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Good Books On The How-Tos Of Calligraphy?

basic beginners books

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#1 djmaher


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Posted 26 April 2017 - 17:39

Hello all,


I'm looking for suggestions for easily available books on Calligraphy.


Specifically, How-To guides, step by step instructions, for the complete beginner.


Most of the books I've come across so far show fantastic examples of beautiful calligraphy, but surprisingly few examples as to how to get started, which is what I'm looking for.


I know there are lots of online resources.They have been helpful, but, I prefer a book that I can sit at the table with, and practice.  That sort of thing.


I'm after a few solid books for starters.


Any suggestions would be appreciated.



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#2 Mauricio



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Posted 26 April 2017 - 18:30

Check the "Rare Books" section of the iampeth.com website. They have scanned lots of old books with different types of vintage calligraphy scripts. And several of those books do have several pages showing step by step as to how to learn those scripts, including explanations and pictures of body posture, proper pen holding, arm movement as well as the initial, intermediate and advanced steps to learn those script types.


I learned the Palmer Method and they show exactly what you are looking for. Lots of people ignore the several pages at the beginning of that book, but that is the most important section to someone new. Lots of detailed information, including the drills with what I call the very repetitive "sticks" and "ovals", which help you learn to size your letters at about the same size, proper spacing in between letter, consistent angle of the letters, how to properly connect the letters, how to properly draw each letter, etc. The Palmer Method book is included in iampeth.com, both in English and Spanish.


Best of wishes in your quest to learn new calligraphy scripts.

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Mauricio Aguilar

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#3 juliavdw


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Posted 26 April 2017 - 18:49

I always recommend the Speedball Textbook. I grew up learning calligraphy and lettering styles and techniques with the 20th edition of the book, and it has been updated since then for sure. It is good for basics on a number of styles.

#4 Bobje


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Posted 26 April 2017 - 21:04

Sheila Waters' "Foundations of Calligraphy."

Fred Eager's "The Italic Way to Beautiful Handwriting"

Eleanor Winters' "Mastering Copperplate Calligraphy"

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#5 dms525



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Posted 27 April 2017 - 05:04

What style of calligraphy interests you? I would divide styles into those written with a chisel-tip pen, e.g., italic, uncial, gothic, and those written with a round-tipped nib, e.g., copperplate, Spencerian. Of course there is also the Chinese and Japanese styles written with brushes. 


Since you are in Portland, you should know that Powell's usually has a good selection of calligraphy-related books. And you might want to check with Greg MacNaughton at the Cooley Gallery at Reed College. He would probably let you look over their collection of instructional materials and offer good advice. Tell him David Snyder recommended you talk to him.


Happy writing.



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