Calligraphy Workshop with Denis Brown

Rhythm & Eurhythmics
A five day calligraphy workshop with Denis Brown. Level: Intermediate to Advanced

A broad exploration of rhythm for calligraphers, encompassing italic with gestural fast pen manipulations, rhythm in composition, and abstract calligraphies.

Analogies with music will broaden our discourse of rhythm, and help understanding of rhythm in calligraphy. Disciplined exercises in structural rhythm in italic in the first days will contrast with abstract calligraphic performance to specially composed audio rhythm patterns at the end of the week. In between, analysis of modern and old master paintings will expand awareness of compositional rhythms in art, and will lead to exercises to show their relevance to calligraphic design.

The time will be subdivided into 3 sections, which can also be requested individually as shorter workshops:
2 days on rhythm in italic
offered separately here
2 days on calligraphic composition offered separately here
1 day of 'playing' abstract calligraphy to rhythmic audio and music
Each module is described below

2 days on rhythm in italic
This will include acute analysis of structural rhythm, and fluency will also be encouraged by the incorporation of pen flicks and fast manipulated strokes. These took me years to develop and in just two days the students are not expected to master them. The workshop will, however, open the mind to new dynamics of calligraphy which may be taken home and practiced by students in their own time. The italic module is offered separately as the class "Advanced manipulated Italic'

Italic workshop with Denis Brown

Sample of rhythmic italic as taught in the italic module


2 days on calligraphic composition
Calligraphic layouts often merely fill space, but we will explore how new spaces can be created by dividing the picture plane with lines of writing. Exercises in rhythmic repetition & paraphrasing of calligraphic elements will lead to the development of works from thumbnail sketches to dynamic compositions.  The composition module is offered separately as the 2 day class 'Dynamic Composition for calligraphers'

workshop with Denis Brown
Detail from one of the class handout sheets



1 day of 'playing' abstract calligraphy to rhythmic audio and music
Finally, there is a section of abstract mark-making as a release of all the structural analysis that is a necessary part of the former parts. Participants are asked to perform to musical rhythms I composed for the purpose. Not only is this part a fun way to finish an intense week, but after analysis & development of initial attempts, it also leads to great works!

abstract calligraphy by Denis BrownThree Dancing, an example of an abstract rhythmic composition.


Square edged dip-pens, (Brause size 1.5mm, 2mm, 2.5mm, 3mm, 4mm & 5mm particularly required in addition to your own preferred brand), a range of any other writing tools you have (e.g. brushes, ruling pens, droppers, sponge brushes, 2" decorators paintbrush, etc. Include tools capable of making really big marks easily); ink; ruler; pencils; pad of practice paper A3 size/ 11"x l7" or larger; a dozen or so large sheets of better quality paper including some sheets of black or dark colored paper; gouache colors; palettes; pots or plastic cups big enough to accomodate your largest tools, mixing and loading brushes; scalpel or scissors.

Stereo audio speakers & amplifier, (connected to a CD player or for connection to instructors laptop). Digital projection facility & room that can be darkened.





Get rhythm!