Monday, May 1, 2023

How to Be a Rule-Breaking Letterer: A Guide to Making Perfectly Imperfect Art

How to Be a Rule-Breaking Letterer is an appealing and accessible tutorial guide for lettering and layout by Huyen Dinh. Due out 23rd May 2023 from Chronicle Books, it's 168 pages and will be available in paperback and ebook formats. 

This is such an appealing and well done book. The style is very pastel, informal, and come-as-you-are. The emphasis is on the creating and -not- striving for unrealistic perfection, but embracing the organic creative process and adapting. The aesthetic is cute and feminine as well as being dynamic. 

The book is arranged logically and is easy to follow. An artist's statement and a little bit of her background and learning philosophy is followed by basic lettering and some of the artist's examples including stickers, merch, ad campaigns, and art "in the wild". There's a short chapter on the differences between lettering and calligraphy and the tools and supplies for both. 

The following chapters do a good, basic job of explaining lettering, layout, kerning/spacing, analog and digital tools, intentional rule breaking, the creative process, and some cute tutorial projects. The vast majority of the book is drawn, there are very few photos (except in the abbreviated tutorials at the end). There are many inspirations for page layouts throughout, however, which will be useful for folks to bu-jo, journal layouts, habit-trackers, and others who need to create layouts for personal or commercial purposes.

Four stars. The entire book has the same pastel aesthetic, which is informal, breezy and *cute*. It would make a good choice for public or school library acquisition, home library, or maker's spaces, and activity group studios. 

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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