Hand-Drawn Typographic Portrait

A course by Sarah King
Illustrator. Tofino, Canada.
Joined December 2019
, Illustrator

Combine illustration and typography to create pieces full of depth and texture that invite exploration

  • 98% Positive reviews (100)
  • 1963 students
  • Audio: English
  • English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, French, Italian
Hand-Drawn Typographic Portrait

Combine illustration and typography to create pieces full of depth and texture that invite exploration

  • 98% Positive reviews (100)
  • 1963 students
  • Online and at your own pace
  • Audio: English
  • Level: Beginner
  • 13 Lessons (1h 39m)
  • Available from the app
  • English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, French, Italian
  • Unlimited access forever

When typography is applied to portrait illustration, compositions become ablaze with meaning, ready to take the viewer on a meandering discovery. Sarah King has been exploring the art of incorporating typography to her illustrations ever since she graduated in graphic design over 12 years ago. Her work has given her the opportunity to illustrate for clients such as the New York Times, The Guardian, and National Geographic, as well as editorials like TASCHEN and the SFMOMA.

In this course, you will learn how to apply your personal handwriting to portrait illustration, explore how to give meaning to your chosen figure, and discover the many ways in which it can be applied to different projects. Starting from the initial research to the finishing touches on Adobe Photoshop, you will acquire all the knowledge that is needed to apply your typographical ideas to your illustrations.

About this course

Course table of contents

  • U1
    U1. Introduction
  • U2
    U2. Research, Materials and Drawing Techniques
  • U3
    U3. Drawing the Typographic Portrait
  • U4
    U4. Final Editing
  • FP
    FP Final Project
View details

Start the course by getting to know Sarah, what inspired her to focus almost all her attention on using words to shape her illustrations, and where she draws inspiration from.

Next, select the person you want to illustrate and put pen to paper by sketching alongside Sarah, to understand how to create a gradient with the use of words. Experiment with your own style using your personal handwriting, and learn how Sarah researches to find words about the person’s work and personality to include in the illustration.

Discover editing techniques to enhance your original image, and facilitate the sections of your portrait to incorporate words. Learn how to organize the layout of your work to make the process easier by numbering the areas.

Once you have the sections defined, it’s time to start constructing words into your illustration. Find out how Sarah adapts words into distinct shapes and sizes to enhance their meaning. Learn how to include illustrations related to your character and choice of words in your composition, resolving space and weight in a professional manner.

Transfer your finished illustration into Photoshop for the final editing process, and understand how to use the best tools for the finishing touches to complete your final project. You will see how to export your image for web and print, ready to share with the world.

What is this course's project?

Create a dynamic, hand-drawn typographic portrait.

Projects by course students

Who is it for?

This course is for anyone interested in learning how to add handwritten typography to their illustrations.

What you need

Basic illustration skills are required to do this course, and the willingness to experiment and make mistakes while learning.

For the final edit of your portrait, you will need Adobe Photoshop installed, as well as a scanner.


1963 Students
100 Reviews
98% Positive ratings
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Sarah King

A course by Sarah King


Ever since she was a young child, Sarah King has been exposed to the world of prose, words, and design, growing up with a writer and an architect. After graduating in graphic design at the University of Brighton in 2008, Sarah took these two passions even further, illustrating with words became her iconic style, which led her to work for the New York Times, National Geographic, Vice, The Guardian, the SFMOMA museum and much more.

Today, Sarah shares her time between the mountain and the sea in British Columbia (Canada), combining her passion for nature and illustrating with words into her work. Constantly exploring new ways to transmit her art, Sarah also illustrates on different supports such as snowboards, wood, and textiles.


  • U1


    • Introduction
    • Influences
    • What We Will Do in the Course
  • U2

    Research, Materials and Drawing Techniques

    • Materials
    • Drawing Techniques and Exercises
    • Researching and Finding Text and Images
  • U3

    Drawing the Typographic Portrait

    • Creating the Template
    • Numbering and Preparing the Template
    • Drawing Typography Within Template
    • Using Drawings
    • Cleaning up the Artwork
  • U4

    Final Editing

    • Separating the Images and Removing Background
    • Cleaning Up
  • FP

    Final Project

    • Hand-Drawn Typographic Portrait

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Hand-Drawn Typographic Portrait. A Illustration course by Sarah King

Hand-Drawn Typographic Portrait

A course by Sarah King
Illustrator. Tofino, Canada.
Joined December 2019
  • 98% Positive reviews (100)
  • 1963 students