Molly Suber Thorpe
Calligrapher | Designer | Teacher | Author

My Books

I am the author of a bestselling DIY guide, Modern Calligraphy, and a freelancer’s companion, The Calligrapher’s Business Handbook.


Modern Calligraphy

Having sold over 60,000 copies, Modern Calligraphy: Everything You Need to Know to Get Started in Script Calligraphy (St. Martin's Press, 2013) is a bestseller in its fourth printing, and was named an Amazon Favorite Craft Book in 2013. It was released in Spanish and Chinese translations, and made available as an eBook for Kindle and iBooks, in 2016.

Modern Calligraphy is the first book to teach contemporary, fresh, pointed pen calligraphy, breaking the learning process down into simple steps so anyone can do it. With over 180 pages of instructions and 260 full-color photographs and illustrations, the book guides you through the process from the very beginning. After mastering letter forms using a pointed dip pen and ink, take your new skills to the next level with intermediate techniques such as how to calligraph with gouache and digitize your calligraphy to make invitations and rubber stamps.



What readers are saying about Modern Calligraphy:

“My final verdict on Modern Calligraphy? I. Love. It. If you want to be inspired, you’ve got to buy this book (it’s the best $25 you’ll spend on your calligraphy skills).”
— Lindsay Bugbee, The Postman's Knock

“This book has filled the gap in what’s missing from online resources.”
— Terri B., Amazon reviewer

“I have been a calligrapher since 1985 and this is the best book I have in my vast collection. There is something that everyone can accomplish with a little bit of practice using Ms. Thorpe’s techniques. It is beside my drawing board, light box, ink and pens. It will not go on the shelf with the others!”
— Nancy D., Amazon reviewer

“The way it's put together inspired me to put pen to paper. Usually I am overwhelmed and intimidated but Molly makes this doable!”
— Lisa J., Amazon reviewer

“This has rekindled my desire to be a calligrapher. As a left hander I had near given up with broad nib work. Still persevering with broad nibs but this book showed me there is hope with using pointed pen which still makes eye catching modern calligraphic art.”
— E. Martindale, Amazon reviewer


The Calligrapher’s Business Handbook

During my career as a professional calligrapher and freelance graphic designer, I have taught calligraphy to hundreds of students and worked with countless peers in the lettering arts industry. There is a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the business of calligraphy and hand lettering and, over the years, I’ve heard the same questions and run into the same misconceptions time and again.

My goal in writing this book was to provide answers to these questions and to clarify misconceptions about the business side of hand lettering by creating a guide to the best practices and pricing strategies of successful, professional lettering artists.


Topcs this book answers include:

  • What prices do professional calligraphers charge for their services?
  • When should I charge a flat rate and when should I charge by the hour?
  • I’ve heard I should charge a lot more to design a logo than to design something for an individual to use personally, but why?
  • What is the protocol when a company wants to buy the copyright to my work? (Wait, do I even own the copyright to my work if a client hired me to make it?)
  • What are exclusive rights? How are nonexclusive rights different?
  • What should a fair project contract include?
  • When, if ever, should I agree to do work for free or for considerably less than my customary rates?
  • What are the best ways to advertise on a budget, especially when I’m just starting out as a freelancer?
  • Do I need to go to art or design school to become a successful, in-demand lettering artist?


What readers are saying about The Calligrapher's Business Handbook:

“This new book should be a staple in the library of any calligrapher who wishes to pursue the art as a business. It is simply a wealth of useful and practical information. ... This is a volume that certainly should not be missed!”
Paper & Ink Arts

“I wish I had found this sooner in my business. Stop debating, you NEED this if you want to create calligraphy for other people in any way.”
— Vivian, Amazon reviewer

"If you’re interested in making some income from your dip pen talent, I highly recommend The Calligrapher’s Business Handbook! When you have a moment to read it, you’ll want to dig in with a highlighter in hand. Molly’s transparency about pricing and process is unrivaled, and I think that a lot of calligraphy businesses will get a running start because of her generosity in sharing information."
— Lindsay Bugbee, The Postman's Knock

“If you are a professional calligrapher, this is the book you’ve been waiting for. The author anticipated all the questions I’ve had which have made me nervous about my business. I found the chapter about licensing and commercial lettering especially useful since this is something I’d never read about on any calligraphy forum or blog post. I have so much more confidence now to turn this side business into something more.”
— Mandy, Amazon reviewer


Shop my books worldwide:


North America

Shop locally in the U.S.
Paper & Ink Arts – U.S.
John Neal Bookseller – U.S.
Paper & Ink Arts – U.S.
Powell's – U.S. – U.S.
Barnes & Noble – U.S. – Canada – Mexico


Shy Mao (Complex Chinese edition) – China
Fully Booked – Philippines
Kinokuniya – Singapore – Japan – India


CreateSpace – U.K. – Spain – France – Germany – Italy – The Netherlands

South America – Brazil

Oceania – Australia