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Book Review: Secrets of Brush Calligraphy (Kirsten Burke)

January 27, 2019

We at Team Crafthood are big into books; we have built up a substantial collection of lettering books in particular and have profiled some of our favourites in our blog post; The Crafthood top picks of modern calligraphy and lettering books. When we last updated that blog post we included Kirsten Burke's Secrets of Modern Calligraphy


Subsequently Kirsten sent us a copy of her latest title Secrets of Brush Calligraphy.  In the interest of full transparency, we think we should share that whilst this book was gifted, although we have not been paid for this post. This has not influenced our writing of this review and all the words & opinions are our own.


The other thing we feel it is important to note is that we are not beginners to hand lettering; we have a knowledge base in relation to this subject matter though we feel that most lettering books in our collection (including this one) are very accessible for beginners.


We feel very drawn to Kirsten's style of writing and explanation as she, like us, makes many links to hand lettering as a tool to aid mindfulness and a great escape/digital detox.  Hand lettering forces you (in a good way) to focus and concentrate on just that one thing; this is one of the biggest reasons to love lettering.  In December Kirsten published 'Little Book of Calming Calligraphy' and we cannot wait to get our hands on this, little exercises of calligraphy goodness - we're sold! Kirsten highlights that brush lettering is the most creative of the calligraphy arts and we love this about it too, there are very few 'rules' so you can let your creativity run free.


Kirsten's branding and style is immediately identifiable which we are very drawn to in lettering artists as it highlights real creativity. 


Both of Kirsten's books have clever spines that allow you to open the book flat to work directly into it if you so choose.  If you'd rather keep the book looking new then you can also put layout paper over the top and work that way.


The book focuses on three types of tools that can be used in Brush calligraphy/lettteirng:

Brush Pens

Water Brushes

Paint Brushes.



We were taught brush lettering using paint brushes so these have been our 'go to' tool from the beginning.  As stationery obsessives we do have lots of brush pens and water brushes and it was lovely to use a book that encouraged us to experiment with these. Some of the examples of the brush pens we used are highlighted below.