Openinkstand Art & Calligraphy

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Michael Sull’s Spencerian Script and Ornamental Penmanship Vol. 2 is my Bible. I refer to it a lot more than any other calligraphy book or resource and my copy is dog eared and stained from years of use (thank goodness it is quite sturdy!). It has beautiful reproductions of the masters works (all in actual size) in a ring binder and semi-glossy paper, which makes it easy to open and refer to. At $30, it is incredible good value and I highly recommend it to any calligrapher or lover of fine penmanship.

However, I always wondered about Vol. 1. It was elusive, no one ever stocked it and when they do, it was very expensive. While it is available as PDFs on IAMPETH, I abhor reading on the computer (just can’t concentrate!) and it was too many pages to print. I asked Michael Sull about this in one of our conversations and he revealed that tragically, most of Vol. 1 was destroyed during a flood in the warehouse where it was stored. What a shame!

So when a copy of Vol. 1 became available from the San Francisco Public Library for a decent price, I immediately jumped on it. I expected it to look like Vol. 1 with a ring binder and glossy pages, but it arrived as a huge and really heavy black 600 page hardcover book.. they sent me the 2 Volume set with both books in first edition! The pages are matte, not glossy. And best of all… it was signed on the front by the man himself.. and addressed to a Marde Ross. Perhaps I’ll ask him about this, maybe he remembers.

I still use my Vol. 1 for reference, as the larger book is not on a ring binder thus it does not open fully (nor do I want it to), but it has since been my constant source of inspiration. All I need to do is to open it at a random page, read something from that page and be inspired to write again.

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