What is Monoline Lettering?

By Phawnda Moore in Art Tutorials > Other Tutorials

If you’re new to hand-lettering, you’ve probably collected a few bullet-tipped markers. As shown in the first photo below, they have round tips—they’re not chisel tipped (which make thick or thin letters depending on their angle) or pointed (which make thick or thin letters according to how much pressure you apply).

Instead, bullet-tipped tools make monoline letters—where the lines are all the same weight. It’s instinctive to add a little dot at the beginning and end of some of the strokes as an entry/exit mark:


Tools for Monoline Lettering, from left: Faber Castell Pitt (metallic), Montana Acrylic fine tip, Sakura Permapaque fine tip, Faber Castell Pitt 101 white, Zig Writer with 2 sizes of bullet tips, Speedball “B” nib in pen holder and out, Tsukineko Fantastix, Zig Millenium .05, Sharpie fine point, Sakura IDenti Pen with 2 sizes of bullet tips, and another color of Montana Acrylic marker.

As one of the more modern styles, monoline is unpretentious, friendly and adaptable. It can be slanted, slimmed down, or puffed. You can use it on envelopes, notes, and even formal work. It likes rhythm, blending with colors, showing contrast, and (best of all) it can be used to create just about any size of letter you need. It goes with the flow, literally!

I recommend that every lettering artist create at least one monoline style.

Here’s an image showing the contrast between a monoline (thin) letter style, and a brush (thick and thin) lettering style:


If you’re looking to add a bit of script variation next to some monoline letters, you’ll find that your very own handwriting, slowly and carefully written, will look nice.

I often use my monoline styles in a supporting role to other tools, but every now and then, they’re happy to step up for the starring role. An easy project for monoline is the encouraging get-well card, used with colored pencils:


Or, how about the Gypsy proverb below? It was lettered exclusively with a Speedball “B” nib (which comes in these 6 sizes) and liquid watercolor on smooth drawing paper. Note the round tip on the pen nib—that’s the Speedball B3!


No matter what your project, I guarantee you’ll find a place for monoline lettering. Why not create your own monoline style this week?

Thanks for stopping by; I hope this inspired you today! Stay in touch with me on Facebook at Facebook.com/CalligraphyandDesignByPhawnda.


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