Friday, April 20, 2018

By Hand: The Art of Modern Lettering

Lettering has made something of a resurgence in the last few years, particularly drawn letters (think menus on chalkboard) and script like you see on the book cover above.  Nicole Miyuki Santo, the author of By Hand:  The Art of Modern Lettering describes modern lettering as "drawing letters, not writing them.  It is embracing the perfectly imperfect, the freedom to express yourself, and the liberty to experiment."

Her book embraces all of this and combines it with fresh photography, resulting in a truly beautiful book.  The paper is thick and the book is hefty, at over 270 pages.  The unique binding lies flat when open, making it great for reference while doing examples or for tracing.

This book is mostly about brush lettering:  the first of three sections focusing on brush pens, the second section on brushes with paint, and then a final section on other kinds of pens.  The style of lettering taught in the book is script (with some variations) like you see on the cover.  A combination of lettering examples, how to's and projects are interspersed with other material; each project matches your level of skill as you progress through the book.  Amazingly, the second project is a framed exemplary made by tracing a page in the book.

This is a great book for beginners, but as a more experienced brush letterer, I still found lots to love.  A lesson on using thumbnail sketches to design layouts is very useful once you learn how to draw letters and connect them into words.  The lesson on flourishes shows how to take your letters and words and extend them to form something outside of the basics.  There is a lesson on how to add a bounce to your letters (something traditionally trained calligraphers may struggle with), and a lesson on options for laying out envelopes.

There are more than 30 fun projects from banners to menus to placemats and even a pillowcase included in this book.  You can letter on wood, glassware, and acrylic.  You can even letter on balloons!

Hop on over to Amazon where you can "look inside" and see what a truly beautiful book this is!

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