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The Calligraphy Kit    by George Thomson order for
Calligraphy Kit
by George Thomson
Order:  USA  Can
Chronicle, 2003 (2003)

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

I've long been intrigued by calligraphy but was unsure of how to get started till I stumbled across George Thomson's Calligraphy Kit, which offers an introduction to the art 'with step-by-step instructions for the beginner' as well as very basic tools needed to get going. Inside the box are an instruction book (96 pages), a penholder with three nibs, a bamboo pen, two small bottles of ink (red and black), and a sample sheet.

In his Introduction, George Thomson questions the difference between good writing and calligraphy, telling us that the latter 'is writing as an art' and can be addictive. His instruction manual is in four parts: The Basics, Moving On, Projects, and Reference. He describes tools (writing instruments and writing surfaces), including snippets of history. He suggests exercises for: moving from handwriting to calligraphy; establishing rhythm and pattern; and forming line and shape.

In Moving On, Thomson offers techniques for use of the broad-edged pen, and explains how to hold it. He gives ruling guidelines and offers round hand and italic hand exercises, as well as variations on them. The final section, Projects, includes step-by-step instructions for a variety of tasks such as drawing a calligraphic finish creating a bookplate and a poster, image making, gilding, and layout and design.

Finally, Thomson offers a bibliography and web site resources (and suggests joining a calligraphy society) for those who want to pursue the art further and possibly exhibit their work. If you, or someone close to you, is drawn to calligraphy, then The Calligraphy Kit is a good place to start.

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