Hand Lettering by Thy Doan Graves – Yes you should!

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Are you a victim of impulse buying? The stores that hold the greatest temptation for me to buy on a whim are stationery / office supply stores (like Staples), craft stores (like Michaels), and art supply outlets (like our local Opus store).

Often I regret these on-the-spot decisions but occasionally I don’t. That turned out to be the case when, on browsing the offering of art books at Opus, I ran across Thy Doan Graves’ book Hand Lettering – Creative Alphabets for Any Occasion. It captured me when I first leafed through it as not only beautiful but probably useful and imagination sparking. I bought it and now, almost four years later, I still lose myself in its pages.

The book begins with a section titled “Tools, Materials and Techniques.” This section includes an analysis of the parts of a letter, information on spacing and composition, letter embellishment, and many stunning examples.

A “Directory of Alphabets,” made up of 50 different alphabet lettering styles, follows. From simple to ornate, traditional to modern,  serif or sans serif—you’ll find some of every type here. Opposite alphabets with only an upper case design are lined pages titled “Your Turn,” inviting you to design alphabet styles of your own.

Letters are presented on a lined background, upper and lower case (where there is a lower case), with hints for letter formation in the sidebars.
Blank page opposite alphabets with no lower case for reader-designed alphabets.

Especially fun are the contributing artist-designed graphic alphabets—inspired by space, automobiles, buildings, flowers, animals, food, monsters, and fantasy creatures.

Food Alphabet designed by Olga Zakharova. Isn’t this fun!

Since I bought it in 2017 I’ve used this book a lot—marked my favorite styles with paper clips and browsed its contents for lettering ideas, designs, and embellishments useful in card-making, art journaling, and designing art that contains lettering. I would say that giving in to the impulse to buy this book was a wonderful capitulation. If you’re into hand-lettering, I’m sure you’d love it too

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