Lilly Script

As I look ahead to 2013, one of my goals is to spend time practicing custom script.

In 2009 I began taking engrosser's script lessons from Bill Lilly. Shortly thereafter I lost my job and subsequently started my own business, so I dropped our weekly lessons due to the uncertainty of my situation at the time. This December I reconnected with my old friend and began taking lessons again. I forgot how much I missed learning his trade, even more importantly, spending time with him. 

Bill Lilly is a Columbus treasure, recognized world-wide by those who are insiders in his craft. Visitors come from all over the country, and some from other parts of the globe to spend time learning from him.

William A. (Bill) Lilly was born in Marion Kentucky in 1927. Bill displayed an interest in and appreciation of art as a boy. His interest developed into a talent that was encouraged by his parents and enjoyed by his family and friends. During these early years, Penmanship was an integral part of the school curriculum in America and Bill's abilities with a pen showed early promise that grew with time. In the late 40's, while Bill was attending Western Kentucky State Teachers College, Professor of Penmanship G.G. Craig became impressed with his student's abilities and advised him to refine his skills by attending the Zanerian College of Penmanship in Columbus, Ohio. The Zanerian was considered the foremost American school of penmanship and engrossing at that time. Bill took Professor Craig's advice and enrolled. There his natural talent was enhanced by the expert teaching of the master penmen at the college, E.A. Lupfer and Palmer Bloser, while he was exposed to all aspects of the engrossing art, from broad pen lettering in Old English and German Text styles to the more demanding Engrosser's script. This last he especially loved and it became his primary interest. Mastering the beautiful 400-year-old script, with its disciplined contrast of fine hairlines and shades, its elegant simple and compound curves and its graceful flow, required long hours of concentrated study and practice. Bill's study at the Zanerian was rewarded in two ways: during his last six months there he was employed by the commercial arm of the Zaner-Bloser enterprise as a professional writer of script and then earned a coveted Gold Seal Certificate of Merit, the top award given by the college. --- quoted from

Today, Bill lives on the south east side of Columbus with his wife Sandy. He keeps busy with frequent individual and group teaching sessions in his home. When he's not teaching, he stays active by bicycling and rollerblading.  

Because his craft is a bit of a lost art, the tools of the trade can be hard to come by. Bill also makes pens (called oblique penholders) on his lathe in his basement woodshop and sells them online here. 


(above: my feeble attempts at capital letters)

If you want to learn more about Engrosser's Script, just search youtube. You'll find plenty of demos and how-to videos. If you are interested in contacting him to set up a session yourself, the best way to reach him is via email. Be sure to tell him Jeremy sent you.