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The Techniques of Copperplate Calligraphy by Gordon Turner

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Erica McPhee:
Click on image to view on Amazon.

This wonderful gem can be had for under $7 US dollars. Published in 1987 (the year I graduated high school), Gordon Turner's book is light but very full of information, helpful, and humorous. His detailed instruction is penned in his beautiful style of copperplate. He gives a very thorough examination of the basic strokes with a good deal of illustrative examples.

There is only one detraction, in some of his examples the letters show a space between them, and not just the ligatures, but the actual letters. I believe this is to demonstrate the individual strokes, however, this is not clearly stated anywhere so I think it could be misleading and/or confusing to a beginner. But that is limited to two pages.

He made me laugh when he pleaded to call capital letters "anything but majuscules" as it was such an ugly word! He also referred to "three trouble areas that can doom your best efforts... They are, of course, pen, ink, and paper."  ;D

Although he didn't know it, Turner was an early visionary to modern calligraphy styles of today. He features many different styles of each capital letter:

He also mentions, "in formal script, deviations are not common, but in casual or personal script, the sky's the limit." I found it fascinating how much of what he wrote almost 25 years ago could very well apply to developing your own personal style today. After detailing several pages of "rules" he states, "How you handle these letters is up to you. It's a matter of your personal style."

And after a few more pages of rules, he says, "Now that you are familiar with the shapes of all the letters, you can begin to experiment for the fun of it!" But you can see from his examples, "your own style" in copperplate 25 years ago, was still very much copperplate!

Overall, it's a great, inexpensive manual for learning pointed pen.

[Pages used with permission from Dover Publications, Inc.]

Linda Y.:
This is the very first copperplate book I bought! :D My copy is probably from the early 90s. It's a great resource - and yes, all the text is written in copperplate!

We graduated the same year!!!!

I'm going to look into that book.
Thank you :)

hey guys I need help, thank you so much Erica for putting this book, Im actually in a dillema of which book to buy between this or the Dick Jackson's Copperplate calligraphy, is anyone here maybe have both, or tried or even stumble upon..

thank you so much


Erica McPhee:
Hi Nana,
I have both in front of me. They are two very different styles of book. Turner's book has more exemplars and variations. Jackson's book has more detailed instruction. If you are looking to really analyze and break down each letter, I would say Jackson's book offers more information (although if you are into that, I would suggest Eleanor Winter's Mastering Copperplate book instead. Jackson's exemplars are not to my liking. Hope that helps!


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