Red title
Original Movie

Oct. 15, 2008-
April 6, 2009

I had the good fortune a decade ago to see these incredible, hand painted showcards created by Batiste Madalena in the 1920's on exhibit where they are part of the poster collection at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in LA. I simply could not believe how gorgeous, yet immediate and simple the beautiful tempera on poster board work is.

Madalena has a strong and often unusual color palette, great skill and style with hints of art deco and nouveau aptly incorporated. But most of all, the hand painted movie posters have strikingly simple layouts with a magnificent dramatic presence.

The story behind their creation, rescue and preservation is fascinating as well. For instance, t
he sheer quantity he produced (some 1,400 in less than five years...about one a day) is pretty impressive. How most of them were lost and or damaged (and some 200 recovered) is a sad tale with a happy twist of synchronicity.

The majority of the one-off cards of this era have not survived, and most of those that have can't begin to touch the dynamic quality of Madalena's work.
Worth seeing!


If you are unable to get to the show (they are much better in person, of course), there are a few books that have an admirable showing of his work. There are numerous used copies of Movie Posters: The Paintings of Batiste Madalena
(Abrams, 1986) available online. His work is also abundantly featured in Now Playing: Hand-Painted Poster Art from 1910s through the 1950s, a more comprehensive look at show card writing prior to the printed posters we are now familiar with.

Or check the books out from your library: most interlibrary loans are free.

wild breeze

There's  more of my lettering work to be seen,
including some recent,
just-posted  work
What's new?
Issue 3             
Libra 2008 

Random House Catalog

An evocative fall catalog welcomes autumn. Hand lettering on cover by Jill Bell.
Click on cover for full version.
Oh, Gigi!Bartlett hangtag
I love to tell people that creating fonts is something like having children: you do the best you can to form them into strong, capable individuals with a sense of integrity. Then you send them out into the world, never knowing exactly what will become of them, if they will be successful, or when you'll ever see them again.

So finding your fonts in use is nearly always exciting, and soon you discover that how people have used your typefaces defines them nearly as much as you did in their creation. Although displaying or talking about them threatens to makes one an utter bore, who can resist occasionally showing photos of their kids? 
 Paris Sunset Blvd

Appropriately, Gigi was named after my oldest daughter (her nickname). The font is light, playful, quirky, feminine... and pseudo-French enough that Paris Las Vegas used it extensively during their launch on all of their initial branding...even their ATM machines. Gigi has become so popular that I can always find it on covers in bookstores, on greeting cards ...even in foreign countries!

Gigi at the top of a building at La Cienega & Sunset Blvd., LA (above),
as an identity on clothing hang tag (above left),
and on the cover of two books (below), the first from Germany.

Die English RosenspaceChick Thing


Gigi (and many other fonts of mine) are available online.
Gigi is licensed by Letraset/ITC

About this newsletter

I am really enjoying sharing bits of lettering and typography that I love with you. When I began this newsletter, I thought I'd quickly run out of things to show or say. Fortunately, I now feel just the opposite!

Miss the first issues of Letter News Newsletter? 
Issue 1 and Issue 2 are available online.

Thanks for your time and interest in letters!
Jill Bell Brandlettering
913 649.4505

Distinctive, one-of-a-kind lettering solutions
tailored to your individual needs.