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How to Create a Fun Winter Quote with Illustrations

by Ambassador Team 11 Nov 2023 0 Comments


Hello! Lisa from @nolalettering here today to show you how to create a fun winter lettering composition that includes an illustration. Recently, I’ve taken to combining illustration with lettering, and I thought I’d demonstrate the process I go through to create a lettering piece where the illustration feels like it’s a part of the composition rather than an after thought. You can create something like this as a monthly cover page in your bullet journal or use it to fill in any extra pages you may have. It’s also a useful tool for creating handmade greeting cards. Let’s get started!



These are the materials that I’m using in today’s tutorial -

Don’t forget to use my affiliate code, nolalettering, to get 10% off your Archer and Olive purchase!


Pick your quote and your colors

As usual, the first step is to pick your quote. I would definitely recommend choosing quotes that have a subject that you can easily illustrate, so I would shy away from quotes that are more abstract or complex objects if you’re new to illustrating.

Here are a few quotes to get your creativity started:

  • It’s so cold I saw a snowman drinking coffee.
  • Keep calm and wait for snow.
  • Wake me up when winter is over.
  • Summer is better than winter.
  • Keep sleigh-ing!

I will be doing “chillin’ with my snowmies,” which has a fairly obvious and simple illustration - a snowman! If the quote you’re doing doesn’t have an obvious object to draw, you can do illustrations that relate to it. For example, if your quote is about food, you can draw different types of food. Or if you’re quote is about summer, you can include summer-related illustrations. It doesn’t have to be one single illustration, but that is what I’m going for today.

photo of Calliopgraph swatches with light and dark shades

Next, choose your colors if you’re intending on coloring in your composition. Picking color combinations is definitely one of the hardest things for me, especially since I’m so used to black and white. I will sometimes search on Pinterest for color combinations as inspiration, which I highly recommend if you have the same difficulty.

When it comes to coloring in illustrations and lettering, I really like using shading to make the composition feel more three dimensional. So for each color I’ve decided to use, I’ll normally find a corresponding darker (or lighter) color. If you’re using Calliographs, for some of the colors, you can get away with using the chonky brush side for lighter colored base and the thin, smaller brush side for the shadows. But in this case, I’ve chosen a lighter and darker brush pen for each color. It doesn’t have to be exact, so don’t worry if you can’t find a corresponding color. You can also use a gray marker as the darker color for all your colors or a dark blue/purple.


Sketch out your drawing

photo of a sketch of a snowman using blue lead

Now that we’ve done all the prep work, we can finally get to sketching. I’m sketching my illustration and words in different colors because I’ll be overlapping my text and illustration. This, for me, has been the easiest way to integrate both elements into a composition that makes them feel more cohesive. I’ve noticed that if I do illustration and lettering as separate elements, the illustration often feels like an after thought.


Sketch out your quote

photo of sketch of blue snowman and the hand lettered quote "Chillin with my snowmies"

Once I’ve sketched my illustration, using a normal color pencil, I sketch in my words. The reason I do the lettering and drawing in different colors is because this makes it easier to tell what I will be erasing and what I won’t. My intention is to have “chillin” be behind the snowman while “snomies” will be in front.

If I did both in the same color, my brain can get confused. When I go to erase or ink, I erase/ink the wrong lines and mess up my composition. The difference in color makes things more organized. The blue lead I used for the snowman is erasable, but if you intend to do your outline in black and color everything in, you can also use a lighter shade of color pencil if you don’t have erasable color lead.

If none of that made any sense, check out this YouTube video where I talk through my sketching in different colored pencils!


Ink and color in your composition

photo of inked snowman with the quote "chillin with my snowmies"

Now it’s time to ink! As you can see, the difference in pencil color between lettering and illustration has successfully allowed me to ink with no mistakes. Yay! I used a very thin tipped fineliner (0.1) to ink because there are some elements, like the buttons, that are quite small. A thicker fineliner might make the buttons look like black blobs, especially on the smaller snowman head in “snomies.”

photo of colored in snowman and the quote "chillin with my snowmies"

After inking, I colored in everything with the lighter shade Calliographs first.


Add final touches

image of drawn snowmand and handlettered quote "chillin' withe my snowmies"

And finally, we add in the shadows using the darker colored markers or the thin side of your Calliograph, and the highlights using the white Acrylograph. Shadows and highlights can be difficult to figure out, but as long as you’re consistent on which side you put your shadows and highlights, then you’re good!

As a one last final touch, which is not necessary, I did re-outline everything with my 0.5 fineliner to make the black outline more obvious. This is definitely a personal preference, so you don’t have to do it!

And that’s it; you’ve now got yourself a fun winter quote for your journal. Or, as I mentioned previously, you can use these tips in creating handmade holiday cards to send to your loved ones. The possibilities are endless!

I’ve also created a coloring page printable of this composition that you can easily print, color, and stick into your journal if you’d rather go down that route!

cover image for coloring page printable of snowman with the quote "chillin' with my snowmies"

I hope you found this tutorial helpful and fun! If you do create a winter quote composition, please share with us on social media and tag me, @nolalettering, on Instagram along with @archerandolive, and use the hashtags #AOShare and #archerandolive so we can see your beautiful creations.

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