Papercut is something many creatives would like to become skilled in, but spend five minutes with a scalpel and some paper and it becomes clear that this isn’t just like picking up a pencil – you need to learn new skills to produce even passable work. Papercuts aren’t so complex that they’re beyond the skills of most creative people – and they don’t require years of practice to produce something you can be proud of – but there are techniques that you need to understand and work on before you’ll make something you’d be happy to show to another human being.

Learning these papercut techniques requires a good teacher, and this is why papercut artist Mr Yen – aka Jonathan Chapman – has published his first book, Teach Yourself To Papercut. In this tutorial, we've published an exclusive extract from this, covering practical and creative techniques for cutting letters.

Jonathan says that the best way to think when cutting letters is that you are simply following a line.

"Don’t try to make your scalpel cut a shape that you think makes a letter," he says, "you’re simply following a line. Just think of letters, as mixtures of squares and circles and you should be fine."

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