I can’t really recall when I first heard about Jesscia Hische, but she kept popping up in the graphic design magazines and blogs I read. When I discovered she published a book called In Progress where she talks about her process and gives you a peek into her sketchbooks, I decided to give myself a little present.
If you don’t know who Jesscia Hische is, or what she does, let me tell you. Hische is a lettering artist, which means she makes typographic illustrations. She makes freakishly clean sketches and her typographic work is absolutely stunning. You might have seen her work already, without realizing, because she’s involved in a lot of projects, from the Penguin Drop Cap series to the design of the typography for Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom.
First, let me swoon about the design of Jessica Hische’s In Progress a bit. I really love the cover design, but the inside of the book is also very pretty. They used a red and a metallic silver accent colour and kept the lay-out and design quite simple which makes it very easy to read the book and to process all the information without feeling overwhelmed. The silver colour looks like graphite pencil and is used throughout the book, in all Jessica’s sketches in the book. It feels like you’re really looking at pencil sketches.
As for the actual writing and information in the book: I loved it. The writing is informative and you feel like Jessica Hische is sitting next to you explaining her process making little quips here and there. In Progress is split into two big parts. In the first part Jessica Hische talks about her favourite analogue and digital tools and gives you a step by step explanation of her work process. In the second part of the book you get to see many different projects she’s worked on in the past.
The first part of In Progress was definitely the most informative part and I felt like Hische was very honest, not omitting any steps.When I read books on graphic design or illustration I often have the feeling the author is holding back on certain parts, to keep you from really understanding how to make what they’re making. That’s not the case with Hische, she really want you to understand which steps are involved in making digital lettering. Before she takes you through her lettering process, Hische also gives an introduction into typography and letter forms, which makes In Progress also suitable for absolute beginners in hand lettering.
Even though I’m not an absolute beginner and I already know a thing or two about typography and digitizing designs, I feel like a learned a lot by reading about Jessica Hische’s work process.
In the second part of the book we get to see many different projects Hische worked on. I expected to get an overview of her work with little extra information, but in the second part there’s more information to be found. Every project is explained and sometimes Hische goes into more details about the specific process for a certain piece. The work in the second part of the book is split into five categories: Editorial work, books, advertising, logos and miscellaneous work. I really liked that we got to see both the initial sketches and the final artwork. I find looking at sketches and sketchbooks always very interesting and seeing the sketch and the final pieces side by side gives you an extra learning opportunity.
I believe In Progress will be one of my best purchases this year and definitely one of my favourite books I read this year. If you’re interested in hand lettering or looking for some very pretty inspiration, you should definitely check out this book!
In Progress by Jessica Hische is for sale on Bol.com or Bookdepository.com for around €20.
(I’m an affiliate with both Bol and Bookdepository. This means when you buy something on these sites after clicking the links above I get a small percentage of the profit they make. This enables me to buy more awesome books to learn from and to review!)