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Linda Farmer, Certified Zentangle Teacher


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The Speedball Textbook

The Speedball Textbook, 23rd EditionCalligraphy fans might recognize the name of Joanne Fink as co-editor with Judy Kastin of the 23rd edition of The Speedball Textbook (A Comprehensive Guide to Pen and Brush Lettering).

This is one of the first lettering books I added to my library when it was published in 1999. The original first edition was published in 1915, so this publication has a long and rich tradition.

The Introduction reviews the history of fine pen-making in the U.S. and the pens and nibs created by C. Howard Hunt Pen Company in Camden, New Jersey. “It soon became apparent that the buyers, used to handling brushes, need instructions on how to use the pens, and thus the first Speedball Textbook was published in 1915.”

The introduction continues by chronicling the growth of the popularity of calligraphy and the lettering arts, discussing the tools and materials and Speedball products, and explaining calligraphic terms.

The Alphabet Styles section gives stroke-by-stroke instructions for 15 alphabet styles: Monoline, Roman, Foundational, Uncial, Versals, Carolingian, Blackletter, Gothicized Italic, Italic, Pointed Pen, Neuland, Flat Brush, Pointed Brush, Italic Handwriting, and Hebrew.

The Techniques section includes tips and techniques, spacing, layout and design, information on reproducing artwork, and designing business cards, invitations, greeting cards, formal envelopes, certificates, calligrams, logos and designs.

The Artwork section wraps up the book with 15 pages of beautiful and inspirational artwork from many lettering artists. Other examples are sprinkled throughout the book, with over 100 artists represented in all.

The Speedball Textbook is an excellent compact introduction to calligraphy and a book you’ll be delighted to have in your library to learn from and enjoy.

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