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Online Workshop

Brushing Up Your Letters

  • Date
  • Time
  • Led By Aline Kaori
  • Where Letterform Archive

Explore letterform variations using the full potential of brushes.

Fear the unruly brush no more! During this inky workshop over four consecutive Wednesday evenings (October 5, 12, 19 & 26), students will learn all about taming flat and round brushes to create unique and freshly painted letterforms. First, we’ll get acquainted with the tools: see what they can do and learn how to handle them. Then we’ll break down the basic properties and dynamics of each kind of brush (pressure, twists, speed) and understand how to make the most of them when designing letters.

Along the way, we‘ll explore how to use these brushes to render different kinds of letterforms with a unique brush-y flavor. We will also break some rules (responsibly!) and combine different brush properties to create shapes that go way beyond the obvious.

By the end of the workshop, students will have made friends with brushes and rendered a word in many different styles, using distinct brush properties. These explorations will become a visual library of their process, as well as a repertoire of possibilities and combos to be used in the future when crafting letterforms. Students' artwork will be ready to be applied as is or it can be developed further into lettering or a full-blown typeface.

Learning Outcomes
  • Handling and taming the flat and round brush, paints, and surfaces to make fresh letters by hand
  • Hands-on experience on how to make the most out of flat and round brush properties and dynamics
  • Exploring the potential of different kinds of brushes to create unique shapes and letterforms full of personality
  • Using the brush for sketching and going beyond what comes out of the tool
  • Repertoire and tools to keep exploring and practicing way beyond this workshop
Materials Needed
  • Round brush, natural or synthetic hair, tip size around 1-1.5 cm (0.4-0.6 in). Look for soft brushes with bristles that are tied together and hold a fine tip even when wet. (Alternative: bristle brush pen, Pentel/Kuretake)
  • Flat brush, natural or synthetic hair, around size 3-5 (medium). Look for soft brushes with medium bristles that are tied together and form a sharp line even when wet
  • Felt-tip brush pen (preferably dark). Recommended brands: Tombow dual, Sakura Koi, Faber-Castell, or Zig. Medium to big tip. Avoid alcohol-based markers or tips that are too stiff
  • A3 Paper pad (29.7 x 42.0 cm) or similar to/bigger than 12 x 17 in, 90 gsm or more. Any brand is fine so long as it holds ink/water mediums without bleeding. Bigger sheets of kraft paper that follow these requirements are also fine
  • Any dark color(s) of gouache or poster color. Recommended brands: Gouache - Windsor & Newton, Royal Talens. Poster color: Pentel, Sakura. Any brand should be fine if at least student-level or professional kind of paint
  • A water container
  • A palette or plate (with some flat part to pallet the brush would be ideal)
  • Any soft pencil (for guidelines and sketching)
  • A ruler compatible with your paper size (for guidelines)
  • A phone, camera or scanner to capture work
  • Optional: any other kind of flat or round brushes or pens you already have or wish to take for a ride


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Diversity & Equity Scholarship

Diversity and Equity are important to all of us at Letterform Archive, and we are committed to increasing opportunities for underrepresented groups within the type and design communities.

We are offering one BIPOC/Equity scholarship seat in this workshop.

To apply for this scholarship, please complete and submit to us the short form linked here at least a week prior to the start of the workshop.

What’s next at the Archive?

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