Hand Lettering Shadows – Tutorials to Shadow Lettering

A fun skill to learn is hand lettering shadows. Grab some pens and let’s get started with this hand lettering tutorial to add shadows to your work.

Hand Lettering Shadows - Three Techniques

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Hand Lettering Shadows

On one of my other sites, I had a lot of questions about an art piece I did. It was in the background and because of the shadowing, even though it was far away, it still had that POP!

Before heading out to a family movie, I filmed a few ways to practice hand lettering shadows. I’m sharing three techniques to add shadows to your hand lettering. Let’s get started.

RELATED READING: Free Unicorn Hand Lettering Practice Sheets

photo collage of hand lettering example with text which reads hand lettering 101 shadows

Supplies You’ll Need to Add Shadows to Your Lettering

You can use anything, even your kids’ markers, so this supplies list is just what I happened to use. I do recommend getting the grayscale kit from Tombow (or here on Amazon). It is now a favorite of mine.

  • Tombow dual-brush pens (primary color)
  • Tombow dual-brush pens (two shades of gray: I used N75 and N95)
  • Black Tombow Twin-Tone, Micron, or Tombow Mono Pen (I used size 03)

I just love to hand letter (obviously) and I’ve tried many products. Click here to see the lettering products I recommend.

Hand Lettering Shadows - Three Techniques

How to Create Shadows on Your Hand Lettering  

So I’m not going to joke with you – I tried to make a step-by-step image-based tutorial and you couldn’t see what I was doing! I decided that video is the best way to show this fun hand lettering technique.

If you have a hand lettering playlist on YouTube, here is our How to Create Shadows on Hand Lettering video tutorial.

Below is my attempt at written instructions for these fun lettering shadowing techniques. In the video, I share three ways to do it. Below is my favorite way (the third technique).

example for hand lettering shadows tutorial

Hand Lettering Shadows

Hand Lettering Shadows - Three Techniques

A fun skill to learn is hand lettering shadows. Grab some pens and let’s get started with this hand lettering tutorial to add shadows to your work.

Active Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost $1

Materials

  • Tombow dual-brush pens (primary color)
  • Tombow dual-brush pens (two shades of gray: I used N75 and N95)
  • Black Tombow Twin-Tone, Micron, or Tombow Mono Pen (I used size 03)

Instructions

  1. Lay down your word in your primary color. Make any adjustments (add embellishments, fades, or doodles). Let dry. 
  2. Identify your light source – I position my light at about 10 o’clock. Using a medium gray (N75), go just inside the color. Go over it again once to deepen the color. Let dry.
  3. Next, use a lighter gray (N95) and go just inside the gray you just put down. Let dry. 
  4. Finally, using a thin pen (such as a Micron), add a line on top of the color at the darker gray edge. You know have three layers in addition to your color (black, dark gray, and light gray). Let dry.
  5. Optional: if you haven’t doodled or embellished your letters, go over the color again taking care to stay away from the black. 

Did you make this?

Please leave a comment or share a photo and tag me @rufflesandrain

RELATED READING: Hand Lettering Practice Sheets for Mermaid Lovers

Hand Lettering Shadows Tutorial photo collage of techniques with text reads Hand Lettering Tips Shadows

Hand Lettering Practice Sheets

This shadow tutorial for hand lettering is most easily practiced on large pen work, though I do use it on small pen consistently. If you need some free hand lettering practice sheets in large pen to work through, here are some you might be interested in.

sample of adding shadows to hand lettering

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photo collage of hand lettered shadow techniques with text which reads how to hand letter shadows

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