outward aesthetic. I love a good pencil that holds up when it’s thrown into my art bin and can travel with me wherever I go.

Enter: Blackwing. Blackwing pencils are known for their luxuriousness and smooth finish. According to Palomino, “The Blackwing pencil was introduced in the 1930′s by Eberhard Faber and was the pencil of choice for Oscar, Grammy, and Pulitzer Prize winners throughout the 20th century. After it was discontinued in the 1990′s, fans began paying as much as $40 per pencil to seize unused stock. In 2010, Palomino revived the Blackwing, and it is now available in three different models.”




Supply Review: Blackwing
image via Blackwing




The Blackwing pencil has a middle of the road softness that I really enjoy. The website says that this particular model was made for artists and musicians. You can get some dark darks but also keep the value of a lighter shade if you relieve hand pressure. This pencil works really well for calligraphy practice as you can continue with the pressure and release method applied in pointed pen calligraphy. Blackwing pencils are visually stunning and hold up well with wear and tear as they are crafted to perfection. The erasers are replaceable which means your pencil can last even longer.


They are pricey. At $21.95 plus shipping, you’re paying about $2 per pencil. If you’re a pencil snob, it’s totally worth it, though.


What is your favorite pencil? Have you ever used a Blackwing? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below!
Friday Feature: Alana Yarbrough





About three years ago I head the pleasure of meeting today’s Friday Feature: Alana Yarbrough. Alana and I met at my lettering and modern calligraphy workshop at Sugar Paper in Los Angeles in the summer of 2013. Her positivity radiated throughout the whole room and I instantly knew that she was not only talented but also had a knack for spreading good vibes to all. At the workshop, Alana told me she was deeply in love with letters and calligraphy and had been taking in-person workshops over the past year or so with all of the best modern calligraphers out there (hello, one of my favorite: Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls!)




Her knowledge and experience was apparent. Alana had intuition. She had a natural talent for both calligraphy and lettering. Most of all, she had a sincere passion for the art.


Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 9.56.05 AM
Images via @alanayarbrough on Instagram


Fast forward to 2015. As I prepared to teach an upcoming workshop in southern California, I was in need of an extra pair of hands to help out. I needed someone who was insanely organized, knew calligraphy and lettering, was a social media wiz, and could help me with all things workshop related. I instantly thought of Alana and asked her if she would want to help out with the workshop! Luckily for me, she agreed. I couldn’t have picked a better person and I was blessed to have been able to get to know her a little better.


XK5A0281 XK5A9904


Post-workshops, Alana has continued to progress in her astounding lettering skills as well as inspire others (including myself) with her notes of encouragement, hope, grace, and gulps of coffee. Alana is also an MJW alumna! Check out her beautiful work from both of our e-courses, Design a Quote and Intro to Photoshop.


Images via Alana Yarbrough via MJW student gallery


Want to see more of Alana’s encouraging hand lettering and calligraphy? Go check out her Instagram right now and leave a friendly note!


Want to learn some of the skills that Alana learned? Check out our current e-courses over in the shop.

football wall art