Blog Tour: Handlettering: Spell Starter by Elsie Chapman

I am so pleased to be on the Spell Starter Caffeine Books Tour! When I first read Caster, I knew I needed the sequel. A book with environmental destruction, magic fighting rings, and a passion for family. Today I’m so pleased to share some step-by-step photos of my hand lettering.


The Sting meets Fight Club in this magical, action-packed sequel to Caster by Elsie Chapman.

Yes, Aza Wu now has magic back. But like all things in her life, it has come at a great cost. After the tournament, Aza is able to pay off her parents’ debt to Saint Willow. Unfortunately, the cost of the gathering spell she used to strip Finch of his magic has put her permanently in the employ of the gang leader. Aza has been doing little errands using real magic — collecting debts, putting the squeeze on new businesses in the district. But that had never been the plan. Saint Willow is nothing if not ambitious and having Aza as a fighter is much more lucrative than as a fixer. Especially if she can control the outcome. Aza is going to have to put it all on the line again to get out of this situation!

Hand Lettering

All my hand lettering begins with me planning the quote as well as using these Grids I just downloaded to help plan my lettering. I do this so that I don’t have to constantly turn on my Kindle for the quote, as well as seeing where I want the stress of the quote to go. I’ve just started using these grids, but they’re incredibly handy because they scale!

After I have figured out which text I want in the grid, I start playing around with the effects. For this one, I knew I wanted to use all the gorgeous colors from the cover in some way. To make this center text stand out a bit more, I decided to do a custom gradient.

Now you see that my gradient is completed and I decided to use the beginning and ending colors for the text. Here you have a view of the layers I’m using. I like to make smaller chunks of texts into different layers so I can play with the shadows or placements of the words easier. You can also see that I have my initial sketch and the grid on different layers so I can play with the opacity and visibility.

Are you ready for the finished piece?

A bonus look!

I decided I wanted to show a bit more about some other things I’ve been experimenting with recently. I’m bypassing some of the original steps and just showing a few more looks! For this one I wanted to emulate this chalk effect. I love how Aza is able to use elements and so I wanted to emulate this gritty chemical feel.

But afterwards I didn’t like the look of just plain red, so I decided to use some layers of orange and yellow chalk to give it some more depth. By putting these on different layers I could toggle which color was on top, as well as the opacity of the layers.

I decided I also liked the look of the banner and so I decided to trace it and use it in the piece. You can see that I’ve added the rest of the quote and arranged them in the piece. For this one I also wanted to have some smoke effects so I used these smoke brushes. But I wanted the colors to kind of match the text, but to help the contrast I wanted it inversely.

Ready for the final piece?

Make sure to pick up Spell Starter!

Amazon — https://amzn.to/31ioSK6  

B&N — https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/spell-starter-elsie-chapman/1135037083?ean=9781338589511 

Book Depository — https://www.bookdepository.com/Spell-Starter-Caster-Novel-Elsie-Chapman/9781338589511 

IndieBound — https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781338589511 

Goodreads — https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/49090458-spell-starter 

About the Author

Elsie Chapman grew up in Prince George, Canada, and has a degree in English literature from the University of British Columbia. She is the author of the YA novels Dualed, Divided, Along the Indigo, and Caster as well as the middle-grade novel All the Ways Home, and the coeditor of A Thousand Beginnings and Endings and Hungry Hearts. She currently lives in Tokyo, Japan, with her family.

Author website — https://elsiechapman.com/ 

Goodreads — https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5441417.Elsie_Chapman 

Instagram — https://www.instagram.com/elsiechapman/

Tour Schedule

October 5
The Mind of a Book Dragon
The Quiet Pond
Written in Wonder

October 6
Vee Reading
Words With Wings
Woven From Words
October 7
Emelie’s Books
Utopia State of Mind
October 8

October 9
Citronella Seance Reads
Solace In Reading
Love Yo Shelf


Who is your favorite magical fighter?

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