Heart-Shaped Chalk Lettering

Create this heart-shaped lettering for a unique chalk design. This project uses words to create the shape of a heart for a visually appealing design.

By Valerie McKeehan
July 2018

chalk lettering cover
Cover courtesy of Workman Publishing.

In The Complete Book of Chalk Lettering: Create and Develop Your Own Style, Valerie McKeehan guides readers through the art of chalk lettering. All readers can learn to master the designs found in the book with over 60 lessons, a review of basic tools and tips, and a practice space to try some of these lessons out. An additional 12 projects are included in the final chapters for readers to practice everything they learned. The following excerpt is from Chapter 7, "Lettering in a Shape."

    heart shaped lettering

  1. Begin with a sketched heart.
  2. heart shaped lettering

  3. Starting in the upper left portion of the heart, draw a "Y" with exaggerated strokes to make up the curve of the heart.
  4. heart shaped lettering

  5. Continue with the "Y" descender, dragging it to follow another curve of the heart outline. Add an "o" and "u" to fill the space nicely. The exit stroke of the "u" should hit slightly above the dip in the center of the heart. Pro Tip: The outline does not need to be too polished or perfect. Eventually, most of it will be covered with a combination of lettering and flourishes. Any remaining outline will be erased.
  6. heart shaped lettering

  7. A key component of a heart is the dip in the center. It's important to exaggerate it with a drawn element so it stands out. Draw a flourish that outlines this depression.
  8. heart shaped lettering

  9. On the other side of the heart, add a large "S" and an "O."
  10. heart shaped lettering

  11. Move to the middle of the heart and add a flourish that will contain the word "ARE" above it and the word "Loved" below it. When drawing the "L" in "Loved" connect it to the outline in two places to help give shape to the heart.
  12. heart shaped lettering

  13. Extend the exit point of the "L" into a signature flourish that will complete the heart's bottom point, another key area to emphasize. Once the words belonging on the edges of the heart fit nicely, add the word "ARE" above the center flourish line. Pro Tip: At this stage, do not polish or thicken the letters. This will be done once the layout is roughly sketched with everything fitting nicely together.
  14. heart shaped lettering

  15. Look for any holes in the design. Does the empty spot under the word "So" and the space between the body of the "Y" and its descender look sparse?
  16. heart shaped lettering

  17. Fill in these spaces with little hearts for a cute embellishment.
  18. heart shaped lettering

  19. Once your design appears balanced and the outline looks significantly covered, use a cotton swab to erase any of the remaining heart-shaped outline.
  20. heart shaped lettering

  21. From the top down, polish the letterforms by thickening the downstrokes and emphasizing the strokes forming the heart.
  22. heart shaped lettering

  23. Add any shadow lines and flourishes to fill any holes that pop up.
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More from The Complete Book of Chalk Lettering:

Excerpted with permission from The Complete Book of Chalk Lettering, by Valerie McKeehan. Published by Workman Publishing, © 2015.

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