penciled

Book Review – Hand Lettering A to Z Workbook

April, 2019

Book Review
Hand Lettering A to Z Workbook
by Abbey Sy
191 pp. Rockport

“Hand Lettering A to Z Workbook” is a very accessible workbook aimed at beginners in hand-lettering who want to start with a good foundation and traditional letter form styles. The first few pages are spent on exploring the basics of typography, hand-lettering, and layout; there is not a lot of detail on any one topic here, but there’s no fat, either. The prose is very direct and to-the-point, and Abbey Sy includes recommendations for specific tools and methods. 

Sy offers a good variety of styles for the beginner, from simple handwriting and serif letter forms to cursive scripts and bounce-lettering. She walks through the basics of layout, especially for a single quote or short phrase, as well as process — from a rough penciled template to a fully inked and colored end-product. Along the way, she includes many examples of different sketches, scripts, and fully-rendered quotes, to fuel the artist’s imagination. She also offers different character types and variants, special characters, and embellishments.

The introductory material is fairly short, and the rest of the book is made up of practice pages, first for the different letter forms and styles, and then for full quotes. It’s important to note that this book does not delve into traditional calligraphy at all, but focuses on more accessible brush scripts and drawn letter forms. The book is also peppered with handy tips to help you avoid rookie mistakes — always check your spelling before you ink, for example! — and to help you accomplish a finished product. 

While this book may not be of much interest to an experienced hand-lettering artist, it’s a great place to start, especially for anyone who may want to hand-letter their own cards and gifts, or add a bit of pizzazz to their journaling and scrap-booking. Accessible and thorough, “Hand Lettering A to Z Workbook” is a great place to start your hand-lettering journey and build a solid foundation for an ongoing practice. By the time you’ve worked your way through, you should have a thorough understanding of the hand-lettering process, and the ability to create polished, professional-looking typography art and gifts.

Hand Lettering A to Z: A World of Creative Ideas for Drawing and Designing Alphabets on Amazon

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About the Author:

Sarah McMenomy is an artist and witch. Her craft incorporates herbalism, spellwork, trance, divination, auras, and more. Her work can be found at https://sarahmcmenomy.tumblr.com