How to create letterings with negative space

Author: Helen Burkhalter
Passionate lettering artist, always inspired and originator of helen lettering & more. [...]

Letterings with negative space are actually the reverse way of hand lettering. For this special
method you don’t need any brush pens.

The result of the negative lettering is amazing and also it has a calming effect when you make it. You will feel it. Point for point you will see more from the negative letters.

In this tutorial you will learn how you can create a stunning picture with this technique. I will
show you the process with points and other possibilities.

All works have the same basis. And the wonderful thing is that the fantasy knows no end.

What you need

  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Rubber

If you want to create a lettering picture you usually need a brush pen and a paper with a
smooth structure.

For negative lettering you can use almost every pen you have at home. For example you
can choose a fine liner or a gel pen. It is much easier as if you use a brush pen for negativ

You also can use a paper which you like without to take care of the structure. I recommend a paper without any patterns.

Now let’s start and have some fun. I will show you step by step how you will create your first
wonderful negative lettering.

Creating the basic form

First of all I always make thin lines with a pencil before I begin to write the word on the paper. For this step you can use your ruler.


The next step is to write the chosen word. When you want to make negative letters you have to make the upstroke a little wider as usual. Otherwise you wouldn’t really see the letters in the end.

Template of your chosen word

Decorating the word

Now you start to draw little points around the lines of your letters. On the line you make a lot
of points. It seems like it would be almost a line but make a small space between each point.

Dot by dot

Now you have to draw fewer and fewer points in a smooth transition to the outside.

Dirty lines

Here you can see how you can create a negative lettering in a faster possibility. You only
have to draw dirty lines on the letter lines you draw already with the pencil first. You can decorate the little spaces with points.

You also can draw arbitrarily strokes and points.


Last but not least here you can see a heart with a lot of hearts in it. With this example I want
to show to you how many possibilities you have.


The final lettering

This is how the lettering may look like in the end.

Examples of final letterings
Helen Burkhalter

Passionate lettering artist, always inspired and originator of helen lettering & more.

Helen Burkhalter is from Switzerland. Since ever she loves to write and to be creative. In December 2017 she discovered hand lettering for herself. To create letterings is her thing of the heart. In October 2019 she started to give her own hand lettering courses.

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