Cover image for Kirsten Burke's secrets of modern calligraphy / [by Kirsten Burke & Jill Hembling ; photography by Jason Hedges].
Kirsten Burke's secrets of modern calligraphy / [by Kirsten Burke & Jill Hembling ; photography by Jason Hedges].
Title Variants:
Secrets of modern calligraphy
Publication Information:
San Francisco, California : Weldon Owen, [2018]

Physical Description:
112 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes 7 art cards.


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
745.61 BUR Book Adult General Collection

On Order



Every project reveals more of the secrets of modern calligraphy, so that by the end of the book you will be armed with everything you need to head off on your own lettering adventure.

The book is a combination of instruction and inspiration for modern calligraphy, teaching basic letters as well as introducing projects of different skill levels. Full of tips, tricks and techniques you will learn how to create your own calligraphy through typefaces to trace and copy, handwriting styles to explore, advice on penmanship, brush strokes and lettering styles. Also includes 7 perforated postcards and 16 template pages.

Author Notes

Kirsten Burke is a world-renowned calligraphic artist and teacher. She is the 'Master Calligrapher' for luxury brands Including Jo Malone, Tom Ford and Creme de la Mer and clients like the BBC, Shakespeare's Globe Theatre and Rolls Royce. Her best-selling greetings cards, wedding stationery and calligraphy kits can be found in high street shops, online and overseas, and her sell-out calligraphy workshops for adults and children are run from her beautiful studios In West Sussex.



Downstrokes Put pressure on the downstroke to create the thick line. Start at the top and pull down so the pen's tines open up.   Upstroke For the upstroke, loosen your grip. This will help to reduce the pressure you put on your nib. Glide upwards gently.   Cross Stroke For the cross stroke, like the cross bar of a 't', loosen your grip, as you would with an upstroke and go gently (lefties may prefer to go the opposite way here).   Exercise: Combine the down and upstrokes, to create the shape below. Go over the gray, following the direction of the arrows   Left Handers Pointed nibs are symmetrical, so it doesn't matter at all if you are left-handed. What does matter is whether you are an 'overwriter' or an 'underwriter'. If you're a leftie, you'll know what this means!   If you are an underwriter, as shown in the first picture, and keep your wrist straight when you write you will be able to work in the same way as a right-hander. The only difference is that you will need to turn the page clockwise, so that the pen will be in the correct position, as shown in the picture below.   If you are an overwriter and bend your wrist over the paper, as shown in the second picture, you will have to reverse everything, so wherever I talk about thick downstrokes, you will be doing thick upstrokes.   Start at the bottom of the letter and push the pen up, applying pressure on the nib to create a thick stroke. Go lightly on your downward strokes for the 'thins'. You will have to experiment moving your paper around, trying different nibs and finding a comfortable position so that the tines can open and the pen will work well for you. If your grip allows you to exert even pressure on both tines of your nib, then you are holding the pen correctly.   Excerpted from Secrets of Modern Calligraphy by Kirsten Burke All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 4
How to Use this Bookp. 6
Your Kitp. 9
Getting Startedp. 17
Alphabetsp. 33
Letters into Wordsp. 47
Project 1 Proportion and joining up lettersp. 49
Shapesp. 55
Project 2 Body shape and alphabet familiesp. 57
Anglesp. 61
Project 3 Angles and adding illustrationsp. 63
Calligraphy Fontsp. 69
Project 4 Fonts and flourishesp. 71
Creating Compositionsp. 75
Project 5 Bounce and compositionp. 77
Dip & Washp. 83
Project 6 Dipping and making washesp. 85
Adding Some Blingp. 89
Project 7 Writing with Finetec metallic paint and layout tipsp. 91
Practice Pagesp. 98
Workshopsp. 105
Suppliersp. 107
Our Storyp. 109
Acknowledgements & Creditsp. 112