Cyrillic calligraphy manual?

Ramiro Espinoza's picture

Hi there,

I guess if someone in the forum could send me a scan of the cyrillic equivalent of the Johnston's "Fundational" hand or a similar humanistic model. You know, one if those pages showing each stroke with numbers... I have mostly typographic examples or ancient manuscripts photos. I need something to practice at home.
If you can recommend me an good an available cyrillic calligraphy book, it would be also very nice.



clauses's picture


hrant's picture

Not exactly what you need, but Y Gordon's "Book
of Letters from Аа to Яя" does show some of that.


Ramiro Espinoza's picture

@ Clauses, what does "[track]" mean?
@ Hrant, thanks.

typerror's picture

Ramiro, you might try this. I remember "thumbing through" this some years ago. Don't remember if there were any ductus pieces in there but it was worth the spin.

I will look through some of my Russian stash and see what I can find.

Ramiro Espinoza's picture


Ramiro Espinoza's picture

"Book of Letters From Аа to Яя" is out of print :(

hrant's picture

Did you see the PDF extract? It might help you decide to pursue it or not:

BTW, looking for that PDF I ran into a full (albeit lo-res) download of the book! :-/
The thing is, in cases where it's not possible to buy a copy* I have no problem
pointing to such a resouce:
In fact sometimes the author will leak a PDF (to circumvent an intransigent publisher), and I'm all for promoting authors over publishers.

* Getting a used one does not compensate the publisher or author, so it's moot.


Té Rowan's picture

@Ramiro - The track page on your user profile keeps track of what threads you have commented on. A "[track]" or a period is just the canonical comment for when you just want to follow a thread on the track page.

andrijtype's picture

hi Ramiro,

i have a brilliant one for you: Serbian calligraphy guide from 18. century

unfortunately, calligraphic script, based on any teaching book (anyway, we haven't a lot of it) will be looked dated, even if you use some more modern, like a Villu Toots schemes from middle of 20. century. here is some pictures

and beautiful Vera Evstafieva's black script for your inspiration

i know, it is not exactly what you need, sorry.

Ramiro Espinoza's picture

Thanks Andrijko and Hrant for the good stuff you shared.

I also would like to share the samples Vera Evstafieva just sent me. I think they are great and fill a gap. It is difficult to come back to calligraphy trying to use **modern** post Civil Reform letters because they were quite 'artificial' and broke connection with written forms.
But Vera developed a very didactic and consistent model to teach her students. I find it also very beautiful.

She allowed me to share it here, but please, mention the author if you use it in any way. If you want to reproduce it also ask Vera.

hrant's picture

Vera nice of you! ;-)


dezcom's picture


1996type's picture

wow. Cool stuff Ramiro!

clauses's picture


Maxim Zhukov's picture

Ramiro, ‘Cyrillic equivalents of the Johnston’s “Foundational” hand or a similar humanistic model’ do exist. However, to me, and to many other users of Cyrillic, most of them look and feel decidedly unauthentic. It’s just that the revival of italic handwriting, the way it is known in the West, never took root in the Cyrillic-using lands. After all, there was nothing to revive: Cyrillic italic emerged only in 1730s as a printing type, complementary to roman—not as a formal, or informal, writing style. In the 20th century there have been quite a few attempts to acculturate the Cyrillic-based broad-nib calligraphy at a steady stress angle. Among its proponents were Villu Toots, Hildegard Korger, Ilya Bogdesco, Jovica Veljović, and many others. Leonid Pronenko and Petro Chobyťko are still working very hard on that. You can also find some interesting examples on

I find it significant that the samples you’ve posted here are in fact showings of the conventional typographic, not flowing, cursive forms—just rendered with the broad- and pointed-nib pens.

Speaking of the real-life pointed-pen handwriting. The style that was indeed dominant in Cyrillic penmanship, and taught in all schools, is this:

Incidentally, Yuri Gordon’s book is not about calligraphy or handwriting.

hrant's picture

> Yuri Gordon’s book is not about calligraphy or handwriting.

Sure. It just shows a lot of historical examples of non-typographic letterforms.


paul d hunt's picture

Not instructions, per se, but some calligraphic Cyrillic letters by Oldřich Menhart from Nauka O Písmu

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