This article was originally published in 2019 on my older website.
I am wondering if you know of any modern brush calligraphy classes. I am only able to find workshops that last a few hours. I am interested in a weekly class that would provide continuing instruction and practice. These used to be available through community colleges or art centers, but I have been unsuccessful in finding any. — A
If you’re like A, I’m glad you’re interested in pursuing continued education and practice in calligraphy :) Many brush calligraphy workshops that last about 2-3 hours are structured that way because that’s about the length of time it takes for the instructor to walkthrough 26 characters with the basic strokes.
Many of the courses that came to mind were offerings available online. Though I know how struggling it can be to stick with and to practice without an instructor available in-person.
Sharisse de Leon of Pieces Calligraphy created Learn Brush Calligraphy and is an amazing lady. Her style is more traditional but uses brush pens in her instruction.
Barbara Enright and Carla Hackett created Learn Brush Lettering to teach brush scripts and lettering using natural hair lettering brushes.
The Modern Calligraphy Summit offered 2 different sets of courses available and provides such a wide variety of instructors with very specific courses that include brush lettering, and watercolor lettering. They have also set up a Facebook group that has become a go-to resource for me when I’m looking at how to write on insert item here. Sign-up on their website to know when they will open up enrollment again.
In-person weekly classes I know of would normally involve a certificate degree to be attached, so it would be in a college’s best interest to offer regular courses. The courses of study I know of in Southern and Northern California can offer amazing instruction to develop your calligraphy.
The Los Angeles Trade Technical College, or LATTC, is a public two-year college that offers Sign Graphics for both an Associate in Arts Degree and a Certificate Degree. One of the courses includes Individual Lettering, which covers the identification of materials and includes training in drawing and brush lettering Gothic, Roman, Script, and other lettering styles. This instruction is geared towards the production of temporary signs including showcards, paper signs, and temporary display items, and would be a considerable study forward in practicing calligraphy. One of my favorite artists who have completed LATTC is Remy Chwae.
The Ink Academy in Berkeley offers courses and certification programs in the development of Calligraphy. The courses highlight proficiency in certain styles, called “hands”, including Spencerian, Copperplate, Fraktur, etc and can be taken online or in the form of 2-day weekend workshops. One of my favorite instructors here is Nina Tran who hosted a Copperplate Bootcamp that had shifted my perspective of calligraphy to one worth a lifetime of study.
Type West is the postgraduate certificate program offered by the Letterform Archive in San Francisco. The instruction includes weekly meetings for the complete type design process, including the history and theory of type design supported by the Archive’s extensive collection of type specimens. Applications open up once a year in the spring, and the actual practice of calligraphy is infrequent despite being a highly recommended experience in my growth and understanding of letterforms. They also offer weekend workshops to the public and often include enough calligraphic studies with some of the industries’ best type designers and calligraphers. Some of the notable calligraphers include Carl Rohrs, John Downer, and Cara Di Edwardo.
If all you’re finding are nib workshops or other lettering workshops, I wouldn’t shy away from these. Though many use other materials instead of brush pens or brushes, deeper confidence in creating letters and script hands gives you a greater edge.
There are plenty of options to continue your calligraphy practice, but the best avenue is often a consistent and deliberate practice. Consistency comes from writing regularly. Deliberate practice comes from intense focus on all of your strokes. Take 15 minutes a day and your calligraphy will improve d
I hope you check out some of these options to further your calligraphy and type skills. Follow me on Instagram to see how I practice my calligraphy in realtime.