Calligraphy: modern copperplate
Time: 10:00 - 13:00
Location: KS - Keeley Street
This course takes place in the classroom, please follow this link to find out what we are doing to keep you safe: Staying COVID-19 secure at City Lit
Course Code: VE246
Duration: 10 sessions (over 10 weeks)
What is the course about?
This is a practical course in artistic handwriting, or letter drawing, that focusses on historical skills and styles. Calligraphy is a widely understood artform, but what is Copperplate Calligraphy? The beautiful and graceful lettering commonly referred to as ‘copperplate’ script is actually a style of eighteenth-century lettering called English Roundhand. In fact, there are several styles of beautifully shaded lettering with slightly different origins that have all been referred to as ‘copperplate' over the years. Many examples of these styles were engraved onto copper plates and printed by George Bickham in the 1740s in The Universal Penman: hence the popularisation of the all-encompassing term ‘copperplate’. This book is still widely used by calligraphers today and has inspired the design and approach of this course, which explores the beautiful lettering of the past. Across ten sessions you will discover how to recreate the copperplate hand and eventually develop your own.
What will we cover?
The course provides a thorough grounding in calligraphy materials, exploring different inks, pens, nibs, and papers so that each student understands the tools, where they come from, and how they work. Your experienced instructor will provide interesting insight into the history of calligraphy, and the international calligraphy ecosystem as its stands today. The group will observe and discuss texts from the past and present, and you will carry out a script analysis. Through drills and exercises, students will practice making their letterforms regular and fluent, with feedback and support from the instructor.
Experienced students who would like to improve their existing skills will be able to focus on more detailed lettering aspects such as weight, height, compression, and angles. Variations of the lower-case letters will be examined along with an exploration of the small changes that can drastically alter the appearance of letterforms. The devil is in the detail!
During the course, depending on your individual skill level, you will be able to complete one of these projects:
- handmade card for a special occasion
- poetry panel or letter
- wedding/party stationery
- deep analysis of an historical script
- designing your own alphabet
- script/rhythm variations in a concertina book
- copperplate writing book
- an ex-libris bookplate
- decorated/illustrated panel or inspirational artwork
- illuminated text page with border.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Identify and recognise the key characteristics of copperplate script
- Vary the weight of a pen stroke, the spacing and the speed of your writing successfully and with confidence
- Select and use a variety of pens, materials, and inks appropriately
- Correct mistakes neatly
- Produce a finished project with an example of copperplate writing.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
The course is suitable for both beginners and advanced students. The instructor is extremely experienced in teaching mixed level classes. Prior knowledge of copperplate scripts is desirable, but not at all essential. You should be able to follow simple written and verbal instructions in English to support demonstrations, read hand-outs, and understand health and safety information. Basic numerical skills are required to carry out simple measurements and calculations. Students will be invited to take part in group discussions, but participation is voluntary.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Teaching is carried out by group and individual demonstrations and supported by theory and illustration. You will learn or improve your skills through practising the craft from the very first lesson, and will be encouraged to incorporate your own individuality into your studies and finished pieces. You may occasionally find it helpful to complete or practise work at home during the course between classroom sessions.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
Experienced calligraphers should bring their existing toolkit with them – you can use whichever ink and pen you prefer.
For beginners, some basic materials will be provided in the first lesson including cartridge paper, pens, erasers, and some inks. Please bring the following:
- A notebook or pad for notetaking
- Layout Paper (A3) and good quality smooth hot-pressed (HP) paper (e.g., HP Fabriano)
- Eraser, Gridded Ruler 50cm, 0.3 Automatic Pencil (not essential)
- Speedball 2968 Oblique Pen Set, black (if unsure, please see below note)
- Japanese Calligraphy ink stick and ink stone, about 5cm x 3cm size (if unsure, please see below note)
If you are not sure where to get the tools and materials, please do not buy anything as your tutor will demonstrate the tools/materials and will suggest where they can be purchased in the first session. From the second session onwards, you will be expected to bring your own materials. If you forget anything the other students and the teacher will always be there to help!
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Your tutor will be able to advise you on forthcoming classes in calligraphy at City Lit.
Suitable courses might be:
VE265 Calligraphy: Modern Copperplate
VE228 Calligraphy and illumination
VE241 Calligraphy and illumination
VE287 Contemporary Calligraphy: developing your style
Veiko Kespersaks is a Fellow of CLAS (The Calligraphy and Lettering Arts Society) and a Fellow of SSI (Society of Scribes and Illuminators). He currently runs a successful calligraphy studio in Central London. Veiko was Programme Leader for the Calligraphy Degree course at Satakunta University of Applied Sciences in Finland and his book, ‘Calligraphy in 24 1h lessons’ was published in 2011. He has an MA with Distinction from Roehampton University London, A BA (First class) in Calligraphy and Art History from University of Surrey Roehampton and a BA in Printmaking from the Art Institute of Kankaanpää, Finland. Veiko’s classes are usually mixed levels, and his passion in teaching is to create an atmosphere in which each student can increase their skill proficiency and learn new, sometimes unexpected, skills. www.calligraphystudio.co.uk
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.