I recently read that some elementary schools are no longer teaching cursive writing because it’s deemed unnecessary during this age of computers and email. Sure there are some fancy computer fonts to pretty up our documents, but as an avid letter writer myself, I cherish real handwriting and creative lettering. Draw Your Own Alphabets: Thirty Fonts to Scribble, Sketch, & Make Your Own ($19.95, Princeton Architectural Press) by Tony Seddon brings back fun into your old-fashioned writing. This 160-page book shows you many unique, very creative fonts you can learn to draw on your own. There are even special pages with grids for you to try your hand at duplicating the alphabets they show.
At the beginning of the book the author discusses the importance of creating your own unique voice through hand lettering and gives you useful tips for developing the skills needed to draw fonts. He even tells us that it is okay to trace the letters while learning.
For each font in the book, there’s a short introduction to what inspired the author to create it. I so appreciate that the font samples, which range from very simple to quite intricate, are large enough to really show you the detail. Plus each one has a clever name like Control Chaos, Knit, Skinny Fringe and Spaghetti Junction. As I practiced duplicating some of the fonts, I found ways to change them a bit to make them my own. That’s just what the author wants you to do – be inspired to come up with your own original ideas.
In the back of the book you’ll find invaluable information about bit mapping and Vector fonts as well as how to scan and digitize fonts so you can use your creations to customize your work on the computer. So whether you’re like me and just want to keep hand lettering alive and learn creative new ways to do it, or you truly want to design your own original fonts for your work, this book will surely inspire you.
Reviewed by Debbie Glade