Hand lettering hits the Web

The Internet provides a surprising number of resources on the old-school art of painting perfect letters

August Heffner
September 14, 2011 4:19AM (UTC)

This summer I went on a relaxing vacation (a new experience for me) and decided to sit on the porch all day and draw letters. Perhaps the years and years I've spent in complete awe and jealousy of Steve Powers final built up and I thought, this time, I'm going to do it. I'm going to train my hands to paint perfect letters. So after stocking up on brushes and inks I decided I needed some books, if I was to be self-taught. I hunted throughout New York City, a city I believe to have an enormous number of books per capita, and couldn't find anything worth buying.


Enter the Internet. A quick search on Archive.org (prompted by the hand-letterer's forum) provided tons of full scans of amazing hand-lettering instruction books from the late 19th century through the mid-20th. I brought these books with me and had an amazing time learning. Please enjoy my favorites: "The Sign Painter" (1916), Lettering (c1916), "Elements of Lettering and Sign Painting; (1899) and the extensively named "The Art of Show Card Writing: A Modern Treatise Covering All Branches of the Art ... With One Hundred and Fifty-three Illustrations and Thirty-two Lettering Plates, Comprising All the Standard Ancient and Modern Styles" (1922).

Copyright F+W Media Inc. 2011.


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August Heffner

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