Books for the Desk Set: Calligraphy & Lettering

In Progress by Jessica Hische

In Progress: See Inside a Lettering Artist’s Sketchbook and Process, from Pencil to Vector
by Jessica Hische ($9.99 for Kindle, $20.23 for hardcover)

In Progress is one of the most eye-opening books about hand drawn lettering that I have ever seen. Its incredibly refreshing to see both the process and the finished work of such an incredibly talented lettering artist like Jessica Hische and to see how she tweaks and refines things through the various phases of her process. If you have even an inkling of interest in creating hand lettering or calligraphy, this book is worth every penny. Jessica Hische is one of the most talented people in the industry today and for many years to come and she shows her whole process in a very open and honest way.

She shows her favorite tools (Hello, Blackwings!) for sketching and idea generation all the way through to her digital refining process. Even as eye candy, the book is worth the price.

Learn to Draw Calligraphy Animals

Learn to Draw Calligraphy Animals: 30 unique creations
by Andrew Fox ($12.06 for hardcover)

Through twists and turns on Pinterest, I found Andrew Fox’s book Learn to Draw Calligraphy Animals on This Is Colossal. Fox uses the wide flat strokes of calligraphy nibs to create simple, expressive animals in an absolutely captivating way. This book is a perfect addition for the Desk Set bookshelf. Drawing PLUS calligraphy nibs?!?! It’s a total no-brainer.

Fox has also created a book on drawing nature using calligraphy pens which was released in March. Even more fun to be had!


Drawing Type: An Introduction to Illustrating Letterforms
by Alex Fowkes ($25.84 for paperback)

Drawing Type features an array of international lettering artists mostly doing decorative hand lettered stylings and not a lot of overly computer-stylized looks. Jon Contino, Mary Kate McDevitt and Linzie Hunter are all featured if that gives you an idea of the aesthetics represented. Towards the back of the book are some exercises to try to develop your own hand lettering style as well as a few specimen pages of some typefaces to use as reference. Overall its a good coffee table book with a good representation of the hand lettering styles popular right now.

71LCE10xWWLLittle Book of Lettering
by Emily Gregory ($15.21 for hardcover)

The Little Book of Lettering lives up to its name as it is a small book, about the size of a CD, and its been out for a few years now, but its a book I find myself referring back to time and again. Its filled with inspiring spreads of lettering art from different illustrators and calligraphers with vastly different styles. The book is actually divided into three sections to represent tightly rendered, loose and casual and 3-dimensional styled lettering. While there is no specific how-to’s in the book, its a great inspiration and covers a range of aesthetics and introduces the reader to a lot of different artists and their work.

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