Practical Calligraphy Techniques and Materials - Mike Darton

Calligraphy Book Reviews

Sometimes a book written almost thirty years ago would be aged and dated for modern readers. However, Practical Calligraphy Techniques and Materials by Mike Darton has held up quite well. Part of that is because it was done thoroughly to start with and printed in full color glossy beauty. It's also a full 9" x 12" in size, so the images are large, easy to see, and well done.

The introduction takes you on an illustrated guide to calligraphy and writing styles over the thousands of years we've been doing it. I love the images like this which compare style from age to age.

Practical Calligraphy Techniques and Materials - Mike Darton

There are quite a lot of full color, easy to see examples of medieval calligraphy, gothic calligraphy, you name it. It's quite inspiring. It gets you excited to start trying it for yourself.

Some books then fall flat in explaining HOW to do calligraphy, but again this book did its job well. There are all sorts of details about how to select a pen and paper. How to begin practicing. What all the terms mean. What to watch out for.

For the specific styles of lettering shown, the instructions are nicely clear. You're told the angle of the pen and the order of the strokes. You're given details about how to manage the spacing between letters. It's not as fully detailed as some other modern books, and it's never quite as good as watching a video where you can see the hand in motion, but it's still reasonably well done for a book this old.

Practical Calligraphy Techniques and Materials - Mike Darton

The alphabets you get in this book are:

Roman
Unicals
Modified 10th Century
Black Letter / Gothic
Italic
Versals

So not nearly as many as in other books. Still, it's a 143 page book in large format so there's a lot of information in here.

I'll give this four out of five stars. There's a lot of great examples in here, and some nice information. Still, I would have other books in my calligraphy library as well, to round out the options.

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