What is the course about?
The main objective for this course is to develop visual and calligraphic awareness through the study of both traditional and contemporary calligraphy. During your studies you will examine the uses of calligraphic design and lettering in a variety of contexts and through using a range of materials including experimentation with different techniques. Your skills and understanding will be consolidated through the production of a small personal project inspired by these studies.
You will learn by using historical models and exemplars made by the tutors as well as by demonstration and practice. To enhance your studies, you will study colour theory and examine calligraphic examples first hand, during visits to museums. This course will also help you to develop your creativity and will give you a lot of ideas for future personal projects.
What will we cover?
You will begin the course by studying calligraphy tools and materials by exploring different inks, pens and papers. Advice will be given on how to choose the best materials for your own work. You will also learn how to create layouts and design solutions for handwritten texts. Initially, you will be taken through step-by-step processes, letter-by-letter practice and by analysis of scripts before progressing to more challenging projects.
You will be introduced to six historical handwriting styles, including an in-depth study of Roman Capitals and learn to identify key related forms, structure and the spatial relationship between majuscule letters. As your work progresses, you will be able to chose your preferred hand for further studies.
During the second stage of the course, you will continue with a deep analysis of your preferred script. You will focus on understanding the origins of the script and its purpose through analysis of structure, key characteristics and how it was written. This research will help you to produce your own personal alphabet which can be used in your future projects.
This course will also develop your skills and understanding of calligraphy through the study and writing of minuscule hand. You will learn to identify key related forms, structure and spatial relationships between letters to develop a more personal, fluent approach to creating letterforms and modern calligraphy. As the course progresses, emphasis will move from analysing structure towards developing personal rhythm, flow and pattern in writing through sustained practice. Group critiques and demonstrations will locate these skills in a broad historical and contemporary context.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Write at least one script to a good standard
- Demonstrate how to manipulate and use calligraphic materials and media to develop your work within a calligraphic context
- Select and use design methods and elements in your calligraphy work
- Use research and critical thought as key elements of your practice
- Recognise contemporary fonts, historical writing styles and be able to identify well known calligraphic artists by their handwriting styles
- Demonstrate an understanding of what it means to be calligrapher today and how to create connections with other like-minded individuals/societies.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
The course is aimed at those who wish to develop or revise their calligraphy skills, and build up their knowledge of handwriting. You should be able to follow simple written and verbal instructions to support demonstrations, and will be invited to take part in group discussions. You will be asked to take part in small group collaborations. Your work will be assessed and on completion of the course you will receive a certificate.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
You will receive one-to-one and group tuition via tutorials, assignments and practical research. There will be demonstrations, opportunities for discussion, skills swaps and peer evaluation. You will be working as part of a group and on personal projects which you will be expected to work on and helped to maintain, throughout the course.
Because of the intensive nature of the course, there is an expectation that you will commit to additional study outside the session hours for research and professional development.
You may occasionally find it helpful to be able to complete or revise work at home during the course.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
Some basic materials are included in the cost of the course. Other personal tools and professional materials such as penholders, nibs, special inks and paper can be purchased during the sessions. You may need to supply some materials and tools yourself, and you will receive guidance from the tutors on ways to do this.
As the course progresses you will need to provide your own set of tools and you should allow at least £50 for this. You will be advised on this during the first weeks and nothing needs to be purchased before the class starts. Please bring a sharp pencil and notebook to each class. You will be expected to make your own notes to supplement the course handouts and supply them with your portfolio during assessments.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Other (non-advanced) calligraphy courses are offered at City Lit, and your tutor will be happy to advise you on suitable courses for the 2021/22 academic session, according to your level and interests.
In addition to our expanding range of advanced long courses, you will find a new and growing range of professional practice workshops in the school of Visual Arts (from October 2020), aimed at providing support, skills and context, and developing communities of practice. These workshops can be taken individually, according to need or interest, or as complementary components of a modular course, which you design for yourself; either way, they are there to provide you with the skills, knowledge and connections you need to take your advanced creative practice forward.