Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Eastern and Western Brush Lettering

When art teachers introduce lettering we like to use rare, hand-made examples like Chinese brush-lettering or Gothic calligraphy because form is more important to us than content. When designers address lettering they most often use digital fonts because they start with the need to communicate some content and then consider form.

Brush lettering is a declining skill across the world which makes it more attractive to art teachers and less attractive to designers. Most brush lettering examples are now available as digital fonts so designers rarely take the time to do it by hand. For designers, there is much more to learn about lettering than spending hours to learn a rarely used skill.

In the East, you can still find older people who practice the art of Chinese brush lettering (right) and in the West, there are still calligraphers and sign painters who know how to do brush lettering (left). If you are interested in doing a lesson on brush lettering, rather than only introducing exotic, distant examples of Chinese calligraphy, consider finding a local calligrapher or sign-painter who still knows how to use a brush.

Click on the heading above to see a video demonstration of Western brush script lettering (see Part 2).

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