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ART 50 — Calligraphy and Letterform: Methods, Models, History, and Practice

Quarter: Summer
Day(s): Wednesdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 6 weeks
Date(s): Jul 13—Aug 17
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Jul 15
Unit: 1
Tuition: $340
Instructor(s): Ann Miller
Limit: 30
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Open
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Jul 13—Aug 17
6 weeks
Refund Date
Jul 15
1 Unit
Ann Miller
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Calligraphy is visual music, meditative and seismic, capable of conveying personal meaning. Letterform is a blend of structure and movement, and its background is vast. 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 page layout. We also will cover a contemporary approach to freehand writing with pencil, brush, and marker, focusing on rhythm and spacing. We will study three formal scripts in depth: 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 include alphabet practice, small writing projects, and several more complex design projects. Each class session will include live demonstrations of technique, assignment instructions, and time for feedback and discussion. Exercises will cover correct form, positive/negative relationships of letterforms, visual rhythms, textures and forces, and other specific aspects of text art and design. By focusing on individual components, we can absorb a huge subject without being overwhelmed.

This course is open to students of all skill levels. Students must purchase their own art supplies for this course and can expect to spend an additional $65–$100 on these materials.


Ann Miller teaches calligraphy and lettering at Academy of Art University and has developed fifteen unique calligraphy design workshops for San Francisco Center for the Book. She received an MA in art from Stanford. Her 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.