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The 11 Best Books on Hand Lettering and Modern Calligraphy

Looking for a way to polish your calligraphy skills? Look no further — we’ve done the hard work for you by compiling a list of the 11 best books on hand lettering.

Zappy Dots collection of 11 best books on hand lettering and modern calligraphy

Why I — and You — Need the Best Books on Hand Lettering

When I first decided to give hand lettering a try, the practice seemed a bit intimidating. I loved the idea of creating beautiful handwritten letters in my journal in a variety of styles, sizes, and fonts, but I wasn’t sure where to start.

As is the case with just about anything you want to learn these days, there are tons of great online resources to get you started. But the practice of hand lettering seemed to lend itself to doing things the old-school way and finding some actual books on the subject. As it turns out, I found plenty, and I love the mix of gorgeous illustrations and practical instruction they contain.

If you’re curious about or just getting into the practice of hand lettering, by all means check out all the information that Google has to offer, but I’d also encourage you to get your hands on a few old-fashioned books. And if you’re looking for some recommendations, you’re in luck, because we’ve compiled a list of our favorite hand lettering books that we whole-heartedly recommend for anyone who is looking to begin this practice or improve their skills.

You’ll want to add these 11 books your library immediately. Whether you’re brand new to this art form or looking to hone your skills, these books will take your hand lettering to the next level — and you’ll have a great time in the process!

1. The Art of Playful Lettering by Dawn Nicole Warnaar

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The subtitle to this book (A Super-Fun, Super-Creative, and Super-Joyful Guide to Uplifting Words and Phrases) tells you just about everything you need to know, but we love this one so much that we’re happy to add a few more details for you! If you’re looking to get inspired while you get creative, this is the book for you. It’s perfect for beginners, focusing on three basic lettering styles with lots of fun variations. But if you’re an experienced artist, you’ll still appreciate the beautiful art and enjoy the tracing practice and creative worksheets that the books contains.

2. Hand Lettering for Beginners by Sarah Ensign

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Sarah Ensign has a great website dedicated to making hand lettering fun and approachable, even for absolute beginners. Now, she has released a new book on the subject, and it’s one of my favorite overall picks for those just discovering this fun and playful art form. With detailed guides that walk you through every step of the process and plenty of practice worksheets, this book will have you lettering with confidence in no time at all. As an added bonus, she also includes recommendations for pens, paper, and other supplies — which is ideal for beginners who might feel overwhelmed with all the art supply choices out there.

3. Happy Hand Lettering by Maghon Taylor

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Even if you’ve never had beautiful handwriting, don’t worry: Maghon Taylor is on a mission to teach people that anyone can learn hand lettering while finding joy and happiness in the process. She calls this book ‘An Inspirational Guide for Creating Beautiful Words of Life’ and there’s plenty of inspiration here. From traceable alphabets and practice pages to helpful tips and ideas for creating beautiful handmade gifts, this book has something for everyone. It’s suitable for beginners but is also packed with knowledge that will benefit even seasoned artists. And we just love the warm and encouraging tone of the author’s writing. The focus here is on enjoying the process of learning and having FUN, and that’s a message that we can definitely get behind.

4. Hand Lettering Master Class by Marcella Astore

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Marcella Astore is a master of creating stunning visual effects with her lettering, and she can teach you how to do it, too. This book is an incredible resource that truly makes you feel like you’ve attended a master class. If you’ve ever wanted to know how to create bold patterns inside your letters, blend colors to create a beautiful ombre effect, or add shadows and highlights, this book covers all of that and more. Many of the techniques are a little more advanced, but the author explains the process in a way that anyone can understand, so don’t feel intimidated to give this one a try, even if you’re new to hand lettering.

5. Hand Lettering on the iPad with Procreate by Liz Kohler Brown

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If you’re really attached to your iPad, this next pick is for you. Liz Kohler Brown has created this guide that has everything you need to know to get started with the popular iPad drawing and design app Procreate. Blending the best of art and modern technology, this book builds skills and confidence through a series of fun and simple lettering projects. Each project comes with its own Procreate brush downloads, allowing readers to create their own hand lettered words and phrases. Suitable for all skills levels, this book is a great introduction to the world of iPad hand lettering.

6. The Ultimate Guide to Modern Calligraphy & Hand Lettering for Beginners by June & Lucy

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With more than 29,000 ratings and a ton of positive reviews on Amazon, it’s easy to see why this book is a best-seller! Kristin Bowman, the creator of the popular June and Lucy website, has brought her hand lettering expertise to this book. With her straightforward and easy-to-understand style, Bowman walks readers through her process of hand lettering. Designed for beginner and intermediate learners, this book is full of pro tips and step-by-step instructions that will get you hooked on creating your own hand lettering and calligraphy.

7. Hand Lettering for Relaxation by Amy Latta

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This book is another one that does a great job of focusing not just on the finished product but also on the joy of the creative journey. Focusing on the meditative and relaxing aspects of hand lettering, Amy Latta makes her impressive techniques and designs seem approachable. With 46 different workshops, this book is packed with knowledge and will have you creating beautiful lettering with stunning effects and intricate embellishments. It will give you the confidence to take your art to the next level, whether you’re creating for your business, your home decor, or just for the fun of it!

And if you love this one and want to check or the author’s full collection of books, we highly recommend it, as they’re all terrific!

8. Super Simple Hand Lettering by Kiley Bennett

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This is a great hands-on guide from Kiley Bennett that aims to get you up and running quickly using tons of practical exercises. The book contains 20 traceable alphabets as well as practice sheets, skill-building exercises, projects, and even tracing paper. If you’re someone who likes to learn by doing, this book gives you all the tools you need to start creating right away!

9. Lettering for Absolute Beginners Workbook by Danielle Stringer

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The title of this next book pretty much says it all. There’s no experience necessary to use this interactive guide to the art of hand lettering. We also love that it teaches you to work with normal everyday pens, so you don’t need to buy any special supplies to get going. The book focuses on a versatile method of faux calligraphy that can be used on just about any surface and includes five alphabet styles and five projects to help you practice your new skills. A great pick for beginners or anyone who is curious about picking up a new hand lettering hobby.

10. Hand Lettering: An Interactive Guide to the Art of Drawing Letters by Megan Wells

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We’re slightly obsessed with this interactive guide by designer Megan Wells. The full-color illustrations guide you through learning five hand-lettering styles, then nudge you into turning your newfound lettering skills into full-blown artwork. It’s approachable and offers easy-to-follow tutorials, tracing practice, and plenty of pages to try out your budding skills. If you’re looking for more insight into the finer details of hand lettering, like shading and how to combine text and imagery, then this is a must-have resource for your lettering library!

11. Pretty Simple Lettering: Modern Calligraphy & Hand Lettering for Beginners by Whitney Farnsworth

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While so many books claim to be beginner-friendly, this one actually lives up to that promise! Whitney Farnsworth’s approach to hand lettering is both simple and low pressure — as she notes, you should “enjoy the journey” of learning lettering. From a practical perspective, this book’s spiral binding makes it easy to lay flat as you make your way through the handy practice pages, and we appreciate her insight into choosing the best brush pens. All in all, learning the 10 alphabet styles (and countless tips) from this modern calligraphy book is both fun and inspiring!

Beyond the Best Books for Hand Lettering: More Resources for Your Creative Lettering Journey

Now that you’ve got you’ve got everything you need to stock your library with the 11 best books on hand lettering, don’t forget to check out our earlier posts on the best pens for journaling and understanding paper for journals, planners, and notebooks. They’re filled with great resources and recommendations for building your artistic toolkit!

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