SHOW + TELL: Our Favorite Lettering Books

Lettering is one of our many passions here at Adventures-In-Making. We are both trained in graphic design, so type, letters, fonts, etc. are all constantly floating around in our brains. Over the years, hand-lettering has become our obsession and a daily practice. Just like any skill, the only way to get good is to practice, practice, practice. Since we are compulsive doodlers, we tend to be practicing all the time.

Once of our favorite ways to practice is to page through a favorite book of lettering for inspiration and ideas. Since this month’s DIY Challenge theme is ‘Letters’ we thought we’d share some of our favorite sources for lettering inspiration.

Rachel’s Favorites

SHOW + TELL: Our Favorite Lettering Books

1. Logo, Font and Lettering Bible by Leslie Cabarga

This is a great book of reference for any graphic designer. And even better for anyone interested in letters. This book is bursting with inspiration, techniques and tips for the aspiring designer.

SHOW + TELL: Our Favorites Lettering Books

2. Hand Job: A Catalog of Type by Mike Perry

This book is a must-have for anyone interested in hand-lettering. Michael Perry showcases the work of tons of talented artists and designers. Some of my favorites are Kate Bingaman-BurtDeanne Cheuk, and Human Empire.

SHOW + TELL: Our Favorite Lettering Books

3. Handwritten: Expressive Lettering In The Digital Age by Steven Heller and Mirko Ilic

This is one of my favorite books for inspiration. A fun collection of posters, books, ads, etc., that all showcase beautifully crafted, hand-lettering.

SHOW+TELL: Our Favorite Lettering Books

4. Custom Lettering of the 60’s and 70’s edited by Rian Hughes

I have a huge soft spot for the colors and psychedelic, groovy style of the 1960’s and 1970’s. This book is a fantastic collection of lettering from the era.

SHOW+TELL: Our Favorite Lettering Books

Alison’s Favorites


5. American Wood Type by Rob Roy Kelly

I was lucky enough to use Rob Roy’s collection of wood type at in college, and to have inherited this amazing collection of type samples. Reprints come up from time to time making this book more affordable- but even in used condition it is an amazing resource for type and lettering.


6. The Art of the Letter by Doyald Young

…or any other book by Doyald Young, who was single handedly responsible for some of the most iconic logos that we grew up with (and typeface of course.) This book has break downs of his letter forms and stories about why he made the decisions he did.


7. An A-Z of Type Designers by Neil Macmillan

This book is mainly focused on the biographies and essays of type designers over the years- but also includes samples of type from almost every era. Since I reference a lot of traditional typefaces in my work, it’s a great resource to have on hand.


8. Little Book of Lettering by Emily Gregory

This one is all about eye-candy. It has sample lettering work from over 100 artists (including friends of the site, Jacqui and Scott Scoggin). Whenever I get in a lettering bind, all I have to do is flip through a couple of pages to get inspired to try a new style, new color, or new composition.

(Not Shown – Sign Painters by Faythe Levine & Sam Macon which I raved about before.)

What books inspire you?

SHOW + TELL: My Favorite Art and Drawing Books

SHOW + TELL: My Favorite Art and Drawing Books #reading #art

I love turning to my art book collection whenever I’m in need of a good dose of inspiration. Studying other artist’s work and learning new techniques is a bit of a guilty pleasure for me. Today I thought I’d share some of my favorites.

1. Picture This by Lynda Barry

Lynda Barry is a creative genius. I saw her give a talk at Portland State University some years ago and was so inspired by her work and words. She’s most known for illustrating her comics chronicling the adventures of Marlys and the Near-Sighted Monkey. Picture This is an activity book of the most unusual sort. Marlys and the Near-Sighted Monkey present questions like, “What is making a picture all about? What makes kids draw? What makes adults scared to draw?”

2. Hand Job: A Catalog of Type by Michael Perry

This book is a must-have for anyone interested in hand-lettering. Michael Perry showcases the work of tons of talented artists and designers. Some of my favorites are Kate Bingaman-Burt, Deanne Cheuk, and Human Empire.

3. The Diary of Frida Kahlo

For those of you unfamiliar with Frida Kahlo, she was an amazing Mexican artist known for her captivating surrealist paintings. She suffered from lifelong health problems, many caused by a bus accident she survived as a teenager. It was through the isolation of recovery from her injuries that she began to paint. Her diary is filled with fascinating sketches, painting, and writings of her life.

4. Daring Adventures In Paint, by Mati Rose McDonough

I’ve been a fan of Mati Rose for some time now. Her paintings are rich, colorful and playful. In her book, Daring Adventures In Paint, she takes you through her process of finding inspiration, trusting your artistic path, and finding your voice. The book is filled with gorgeous photos and step by step instructions on a variety of techniques she uses in her work.

SHOW + TELL: My Favorite Art and Drawing Books

5. Spilling Open by Sabrina Ward Harrison

I first discovered this book in high school and it was a life changing experience. If you are a fan of art journaling, this book is for you! Spilling Open is the first of many books by Sabrina, but this one is my favorite. Written at age 23, Sabrina explores “the art of becoming yourself” through messy paintings, collage, ink spills, drawings, photos and more.

6. The Creative License by Danny Gregory

I love the honesty and creative style of Danny Gregory. He discusses the fears and insecurities we all face when confronting our creative side and how we can all muster up the courage to go for it. In The Creative License, he gives us “permission to be intensely, brilliantly, wonderfully creative” and shows us how to get started on fulfilling our artistic dreams.

7. Drawing Nature: A Journal by Jill Bliss

When I first moved home to Portland in 2009, I took a drawing class from the talented Jill Bliss. It was a delightful experience. We sat outside in a park and practiced drawing leaves, flowers, and anything else we found in nature. Those classes inspired her to write this book! In the first part of the book discusses her drawing philosophy and walks you through a variety of different techniques. The second half is like a typical journal for you to practice in with fun tips and tricks from Jill!

All of these titles are available at the Adventures In Making Amazon Store. Purchasing through our store earns us a small percentage of the sale. Thanks for supporting us!

SHOW + TELL: My Favorite Craft Books

My Favorite Art & Craft Books #inspiration #craft #books
The past week has been grey and rainy here in the Pacific Northwest; our last week of ‘normal’ weather before we dive head first into summer (I can’t wait!). This last week of spring has me curled up on the couch, sipping tea and looking through my favorite books. To be honest, I’m not much of a reader, but I have a great collection of books I find inspiring in my library. Today I thought I’d share some of my favorite craft books with you! These have been on my shelves for years and are something I love getting out when I’m in need of some crafty eye candy.

1. Bead Simple by Susan Beal

My friend Alissa recommended this book when I was interested in making jewelry for Camp Smartypants. Bead Simple shows tons of different techniques and jewelry patterns you can easily customize for your own projects. Great for beginners and jewelry makers interested in learning new techniques.

2. I Just Like To Make Things by Lilla Rogers

Lilla Rogers is a world-renowned art agent and creative genius. I picked up her book after I signed up for her online course, Make Art That Sells. The book is a perfect companion to her e-courses and a great resource to anyone interested in turning their creative hobby into a business some day. One of Lilla’s mantras is, “People buy your joy.” Having fun and being passionate about your work is such an important part of the creative process. In I Just Like To Make Things, Lilla discusses this and much, much more!

3. Simple Times: Crafts For Poor People by Amy Sedaris

I am a HUGE fan of Amy Sedaris. Her first book, I Like You: Hospitality Under The Influence, is what first sparked my passion for planning and hosting parties. Her second book, Simple Times: Crafts For Poor People is equally great. Amy lets her humor and creativity run wild as she shares tons of hilarious and fun craft projects.

4. Find & Keep by Beci Orpin

I’m a huge fan of Beci Orpin, an Australian artist and graphic designer. Her style is so fresh and playful. Her book, Find & Keep is bursting with colorful and unique craft projects and inspiration for you to feast your eyes on.

My Favorite Art & Craft Books #inspiration #craft #books

5. How To Make Books by Esther K. Smith

Bookbinding has been a much-loved craft activity for me. I love making my own journals and notebooks. This book by Esther K. Smith provides great instruction for a variety of bookbinding techniques including accordions, stab stitch, chapbooks, long stitch and more. I love that she uses unlikely materials like fabric, envelopes, recycled papers, and vintage postcards to create unique journals, albums and notebooks.

6. Vintage Craft Workshop by Cathy Callahan

I absolutely love vintage crafts and this book definitely gives me my retro crafty fix! Not only are the projects fresh takes on crafting techniques from the 60’s and 70’s, I also love her “Crafty Lady” features where she shares a little history about crafty pioneers like Aleene Jackson (inventor of Aleene’s Tacky Glue) and Hazel Pearson (Queen of Kaboodle craft kits).

7. Happy Voodoo Gris Gris by Mademoiselle de la Brindille and Anne-Claire Leveque

I remember this being an impulse buy at Powell’s, but I’m so glad I have it on my bookshelf. Happy Voodoo Gris Gris is a wonderful book with over 45 fun projects for the free spirited. Learn to make good luck charms, talismans, amulets, and more.

8. Mend It Better by Kristin Roach

This book is written by my friend, Kristen Roach of Craft Leftovers. It features sewing projects that use recycled or reused materials. Kristin discusses the basics of mending and altering as well as featuring sewing projects by her and other crafters. Check out page 204, where I share a fun tutorial on how to transform an old pair of jeans into a bleach-dyed skirt!

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