How to Draw a Drop Cap


I'm glad that you all are enjoying my blog posts and having fun with your letters to each other - it's so lovely to be a part of it!

Recently, I received a comment on one of the blog posts asking for stylish drop cap tutorial, so I put this article together for you all. Thanks, Nadia, for the suggestion!

What is a Drop Cap?

If you've ever held an old story book in your hands, you've probably admired a drop cap. It is that big capital letter that extends down three or four lines and is surrounded by fancy decoration. Like this:

image of drop cap "T" on blank notebook page 

That's my unfinished version, doodled in one of my 100% recycled, blank-page notebooks available through my shop ;)

I'm going to show you how I did it! It didn't take long at all, and even though it's not perfect or the most neat, I'm happy with the result. I think because the details are so small, mess ups don't matter as much and the whole thing looks fabulous no matter what! You'll have to show me your creations, too.

How to Draw a Drop Cap

First, I made a little graph square the size I wanted my drop cap to be.


Then, I drew my letter and filled it in with ink.

graph square with penciled "T" in the centergraph square with inked "T" in the center
Pencil in some details, keeping it as symmetrical as possible while also filling in all the corners and along the sides, so the square is filled out.
inked in "T" with penciled swirly decorations around it in the shape of a square
Ink it in and erase the lines.
inked in "T" in the center of inked in swirl decoration in the shape of a square - on unlined paper
It's looking good so far, but the "T" isn't bold enough.
So I grabbed my metallic marker, traced over the "T", and then added dimension to it by shadowing with the black pen.
--If you're wondering how to add a nice shadow to a letter, the trick is to double or triple the outline on two sides. For example, along the bottom and along the right sides of the letter, add extra thickness. Ignore the left and upper outlines - do not make those thicker.
Then, I tried some writing next to my fancy drop cap.
I noticed that the space underneath the T bothered me. The fourth line of text is too far below the end of the drop cap. I should have wrote smaller, but it was already done.
So I put a little extra graph down below with pencil and added some inky swirls to the bottom.
For the final touch, I thought it needed an outline.
And even though it's a bit smudgy, I love it!
I also made a couple others, just to play around.
The maple leaves didn't work out so great, but the fruits are simple and cute :)
I would try a few out before putting one on the page if I were you!
And one last tip, if you do draw a drop cap on your page and it doesn't turn out, cut out a little square from some plain-colored cardstock, draw a new drop cap on it, and paste it over your mess-up one. In scrapbooking and journaling, you can almost always just cover up your mistakes! 
Happy drop capping, readers and writers!
Let me know if there's anything else you'd like me to blog about.
Until then: have fun, stay curious, and keep writing.


  • Nadia – my pleasure! Can’t wait to see :)

    Alison Maglaughlin
  • Thanks Alison! Using a grid is an excellent idea, looking forward to trying it out and sending you the results!

    nadia bairamis

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