Calligraphy & Penmanship Gift Guide

by Fred Showker

lettering and calligraphy samples

Calligraphy and Lettering Books Whether you use the pen craft professionally, or just for personal expression, it embodies a tradition of beauty and discipline that few other crafts can match. Here are my favorite learning guides for mastering the time-honored art and craft of calligraphy, lettering and penmanship -- for young and old! The first time someone sees you writing in pure copperplate and exclaims "Wow, how did you learn that?" you'll know you've gained a skill few others posess. Any of these books will also make a superb gift for anyone on your list.

Calligraphy 101:
Master Basic Skills and Techniques Easily through Step-by-Step

Favorite guides for calligraphy, lettering and illumination

Calligraphy is both an art and a skill. Unlike with many other crafts, a person cannot develop good calligraphy skills simply by picking up the pen and practicing. There are many details about how to load the pen, how to hold it at an exact angle to the paper, even how to form each letter of each alphabet style one stroke at a time. Without proper training, the crafter will soon give up and consider it too hard to learn.
      This book starts at the very beginning, teaching all the fine points about calligraphy with practice drills and easy projects to begin with. Then, new and more difficult skills are introduced gradually through more practice drills and projects. Like other books in the 101 series, the book is written for the absolute beginner with detailed instructions, tips, and quick references all aimed at helping the crafter achieve success.
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Calligraphy in the Copperplate Style

Favorite guides for calligraphy, lettering and illumination

Herb Kaufman, Geri Homelsky bring together beautiful writing and gestalt technique in this complete guide. All aspects of calligraphic style are taught step-by-step in remarkably easy-to-follow guide. This guide is low cost and just for beginners.
      Guide sheets. 64 illustrations.
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Mastering Copperplate Calligraphy: A Step-by-Step Manual

Favorite guides for calligraphy, lettering and illumination

Admired for its beauty, grace and fluidity, copperplate calligraphy is perhaps the most popular writing style for social correspondence.
      This practical guide teaches students to handle the alphabet, numbers and punctuation, color and paper; how to write simple paragraphs, quotations, poems, cards, invitations and more. Numerous black-and-white illustrations. Bibliography. Index.
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All About Techniques in Calligraphy:
An Indispensable Manual for Artists and Hobbyists

Favorite guides for calligraphy, lettering and illumination

Stephanie Zvirin of Booklist writes :
      Like others in the All about Techniques series, this book packs a lot of information into a very attractive package. Captioned photos and diagrams and blocks of concise text work beautifully together to introduce a wealth of information on the lettering art. An overview of writing and alphabets as they evolved in a few key areas around the globe precedes information on calligraphy materials, tools, and techniques.
      There are chapters on composition and design as well, along with step-by-step demonstrations of letter construction and generously sized samples, perfect for copying, of Gothic, Humanistic, Carolingian, Chancellery, and other scripts. The final sections of the book comprise an idea gallery that links the lettering to modern design opportunities. Unlike Annie Cicale?s The Art and Craft of Hand Lettering (2004), this book includes no projects but is, nonetheless, a first-rate introduction to hand-lettering, from practice to perfection.
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