How to create dripping monoline lettering

In this lesson, we’re going to be creating a monoline-style piece and adding some badass looking drips, as if it’s covered in water or wet paint.

We’ll be using the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, in combination with the app Procreate to create this, and the technique and process are actually surprisingly quick and easy.

The first thing to do is to set up a new document in Procreate and to change the canvas background to be pure black.

Create a new layer, name it ‘Guidelines’, and select the Technical Pencil as your drawing tool. After setting your colour to white, draw a line on a slight diagonal, but hold the point of your Apple Pencil on the screen; Procreate will then convert your line into a perfectly straight, ruled line that you can use as a guideline.

Duplicate this Guidelines layer and use the Move tool to bring the second line below the first. Because you duplicated the layer the lines will be perfectly parallel 😉

You can now merge these two layers into one single Guidelines layer.

Great! Let’s move on to the sketch.

Create a new layer called Sketch, and select the Technical Pencil once again. Using the guidelines you just set up, sketch out the word ‘dreamy’ in a simplistic, hand-written style. Simplicity is often key in monoline works, especially when we’re adding in extra elements like these drips!

Once your sketch is complete it’s time to create the lettering itself.

Let's first turn down the opacity of our pencil sketch layer to a comfortable level. The goal here is to get it to an opacity level that still lets you use it as a reference layer, but not be distracting while you're lettering over the top of it.

Create a new layer called Lettering, and select the Flat Marker. With white still your selected colour, adjust your brush size until you’re happy with it, and begin slowly creating smooth, rich lines. Focus on flow and consistency over anything else – we want this to look like it was created with a single line.

Trace over your entire sketch, and don’t worry about going over sections multiple times. The Pencil may make some areas lighter than others due to the pressure-sensitivity, so just re-draw over these areas to get a consistent layer of digital paint.

Awesome! Lettering is done!

Now for the drips. Create a new layer, call it Drips, and choose your Flat Marker once more. Adjust your brush size to a fair bit smaller than the size you had for your lettering itself, and begin drawing in drips. Stick to the same angle as your underline and other horizontal lines – this will bring a cohesive feeling to your piece and make everything feel a bit more intentional.

Ensure some of your drips overlap on the letters themselves – you’ll need this for the next step.

Here we are, the last step! Select your Lettering layer, and select the Eraser tool. Change the Eraser’s settings to be on the Flat Marker, and match the brush size to the same thickness you set for your drips.

Now, use the Eraser to remove sections of your Lettering layer directly above and below where drips overlap the letters. This gives an awesome layered look and really lends some movement and life to your piece.

Be organic with this, keep each drip and erased section different, you want this to look hand-made, not formulaic.

And that’s it! Nice and easy! 😄

Who runs this show?

Hi! I'm James. I'm a designer and illustrator from Sydney, Australia, and I create all of the courses and posts on Pencil To Pixel.

You can also find me at my website, or on Twitter and Instagram

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