I just spent an hour writing this and then blogger dumped it so this will be much more brief! I've been working on a few Birthday cards for friends and family which is always difficult when you are a greeting card designer. The pressure is on so to speak! But I like to keep it simple. Otherwise, they would never make it into the mail. As I frequently do when designing cards, I browse through my calligraphy books and look for interesting hands I would like to try or experiment with.
I recently purchased two books by Ruth Booth that every lettering artist will want as part of their collection (if they don't already have them). Intended for scrapbookers, these books are full of great alphabets and are very popular with calligraphers. Scrapbooker's Alphabets (search for it at Paper & Ink Arts - it's on sale!) has a huge range of both fun and elegant alphabets. One of my favorites is Romeo which are built up Roman caps done with pencil. I've always wanted to do these but couldn't find a good source.
Celebration Calligraphy (about halfway down this page at John Neal Booksellers) features more great alphabets like Jargon capitals which are thin versals. This is another hand I was not able to find a good examplar for until now. I used this alphabet to do my birthday cards and thank you card below. The colored pencil didn't scan well but you get the idea. I will say the cover of this book does not do it justice. It is full of wonderful ideas and even a small gallery of calligrapher's work at the back.
I am sure these two books are ones calligraphers will turn to again and again for great lettering ideas.