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Book review: Hand Lettering Ledger

[Ad – review. I was sent this book for review purposes and all thoughts are my own. This post features affiliate links]

If you’re a regular around these parts, you’ll know that I’m on something of a lettering journey this year. I’m on a mission to learn some techniques and I’m sharing all of my favourite resources and tips on the blog.

Last night I tried Mary Kate McDevitt’s Hand Lettering Ledger for the first time. Here’s a look at what I’ve learned and my first few attempts.

Hand Lettering Ledger by Mary Kate McDenritt - review

The book introduces you to eleven primary styles, as well as filigree and banners.

Hand Lettering Ledger by Mary Kate McDenritt - review

Hand Lettering Ledger by Mary Kate McDenritt - review

McDevitt also takes the time to explain what lettering actually is, as people easily confuse typography, calligraphy and lettering:

Typography – the art of arranging type, specifically for press (typeface, point size, leading, tracking, kerning, etc)

Lettering – completely customized and hand drawn

Calligraphy – the design and execution of lettering, written with one smooth stroke using a brush or pen

With lettering, letters are drawn. With calligraphy, they are written and require little/no retouching.

Hand Lettering Ledger by Mary Kate McDenritt - review

The book is up made up of lessons to teach the skills for each style, followed by practice sheets to develop these skills.

Hand Lettering Ledger by Mary Kate McDenritt - review

Hand Lettering Ledger by Mary Kate McDenritt - review

What I love about this book is that you’re inspired to embark on your own lettering adventures, rather than follow rules: ‘personal interpretation is recommended and strongly encouraged’ – just what I need to try and develop my own style.

I learned so much from this book. Even though I don’t plan to put all of the styles into practice in the near future, there is a lot that can be applied to all types. There is a section on the dos and don’ts of lettering and McDevitt’s explanations are so handy when it comes to proportions and sizing: M and W are wider than they are tall and B, E, F, J and l are half as wide as they are high. And letters that are rounded (C, J, G, O, Q, S, U) or pointed (A, M, N, V, W) must extend above and below the baseline.

Here’s a look at some of my practice pages.

Hand Lettering Ledger by Mary Kate McDenritt - review

Hand Lettering Ledger by Mary Kate McDenritt - review

Hand Lettering Ledger by Mary Kate McDenritt - review

Hand Lettering Ledger by Mary Kate McDenritt - review

Hand Lettering Ledger by Mary Kate McDenritt - review

In case you were wondering, the paper holds up with my STAEDTLER brush pens and my Tombows.

I’m officially a fan of McDevitt’s work and I’ve already tracked down more of her awesome books and journals online – there are a fair few on Amazon if you fancy something inspiring and pre-laid out.

Buy it on Amazon

Also available:
Every Day is Epic
The Big Ideas Notepad
Work It! Desk jotter
Mini goals notepad

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