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Writing & Illuminating, & Lettering

Edward Johnston

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .es in the model; but

(a) The way in which the shaft is held, (b) The angle at which the nib is cut, (c) The position of the writing paper,

may all be slightly varied, so that the direction of the thin strokes can be followed exactly (see p. 66).

The writing paper is cut and ruled exactly in accordance with the model; and the heights of the letters and the widths of the thick strokes in the copy agree as nearly as possible with those in the original. It is therefore a good test for accuracy—when a few lines of writing have been copied—to measure and compare their lengths. If they correspond with their originals, it goes far to prove the copy a good one.

Before copying more of the page, the construction of the letters should be carefully studied. The number and the forms of pen-strokes in each letter [p084] are found by examination—with a magnifying glass if necessary—and by the experimental putting . . . Read More

Community Reviews

This is the quintessential tool box for the calligrapher. Covers the history of lettering, tools, practice, methodology, illumination, use of color as well as providing historical examples of classic works.

Highly recommended!


The father of calligraphy as we know it. Of the numerous books I have on this subject this is by far the best: charming , straightforward, practical and brilliant . A super-essential volume for anyone interested in writing. Cutting and curing quills, pouncing paper, grinding ink , and, of course , c

Un manuale come quelli che si facevano una volta, scritti da una persona che ama profondamente quello di cui scrive e che ha accumulato una forte competenza sulla base di ciò.

Ha delle parti molto utili per i font engineers/designers di oggi.

Essential reading for a graphic designer. Fascinating and detailed treatise on practical calligraphy and the history of our alphabet. Filled with gems of knowledge from a man who taught Eric Gill.