it takes years to master the art of letter forms and I don't claim to know everything. One thing that has been really helpful to me is to turn to the experts and study their letter forms. The easiest way to do this is by actually just typing out the letters in illustrator. I go with classic typefaces like Harriman Baskerville Georgia for serif type or Helvetica and Gotham for sand surf. Let me show you certain things to look for that will help you learn to draw the letters correctly. So here I've typed out with Adobe, Garmin pro the lowercase and uppercase alphabet. So I'll zoom in here. I like to put put a few guidelines here. So I have my my cap height and my X height and my baseline. And I'll show you just some uh, some things to look for. Let's start with um mm hmm. Trying to figure out a good letter to start with. Let's start with the letter O. One of the things I noticed actually about any letter that has this curved bottom here um is actually goes slightly below the baseline her...
e and actually slightly above the X height, anything curved. And that's, that's important because if you actually, let me just, let me just show you, so you see the end, the seraph of the end here. Um it meets the baseline nicely or oh yeah, it drops below. If I let me move the up mathematically. Yeah, hold on, let's think it's more like like this zoom out a little bit, It might be hard to hard to tell, but it actually looks a little bit like the O. Is just sort of floating away a lot of times with type, you have to um Yeah, kind of set up, you're set up your guidelines with with serif type like this or sand saref, how the masters have done it and and kind of get a get a good look at what they've done and and the reason for making the O. Or like the P. Or the shoulder of the end things that go above the baseline earth, sorry, below the baseline or above the X. Height is because if you if you look at a serif here, there's much more horizontal surface area essentially. Um and visually it looks fine if it meets the baseline, whereas if you just put the very tip of the arrow on the baseline while while it mathematically it may line up, it just, it appears that it's it's too high because there's hardly any surface area on this. This this uh for this point out here, the same is true for angled Sheriff's here, like in the p the top of the serif in this case has even less horizontal coverage than the O. Which already has less than its traditional seraph of the end optical alignment is necessary once again. And in this case the alignment needs to be even higher than, oh, another instance is the overshoot and the W. And the V really compare this overshoot with the serif of the ex to see what I mean. These same principles take place in uppercase letters but a commonly missed one I want to focus on is over here with the E. And the F. Zoom in here. Most people would imagine that the arms of the F. And the E. Would line up these sections. Make up the arms. In fact the arm of the F. Is slightly lower than the arm of the is it? To make up for a bit of the weight lost when the leg of the is removed to form the F. By lowering the arm of the F. The weight is more evenly balanced. It's a subtle difference but it's important. You'll notice again in letters like G. How in this case the curved section goes above the cap height. In the curved section down here goes below the baseline as opposed to the serif appear. Let's take a look at the san serif typeface Helvetica again, type out the uppercase and lowercase letters. Let's zoom back into the F. And the E. Now a lot of the principles in san serif typefaces are simplifications of the principles and serif type for example. Not all sans serif typefaces implement the differing heights of the arms of the F. And the E. I'll show you here. I'll pull up a guideline. Yeah in Helvetica you can actually see that they're lined up. However there is something that is crucial with sand sarah fluttering. That's easier to actually see in sand saref than when you're examining serif type. Pick one of these guidelines here and place it on the upper arm of the. What do you notice here? Well, you notice that the two upper arms are actually different widths than the lower leg. Nothing is the same here. The reason for this is if the upper arm of the E. Was actually extended just a little bit more, it almost appears too top heavy. And same with the middle arm here when it's when it's when these are all lined up, it actually looks as if it's sticking out past the upper arm in the lower leg. So these subtle differences actually make for a perfectly balanced E. And it's not in just Helvetica. I mean, take a look, I'll I'll choose the typeface Gotham, for example. Same thing, You can see that the lower leg just is extended just a tad bit further than the upper arm. This is one of the things that's really easy to miss And so these are just a few examples of how thoroughly examining proper letter forms can greatly benefit you once you get comfortable with sand saref and sarah flattering, move on to something a little more challenging, like the script typeface Edwardian script. Another practical way to learn, which helped me when I first started, it's actually just select these. Turn down the opacity, print amount and actually trace over with pencil. This will give you a real sense of how these letters work. This is what I did when I was first starting out, I would just print out page after page and trace over the letters until I got really comfortable. It seems sometimes be more helpful than just looking at the letters on screen and so using these tips, I'm confident you'll become more skilled in drawing letter forms.