Sunday, April 20, 2008

Letterpress book reviews

If you're interested in learning a bit more about letterpress but can't get hands-on lessons, here are three books that I've found helpful:

Letterpress: New applications for traditional skills
Jury, David.

The title of this book is a bit misleading - I was expecting to find a book that acknowledges the traditional skills of letterpress printing, and then discusses modern letterpress and boutique studio work. Instead, the book is a bit more of a comprehensive history lesson. There's a one-page reference to photopolymer plates, but the author focuses primarily on traditional typography. It's a great book if you want to learn more about the history of the craft of letterpress and is full of great images.

Letterpress Printing - A manual for modern fine press printers
Maravelas, Paul.

This book is an excellent learning resource. It clearly explains the principles of setting type, pulling proofs, cleaning type, operating different types of presses, and troubleshooting prints. It also discusses ink, rollers and paper types - all oriented around the private press, which I found very helpful. There's even a chapter on safety. I highly recommend this book if you're starting out in letterpress. It really has everything you need to know.

General Printing
Cleeton, Pitkin, Cornwell.

This book was originally written in 1941 as a student text book, and is split up into 120 units of study. It fully explains the processes of planning, composition, presswork and bindery. Other methods of printing are also covered as an introduction, which I found very helpful as I haven't done much other print work before. Each unit contains numerous illustrations and photos. Following the units in this textbook is an excellent way to learn how to print, and should sit on any letterpress printer's bookshelf.


Ampersand Duck said...

I've got the first two, but where did you get the third? Is it a reprint or did you find it secondhand? Looks good!

Poppy Letterpress said...

Bought it off Amazon:

I'll bring it around this week to show you!

Dahlia Press said...

What great resources! I ran across your blog the other day and I have to say that I've found your posts to be incredibly helpful for new letterpress printers. Would you mind if I added your link to 'my favorites' on my blog?

Poppy Letterpress said...

Please do :)

Karin said...

Your work is great! Pity the letterpress trend isn't hitting Aus as much as it is in the US/UK. Thanks for providing all the info too.

Anonymous said...

I have the first one, and it is just what you say. Misleading, yet well composed as a meandering history lesson and featured printshop historian of sorts. Not at all what the title says.
I'm ordering the second one on your review. thanks!

Wonderful blog. Just getting into letterpress as a possible hobby/timewaster, and your blog is informative and interesting! Thanks!

donna said...

Thanks for the book reviews! I've added the second book to my wishlist. I acquired a vintage press last year but haven't started using it yet (it needs a couple of parts). Your blog is a real inspiration and mine of info!
D xx