How To Draw Great Banners and Lettering

As a tattoo artist, you’ll use banners and lettering in your work all the time. Because you’ll be doing them so much, it’s important to have a process to make them look nice while getting them done quickly. 

In this article, we’ll cover some strategies you can use for all of your banners and lettering, including how to: 

  • Make sure the size and flow of your banners are consistent
  • Draw the back of the banner so it looks 3D
  • Space your letters perfectly

7 Tips for Banners and Lettering

1

Start with 3 Lines in Red Pencil

Start by mapping out your tattoo design with a red pencil. You’ll always want to start with 3 lines to sketch out the shape of the banner. The top and bottom lines will be the edges of your banner, and the middle of the line helps show how your lettering should move.

For simple lettering, 3 lines might be enough. For more complex designs like script lettering, try adding two more lines to help guide exactly where you want your script to go.

2

Make Sure Size and Flow Are Consistent

For banners with more words to fit in, you will still start with your three lines. Make sure that all of the parts of your banner are the same thickness and follow the same flow. Otherwise, the design won’t make sense. 

Connect both parts of your banner with two lines in the middle that are the same thickness as the main banner pieces. This is going to be the back of the banner, so you’ll shade it. If there’s something going through your banner in the design, like a dagger, the back part will mostly be hidden. 

You can include as many banners as you want in a design, just make sure you connect them to each other with lines in the middle.

3

Pay Attention to the Back of The Banner

Make sure to draw in the back of your banner so it’s clear that it’s a banner and not just a shape with words inside. There are multiple ways to do this, but a cool one is to make it fold back in on itself. To do that, make a spiral in the corner of each piece of the banner and connect it to the three guiding lines.  

4

Start With Imperfect Lettering

When you start adding letters, they don’t need to be perfect. Add in some sloppy letters just to get them laid out and to make sure they aren’t going to be too far apart. If you have extra room, you can add in smaller marks to add flair to the design.

Add Breaks in Your Lines

As a new tattooer, it can be hard to make long, perfect lines. Don’t be afraid to add some small breaks and tears into your design. This will still look great as a tattoo, but you won’t have to worry about creating a flawless line.

Get Your Lettering Online

Using lettering you found online can save you a lot of time and effort. Import it into your drawing, and then highlight each letter individually to move them into your banner. Make sure the size and spacing follow the flow of the banner.

Focus On Shading

When you’re working on your drawing, connect the lines in your banner so that you can lay out how you want to shade your tattoo. If the line work isn’t “closed off,” you won’t be able to select pieces of it in Procreate to add shading by section. Shading in sections makes it easier to add dark areas exactly where you want them instead of having to do it all by hand. 

Adding shading in your drawing will help build trust with your client by allowing you to show them what the final tattoo will look like. You can remove the shading layers when you want to print out the design to make your stencil

Prepare for a Tattooing Career with the Artist Accelerator Program

Learning how to draw tattoo designs is an important step in your journey, but it can also be pretty eye-opening to how difficult tattooing can be. Without the right knowledge, it’s impossible to level up your skills and become a professional tattoo artist. 

However, finding the straight-forward information you need to progress is difficult. And with so much out there online, it’s hard to avoid picking up bad habits from incorrect and outdated resources.

This is one of the biggest struggles new tattooers face, and too many talented artists have given up their goal of getting into tattooing because of the years it would take to unlearn their bad habits. 

That’s why aspiring artists are learning to tattoo with the Artist Accelerator Program’s structured course. As a student, you learn every step of the tattooing process from professional artists with the experience and advice you need to build your skills and create incredible tattoos. 

With the Artist Accelerator, you can stop wasting time searching through incorrect information. You just get the clear, easy-to-understand lessons you need to start improving fast… along with support and personalized feedback from professional artists in our online Mastermind group.

Over 2500 students have already gone through the course, with many of them opening up their own studios. If you want to join them and learn the skills you need to start tattooing full time faster…

Click here to learn more about the Artist Accelerator Program.

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AUTHOR
Nathan Molenaar

Nathan is a licensed professional tattoo artist with over 8 years’ experience working at studios across the globe, including Celebrity Ink, the world's largest tattoo studio chain.

When he's not tattooing, he spends his free time sharing his experience and knowledge with aspiring artists who dream of pursuing a career in the tattooing industry.

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