Basic lettering guides come and go and, if this is what you’re looking for, you’ve always been spoilt for choice. By their nature, they don’t differ very much and it’s often hard to choose between them.
For some reason, though, there don’t seem to have been as many in recent years – perhaps publishers realised that the market was saturated – and so this one has a clearer field in which to work.
Of its type it has the great merit of being simple. One of the complaints against this kind of book can be that they try to teach too much at once. There are a great many letter forms and shapes in calligraphy and it’s all too easy for the beginner to get overwhelmed with minuscule, majuscule, italic, uncial and roman.
The first third of the book is taken up with materials and basic techniques, which is just about the right proportion, with the rest being devoted to six hands. I was surprised that it’s that many because it’s all handled in only about 60 further pages, which means that you only get the most basic coverage for each one, and that’s about right for the beginner. Having followed this sampler approach, there are plenty of other books you can go to for further study, but you’ll do so with a lot more confidence than you would from a book that’s just left you confused by too much information at the start.
Calligraphy can be as simple and cheap or as complex as you want and it’s a satisfying craft you can follow very easily just from books. This is the best introduction I’ve seen in a good many years.