How To

Skeletons & Balloons – A Super Simple Lettering Lesson

  • By Wendy Nield
  • In How to

Remember the letters you learned to write first? They were made with just a line and they are called skeleton letters, the basic bones of lettering. If you can write those, it’s an easy next step to write letters that are not just a stick, but have thickness to them. You can make letters that are bolder, and even fill them in with a color or a design. If you make the outline line with rounded corners, they are called balloon (or bubble) letters.

First, write your stick or skeleton letter. (If you write this in pencil you can erase the skeleton after you make the balloon.) Then trace a line around the skeleton letter, leaving lots of space for a thicker letter, or less for a thinner one. If there is an open space in the letter (called a “counter”), you will need to draw a line inside that space, too. Now your skeleton letter is a balloon letter!

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Not sure how to draw a Q? Or a W? We've got you covered. Check out our How to Draw Balloon Letters Video Playlist - one for each letter of the alphabet!

If you are writing a word and have more than one letter, drawing the line around the skeletons might make the balloons overlap each other. Draw the balloon line as far as you can, imagining that the second letter is behind and partly covered up by the first one. If you color in overlapping letters you can make the outline stronger or make the letters a different color to tell where one ends and another begins.


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