Today I've watched on a whim Make Hand Lettered Fonts Using Procreate by Celeste Duffy, from Skillshare and now I have my first OTF hand lettered font. Yayyy!

As I enjoyed a lot the class, I've decided to jumped right into making my own font as soon as possible.

The steps are simple:

  • create a free account on calligraphr
  • select up to 75 characters (if you don't want to pay for it) and use them to make a font template
  • download the template as PNG images and import them into Procreate (or any other drawing app)
    • use an A4 @ 300dpi document for this
  • you use the templates as guide and draw over them your letters
    • use a relatively simple brush, with 100% opacity
  • you then export your letters superimposed over the templates
    • the templates have some QR scan codes that should remain in your exported image, so that calligraphr can determine what it is importing
  • import your images into calligraphr
  • build and export your font from calligraphr, as TTF and/or OTF

Unfortunately, there are a couple of limitations when using the free version of calligraphr, the most important being that you can only have 75 chars. You could remove the capitals, I suppose and only use small letters, numbers and more punctuation. Or remove the numbers? Or drop some of the punctuation? According to calligraphr itself:

And that's the minimum you need, with a lot of the useful punctuation left out.

The second problem I've run into was trying to import a font too complex. Thinking myself smart, I've started with a A4@600dpi canvas. The template exported from calligraphr was also zoomed to the max. Then I've selected a brush with lots of details, the Retro > Newsprint Procreate brush, to draw the fonts. This resulted in rather complex files that calligraphr loaded, but crashed when trying to create the final font.

After that, I decided to use an A4@300dpi and a simpler brush, the Inking > Marker brush (modified to have no opacity variation whatsoever). This worked and now I have my first font.

To sum up, for simple projects, where you only need the basic English alphabet and don't need all punctuation or numbers, calligraphr can be a nice and free solution. For more than that I have my reservations…

Here is a sample of using my font in Procreate and the font itself. Please feel free to use the font for your personal projects.

A4@300dpi template sample using the Markers brush
A4@300dpi template sample using the Markers brush
The font in practice
The font in practice