Traditional Calligraphy

Italics: Form, Variations, Fluency
A five day calligraphy workshop with Denis Brown
Intermediate to Ad
vanced level

Italic is not one style but a whole family of scripts. Like most families, once you get to know them well, the unity between many different individuals (i.e., different types of italic) becomes clear.

The class will begin with a clear analysis of italic, neatly categorizing a wide range of variations. We'll practice two very different styles, and by encountering the same principles in both forms, you'll start to grasp the unity between them and among all italics. "Hybrid" scripts will also be introduced; learn how to breed modern varieties of historical scripts by imposing some of their characteristics on an appropriate form of italic arch. Celtic and Gothic hybrid scripts will be introduced in this manner; hands with a contemporary rhythm, thus avoiding pastiche.

This class will help you understand letter-forms, as distinct from slavishly copying them. Gesture and fluency will be encouraged as much as precision, and advanced pen-manipulations will be explained in detail for those ready for the challenge. Simpler alternatives will also be offered; you can choose what's right for you. Experience a thorough grounding that many long-experienced scribes lack. A common problem with student's writing is that there is rarely a clear mental picture of particular structures (e.g. amount of arch asymmetry), which leads to inconsistency each time that structure is applied. Aspire to a knowledge that may liberate your writing to be carefree rather than painstaking. This class will provide information to guide your calligraphy in a journey that may continue long after the class has finished.

Student supplies: Square edged dip-pens, (Brause size 3mm & 4mm particularly recommended in addition to students own preferred brand); ink; ruler; pencils; pad of practice paper A3 size (11"x l7") or larger; finely powdered gum sandarac; gouache; palettes, mixing and loading brushes. A few sheets of a quality paper such as Arches Text Wove or BFK Rives. Optional: These days many students find a smart phone with camera is a convenient way to photograph demonstrations to inform practice at their table.


Moscow workshop demonstration

5 days. Level: Intermediate to Advanced. Max. 20 students