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Typefaces You Can Write With A Pen & Brush

  • Date
  • Time
  • Led By Carl Rohrs
  • Where Letterform Archive

Calligraphy, of course, 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 to model our hand-made lettering.

In this workshop two important but very different skills will be developed. By reproducing these alphabets by hand, you will fine tune your calligraphic dexterity, sharpening hand, eye, and mind. By referencing these masters’ models and using them as inspiration you foster interpretive ingenuity. These strategies lead you to evolve our own unique and personal lettering styles.

The class will introduce modern pen and brush techniques first and foremost. We’ll study the unusual approaches of many different lettering artists. We’ll look closely at some classics like Legende, Neuland, Post Antiqua and Hammer’s Uncials, as well as more 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, Lange, Hoefer and many more. Your handouts will include 75 important fonts plus many modern interpretations — your letterform repertoire will be expanded dramatically.

Required Materials
  • Pen: Pilot Parallel Pen 6mm AND a bottle of non-waterproof ink (Higgins Eternal, etc.) plus your favorite pens you already have.
  • (Optional: 5/16” or 3/8” Horizon [instructor's favorite] or similar [Automatics are merely okay, but if you like 'em . . . ]
  • Horizon pen ONLY available at:
  • Flat brush: 1/2” W&N 995, plus any other brushes you already have.
  • A tube or two of gouache (WN Indigo or Prussian Blue have the greatest power).
  • A Pentel Color Brush plus any other pointed brushes you want to try or already have – W/N Series 7 or similar, Asian, etc.
  • Large paper with a bit of texture; I like Strathmore Charcoal pad (300 series, yellow cover. Canson Charcoal is NOT good for pen work — it bleeds. Strathmore doesn't.)
  • Pencil (&/or a colored pencil or two — Prismacolors are the best) and ruler.
  • Optional: Graphic white out (Pro–White) &/or light or bright colors of gouache and colored paper, IF you wish to write in reverse.

A workshop offered by Type@Cooper West, a collaboration between Letterform Archive and The Cooper Union Continuing Education Department, and held in the Monotype Classroom at Letterform Archive.

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