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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Lettering for your journal?

How important is this to you?

Does anyone have a favorite book on hand lettering?  We've seen some wonderful examples already, and that was one of the big winners in our poll at right., on what our readers would like to see on this blog (by the way it will be open for a year, so vote any time you like!)

I'm practicing my own brush lettering because I like the contrast between words and images, and how they can complement one another.  Sometimes I had a colorful or harmonizing header, sometimes not...

It can be a lovely design element, providing balance as well as adding information--several of our correspondents use it to wonderful--and varied!--effect.  Color, style, position, of your letters can all work when designing a pleasing page.

We featured this one in THIS POST, along with a few suggestions for further reading in the comments, but what's YOUR favorite?

This one looks interesting--has anyone used it?  (You can click on the image to get at the "look inside" feature on this one.  It's got a lovely cover, but it's fun to poke around, too!)

Do you use lettering on your pages?  Do you want to?  Do you feel it adds to a page or detracts? Do you care about what your letters look like, or are you just interested in making notes on what you see, think, feel?

Let's open this for discussion!

* NOTE: I've added Roz's link from her comment below so you can click on it directly...don't know if you can make live liniks in comments, but here it is:  http://rozwoundup.typepad.com/roz_wound_up/2008/11/calligraphy-from-traditional-to-funky.html?cid=139517498


  1. Kate, I'm not familiar with the book you have pictured here, but I read and wrote a review on "Modern Mark Making" and can recommend that book for people interested in Calligraphy.

    I don't practice calligraphy in my journals, but I play around with letterforms upon occasion. Mostly I'll use a brush pen if I want larger headings.

  2. Roz, thank you for the link! I do love beautiful (or energetic or quirky) letterforms. Some of our correspondents don't use any text at all, some do amazing pages full, like Pam, Hannah, Gay, Danny and others...

  3. Thanks, Kate! I love Lisa Engelbrecht's book - I own many a calligraphy book and it's the first one that helped me to let go and have fun. I'm much more into hand-lettering than using traditional tools. Actually hand-lettering has helped be better understand letter forms.

    Thanks also for introducing me to Marci and DeAnn's book. I clicked on your link in the past post and now it and 2 others that Amazon had as a grouping with Hand Lettering are on my bookshelf :) I've got to purge somehow!

  4. The book looks great.

    (Testing. Testing. Are comments working? Several I've tried to post earlier seemed to not go through...Maybe I need to do it anonymously?)


  5. Hi Carolyn! I have no idea what the problem is...I just tried to post to Roz's Typepad blog and got an error message. Weird...

  6. I took a workshop with Lisa Engelbrecht, the author of the book that you featured. She is an amazing calligrapher and I love the various alphabets on her art quilts. Our workshop was writing on fabric and that is what I usually see of hers. I have the book and found that it requires an enormous amount of effort to work on the alphabets - and I already have some experience with italic.

  7. Pam, wish I could find my original wonderful calligraphy book...and glad you chimed in on the ones you have!

    Shirley, I definitely find that I'm up for brush lettering by hand, but I don't think I'll ever make a calligrapher, it DOES take a lot of effort!

  8. When you love lettering as much as I do, the lettering in the journal can become a major element in the whole page design.

    I've been playing around for a couple of months with the book Roz reviewed (Modern Mark Making), and keep it on my table for inspiration and reference when I want to do something special with journal headings or even making personal cards and addressing envelopes. It's a good, solid, basic, and accessible source. I also found this online workshop and am tempted to take it for fun: http://www.shabbycottagestudio.com/store/WsDefault.asp?One=1416.

    Another book I use occasionally is "Hand Lettering Made Easy," by Debra Beagle. Although this book is geared for scrapbooking, cards, and fabrics, it's easily usable for journals. The greatest feature for me is the Alphabet Index in the second half of the book that features a different alphabet on each page, achievable with brushes, drawing markers, pens, and special calligraphy pens. It also has a section on tools and a gallery of lettering projects.

  9. Maria, that second book sounds lovely! (Even getting MAIL from you is a treat, girl!)

  10. I took Martha Lever's course that Maria mentioned:http://www.shabbycottagestudio.com/store/WsDefault.asp?One=1416.

    It was lots of fun and I use this style of lettering for envelopes all the time. Martha has a great way of making happy letters. I recommend this course.

  11. Thanks, Pam, I just added it to our "Links we Like," in the sidebar.

  12. Kate, I posted this earlier:
    == A hand lettering book I very much enjoyed is entitled (I kid you not) Hand Job: A Catalog of Type, by Michael Perry (2007). It's a compendium of the work dozens of typography artists. I really recommend this one. Here is the Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Hand-Job-Catalog-Michael-Perry/dp/1568986262
    == This is also an interesting one: Handwritten: Expressive Lettering in the Digital Age, by Steven Heller (2006)

    I have ordered that book you have featured above and will post a review as soon as it arrives!

    Do you use lettering on your pages? Oh yes, I do and enjoy it very much. I often get caught up in the shapes of the letters themselves, as geometric entities. The whole concept of "Word As Art" interests me very much. I also really enjoy graffiti art. We have a number of sticker bomb artists around here (the DC metro area) and their stuff is quite nifty. Inspirational! (More info here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sticker_art)


  13. Here's an interesting hand lettering website: http://briem.net/

  14. Thank you! I'll try to get these into the "Links we Like" section!

  15. Hi Kate! I have used this book and loved it! It's one of my favorites. I also like "Modern Mark Making" by Lisa Engelbrecht. For me it's more about the fun alternatives than the "real" calligraphy. :-) I have only done a little lettering on my pages but as I gain more courage, I intend to do more. ;-)

  16. Thanks, Sara! I'll have to check out Lisa's book--I think I have it on order, so that should be easy. :-) Like many of us, I'm more about the fun and interesting things hand lettering can do than formal calligraphy. I love to look at it, but I think I don't have the patience!

  17. Tip: For quick inspiration on decorative lettering styles, look in the Yellow Pages. The restaurant listings are especially useful.

    This is especially if you're traveling to a different part of the country and are looking for "regional" kinds of lettering styles.


  18. I really enjoy lettering and I include some amount on most of my journal pages. Sometimes it's just notes in my regular handwriting, and sometimes I enjoy doing something more creative with the lettering. MANY years ago I took a calligraphy class, and more recently I took Martha Lever's Calligra-fun class, which has already been mentioned and is great fun. I come from a scrapbooking background, where journaling on the page is important.

    I recently purchased Hand Lettering, which I'd had on my wish list for a long time. I like it, but I have another book I like better:

    The Scrapbooker's Handwriting Workshop by Crystal Jeffrey Rieger

    It is here on Amazon:


  19. I bought Pit Parallel Pens which make writing quite easy and are a pleasure to use. I do so much prefer handwriting in my journal than sticking letters or stenciling, it expresses me more. I've printed off several alphabets, the Gothic one is good! and just copied it, it's a bit amateurish but the journal is only for me really...


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