Simply Calligraphy: A Review

A few years ago, I was at a yard sale where I happened to overhear a conversation concerning the non-importance of cursive handwriting. A mother was talking to a group of her friends about her daughter’s experience with the cursive hand. She explained that her daughter couldn’t read cursive and went on to say she saw no need for fancy penmanship in our world today. Essentially, she was saying, what’s the point in learning penmanship?

As a gal who learned cursive before regular print (I kid you not), I love quality penmanship. Of course, it required a lot of practice. Handwriting homework was the bane of my existence in kindergarten. But, I learned all those cursive letters, and today, my default handwriting is cursive. I love to make the curly letters look as pretty as possible on a blank sheet of paper.

Based on my experience, I have concluded that quality handwriting is quickly becoming a lost art. In a world of computer-generated fonts and spell-checkers, why should we care what our own penmanship looks like?

I would venture to say that Judy Detrick, author of Simply Calligraphy: A Beginner’s Guide to Elegant Lettering would beg to differ.

In this 85 page book (excluding the index), Detrick walks her readers through all the basic lessons required to master the art of calligraphy – the coup de grâce of elegant penmanship. Each page in the manual is like a mini-lesson. Detrick provides clear illustrations on stroke techniques, letter sizing and space, and font types to clarify her written instruction. By the end of the instructional chapters, readers who are practicing along should be able to conquer some of the projects listed in the final chapter. In addition to being a “how-to” guide, Simply Calligraphy also provides information on which type of tools and materials are best for calligraphy, short histories on 2 additional text types, and places to explore for further information on the art of calligraphy.

I enjoyed this tidy, little book. I look forward to sitting down with a pen and some paper and practicing some of the techniques that Detrick teaches. I have always been interested in learning to write in a fancier hand, and I hope I can master enough basic calligraphy to address a card or write a letter with an elegant flourish.

In terms of what audiences would most benefit from this book, I would likely recommend it to those individuals who are seeking to refine or branch out in their penmanship skills. Having experience with cursive writing will likely be beneficial. This would be an excellent curriculum piece for middle or high school homeschool students who have had handwriting practice in the past and are looking to continue to perfect their penmanship skills.

Simply Calligraphy is now available for purchase on Amazon or through Barnes and Noble.

Note: This book was provided by Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.


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