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Learn Calligraphy: The Complete Book of Lettering and Design Paperback – February 20, 2001


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Frequently Bought Together

Learn Calligraphy: The Complete Book of Lettering and Design + Sheaffer Calligraphy Maxi Kit (SH/73404) + Bienfang 9 x 12 Inches Calligraphic Practice Paper Pad (R400145)
Price for all three: $40.35

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Watson-Guptill; 1 edition (February 20, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767907329
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767907323
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 8.4 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,456 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

In an age of myriad computer fonts and instant communication, your handwriting style is increasingly a very personal creation. In this book, Margaret Shepherd, America's premier calligrapher, shows you that calligraphy is not simply a craft you can learn, but an elegant art form that you can make your own.

Calligraphy remains perennially popular, often adorning wedding invitations, diplomas, and commercial signs. Whether it is Roman, Gothic, Celtic, Bookhand, or Italic style, calligraphy conveys class and elegance. Margaret Shepherd makes this ancient art form accessible in a completely hand-lettered technical guide that will:

* Provide context for calligraphy as an art, exploring the rich tradition of hand-lettering and mapping the evolution of the most popular styles.

* Give detailed technical advice on choosing pens, paper, and inks, setting up your workspace, mastering various pen angles, along with step-by-step illustrations to guide you as you practice.

* Explain which alphabets are appropriate for different forms of writing. For example, the Roman alphabet works well for short, unpunctuated passages, while the Italic alphabet is more suited to informal everyday communication.

* Encourage you to personalize your lettering by using variant strokes and interpreting how you would like the words to look on the page.

* Inspire you with carefully chosen illustrations and examples, which bring letters to life.

In Margaret Shepherd's own words, "Calligraphy trains not only your eye and hand, but your mind as well." Learn Calligraphy is the authoritative primer for this age-old craft, and will help develop a new appreciation for lettering as you discover your creative personality.

About the Author

Margaret Shepherd is a noted calligrapher and author, with an impressive roster of high-profile clients. She has published thirteen instruction books for calligraphers of all levels. All her books, including the bestselling Learning Calligraphy, are done in hand-lettered text. She has researched, taught, written, and freelanced extensively, and has exhibited her work in many museum and gallery exhibitions. She lives in Boston.

More About the Author

Margaret Shepherd is a writer, calligrapher, and teacher. In addition to The Art of the Handwritten Note, she has written thirteen books on calligraphy. Each year she speaks at MIT's 'charm school' about the importance of gracious communication. She lives in Boston.

Customer Reviews

This is a wonderful book that every calligraphy student should have.
Gary Bisaga
I purchased this book for a friend who does calligraphy; she absolutely loved it and spent hours looking through it, and will spend many more using it!
Amazon Customer
I simply LOVE this book: it's fun and easy and improves your lettering and calligraphy in an easy way.
Raffaello Palandri

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

195 of 200 people found the following review helpful By Gary Bisaga VINE VOICE on June 9, 2003
Format: Paperback
I am learning calligraphy and have looked at a number of books on the subject. This book is almost perfect. She gives you so much more than alphabets: key exercises to do before you start the alphabets, typical beginner's problems (most of which I have experienced!), practice pages you can reproduce. Her sections on swashes and "accessorizing" Gothic capitals are also wonderful - what had always seemed highly mysterious to me turns out to be a matter of combining building blocks, creativity, and - who would have thought - a lot of fun.

One thing she does not do is to cover every hand imaginable. There are lots of books like that out there. Rather, she only covers a small number of hands, but covers them very thoroughly, with a special eye to us novices. For example, once I got the basic hands down, I found one of my main problems was spacing the letters. Nothing looks worse than inconsistent horizontal spacing. She gives good coverage to this important issue, for example suggesting that you step back and look at it from a distance. Try it - if you're a novice, you'll be surprised at how different (and maybe bad) it looks.

I also very much enjoy the samples of projects that she shows as examples of how to apply each hand. In this she highlights the talents of (I assume) her friends, and it adds to the book. Looking at alphabet after alphabet as is done in typical calligraphy books, you don't get a good feel for how you'd use each one, and variations you can apply. Her other book "Calligraphy Projects for Pleasure and Profit" (which I also have) gives you lots more along these lines, but the ones in this book are different and I find them just as valuable.

I even like the way she letters the whole book in her (what she admits is slightly idiosyncratic) italic hand.
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108 of 111 people found the following review helpful By Janice Campbell on November 28, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the book I use as a text for beginning calligraphy students at the local community college. All the text is handlettered and there are many examples of how to use calligraphy in everyday life. I've used Margaret Shepherd's books since the '70's, and this is the best one she's done for beginning to intermediate students. It is both instructive and inspiring.
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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Carlos J. Torres on May 19, 2002
Format: Paperback
After many years, I restarted calligraphy again with this book. It is straight forward and easy to use. If you are thinking of learning calligraphy on your own, this is one of the books to have. It gives you practical guidance, not just alphabets.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By L. D. Rafey on January 13, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I recommend three manuals for the novice calligrapher: Calligraphy and Illumination: A History and Practical Guide by Patricia Lovett, The Calligrapher's Bible by David Harris (see my reviews of both texts) and this text, Learn Calligraphy by Margaret Shepherd, one of the foremost experts on the subject. While there are, of course, other books and certainly a selection of internet videos demonstrating various aspects of the subject, I have yet to discover any others that so thoroughly cover the material in such an organized manner and anticipate many of the stumbling blocks and questions often encountered by the novice. Ms. Shepherd's book starts right at the beginning and details all the does and don't s, obstacles and observations that a novice will chance to encounter from the start and answers the usual questions that every beginner will ask before and after having begun the task of learning the craft. While Ms. Lovett's text delves into greater depth and detail, Learning Calligraphy is the first text that I would recommend before referring to any other since this will definitely get you started and keep you going. I would also recommend her daily blog and website as it is happily filled with an endless assortment of perspectives, insights and recommendations for anyone searching for inspiration along the way. Margaret Shepherds other books are also outstanding but this is the one to get you started before digging into the others.
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34 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Raffaello Palandri on September 10, 2001
Format: Paperback
I simply LOVE this book: it's fun and easy and improves your lettering and calligraphy in an easy way. I practice calligraphy since 10 years, but still I found in this book some "shortcut" to make my works more accurate.
Great space for practicing, lots of alphabets shown, a nice way to introduce arguments ... a must have book for all calligraphers.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Cherlin on April 14, 2007
Format: Paperback
I was really having a hard time picking out calligraphy how to books so i went to the book store. unfortunately they do not have a lot to choose from, at the second store i found a better selection and found Margaret Sheperd's books. Wow, great books and great way to learn, she has a funny side to her and this book is incredible, not only do you learn you have fun doing it. i also saw a few more books in her name. Unfortunately i didn't have very much time to look at them all and i cant wait to go back to see the rest. I am thinking of picking up all her books.

I think this is the best of the starter books. Very easy and a fun read too!

Cheryl
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Learn Calligraphy: The complete book of lettering and Design on December 12, 2010
Format: Library Binding Verified Purchase
I purchased this book as a gift. However, as soon as I received the book, I when through it, briefly. I loved it! The book not only shows the way of writing beautiful letters, but it also shows how to use these writings in different patterns to make the material more attractive. It have several examples of Christmas related greetings and wishes, letters, postcard address writing, and a brief display of some alphabets belonging to different types of calligraphy used in materials related to calligraphy literature.
I will definitely suggest this book for calligraphy. It is worthy it!
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