ART 50 — Calligraphy and Letterform: History, Methods, and Practice
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 6 weeks
Date(s): Feb 7—Mar 13
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Feb 9
Instructor(s): Ann Miller
Class Recording Available: Yes
Calligraphy is visual music, meditative and seismic, capable of conveying personal meaning. Letterform is a blend of structure and movement, and its background reaches back many thousands of years. In this course, students will learn how to write formal calligraphy scripts with confidence. We will begin by learning the basic structures of the Roman alphabet, stroke techniques using pen and ink, and a time-honored grid system for organizing a page layout. We will also cover a contemporary approach to freehand writing with pencil, brush, and marker, focusing on rhythm and spacing, pressure and release, and spontaneous invention. We will study four formal scripts in depth: Irish Uncial, a great beginning hand; the classic upright 15th-century Humanist Minuscule, the basis of our print script; Gothic Blackletter, noted for its structural system and graphic impact; and Italic, our foundation for fluid cursive writing. Weekly assignments will include alphabet practice, small writing projects, and several more complex design projects. Each class session will include live demonstrations of technique, assignment instructions and lecture, and time for feedback and discussion. Exercises will cover correct form, positive/negative relationships of letterforms, visual rhythms, textures and forces, and many other specific aspects of text art and design. By focusing on individual components of the modular scripts, we can absorb a huge subject without being overwhelmed.
Prior experience in calligraphy is helpful but not required. Students must purchase their own art supplies for this course and can expect to spend an additional $65–$100 on these materials.
Ann Miller is a fine artist, calligrapher, and designer working with figure drawing, painting, calligraphy, and illustration. She holds a BA and an MA degree in art from Stanford, studied fine art with Nathan Oliveira and Richard Diebenkorn, and founded M2 Design in 1979 for commissioned work. She has developed three courses as an adjunct instructor for the San Francisco Academy of Art and created 15 book arts workshops for the San Francisco Center for the Book, exploring diverse areas such as Afrikan scripts, Antique Secretary Hand, Bone script, Graffiti forms, and Cola Pen gestural writing. Her work has been published in Letter Arts Review, Alphabet, and The Art of Language. Miller’s work can be viewed at pennib.com.
Textbooks for this course:
There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.