The World Encyclopedia of Calligraphy!

My new book—compiled and edited with Holly Cohen—has finally been printed. Holly and I received our advance copies about a week ago. It should be in the bookstores by Christmas, and you can already pre-order through John Neal Bookseller and through Barnes & Noble or Amazon.

The book is the World Encyclopedia of Calligraphy. It’s a compendium of calligraphy from all around the globe. The book is intended as a guide to actually writing the major world scripts, so the heart of the book is a series of exemplars by experts in each script. We cover Roman scripts, Greek and Cyrillic, Hebrew, Arabic, Indic scripts, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, just to name some of the most important samples. The book also explains the use of quills, brushes, reeds, and metal pens, and gives some historical background to each of the traditions described.

This was a monumental undertaking—five years in the making. Holly and I are grateful to all the many artists who contributed their work. Seeing it in print has been amazing—big, colorful photographs, beautifully reproduced. And large-scale exemplars with stroke order and direction and details of letter construction. Lots of examples of finished work, both contemporary and historical, give a rich portrait of how calligraphy can be used.

Here are some sample spreads from the book:

From the Roman chapter, a sample of Carolingian.

From the Greek and Cyrillic chapter, a study of Cyrillic uncials.

From the chapter on Indic scripts, two historical manuscripts with a study of the Brahmi script that gave rise to writing systems from the Himalayas to Southeast Asia.

From the chapter on the Edged Pen, diagrams illustrating pen angle and a vintage box of pens.

From the chapter on the East Asian Brush, a step-by-step photo essay showing the complexities of making simple strokes with a brush.

In the Chinese chapter, Jim Zhang supplied a series of samples that show how ten representative characters are written in different styles.

This is just a taster. It’s tempting to show more! Holy and I are very grateful to our editor at Sterling Books, Barbara Berger, who shepherded this project through the many stages of production.

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3 Responses to The World Encyclopedia of Calligraphy!

  1. Sylvia says:

    Hello! I just got a copy of your wonderful book. I originally found it at the library and had to have it. I probably don’t have to tell you that it’s exquisite. I also have “Illuminating the Word” and devoured every page. I am more of an armchair calligrapher but I want to try some of the scripts in this book. Thanks to you and Holly for producing such a gorgeous *and* useful book!

  2. I have been trying to do a piece in the Cyrillic alphabet and have been trying to find examples of it done with a broad edged pen. It has been difficult. I thought I had checked all the references given in response to your name, but today I found that you had actually published the World of Calligraphy. Looking at the two pages illustrating a small portion of what you have done with this alphabet it phenomenal. I am going to try to find it at the library, but I am hoping that John Neal has it so I can purchase it in Oregon at the end of the month. Thank you, thank you, thank you

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