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Online Workshops

Thinking With Your Hands

with Cyrus Highsmith

This hands-on workshop helps you explore different ways of drawing, making, and seeing letters.

  • Date
  • Time
  • What Public Workshop
  • Where Online via Zoom
  • Duration 4 sessions, 3 hours each

In this two-week workshop (two Wednesdays and Thursdays in a row, starting on October 4), you'll learn how letters can be drawn in many different ways. Cyrus Highsmith’s approach is based on the importance of white space and sensitivity to shapes, a method he applies to type design as well as image making of all kinds. For Highsmith, "thinking with your hands" is a way of seeing the world. This workshop will be a messy, hands-on, computer-free exploration of drawing, making, and thinking about letters.

Learning Outcomes
  • How to maintain a sketchbook practice
  • How to sketch in different ways
  • How to draw with different tools
Suggested supplies**
  • Flat brush (.5” or about 13mm) for ink
  • Empty 4mm bullet tip paint marker or regular black marker
  • Black ink (Sumi ink is good)
  • Xacto knife
  • Sketchbook (recommended size: about 6x9 or A5, blank white pages, if you already have a sketchbook you can use that one)
  • Empty aluminum can
  • Lots of white drawing paper approximately 11x17-18x24, or A3 or A2 size
  • Dish to use with ink & brush
  • Newsprint or cheap printer paper for cutting
  • Masking tape
  • Sticks (like chop sticks or small pieces of wood)
  • Cardboard scraps
  • Sponge or foam to cut up
  • Craft sticks for making handles
  • Objects to draw (for example, cooking utensils, scissors, headphones, tape dispenser, teapot, chairs—objects with lots of different kinds shapes in them)

**Part of the theme of this workshop is to make/improvise drawing tools, so do not worry if you cannot find everything on this list.

Diversity and 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.

Cyrus Highsmith

Cyrus Highsmith is a letter drawer, teacher, author, and graphic artist. He teaches type design at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). He wrote and illustrated the acclaimed primer Inside Paragraphs: Typographic Fundamentals. In 2015, he received the Gerrit Noordzij Prize for extraordinary contributions to the fields of type design, typography, and type education. In 2017, his type foundry, Occupant Fonts, became a brand of Morisawa.

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