Thursday, June 29, 2017

Variations on a Theme: Handwriting

Ever since I started using a bullet journal last year, I've wanted to make changes to my handwriting. I've always been a fan of pen and paper, but writing every day has shown me how inconsistent my own handwriting has become. While legible, it's a mix of print and cursive and I want to make some tweaks to my style. This current obsession has led me to a trove of books on handwriting and hand-lettering. I decided that I need to share my finds in this month's Variations on a Theme.


Spencerian Handwriting: The Complete Collection of Theory and Practical Workbooks for Perfect Cursive and Hand Lettering
Platts Roger Spence

Easy to understand yet challenging to perfect, the Spencerian system was the standard for all personal and business correspondence in the 1800s. While modern students are barely taught cursive, for more than a century schoolchildren were dutifully drilled in intricate penmanship using this original primer.

Now you can follow the step-by-step instructions and practice on the included workbook pages to learn:
• The seven Spencerian principles
• Proper pen positioning
• Finger and arm movement
• Heights and widths of letters
• Spacing between letters and words
• Optional shading effects

With Spencerian Handwriting, you can add a personal touch to all your handwritten letters and notes reminiscent of simpler, more elegant times.

Gabri Joy Kirkendann et al.

Creative Lettering and Beyond combines the artistic talents and inspirational tips and tutorials of several professional hand letterers and calligraphers for a dynamic and interactive learning experience. After a brief introduction to the various tools and materials, artists and lettering enthusiasts will learn how to master the art of hand lettering and typography through engaging, easy-to-follow step-by-step projects, prompts, and exercises. From the basic shape and form of letters, to cursive script, spacing, and alignment, artists will discover how to transform simple words, phrases, and quotes into beautiful works of hand-lettered art. The interactive format and step-by-step process offers inspirational instruction for a wide variety of fun projects and gift ideas, including hand-rendered phrases on paper and digitally enhanced notecards. Artists will also discover how to apply lettering to linen, coffee mugs, calendars, and more. Numerous practice pages and interactive prompts throughout the book invite readers to put their newfound lettering skills to use, as well as work out their artistic ideas. Covering a variety of styles and types of lettered art, including calligraphy, illustration, chalk lettering, and more, artists will find a plethora of exercises and tips to help them develop their own unique lettering style. With comprehensive instructions and fun, inspirational exercises and projects, Creative Lettering and Beyond is a must-have resource for anyone who wants to learn this beautiful and stylish art form.

Chalkfulloflove and Paige Tate Select

If you follow Chalkfulloflove (also known as Sarah!) on social media, you and thousands of others already know how adorable her hand-lettered creations are. With Hand Lettering 101, Sarah brings her fabulous Hand Lettering 101 workshop right to you with this beginner workbook! In this book, you will go over the basics on how to learn Sarah's fun style of faux calligraphy. This book will guide you through each letter of the lower case alphabet, go over her technique behind connecting letters, give tips on how to mix and match your fonts, and finally lead you to make six finished projects! This is an introduction, so no experience is needed! Since practice is key, this gold spiral bound workbook lays flat and provides tons of opportunities for practice! Chalkfulloflove was created to encourage, inspire and make you giggle, so just pour yourself a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and settle in to start your own unique, adorable lettering creations!

Anne Trubek

In the digital age of instant communication, handwriting is less necessary than ever before, and indeed fewer and fewer schoolchildren are being taught how to write in cursive. Signatures--far from John Hancock’s elegant model--have become scrawls. In her recent and widely discussed and debated essays, Anne Trubek argues that the decline and even elimination of handwriting from daily life does not signal a decline in civilization, but rather the next stage in the evolution of communication. Now, in The History and Uncertain Future of Handwriting, Trubek uncovers the long and significant impact handwriting has had on culture and humanity--from the first recorded handwriting on the clay tablets of the Sumerians some four thousand years ago and the invention of the alphabet as we know it, to the rising value of handwritten manuscripts today. Each innovation over the millennia has threatened existing standards and entrenched interests: Indeed, in ancient Athens, Socrates and his followers decried the very use of handwriting, claiming memory would be destroyed; while Gutenberg’s printing press ultimately overturned the livelihood of the monks who created books in the pre-printing era. And yet new methods of writing and communication have always appeared. Establishing a novel link between our deep past and emerging future, Anne Trubek offers a colorful lens through which to view our shared social experience.

Margaret Shepherd

When you receive the daily mail do you jump to open the handwritten envelopes first because you can’t wait to see who has written and why? Or do you hold those letters aside to savor and enjoy after you are done sorting your bills and tossing the junk mail? Whatever your approach, you no doubt recognize the importance of the note that comes in a unique envelope with distinct handwriting and possibly a decoration or two. Indeed, in an age when even birthday greetings are sent by e-mail, the personal letter is appreciated more than ever before. For those who enjoy writing notes, or those who value doing so but find themselves intimidated by the task, acclaimed calligrapher Margaret Shepherd has created both an epistolary tribute and rescue manual. Just as you cherish receiving personal mail, you can take pleasure in crafting correspondence. Love, gratitude, condolences, congratulations–for every emotion and occasion, a snippet of heartfelt prose is included, sure to loosen the most stymied letter writer. Not only providing inspiration for the content of the missives, The Art of the Handwritten Note gives thorough instruction in the specific details that give so many men and women the jitters when it comes to correspondence that can’t (or shouldn’t) be produced on a keyboard. From overcoming illegible penmanship to mastering the challenge of keeping straight margins, avoiding smeared ink, and choosing stationery that is appropriate but suits your style, this is a powerful little guide to conveying thoughts in an enduring–and noteworthy–way.

The Ultimate Brush Lettering Guide: A Complete Step-by-Step Creative Workbook to Jump Start Modern Calligraphy Skills
Peggy Dean

The Ultimate Brush Lettering Guide has something for everyone - from beginners that have never used a brush pen, to seasoned letterers looking for new stylistic, expressive options and ideas. Each lesson builds on itself, unlocking endless opportunities inside the playful art of brush lettering.This book covers it all, from the ever-so-important basics, through a journey of faux calligraphy, a comprehensive brush pen guide along with how they're used, pages of different alphabet styles, unique flourishes and ligatures, to creative step-by-step DIY projects. Dive in and discover your unique style.


More Handwriting Titles
The Art of the Personal Letter - Margaret Shepherd and Sharon Hogan
Hand Lettering for Everyone - Cristina Vanko
Hand Lettering Ledger - Mary Kate McDevitt
Handwriting in America - Tamara Plakins Thornton
Improve Your Handwriting - Rosemary Sassoon and Gunnlaugur S.E. Briem
Modern Calligraphy - Molly Suber Thorpe
Pen to Paper - Mary Savig
Simply Calligraphy - Judy Detrick
The Universal Penman - George Bickham

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