COMPLETE PHOTO GUIDE TO HAND LETTERING & CALLIGRAPHY Book Review – A Peek into the Artistic World of Hand Letters and Calligraphy

The Complete Photo Guide to Hand Lettering & Calligraphy Nathalie Nivasnanda

The Complete Photo Guide to Hand Lettering & Calligraphy

The Complete Photo Guide to Hand Lettering & Calligraphy is a 192-page instruction book that guides readers into the world of hand lettering and calligraphy through examples, instruction, varied projects and practice sheets. For anyone who has admired calligraphers or expert letters, the visual photo guide gives a peek into that world, full of various colors and letters of all styles. With breakdowns of different types, the book presents itself as the expert with accompanying texts and examples. It will likely be an awe inspiring and overwhelming task for beginners who have never tried hand lettering or calligraphy before, but will likely be perfect for those who have some dabbled into that world, with lots to learn.

Organized by an introduction to materials and then by each style, readers can get a sense of what it takes to journey into the hand lettering and calligraphy world. Towards the end, the resources and glossary give readers more information on terminology and links to help explore and build their own artistic style.

Note: As someone who has always been interested in art, this writer has admired calligraphers, particularly on Instagram, but has never dabbled in that world, except by incorporating simple hand lettering in doodling yet has never tried calligraphy.


One of the things that readers will need to get before being able to do the tasks and projects are tools. The book requires a variety of devices, who for those that aren’t avid artists, may warrant a trip to a local art supply store. Those who are particularly interested in the calligraphy aspect, will need to purchase the necessary devices before being able to do any work there. Those who are interested in hand lettering may be able to get away with using household products.

These products range from the readily-accessible pencils to others like nibs and inks. In addition, others require further tools, such as a wooden slabs, ceramic plates, and Adobe Photoshop/Illustrator.

Practice Sheets

Having gone through all the tools necessary, chapter 2 introduces readers to various styles like typography, hand lettering and calligraphy. The descriptions and visuals serve as a model to start this artistic adventure. Although the chapter introduces small exercises that readers can follow, another resource for readers are the practice sheets.

Located towards the end of the book, the 31 pages of practice material allow readers to mimic an assortment of styles. Using fineliner pens, and markers, readers can gain additional skill and practice in things like swirls, strokes, and decorative lettering. The instructions for each sheet are easy, each outline what the reader is supposed to do, along with recommend instruments. These are simple activities that can help readers gain some more practice in the hand lettering world, as well as just to being a nice activity to relax with.

The Complete Photo Guide to Hand Lettering & Calligraphy
Alphabet Writing Practice Sheet Nathalie Nivasnanda
The Complete Photo Guide to Hand Lettering & Calligraphy
Bookmark Project Nathalie Nivasnanda

Bookmark Project

Chapter 4 takes us through the world of modern hand lettering. One of the fun things about projects is that there are numerous ones to try out. Each chapter includes at least 2 project ideas related to the material presented earlier so readers have lots of practice options. These fun assignments stand alone, ones that don’t build upon other exercises but call to previous information covered.

One of the projects, listed in the chapter is a bookmarks project. This bookmarks project allows readers to use not only hand lettering and calligraphy skills, but to practice water painting and coloring skills. This reviewer is an avid reader so she chose to make a bookmark, using a quote about reading.


Overall, this guide is a great visual guide to hand lettering and calligraphy. It provides a LOT of information and with lots of examples. One of the nice things presented here is the amount of projects available. Unlike other books, there isn’t just one project per chapter but numerous that utilize different tools. Readers can pick and choose what task stands out, creating personalized items that can be used as home decor and/or in daily life!

In summary, this book is recommended for those who have had some experience in hand lettering and calligraphy. Even though it is easy to understand and very educational, it can be overwhelming for beginners given the large amount of information and styles. Requiring lots of devices, they can be quite pricey for a beginner. For those reasons, this guide would be better served to those acclimated into the hand lettering and calligraphy world. For readers who have already dabbled into this subject, this book seems to add onto that, building and adding onto that foundation.



For More Information

The Complete Photo Guide to Hand Lettering and Calligraphy


Courtesy of the Quarto Group & Nathalie Nivasnanda

Nathalie Nivasnanda

About the Author

Nathalie Nivasnanda is a graduate student at DePaul University, majoring in Writing, Rhetoric and Discourse. She was born in Chicago, Illinois but grew up in Wilmette, Illinois ultimately attending New Trier Township High School. A self proclaimed museum lover, she sees museums as a fun and interesting way to engage with culture, art and history. For Nathalie, museums have often been a way to explore Chicago and on her day off, you can find her venturing to local Chicago museums and galleries after having just gotten a good bite to eat. She writes museum and cinema reviews for Picture This Post. As the Assistant Museum Editor, Nathalie routinely helps maintain Chicago museum pages and publishes museum news and press releases.

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