Formal Brush Writing (Hardback Edition) by Tom Kemp



Formal Brush Writing (Hardback Edition) by Tom Kemp



Preface of the Book by Tom Kemp
A long, long time ago a boy called Phaeton was being teased for believing that his father was Apollo, the Sun god. His mother, Clymene, had often told him of his father's divinity and power and would point out Apollo's chariot crossing the sky each day as the blazing sun. To prove as much to his friends, Phaeton travelled far to the East, to Apollo's palace. Apollo recognised his son and, concerned at reports of the taunts he had to endure, granted him any wish. Phaeton knew that the most spectacular way to demonstrate his parentage was to be allowed to ride his father's chariot across the sky. Apollo was deeply concerned at this because the chariot was pulled by four enor-mously powerful horses which could only be restrained by his great strength and experience. Having given his word, however, he was obliged to let Phaeton have his way. At the hour of dawn, the boy set off. For two hours he obeyed his father's strict instructions as to the control of the horses but the adventure made him conceited. He whipped the horses who went faster and faster until he could no longer direct them. The chariot flew close to the earth, drying up rivers and creating deserts. It soared high above the earth, freezing the seas.

Jupiter, who was just waking, was horrified by the damage being caused and hurled a thunderbolt at the reckless boy. It struck him dead and his burnt body fell into the river Eridanus.

We can make sense of this story by replacing Phaeton with ourselves, the chariot by the brush, the horses by the laws of physics and writing, and Apollo's advice as a way of learning. This book is an introduction to the use of the edged brush in formal writing. The edged brush is a formidable, pow-erful the tool. We have to exercise a great deal of care and control in its employment. There are many books explaining, to one degree or another, how to wield a pen in order to produce formal or calligraphic writing. If they mention the brush at all, it is almost always to treat it as a large, rather facile pen. This book has a different perspective. The brush is considered to be a generalization of the pen, able to cope with grosser and subtler movements, investing the characteristics of writing with another dimension.

In order to begin the process of working with the brush, it seems most safe and sure to behave like Phaeton during his first couple of hours in the char¬iot, rather than during his more violent escapades. We have to maintain a tight rein on the process of learning, accumulating knowledge steadily and always building and reflecting on previous understanding. The alternative, careering around, haphazardly experimenting and revelling solely in the sen¬suality of discovery will usually result in a state of great knowledge but of only partial understanding. We could never see, for example, how much or little of a subject remained untouched or how classical and modern struc-tures on the same knowledge interact or even how to structure the knowl¬edge most efficiently to gain new knowledge.

Pen-based calligraphy has come a long way. It has never stopped evolving. It has spawned almost every other subsequent form of Western lettering, if only as a reaction to its influence. For a very brief time, the edged brush emerged as the peerless interpreter of Roman letters. Some kind of truth was discovered by the use of this tool for the marks it made are starkly apparent in the design of most modern, typographical letters. The brush's historical importance and its generality demand a greater respect, a closer investigation and a search for its limits. This book is intended as a guide to the beginning of such a search.

Thank you to Emma Lindley, my editor, who was able to make this a read¬able book; to Manibhen Rainjee for most generous support; to Edward Wates for invaluable advice on book design and production; to the Catich Gallery for kind permission to reproduce several figures from The Origin of the Serif; to Navlika Ramjee for too much to mention; finally, to all my past students who taught me everything I know.

Bookseller's comment:
"This is THE book on Formal Brush Lettering... there is no other book on the market to match it

Please take note: there are very few copies of this unique book available and they are only available from

1st edition, 1999, Hardback, 246pp. Monochrome throughout, 22 x 27.5 cm

Formal Brush Writing (Hardback Edition) by Tom Kemp
£26.00 EUR 32.05