50 Ways to Draw An 'A' - "Faux" Calligraphy + Brush Lettering Exercise

After a horrible case of "blogger's block," I finally took to Instagram to ask my fellow artists and followers what they would like to see me blog about! And woah baby, I'm so glad I did... thanks to those who submitted topics, I have enough solid ideas to see me through the next few months! 

Even though today's post wasn't a proposed topic, this idea came to me while reading all the awesome suggestions! That idea is: Come up with 50 ways to write each letter of the alphabet. No cheating. No looking. Just my own creativity and a pencil. 

I was SUPER pumped to get started on this project because I love a challenge... and hello, 26 guaranteed blog posts. To add a little extra creativity booster, I decided to set my ol' faithful Tombow Fude pen aside, and draw each of my A's in "faux" calligraphy style using a Micron Ink pen. 

*For any beginners out there, 'faux' calligraphy is when the letterer manually adds "weight" to the downstrokes by drawing an extra line... you'll see what I mean below*

*That should be Micron  01 . Surprise, I'm a human!

*That should be Micron 01. Surprise, I'm a human!

My husband thought my goal of '50' variations was a little ambitious, and I worried he might be correct...but, I was surprised to find that once I got rolling, there were no signs of stopping. Even when I was only halfway there, I knew I could come up with 25 more variations, if not more! Now, when it comes to the letter 'I,' I'll probably eat my words :)

I completed this project on regular copy paper. Fancy, I know! I began by sketching out one row of ideas at a time, then I went back over the sketches in ink. Once the ink had dried, I erased my pencil marks. Once I filled up one side, I moved to the other side, in a conscious effort to conserve paper!

After coming up with 50 variations of the letter 'A,' it is safe to say I have my favorites. Though they came from my own imagination, there are quite a few of these variations I would NEVER use! However, I am going to file these away for future reference. Here's a closer look...

This exercise was SO awesome for steadying my hand while controlling the fine tip of the Micron, that I wanted to get in some brush lettering practice as well. Instead of tracing these letter forms (which I'm going to do later), I simply referenced the original sheet of A's and copied them with my brush pens

It's pretty amazing how different the look of each 'A' is when it's done in a brush pen. The fine tip of the Micron creates such delicate, fragile-looking shapes. The thick, flexible nib on the brush pens give the more artistic, brush-y (duh) look that I prefer to use in my work. 

After practicing with my brush pen, I decided to digitize some of the letter variations and print them out to use as a practice sheet! I am thinking of making a printable of my favorite 25 variations available for download? What do you think? 

After my first stab at 50 variations, I can't help but think that the letter 'A' lends itself to lots and lots of opportunities. The open, triangular shape of the letter can be easily tweaked to create so many different options...on top of that, the 'cross bar' (what do you call that thing, again? #dontknowfancyletteringterms) can be elongated, shortened, flourished, twisted, turned, you name it. 

I've already started on my 50 variations of 'B' for the next letter study! Already, 'B' has proven to be quite challenging, but considerably more fun and whimsical than 'A!' 

If you would like to download all 26 worksheets, simply click here!