Calligraphy, Faux Calligraphy, lettering

Bounce Lettering

Before you start reading, here are the PDFs needed for today’s blog, if you’re following along: Lettering Worksheet 1 Lettering Worksheet 2 (Make sure you scale to fit the paper so you get the entirety of the worksheet)

What is Bounce Lettering?

Bounce lettering is basically just varying where your letters sit in relation to the line you’re writing on. Here is an example of my regular handwriting:


It’s not great, it’s not terrible, but it’s really nothing special. However, if I take that same word and vary where the letters sit in relation to the invisible line my writing follows, I can get a totally different result:


In addition to varying where the letters sit, I also added some space between the letters and stylized the “o”. It already looks more unique. I’ll show you how you can personalize your handwriting too!

What You Need

  • I’ve attached 2 PDF documents at the top of the blog. These are free to download and you can share them wherever you’d like. They are also easily found all over the internet.
  • A pencil
  • A high-polymer eraser
  • An ink pen, preferably gel, as they create a solid line that ball point pens do not.
  • Paper. Regular copy paper will work fine, and it is transparent enough that you can see the worksheet lines.
  • Any type of straight edge

What Does It All Mean?

Here’s a quick rundown of the terms I’ve printed on the worksheet:

  • ascender: the part of the lowercase letter that ascends above the the rest of the lowercase letters. For example: the letter “l” has an ascender from the start of the loop and above.
  • cap height: the height of flat-topped capital letters, like “H” and “T”. Round letters can have the same cap height, but they sometimes reach past it.
  • x-height: pretty much what it says: the height of the letter “x”. Most lowercase letters, aside from those that reach the ascender, reach the x-height. Some rounded letters may reach slightly above, but I wouldn’t worry too much about that.
  • baseline: the line that the letters sit on.
  • descender: this is where letters that extend below the baseline end. Letters like “g” “p” “q”, etc.

anatomy of type.jpg

Let’s Get Started!

Now that you know all those terms, FORGET ABOUT THEM!!! Okay, don’t totally forget what they mean, but forget about adhering to the rules all the time.

Place your blank copy paper over the sheet that has only 100% opaque lines, that way you can easily see through it.


I’m going to use the phrase “Hello Goodbye” for my practice, but you can write whatever you’d like.


Write your phrase on the copy paper, and within the lines corresponding with the letter type.

Now the next step is where you can get creative. You want to keep a straight line, but with the letters “bouncing” around that line. You know how sometimes when you write on a whiteboard, you start at a certain spot and you endpoint is way higher, like you’re writing on a slant? We don’t want that.


I usually write the phrase a few times and change up how I vary the letters along the line. I also try to stylize certain letters until I come out with a version that I really like.


Once you get your lettering the way you like it, go over it with a pen and erase the pencil marks. (Make sure your ink is totally dry before erasing, otherwise you will have an ugly, smeared mess.) If you’d like to re-do your pencilled lettering on a separate sheet of paper, feel free to do so.


Now that you have your bouncy lettering down, you can employ the tips you learned in my previous blog post: faux calligraphy. This effect looks really neat with bouncy lettering!


And there’s the final product! Stay tuned for the next blog post. I will be sharing a few tips on how to embellish your faux calligraphy to make it even more unique! If you haven’t already, make sure to subscribe to my email notifications.

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