How to Be a Rule-Breaking Letterer

A Guide to Making Perfectly Imperfect Art

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Pub Date May 23 2023 | Archive Date May 22 2023

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Break the rules, embrace imperfection, and express your unique self through lettering art!

This book is for anyone who's felt the pressure of perfection. As a schoolgirl in Vietnam and later in online lettering classes, Huyen Dinh was always told to perfect her penmanship. Instead, she started embracing her own imperfect style—with squiggly lines, cheeky messages, and pastel colors.

In this upbeat guidebook, Dinh walks you through the basic rules of lettering and then teaches you how to break them in clever and creative ways. She shares challenges and triumphs from her own artistic journey and offers inspiration as well as technical tips. You can use your new lettering skills to tell your personal story, support a cause you care about, or decorate your tote bags and sneakers! Fully illustrated in Dinh's signature pastel palette, this book is the perfect companion for any aspiring creative. 

Break the rules, embrace imperfection, and express your unique self through lettering art!

This book is for anyone who's felt the pressure of perfection. As a schoolgirl in Vietnam and later in...

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EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9781797215532
PRICE $19.95 (USD)

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Average rating from 33 members

Featured Reviews

A great how-to on lettering! It had great tips and was very user friendly. I also enjoyed that there were pages to practice on within the book. Very cute!

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I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is a cute book!

Dinh shares her experience learning lettering, making a job out of it, and her training. The book is broken down by techniques and suggestions and "rules" with recaps at the end of each section recapping the key points. The book includes a couple of alphabets, techniques to use in lettering, ways to brainstorm ideas, and many of the author's original pieces. The book also talks about learning the rules of lettering and how to break them once you know them.

It's a colorful and inspirational book!

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How to Be a Rule-Breaking Letterer by
4.5 Stars

I own quite a few books about calligraphy and hand lettering. I'm a good artist, but I still struggle with drawing straight lines, and with lettering placements. I have tried hand lettering throughout the years, but just wasn't satisfied with my results. However, I had a lot more success with this book. Even the author's book layout is different (in a good way). By the time I got to more challenging projects, I felt ready to start. The author did a great job of breaking the steps into bite-sized pieces. I'm impressed with her stress-free teaching style.

For me, everything clicked into place. I'm a visual learner, and the author did an excellent job explaining spacing through pictures, examples, and training your typographic eye for lettering success.

There are step-by-step directions with picture instructions from cover-to-cover. I feel this book teaches a good overview of writing terminology, which is lacking in similar books. The artist walks us through each step: brainstorming, ugly sketches, detailed sketches, & finalizing our piece. Thus, leaving us with the tools to get creative again and again.

It's so nice this book offers instructions for traditional and digital art. Tips and advice for improving your own hand lettering. It's cool how the artist included her thumbnails, and finished works as reference pictures in this book. Everyone starts somewhere; it's a brave move showing your beginning pieces.

All in all, I'd recommend this book for creative people wanting to improve their hand letter game. Besides, you have to know the rules to break them. 😉

I deducted half a star for how difficult it is to read. My digital copy's font size was too small. I loved all the pastel artwork, but it strained my eyes on the white-white-pale background.

Thank you, NetGalley and Chronicle Books, for providing me with a digital ARC for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

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Very informative. Not exactly teaching you lettering as much as the concept of lettering. It teaches more so the terminology and tools for you to use and create your own lettering styles with. I probably wouldn’t recommend to someone extremely new to lettering but maybe someone that has been doing it for 6 months or so and is still fairly new ?

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How to Be a Rule-Breaking Letterer is a fun book it is more of developing of your own style-and the concept of lettering than a how too book.

It is very informative. It teaches a great overview of the terminology and tools to create your own lettering styles. This is a really fun book for someone with a strong artistic background ready to break bout of the mold and find their own fun style.

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I loved this book! I've always wanted to try hand lettering or calligraphy, but there are just so many rules to follow. No more! Now I realize how fun it can be to hand letter your own way with your own style and following no rules. This book was extremely creative, unique, and fun. I received an arc and appreciate the artist, Netgalley, and the publisher for allowing me to read and review. I will be purchasing an actual book to have on hand.

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So colorful and imaginative. It helps bring my ideas to life and works with me through insecurities I may have. The author did a great job of having tons of art work in the book and loads of tutorials. It was a really fun book to have to work on my handwriting and drawings!

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There are thousands of lettering books out there but this one shines for a few reasons. Dinh is extremely likable and encouraging. The tone is fun and quite helpful. She shows you her rough drafts and “ugly sketches.” She does a great job teaching you the basics but also teaches you how to break all the rules.

I couldn’t always easily read her designs and her aesthetic is not mine (hers is very pastel pink and purple) but it can all be extrapolated for your own stuff. One small mention— she mentions at some point that one of her lettering designs was a big hit so she put it on shirts and other merchandise and made thousands of dollars on that one design. The photo seems to show it professionally embroidered on a sweatshirt and I was really curious what company she used to make it, how she sells (fulfilled and shipped by someone else?). Others who are really into creating lettering designs are also likely to be really curious about that aspect, especially as it could be one of the only actually new and seriously helpful bits in the book.

All in all it’s a great book, fun and helpful. Recommended.

I read a temporary digital copy of this book via NetGalley.

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Thank you NetGalley and Chronicle Books for accepting my request to read and review How to be a Rule-Breaking Letterer.

Published: 05/23/23

"Lettering is the art of drawing letters."

This is cute, whimsical and helpful. I have stayed away from crafting projects needing writing. I never took the time to learn calligraphy (which is "the art of writing letters.).

Lettering is a craft. It requires practice and patience. This book reiterates the need for both.

All I can say is wow, why didn't I think of looking for a book like this during the pandemic. I could have taken up calligraphy. (I concede, my closets, cabinets, and drawers would not be neat, tidy and clutter-free.)

This makes sense to me. The projects of painting on totes, sneakers, etc., at the end of the book encourage creativity. On a personal note, I do wish in all my crafting that I did not need stamps: cursive, all caps, all lower case. Oh yes, there is a letter stamp for all occasions.

I would gift this book with supplies and encourage its use.

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This book contains a great deal of information on lettering. However, I would not recommend this book to someone who is just starting out. This will not teach you how to letter; it will teach you the concepts, rules, and terminology that goes with lettering. A good book nonetheless.

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The second I saw this book I knew I had to read it. The art style that Huyen Dinh showcases is similar to the art I have been obsessed with for the past few months. I couldn't find much resources to actually draw this way, though, until this book. This book basically is supposed to teach you the rules so that you know how to break them, as the title suggests. It showcases positive affirmations, plenty of example drawings, and stories about the author's journey with art. I got this in ebook format, but the book is so pretty that I really debated getting a physical copy. The color palette was super pretty and I definitely could see myself reading more by this artist. I also did review this on goodreads but I'm unable to link it currently.

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4 stars for a bright and colorful guide to lettering~

This book is just so pretty~

I really liked all the tutorials and examples of different lettering styles within this book. Dinh teaches readers how to "break the rules" by going against normal lettering practices of what artists "should" do and instead put a creative and fun spin on the guidelines.

This would be a great gift to an aspiring letterer, beginners, or a crafty person in your life - especially if supplies were gifted as well to get started.

Thanks to NetGalley and Chronicle Books for providing a digital ARC for review!

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This was a great little book that is under 200 pages. I think that it could have used a little more step by step instruction. But for the most part it would be a great for the beginner.

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I loved this book. I connected with the fun, quirky visual style and inspiring message of being true to oneself. The book also has plenty of practical instructions on lettering.

Dinh, the author, explains how pursuing her own imperfect style of lettering allowed her to leave her good girl, rule following ways behind.

The book is chock full of color pictures showing a variety of the author’s lettering projects. It also includes how to pages to inspire the reader. More importantly. it encourages the reader to explore without fear or judgment.

Highly recommend!

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How to Be a Rule-Breaking Letterer is a how-to book on breaking some of the traditional lettering rules to expand your creativity and lettering style. I would recommend this book to anyone that already has some knowledge with lettering as she doesn't go into much detail about how to accomplish those styles. She does skim over the basics. I really liked her ideas about how to break some of the rules. The book was very engaging and funny. She has a great personality that shines through her work and comes out with the messaging in the book. If you'd like to expand your lettering style and creativity, then this book is for you.

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This is a nice guide for how to be a letterer. The difference between calligraphy and lettering is detailed. The author also notes how you don't need to meet certain confines to be a good letterer and enjoy what you do. It's an inspirational read for young people.

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Huyen Dinh gives you all the tools you need to break the rules, embrace imperfections, and express your unique self through lettering art! Everything you need to get started developing your own creative style for beginners.
Follow her easy technique to helps you take basic lettering to the next level. Plus, some fun projects to get you started.
I loved her adorable style and pastel colors that just make you happy. I can't wait to start my own ugly sketches with all I've learned in this book!
Thank you NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book for an honest review.

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I love this book so much. The author uses her own work as examples of how to break the “rules” of lettering. This book is perfect for those who are starting lettering but don’t want to go through the tedious workshops or doing practice worksheets. Though helpful, (I’ve done many of them), there is so much terminology and tricks of the trade that can get lost. The author has provided a fantastic way of organizing common terms and visuals to become a better letterer in general. I appreciate the chapters that help train the eye to build confidence in myself as an artist.

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The strength of this book is really in the humor in the writing, the approachability of the instructions and the personal narrative that ties the whole thing together.

The book is visually appealing right from the get go. I knew I wanted to pick it up as soon as I saw the cover. Huyen Dinh has a very conversational tone throughout and it really suits this book. I've read a lot of lettering, art journal, and paper art books, and what sets this one apart is the way she's got her personality worked into it.

I liked all the personal examples, you can tell they're not just generic phrases created for the book. They're real life examples of project's she's done and art pieces that she's created. She balances these with easy to understand technical instruction and an easy to understand list of supplies as well.

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Some fun times of lettering, which I don’t do much of. (I was into calligraphy for a little while a few years ago.) Will definitely be practicing some of the techniques in the book.

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This was a super cute book on lettering and how to come up with creative ideas. It is well written to be supportive but also detailed in how to succeed in this creative field.

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Perfect introductory book on hand lettering for anyone who wants to do it their own way. Easy to read and understandable directions make this a fantastic book for beginners or anyone who wants to free their mind of the rules and let them hands and pens fly.

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As we move to doing more and more of our communication digitally, design is becoming more important. "How to Be a Rule-Breaking Letterer" works as an introduction to typography through its approach to lettering. Although this isn't a book about handwriting, I can certainly see where it can be helpful for folks who weren't taught cursive or trained on penmanship.

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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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Don't let the cutesy cover fool you! There is professional level information and advice in this adorable guide. I received an electronic ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, and I'm gonna need a print version for my creativity bookshelf. I suggest you get one, also.

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This is such a fun book for anyone interested in taking their handwriting and lettering skills to a new level. The author makes it simple to get started and shares her own journey to becoming a lettering artist. Each chapter gives you more confidence and ideas and helps you understand that sometimes you might create "ugly sketches" and that is just part of the creative process. The book is full of illustrations and easy to use guides. If you love doodling and lettering this book is a great addition to your toolbox. Thank you to Net Galley and Chronicle Books for advanced copy.

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This book is great! Dinh lays out everything a beginner needs to start lettering. She sets the reader up for success and explains how to develop your own style by following well established typographic rules. She sums up traditional typography rules adapting them to hand lettering in way that ensures plenty of room for creativity while making those rules clear and understandable by anyone. If you want to learn how to hand letter, this is a fantastic book to start with!

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