Calligraphy has always been an important inspiration for type design. Now, we will turn that around by examining dozens of 20th-century European calligraphic typefaces and use them as the starting points for our hand-made lettering.
By doing this, we will strengthen three distinct and important skills. First, you’ll get a crash introduction to some of the most innovative type designers, and an appreciation of the construction of some of their greatest faces. Secondly, attempting to reproduce these letters by hand will increase your calligraphic dexterity — sharpening hand, eye and mind. Last, using these models as inspiration for new letters fosters interpretive ingenuity, and will lead you to designing your own unique letter styles.
The class will also be about modern pen and brush techniques and handling, with the unusual approach of using many different artists’ unique letterforms for our models. We’ll cover obvious classics like Legende, Neuland, Post Antiqua, and Hammer’s uncials, as well as the more obscure and eccentric like Georg Trump’s five wonderfully different calligraphic script faces, Oldrich Menhart’s romans and uncial, and original letter design by Zapf, Excoffon, Reiner, Lange, Hoefer, and many more. Your fat, bounda workbook will include about 100 faces and some of their origins, plus many modern interpretations. Whether you become a calligrapher yourself, or just become more solidly familiar with these innovative inspiring artists and their letters for your drawn work, your repertoire will expand dramatically.
Note: This workshop is only open to students enrolled in the Type West Certificate Program in Type Design.
Carl Rohrs has been a commercial lettering artist and sign painter in Santa Cruz, CA since 1977. Teacher of Lettering & Typography and Graphic Design at Cabrillo College since 1984, and U.C. Santa Cruz Extension. Teacher of modern calligraphy — and occasionally sign-painting and gilding — at workshops and conferences since 1986 all over the US and Europe, as well as Japan, Australia and South Africa. Studied with Father Edward Catich, Hermann Zapf, Karlgeorg Hoefer among many others. Team teaching partners have included Julian Waters, Georgia Deaver, Susan Skarsgard and sign legend Mark Oatis. Former and current editor of Alphabet, the Journal of the Friends of Calligraphy.