This step-by-step guide to creating your own beautiful hand-lettered works of art
About the author
- A set of five detachable, transparent Guide Sheets designed both for practice and for use in creating your own calligraphy projects.
- An introduction to each of the five basic alphabets used by calligraphers: Italic, Uncial, Carolingian, Gothic, and Foundational
- A full-color portfolio of masterpieces of the art of calligraphy
- 24 full-size worksheets to guide you as you perfect your own lettering technique.
- Instructions for using the T square, light box, centering ruler and other calligraphy tools.
- Comprehensive guidance on the use of the broad-edged pen.
- An easy-to-grasp discussion of calligraphy's key concepts, including pen angle, pen scale, letter proportion, and letter slope.
- Essential advice on getting started and listings of all the supplies you will need.
- Helpful hints on planning and creating your own layouts and designs
Maryanne Grebenstein is a professional calligrapher who runs the Abbey Studio, in Hingham, Massachusetts (www. theabbeystudio.com). She teaches calligraphy at the Massachusetts College of Art and the North Bennet Street School, both in Boston.
How to Use this Book by the author
The first thing you noticed about this book was probably its unusual design. You turn the pages by flipping them up, not by turning them from right to left. This format, and the spiral wire binding (which ensures that the book lies flat when opened), allow you to work directly on the book's worksheets wherever indicated: You simply place a sheet of tracing vellum on top of the worksheet, secure it to the book page with drafting tape (not masking tape), and trace. By tracing the strokes and letters, you will quickly get a feel for them - an excellent method, I think, for learning the letters' shapes and how to form them.
The book also contains a feature that's unique among calligraphy workbooks. At the back, you'll find five transparent Guide Sheets. Though the sheets are bound into the book, they're perforated for easy removal. These Guide Sheets are very much like the ones I've designed for students taking the calligraphy classes I teach. You'll learn how to use them as you progress through the exercises in the book.
The book is divided into eight chapters. The first familiarizes you with the supplies you'll need for both beginning and more advanced work, as well as introducing you to the terminology used throughout the book and to the basic components of broad-edged pen lettering. It contains a great deal of information, and you should refer back to it frequently throughout the course.
Chapter 2 introduces the Italic lettering style, or hand, as calligraphers refer to any hand-lettered alphabet. The other major hands - Uncial (and Half Uncial), Carolingian, Gothic (Black Letter), and Foundational (Roman) - are introduced in chapters 3 through 6. I estimate that each of these chapters contains about two hours' worth of work, and I suggest that you break up each chapter into two one-hour sessions, giving yourself at least a 15-minute break between sessions. As with any skill, lettering requires practice - lots of it. For that reason, each of these chapters contains a variety of practice exercises. Your proficiency in lettering with a broad-edged pen will be determined more by your dedication to practice than by any inherent talent you may possess. I strongly urge you to practice frequently and regularly, making it part of your daily routine.
Chapter 7, "Design Tools," acquaints you with some of the tools that professional calligraphers use in creating original works. And the book's last chapter, chapter 8, introduces you to basic layout techniques and encourages you to make use of all you've learned throughout the "course" by suggesting five special projects for you to try. These should be done with the help of the transparent Guide Sheets at the back of the book. (You can also use these sheets for calligraphy projects
that you create yourself.)