digitizing calligraphy skillshare class review + free card to download

hi everyone! blogging has been pretty slow over the last few weeks as I have been busy with a few projects- I’ll share what I can here soon! In the meantime, I recently did Molly Suber Thorpe’s online skillshare class- “Digitizing Calligraphy- from sketch to vector” and thought I’d post a quick review for anyone who might be interested in doing the class or learning more about taking traditional lettering into digital format.


I had this class bookmarked for quite a while, and decided to do it because I saw it recommended somewhere (I can’t remember where?) alongside Molly Jacques calligraphy class– which I loved and which initially got me interested in lettering (I reviewed it here). I have vectorised hand lettered stuff before in a basic way, but this class was a revelation! The class aim is to “Create a flourished, vectorized calligraphic logotype”. The techniques that Molly (Suber-Thorpe) shares were SO useful- especially her use of layer masks and adjustment layers in photoshop for refining the scanned artwork before vectorising (which I generally don’t use because, especially with layer masks, I don’t know what I’m doing). I also picked up a few handy keyboard shortcuts for photoshop which I didn’t know before. Even if you don’t do calligraphy but will be taking line art from sketch into vector I think you will find this class useful. The other thing I found interesting was her description of her process in creating the initial art work- it was inspiring to see how a pro creates hand lettered work and the design decisions she made throughout the process.

For my class project I decided to calligraph the words “Happy Birthday” to design a card for a friend who was having a birthday.

here are (some of) my initial tries:


and fails at flourishing!


this is the final art I went with:



inked with higgins eternal ink and a Hunt nib

Then I followed the steps to edit it in PS:

happybirthday-subtle refining

areas circled that needed fixing

happybirthday-subtle refining2then vectorised and put back into photoshop to create the final card:


The card came out much better than if I had simply edited it in photoshop the way I used to.

I was also able to use some of the techniques I picked up in this class to edit some hand lettering, vectorise it and blow it up to size for a window painting commission I did earlier this week. The technique was a winner because it meant I could scale the lettering up to over 1.5 metre by 1.5 metre to use as a guide when painting. I’ll probably share some pics on here soon.

All in all, I was really pleased with this class and highly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about the process of editing traditional lettering. It was well taught and very informative. I can’t wait to get my hands on Molly’s book- Modern Calligraphy.


If you want the Happy Birthday card, I have made it free to download here. Print it on heavy card stock (I used 300gsm watercolour paper) using an inkjet printer, and trim to size.

Disclaimer: you may have noticed I have done a few skillshare reviews on this blog. they are all unpaid honest reviews that I have done because I really enjoyed the classes and like and have learned a lot through skillshare. I highly recommend them as an affordable way to learn more about various design+art subjects and that’s why I did the review. I hope you enjoy it!


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