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Philip Bouwsma

Philip Bouwsma was born in Boston in 1948 and grew up in Berkeley, California, where his father was a professor of Renaissance and Reformation History. He was given a calligraphy book when he was ten and spent a year in Florence two years later, where he learned Latin and discovered history and art. Bouwsma was originally interested in calligraphy because of its appeal as craft and because it is old; later from copying manuscripts he discovered the unique capacity of the written stroke to record the thought patterns of people from long ago. Only later did he come to see it as art and, ultimately, a new way of seeing the universe.

Bouwsma made his career choice in 1962 during a school A-bomb drill as he held his head under the desk contemplating the destruction of the human race. Considering his options, calligraphy or ancient history, he decided that calligraphy would be way more fun but he wanted a classical education anyway. He spent his teens learning Latin and Greek, making things (catapaults, a harpsichord), playing bass in rock bands and doing calligraphy. He quit graduate school and rock 'n roll in 1971 to follow his calling and has no regrets.

In 1975 Bouwsma went to New York where he freelanced in the publishing and advertising fields and joined the Society of Scribes. Not a city boy, he moved in 1978 to rural Connecticut. Out in the country, free of linear perspective and commercial deadlines, his alphabets became abstract and three-dimensional; an imagery based on calligraphic forms emerged which he applied to abstract painting, sculpture and jewelry. During the nineties he created numerous fonts based on broad pen calligraphy, many of them from historic scripts, and designed custom fonts for clients including Canadian Club, CosmoGirl Magazine, and The Greenwich Workshop.

Bouwsma is now living in the redwoods in Northern California with his wife Hildy and daughter Ann. He has recently agreed with Canada Type to produce calligraphic fonts, beginning with Torquemada. He describes his current vision of letters as "the pure moving calligraphic stroke, not the pen-and-ink rendition or the bézier outlines, but the actual stroke, device-independent, tracing its path with a musical sound through space, where I can grasp and shape it like a sculpture." Bouwsma is very optimistic about the future of calligraphy in the computer age; just as the printing press forced Renaissance scribes to become artists, the computer both challenges and empowers calligraphers to create anything they can imagine.

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35 font families by Philip Bouwsma

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1 font style from $29.95
Many-wived Jack laughs at probes of sex quiz.
Luminari™ Luminari™
Luminari™ Luminari™
Luminari™ Luminari™
Luminari™ Luminari™
Luminari™ Luminari™

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8 font styles from $24.95
Just work for improved basic techniques to maximize your typing skill.
Bouwsma Text™ Bouwsma Text™
Bouwsma Text™ Bouwsma Text™
Bouwsma Text™ Bouwsma Text™
Bouwsma Text™ Bouwsma Text™
Bouwsma Text™ Bouwsma Text™

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5 font styles from $65.00
Wavy Jake’s fat zebra had Mexican pig liquor.

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6 font styles from $24.95
Prized waxy jonquils choke big farm vats.
Torquemada Torquemada

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1 font style from $35.00
New job: fix Mr. Gluck’s hazy TV, PDQ.

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4 font styles from $24.95
Big July earthquakes confound zany experimental vow.
Styx™ Styx™

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Puzzled women bequeath jerks very exotic gifts.

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3 font styles from $65.00
Schwarzkopf vexed Iraq big-time in July.

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2 font styles from $65.00
Six quite crazy kings vowed to abolish my pitiful jousts.

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10 font styles from $24.95
William said that everything about his jacket was in quite good condition except for the zipper.
Alexia™ Alexia™

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3 font styles from $65.00
Blowzy night-frumps vex’d Jack Q.

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Sexy diva Jennifer Lopez wasn’t baking me quiche.
Tupelo™ Tupelo™
Tupelo™ Tupelo™
Tupelo™ Tupelo™
Tupelo™ Tupelo™

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4 font styles from $39.95
Jay visited back home and gazed upon a brown fox and quail.
Lyra™ Lyra™
Lyra™ Lyra™
Lyra™ Lyra™
Lyra™ Lyra™
Lyra™ Lyra™

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Boxer M. Tyson packs his bags w/ Jay-Z DVDs, Quik, Holyfield’s ear.

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5 font styles from $65.00
Jack amazed a few girls by dropping the antique onyx vase!

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Quick jigs for waltz vex bad nymph.

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Six quite crazy kings vowed to abolish my pitiful jousts.

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ABCDEabcde

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ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

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It’s unquestionably one of Judy G. Schwartzkopf’s exotic missives.

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Back in June we delivered oxygen equipment of the same size.

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A very bad quack might jinx zippy fowls.

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The July sun caused a fragment of pine wax to ooze on the black velvet quilt.

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ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

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Blowzy night-frumps vex’d Jack Q.

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ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

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2 font styles from $65.00
Grumpy wizards make toxic brew for the evil Queen and Jack.

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Beloved Groucho joked with a mix of zany quips.

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2 font styles from $65.00
The jukebox music puzzled a gentle visitor from a quaint valley town.

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12 font styles from $24.95
Watch all five questions asked by experts amaze the judge.
Lorenzo™ Lorenzo™
Lorenzo™ Lorenzo™
Lorenzo™ Lorenzo™
Lorenzo™ Lorenzo™
Lorenzo™ Lorenzo™

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9 font styles from $24.95
Wham! Volcano erupts fiery liquid death onto ex-jazzbo Kenny G.
Testament™ Testament™
Testament™ Testament™
Testament™ Testament™
Testament™ Testament™
Testament™ Testament™

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42 font styles from $24.95
How razorback-jumping frogs level six piqued gymnasts!
Maestro™ Maestro™
Maestro™ Maestro™
Maestro™ Maestro™
Maestro™ Maestro™
Maestro™ Maestro™

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4 font styles from $49.95
The sex life of the woodchuck is a provocative question for most vertebrate zoology majors.
Symposium Pro™ Symposium Pro™
Symposium Pro™ Symposium Pro™
Symposium Pro™ Symposium Pro™
Symposium Pro™ Symposium Pro™
Symposium Pro™ Symposium Pro™

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1 font style from $35.00
New job: fix Mr. Gluck’s hazy TV, PDQ.

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5 font styles from $24.95
Sphinx of black quartz, judge my vow.
Mirabel™ Mirabel™