Calligraphy Workshop – “Pens? What Pens?”

What is calligraphy?

Definition – the art of beautiful writing


Foundation Hand – Edward Johnston:

Edward Johnston was a Uruguayan and British craftsman who is regarded, with Rudolf Koch, as the father of modern calligraphy, in the particular form of the broad edged pen as writing tool. He is most famous for designing the sans-serif Johnston typeface that was used throughout the London Underground system until it was re-designed in the 1980’s.

  • Re-introduced calligraphy in 1905-1910
  • Lower case typeface
  • Designed the underground type



  • Hand written by monks
  • Condensed the typeface
  • 220px-old_english_typeface-svg


Carved slate:

  • Hand render type to start
  • Gilded it


Thomas Ingmire:

Ingmire is an American calligrapher. In 1977 he became the first American elected to England’s Society of Scribes and Illuminators with a craft membership status.

  • Calligrapher
  • Graphic designer
  • siquestac3a8scrittura-copia


Donald Jackson:

Jackson is a British calligrapher to the Crown Office of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. He is also artistic director of The Saint John’s Bible, a hand-written and illuminated Bible commissioned by the Benedictine monastery of Saint John’s Abbey in Minnesota, USA.

  • Calligrapher to the queen
  • Created new bible for the pope – invented new type
  • 1393418916


Claude Mediavilla:

French calligrapher Claude Mediavilla specialises in western calligraphy, and is most often considered the most talented of contemporary French calligraphers.

  • Brushes
  • c_110-popup


Tom Kemp:

  • Japanese calligraphy
  • kemp_closing


Rudolf Koch:

Koch was a German type designer. He was also a master of lettering, calligraphy, typography and illustration. Commonly known for his typefaces created for the Klingspor Type Foundry, his most widley used typefaces include Neuland and Kabel.

  • Modern
  • Contemporary
  • Textual
  • Legibility
  • Contrast
  • a25abefc7cc83a863aaffd104d8d0141


During our morning session, we experimented with different objects to use as a “pen”. I experimented with:

  • Forks
  • String
  • Scissors
  • Stirrer
  • Sponge
  • Nail file
  • Paper towel
  • Paint brushes
  • Palate knife
  • Clasp
  • Spoon





In the second part of our session, we learnt how to do ‘the basic strokes for Rudolf Kochs ‘Neuland”. This task was very challenging and time consuming. To learn someone else’s type was interesting to learn, and how they structure it. We had to copy a grid table to draw the lettering into, and then try and copy the letter by the given instructions. 15034268_1445920622089541_1036415668_o

This photo was my attempt of copying the typeface. We had to use a tool called automatic pen. This looks like a pen, with a flat piece of thin metal on the end. You dip this into ink, and produce what I have created above.


These are a few examples of my work producing free hand lettering, using a variety o different objects. The alphabet was produced by using the automatic pen tool, and then we had to create words and using the suitable tool to express the word more – fear created with a fork, to look like scratches.



After practising Koch’s typeface, I then created some sentences to see how the structure of the letters fit together. Koch has very small leading space, so I experimented with different leading to see how clear the sentences were to read. And above is my development of Rudolf Koch’s typeface and creating these sentences.


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