Instructional Books to Improve Your Lettering Skills

Instructional Lettering Books to Improve Your Lettering Title

The only way to learn lettering is to practice. We all know that, but there are some really helpful books out there that we can learn from and make our progress faster. When I first started I had no idea what I actually needed so I bought one by one and with each one, I was a little smarter and knew a little more about where to go next. Below is a list of the ones I would definitely recommend to all of you who started with lettering and wish to improve. At the end of the post, I included my Wishlist as well. The books I’m recommending are the ones I personally own and have read. I have no affiliation with any authors, Skillshare or Amazon so these are sincere and from the heart resource recommendations. 

Golden Secrets of Hand-Lettering by Martina Flor

This book is so awesome I can’t even describe it! If you can you should defiantly start with this one and you can even watch the accompanying class on Skillshare. (And a couple of other classes by Martina Flor as well!) This lady rocks and she will teach you a whole lot. The book first explains how to look and see letters, then how to draw them, decorate them and in the end vectorize them. I don’t want to spoil the fun of discovering all the details here but I promise you it’a true gem that you need to have. (Also if you order it from her site, she will sign your copy, which I really wish I knew before I got mine from the art store). 

In Progress by Jessica Hishe

Another truly amazing book that you should definitely own! And, an added bonus is that it’s available for Kindle so that one was a no-brainer for me. I read this in one sitting. Jessica is a great writer and she makes you feel like you can totally do this (only to later find that you are light years away from her skill, but you totally don’t mind and it keeps you motivated to try harder.) In the book, she explains her entire process which is something that each of us has to perfect for ourselves. Seeing hers will definitely give you ideas on how to improve your own. I would say it’s a must-have for every aspiring letterer. 

Modern Calligraphy by Molly Suber Thorpe
Modern Calligraphy Molly Suber Thorpe

I actually started my lettering journey with pointed pen calligraphy and this was my first book on the subject. This is where it all began for me. I revisit this often and it has been really helpful for my lettering in the sense of understanding the tool that creates the letters, what can actually be done with the tool, where thicks and thins go and so on. I will never be a master penman but understanding the tool is very important when it comes to drawing the letters correctly. Molly also has a few classes on Skillshare (and an amazingly funny cat that loves to jump in in the middle of the shooting which always makes me laugh out loud).  

How to create typefaces by Cristóbal Henestrosa, Laura Meseguer, José Scaglione

This one was on my wishlist for a long time and I finally decided to get it a couple of months ago. The book is mostly about designing typefaces and is a little bit technical, but it can be incredibly helpful for lettering as well. Plus, there are multiple authors involved so you can read about the same topic from more that one perspective and for me, that’s almost like buying 3 books instead of one. I have found tips on drawing the letters, spacing and where to put points in the vectoring process extremely helpful. 

Designing Type by Karen Chang
Designing Type

Ever had that moment when you are not sure how a letter should look like exactly and how it should relate to other letters? Yeah, me too, especially when I just started. This book is perfect for consulting on such issues. If I was ever unsure, I would look up a letter and I could see how it should be drawn and how it relates to other similar letters. It should help you keep the technical side of the letters in check and make sure you draw them correctly. 

Wishlist

  • Drawing Type: An Introduction to Illustrating Letterforms by Alex Fowkes
  • Hand to Type: Scripts, Hand-Lettering, and Calligraphy by Klanten, Middendorp, and Hellige
  • Script Lettering for Artists (Lettering, Calligraphy, Typography) by Tommy Thompson
  • Mastering Copperplate Calligraphy: A Step-by Step Guide by Eleanor Winters
  • ABC Of Custom Lettering Ivan Castro
  • How to Draw Type and Influence People: An Activity Book By Sarah Hyndman

What are your favourite books that helped you improve your skills as a letterer? Did I miss a good one on the list? Leave a comment below and let me know! 

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