Polyrhythmic calligraphy, class demonstration
Photo by Mie Van Rensbergen

Polyrhythmic Calligraphy:
Expanding rhythms of writing

A 5 day workshop with Denis Brown
Level: intermediate to advanced. A challenging topic ideally taken after students have experience of my Advanced Manipulated Italic or for those who have worked a bit with my Italic Rhythm to Polyrhythm video program.

This workshop will introduce more complex rhythms than possible with even-spaced traditional lettering. The pattern of equidistant parallel lines, for example, (sometimes called the 'picket fence') that underpins the rhythm of formal italic is very useful and important to learn, however writing incorporating more complex polyrhythms will require a subversion of this learning. Historical western calligraphy does not generally exhibit polyrhythmic qualities, and therefore offers little insight in this respect, although cursive script from Arabic and oriental traditions offers a wealth of possibilities.

Calligraphy by Denis Brown
Live demonstration art

Denis will also suggest influences from other sources: The compressions and rarefactions of any waveform undulate in a natural way that may point to an organic and polyrhythmic feeling for space within writing, that can variously open and contract. Music will also be a reference, where polyrhythms, syncopation, and counter melodies will each be analyzed and appropriated into calligraphic composition and performance.


Square edged dip-pens, and particularly a Brause 4mm nib, plus a range of any other writing tools (brushes, ruling pens, 'cola' pens, droppers, etc); ink; ruler; pencils; pad of practice paper A3 size /11"x l7" or larger; a couple of large sheets of better quality paper; gouache colors; palettes; mixing and loading brushes.
6 or more large sheets of quality paper- any kinds that you like to work on will be fine.
6 or more large sheets of Polyester drafting film (e.g., Duralar or frosted Mylar).

Polyrhythmic calligraphy
"In the beginning was the Word", Polyrhythmic calligraphy by Denis Brown 2015





polyrhythmic calligraphy by Denis