Published on 18.10.2022 by Rachel

Whether you are looking for inspiration, information, or a gift for a letter-lover in your life, the books section of A.S. Handover has a lot to offer! Below is an outline of some of the most popular books, but as always, for more information or advice, email Rachel on [email protected]

Practical books

There have been a number of fantastic books released in the last few years that have made learning the craft more accessible than ever, these teamed with the long standing classics make a brilliant starting point for any budding sign painter.

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Sign Painting -  A Practical Guide to Tools, Materials, and Techniques

Mike Meyer & Friends / Better Letters

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If you have a question about sign painting materials, the answer will be in this book! Created by signwriter Mike Meyer and Better Letters, this covers everything from choosing and using brushes, types of paints and additives, transferring designs, scaling up, and much more. It will save you hours of research as well as answer some questions you probably never even thought to ask.

The information on materials is incredibly valuable, but the book also contains a techniques section, supported by handy illustrations to best demonstrate the methods described to make sure once you have the tools you know how to use them!

The pages frequently feature “Mikes Tip” which can be anything from advice on quoting for jobs, building an easel, or keeping a palette clean. These tips come from a painter with decades of experience and are immeasurably valuable. It also contains a gallery of original alphabets, created for the book by sign painters around the world to provide inspiration and reference making this book a welcome addition to any sign painters shelf - not just for beginners!

192 Pages, 300 Illustrations
Hardcover, 283 x 219 mm, weight 1kg.
Published by Laurence King
ISBN 978-1-78627-692-6

Signwriting Tips, Tricks, and Inspiration

Joby Carter

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I love this book. The first from Joby Carter, it is the perfect place to start if you want to learn about letters. Coming from the unique perspective of fairground lettering, Joby has spent a lifetime drawing and painting letters without the use of any computers. Throughout the book he demonstrates lettering right from drawing construction lines and letter anatomy, to showing full alphabets - fully annotated highlighting all the nuances that might be overlooked.

The tips in this book give practical and clear instruction on ways to elevate your signs by adding shadows, block, 'fancy lettering' and even scrolls. It's full of real world examples taken directly from the Carters Steam Fair.

Joby is currently working on a second book and I already cant wait to see it!

Introduction to Traditional Signwriting - Learn the Art of Hand Painted Letters

Wayne Tanswell

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In this 10th Anniversary edition of Introduction to Traditional Sign Writing by signwriter Wayne Tanswell, you will learn the basics that will get you started in hand painted signs. The book covers the materials used and there is a helpful section on “building letters” which introduces the basics of letter forms, size, and spacing. This book is included in some of our signpainting starter kits.

Mastering Layout

Mike Stevens

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Long established as a must-have for all sign writers, this best-selling book by Mike Stevens covers the fundamental principles of layout for signs. Containing over 80 illustrated examples, it explains in detail the importance of negative space, line value and rhythm. It also has a troubleshooting checklist for correcting layout weaknesses in your own designs.

Personally this is one of the books I refer to the most, the information in it is timeless and, for those without a background in design, it is incredibly useful for starting to learn the basics of layout.

Size: 20.3 x 1.9 x 25.4 cm
Format: 127pp, paperback
Publisher: ST Publications,U.S
ISBN-13: 978-0911380682

Learn Lettering

Lonnie Tettaton

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There's a lot of information in this small zine, starting with the basics of letter construction, each letter is demonstrated one by one, giving useful tips on its basic form. It also gives tips on script lettering, thick and thin, spacing and perspective. The last ten pages are all alphabets for reference, something you can never have too many of!

Published by Nutwood Publishing Co., St. Louis, MO; 1967. 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 in., Saddle Stitched, 72 pages.

Practical Gilding

Peter & Ann Mactaggart

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Initially designed for the makers of musical instruments, this text was expanded to its current form and has proven to be a valuable guide for gilders, conservators and decorative artists.

It provides a detailed look at the materials required and then covers a number of different gilding techniques including oil gilding, water gilding, and use of shell gold. This book is ideal if you are wanted to learn about surface gilding on objects such as frames etc., it does not cover reverse glass gilding.

Reference books

A Signpainter's Sketchbook

Noel B Weber

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Noel Weber believes that good design starts with a pencil. Contained in this book is an extensive collection of his sketches, ranging from ornate letters and business signage, to personal projects and full alphabets.

Noel is a master of lettering, and an original letterhead whos instantly recognisable style is a thing of beauty. This book is ideal for any lovers of typography, not just those interested in sign painting. You can see more about the contents of the book in the video from Noel below.

Block Lettering, Casual Lettering, and Script Lettering

Colt Bowden

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We stock four zines from Cold Bowden of Flying Squirrel Brush Co, three focusing on a different style of lettering, block, casual and script, and the fourth contains The zines offer a insight into which strokes form each lettering style and suggest drills to practice on paper to loosen up your strokes. Each contains a wealth of full alphabets are are a great source of reference.

Rapid Brush Lettering Ideas

Derek McDonald

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Printed in the same format as the Colt Bowden zines, this is a handy zine to reference for snappy casual, block and script lettering as shown by Derek McDonald of Golden West Signs, California

Morgue Files

Mike Meyer

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A brilliant resource of lettering and layout reference, Morgue File brings together clippings and other ephemera gathered by Mike Meyer over the years as inspiration for signs and lettering. Book 1 was Reprinted in 2021 on Risograph by Rizzo Studio and is a must have book in my opinion. Its packed full or advertisements, logos and other....Book 2 brings together material collected over Mikes travels through Europe.

222 Alphabets

Lonnie Tettaton

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A book that’s quite aptly explained by it’s title, this simple and engaging collection offers something digestible and interesting for typographers, sign painters, calligraphers, and commercial artists alike. It shows a landscape of types throughout history and gives a name to each one - all 222 of them. It’s pages are filled with alphabets from the four basic families: Text, Roman, Egyptian, and Script.

Published by Nutwood Publishing Co., St. Louis, MO; 1983. 8-1/2 x 11 in., spiral bound, 124 pages.

Custom Lettering of the 20's & 30's

Rian Hughes

Custom Lettering of the 20's & 30's is a diverse and extensive collection of the uniquely stylistic lettering of the period. It features over 6500 lettering examples ranging from Art Deco to brush script and is an ideal reference and sourcebook for sign writers and graphic designers.

Ghost Signs - A London Story

Sam Roberts

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The Ghostsigns website has long been a place where Sam Roberts has been documenting, researching, and writing about the fading remains of hand-painted signs and advertising. In Ghost Signs - A London Story he showcases London’s impressive and historically significant painted signs, complete with a vast selection of photography and archival images. This book makes a wonderful gift, and if you are based in London, there is a postcode index at the back so you can see if any of your local ghostsigns are featured!

Magnus & The Roman Letters

David Kynaston

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Written and illustrated by Roman Lettering legend David Kynaston, this new release tells the story of how the Romans invented our alphabet. The book can be divided into two sections, first there is the illustrated story of Magnus, ideal for children interested in letters and history! The second half of the book is dedicated to learning roman lettering using the point system and grids.

Printed in the UK.
136 pages soft cover.


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