I’m building up quite the library of calligraphy and lettering books.
The latest one to be added to my collection is Grace Song’s Brush Pen Lettering: A Step-by-Step Workbook for Lettering Decorative Scripts and Creating Inspired Styles.
I have an on-off relationship with brush lettering that has been more off than on recently.
I was introduced to it by Joyce Lee, from Artsynibs, who was kind enough to recommend a brush pen to get me started way back in November 2015.
But it still hasn’t quite clicked with me, although that may be about to change.
A perfect step-by-step guide
Grace’s book was sent to me by Ulysses Press and it has spurred me on to pick up my pens and start practising again.
I love the conversational tone of the book – it’s almost like having Toronto-based Grace there with you.
I’m also very happy about the inclusion of guidelines. I love guidelines – I’m a traditional calligrapher at heart and I panic if I don’t have an x-height!
These guidelines are set with an x-height of 15mm for large tip pens and 7mm for small tip pens.
Tools and supplies are covered in the first chapter of the book, along with how to hold a brush pen and how to position your body and paper.
Lettering is drawing, not writing
My first lightbulb moment came on p10 – lettering is an action that requires the whole arm, as opposed to day-to-day handwriting, where your fingers do most of the work.
“Making this simple but profound mind-shift – that lettering is not writing, it is drawing – will have a great impact on your progress,” Grace points out a few pages later.
The step-by-step format of the book takes you on a logical journey from basic strokes, drills and making connections to letterforms, letter combinations and words.
There is a useful troubleshooting section and I particularly liked the staircase method for practising words, something I had never come across before.
Practice makes progress
Throughout the early chapters, Grace warns against trying to jump too far ahead.
“With lettering, it’s all about building a strong foundation and progressing in small steps so that you’ll be more than ready when it’s time to build words,” she writes.
So I’ll be paying particular attention to chapter four – Practice Makes Progress – before moving on to the latter stages of the book, which covers embellishing your lettering, developing your own style, flourishing, layouts, faux calligraphy and DIY projects.
Grace also advocates sharing your work via social media, particularly Instagram (you can follow her @gracesongcalligraphy), but not to compare yourself with others.
Brush Pen Lettering: A Step-by-Step Workbook for Lettering Decorative Scripts and Creating Inspired Styles is now available in the UK and retails at around £11.99.
I have a copy to give away, courtesy of Ulysses Press. Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter. The closing date is Sunday, September 30.