Friday, January 6, 2012

Ribbon Letters...

This is a simple technique for getting a ribbon style letter.  There are a lot of different techniques out there, but this one makes sense for my 7th-8th graders who have never tried this before.

It starts out by writing out a word in cursive.

Then you extend the edges back in space.  They must all be the same direction, and the same length.  For example, if you draw from each edge up 1 inch at 45 degrees to the left, then they all go that same length and direction.  For curves, you pick the outermost part of the curve you can find.  See the top and bottom of the C in the "Carthage" example?

You finish the drawing by drawing in the back edge of the ribbon, which should go the same direction as the front edge (the cursive letter.)

Don't forget sometimes you have interior spaces that need to be addressed, like the o in Love in the below example.

Color is different.  You have lots of options, but I have my students use marker to outline, and colored pencils for shading.  Shading can really make you ribbon drawing seem more real.  You are trying to get the illusion of depth, and if you gradually shade from light to dark, to show overlap or distance, you can enhance the image.
  Here are some examples ...


  1. What age group did you introduce this to?

  2. Great idea! I want to teach my kids about lighting and I think this is a great way to introduce the idea. Thanks!

    1. No prob! If you need help, let me know!

  3. That lettering is awesome. I'm going to try it myself. Love it! :D

  4. These are amazing!! It combines typography, shading, and three-dimensionality! Wonderful lesson, I'll be sure to link this page to my blog!

  5. BTW, this lesson reminded me of an amazing graphic designer named Jessica Hische. She has a few illustrations using ribbon letters

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  7. I love when these are posted in the hallway, it really brightens things up! You must have had a wonderful art professor in college....

  8. Mr. MintArt...excellent assignment! I can't wait to use it for my Summer School Academy (for middle schoolers) class.

  9. Great Post! We have Satin Ribbon with 196 colors and 19 sizes for your choice! Have a try here?