Thursday, October 29, 2015

Book Review: Hand-Lettering for Everyone

I have been following the recent trend in hand-lettering, and was thrilled to receive a review copy of Hand-Lettering for Everyone:  A Creative Workbook, by Cristina Vanko.  It is published by Perigee/Penguin Random House, and retails for $15.95 in the US and $20.95 in Canada.
I enjoyed the workbook format of the book a lot, leaving me space on every page to practice.  I found that I practiced what I was learning more than I otherwise would have, and therefore learned more.
There are lots of other things to like about this book:
  • the history of lettering was approachable
  • traditional and new grids or layouts for lettering
  • lots and lots of samples - of letter styles, layouts, and embellishments for your lettering
  • fun applications for lettering - envelopes, stamp carving, lettering with objects, business cards, brush lettering, and many more
  • a well-described process for lettering, from inspiration through to execution
There are a few things that could be improved about this book, however.  The paper is lovely and smooth, but not thick enough for felt pens or ink.  I experienced some minor bleed-through and I could see the practice through the page.  Unless you can ignore this (which I did), the workbook is suitable only for pencil.
The entire book is in black and white.  This is adequate for some of the material, but it would be a better source of ongoing inspiration if all of those fun applications were in colour.  I'll definitely be subscribing to Cristina's Tumblr feed for that.
There are no page numbers, and therefore, the book has no index or usable table of contents.  The author covers such a lot of material that although it is designed as a workbook, I'd like to actually use it as a reference book.  However, without an index it will be difficult to find the gems that I know are hidden there. 
I suspect that these drawbacks are directly related to the price at which this book is being offered.  There is such a lot of good content in this book that the price is a bargain.  It is a shame about the shortcomings, though.

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