I am all about that side hustle.
If that side hustle is something you enjoy. My side hustle is hand lettering, which is something I got into a little over a year ago. When I would go shopping for home decor, I found that I was always drawn to pieces that displayed a nice quote in a pretty font. I bought a couple of pieces for my walls, but when I got home I realized that maybe I could do it myself and not pay the sometimes outrageous prices.
I started out by following some very talented hand letterers on Instagram. This is my first tip: when you start, consume as much as you create (but not forever!). You will find different fonts to practice, new techniques, interesting designs and learn about what pens and tools create the effects you desire. Spend some time on Pinterest, too, which is filled with tutorials that will help you practice. But don't spend all of your time consuming! Practice is just as important and it becomes more important as you go.
You don't need any fancy tools to start practicing; that's my second tip. I started out with a pencil and a 99-cent notebook from the clearance section of Wal-Mart. I wrote the alphabet on page after page, trying out different writing styles and practicing flourishes and doodles. When you're ready to upgrade, you still don't have to pay a ton of money. Here are some of the pens and markers I use:
Pigma Micron pens are great for beginners. You can pick them up at your local arts and crafts store and they come is a variety of tip sizes, ranging from 005 (tiny) to 08 (thicker) and beyond. They are great for simple styles and learning faux-lligraphy, which is where you write a word normally and then go back and thicken the downstrokes after. Pentel Sign pens are also a great investment. Their slightly flexible tip makes it easy to thicken the downstrokes as you write––remember, pressure and angle are important! I use those for cursive, serif and sans-serif fonts alike, and they come in a variety of colors. You can get them off of JetPens.
Sometimes, though, you may already have the pens you need. I use Sharpies pretty often, particularly the fine and ultra fine points, and have a deep-seated love affair with PaperMate Flair pens. These pens and markets come in a super wide variety of colors and are usually pretty cheap to buy in bulk. Crayola SuperTips are also a great investment. Many professional hand letterers on Instagram brag about these markers (and with good reason). Lately, I've even been using a pack of 99-cent Cra-Z-Art markers.
You still want to keep that pencil and eraser handy. They will help you map out your design before you put any ink to paper, helping you perfect your work. And you don't have to run out and buy thick, expensive paper. Practice in a notebook or on regular printer paper, or buy yourself sketchbook so that you can keep track of your progress. Part of the fun is going back a year later and seeing how much you've improved.
And remember that imperfection is alright, even expected when it comes to hand lettering. That is part of its appeal. It doesn't have to turn into a side hustle; it can be a relaxing hobby or something to use when it's time to send out Christmas cards. But my biggest tip is to practice and, eventually, tip the scales so that you create more than you consume.