<< < | > >>


 Beautiful Writing 


It is only natural that calligraphy lends itself to beautiful books about itself.
..... Calligraphy was nearly lost in the English-speaking world until Edward Johnston restored writing with a broad pen to its place.

 Free On-line Text 


La Operina by Ludovico Vicentino degli Arrighi 

The first writing book. It was written by a scribe in the Papal Chancery in 1522 (some say 1524) and cut in wood blocks for printing by Ugo da Carpi. Page images w/ translation and commentary by Gunnlaugur SE Briem.


The Origin of the Serif: Brush Writing & Roman Letters, 
Catich, Edward M. Fra.
(Davenport, Iowa: St. Ambrose University, 1985).

ISBN 0-9629740-1-3 Paperback

ISBN 0-9629740-0-5 Hardcover
Buy it Now at amazon.com

Classic text on Roman inscriptional lettering, especially the Column of the Emperor Trajan. Shows how serifs originated in the movement of a broad brush on the page. Reprinted from the original film of the 1968 edition.

The Anatomy of Lettering
(New York: Loring & Mussey, 1935)

Chappell's first text on lettering printed in remembrance of his mentor, Rudolf Koch. Weiss Roman on Ash White Arak paper.

The Living Alphabet
Chappell, Warren

The University of Virginia Press, 1975)
ISBN 0813906350 Paperback.
Buy it Now at amazon.com

Slim volume by Chappell discussing the creation of letterforms. May still be available as a paperback.

r art

Medieval Calligraphy: Its History and Technique
Drogin, Mark

(New York: Dover Publications, 1989).

ISBN 0-486-26142-5 Paperback.

Delightful history of calligraphy and scriptoriums. Covers Roman Rustic, Uncial, Artificial Uncial, Roman Half-uncial, insular majuscule, insular minuscule, Carolingian minuscule, early gothic, gothic textura quadrata, gothic textura prescisus velsine pedibus, gothic littera bastarda.

r art

Writing & Illuminating & Lettering:
The Artistic Crafts Series of Technical Handbooks

Johnston, Edward, edited by W. R. Lethaby.

Twenty-second Impression (New York:
Pitman Publishing Corporation, 1906, 1948).

The first contemporary text on calligraphy in English, all-but comprehensive on traditional techniques. Recent re-printings are lacking since not all of the originals were available to make new plates from, if possible, find a copy at a used book store.

The 26 Letters
Ogg, Oscar.

(New York:
The Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1948).

History of printing intended for children and adolescents, but delightful in its diversions and fancies. One of the first books I can recall reading. Includes delightful two-tone illustrations by Ogg, who was a cousin of Warren Chappell, as well as very nice calligraphy. Somewhat dated, but still a valuable reference.

Treasure of Alphabets and Lettering: 150 Complete Alphabets with 64 Pages of Text and Explanation
Tschichold, Jan.
Translation: Wolf von Eckardt.
(New York: Design Press, 1992).

ISBN 0-8306-3486-X Paperback.

A well-chosen collection of specimens with good discussion on them placed in an historical context.


ABC-ZIG Calligraphy
Charatan, Karen

(Carlstadt, New Jersey: EK Success, 1993).

Colorful book focusing on calligraphy with markers (Zig is a brand name). Features many examples done especially for this text.

The Encyclopedia of Calligraphy Techniques
Wilson, Diana Hardy.

(Philadelphia: Quarto Book, 1990).

ISBN 0-89471-850-9 Hardcover.

Nicely arranged text, full-color. Many examples not much seen elsewhere.

Creative Calligraphy: Instructions and Alphabets
Zapf, Hermann.

(West Germany: Rotring-werke Riepe KG, 1985).

Slim text which was (is?) included with Rotring calligraphy pen sets.


Creative Lettering Today
Harvey, Michael

(New York: Design Books, 1996).

ISBN 1-55821-453-4 Paperback.

Buy it Now at amazon.com

Republication of several classic works, Calligraphy in the Graphic Arts, Creative Lettering and Carving Letters in Stone & Wood with additional new information on digital letterforms. The computer information is specific to the Macintosh program FontStudio (no longer available), with occasional references to Fontographer, but includes mentionings of concepts simply not addressed anywhere else.

The Art of Hand Lettering: Its Mastery and Practice
Wotzkow, Helm.

(New York: Dover Publications, 1967).

ISBN 0-486-21797-3.

First published in 1952 by Watson-Guptill. Essential reference for anyone considering designing a typeface or converting a headline to paths and tweaking it by hand.

 Chancery Italic 

An Italic Calligraphy Handbook
Knudsen, Carolyn

(Owings Mills, MD: Stemmer House Publishers, Inc., 1985).

ISBN 0-88045-067-3 Hardcover.

Contemporary exposition of a very talented calligrapher's approach to the Chancery hand. Shows many professional examples and is beautifully printed on laid paper.


Ornate Pictorial Calligraphy: Gems of Flourishing
Lupfer, E.A.

(New York:
Dover Publications, 1982).
ISBN 0-486-21957-7 Paperback.

Original title, Fascinating Pen Flourishing, Containing a Complete Course and a Collection of Masterpieces Produced by Leading Penmen of the Penmanship Profession (1951 edition).

Ornamental Penmanship: Two Eighteenth-Century English Classics of Calligraphy
Tomkins, Thomas & William Milns.

(New York: Dover Publications, 1983).

ISBN 0-486-24449-0 Paperback.

Facsimile of The Beauties of Writing by Tomkins, 1777 and The Penman's Repository by Milns, 1794--95. Nice example of copperplate and other scripts rendered by engraving.

Mastering Copperplate Calligraphy: A Step-by-Step Manual
Winters, Eleanor.

(Avenel, New Jersey: Gramercy Books, 1994).

ISBN 0-517-10134-3 Hardcover.

Contemporary text.


Celtic Design: A Beginner's Manual (cover)
Celtic Design: A Beginner's Manual
Meehan, Aidan.

(New York:
Thames and Hudson, 1991).
ISBN 0-500-27629-3 Paperback.
Buy it Now at amazon.com

First in a series. Aidan Meehan has expanded upon the research of George Bain.

Celtic Design: Illuminated Letters (cover)
Celtic Design: Illuminated Letters
Meehan, Aidan.

(New York:
Thames and Hudson, 1992).
ISBN 0-500-27685-4 Paperback.
Buy it Now at amazon.com

Many examples from famous manuscripts re-drawn in black and white.


Zen and the Art of Calligraphy: The essence of sho
Sogen, Omori
and Terayama Katsujo.
Penguin Group, Arkana, 1990).
ISBN 0-14-019144-5 Paperback.


Art | Books | Calligraphy | Graphic Design | Printing | Type Design

<< < | > >>

 Copyright 2003 William F. Adams 
last updated 14 August 2003