Periodically I get asked to either teach calligraphy or recommend a book for learning calligraphy. My answer to both requests is to recommend Italic Calligraphy by Inga Dubay and Barbara Getty.
Italic Letters: Calligraphy & Handwriting by Inga Dubay and Barbara Getty is my number one recommendation for anyone wanting to learn italic calligraphy.
First, I must say that I feel that italic calligraphy is the most versatile of all alphabets. It can be written friendly or formal. It can be written plain or highly flourished. It can even be written with a ball point pen (called monoline italic). If I had a favorite alphabet, it would be italic because of its versatility.
A very free italic written on an envelope.
So, when my friend, Anna, came to me and asked for a recommendation for a calligraphy class or book, I heartily recommended Italic Calligraphy. I think italic is the best alphabet to start learning calligraphy. And the presentation by Inga Dubay and Barbara Getty in this book makes learning italic so much easier than any other book I have ever seen.
This is a simple italic of mine without many flourishes on a watercolor background.
The book starts with writing monoline italic, thats just a fancy name for writing with a ball point pen or a pencil. It’s so non-threatening. You get to learn the letter shapes before having to concern yourself with an edged pen and trying to hold the pen at a 45 degree angle and writing at a slight slant.
I like to combine italic calligraphy with other alphabets. Here the “war” is written with a pointed brush and the text is written in a simple italic.
It’s the perfect book for someone learning calligraphy on their own. When I last taught italic calligraphy, this was the book I used. I can’t say enough positive things about this book. It’s so rich with information.
Another example of my combining italic calligraphy with pointed brush calligraphy
While the book suggests you write in it, please don’t. You will get so much more out of the book if you can repeat pages as you practice. So, I suggest you get some quality writing paper and take that to your local copy shop and copy the pages you want to practice onto that paper. One such quality paper is Gilbert bond. Any paper that works with your pen and gives you crisp lines is fine. What you don’t want is a cheap paper where your ink bleeds.
Another example of my italic calligraphy.
Write on, Candy