What I teach: Part 1 - Pointed Pen Calligraphy / by Hoang Dao

Beginning Copperplate

Copperplate (common name of English Roundhand) is a beautiful letterform made with a flexible pointed pen nib. The pointed pen allows to thick downward strokes and hairline thin upward strokes, creating graceful, flowing letterforms in a script sequence. This class provides overview of foundational principals of Copperplate Script. Warm-ups, basic strokes, lowercases and uppercases, spacing, and understanding of the word 'roundhand' will be taught. 

The class will cover on how to distinguish original English Roundhand to other historical script, French Roundhand and Italian Roundhand; how to write American script, Engrosser's Script or Engraver Script. 


Intermediate/Advanced Copperplate:

Artistic Writing (Advanced Engraver’s Script): for decades Spencerian and Copperplate were considered to be opposing teams on the same football field.  For penmen and calligraphers, it was not common that a person would use either style, but not both. In the class, we will combine the best of both styles - the expressive flamboyance of Spencerian capitals, flourishes and use of Superscription, with emphatic lowercase of Copperplate. By using these styles together, a new appearance of script writing is achieved, resulting in a versatile hand that can be accented even further into a highly ornamental form of language.  

Copperplate Inverse Hand: Used widely in decoration and design, Italian inverse hand is a special Copperplate style, in which the straight holder is held as you are making flourishing, and the shade comes upward. This technique brings a new look to old classic Copperplate. 

Flourish monogram: A monogram is an effective and attractive arrangement of two or more letters, no longer separate, becoming a symbol or sign, which coneys personal significance. Today, monogram design remains popular as ever , from commercial use as trademarks, symbols, and as part of branding to personal use in stationary and wedding theme design. In this class, we will develop our own designs (from simple to more complex) using step-by-step instructions, we will explore the 'elasticity' of letters, learning how to bend, modify, repeat, stretch, overlap and interlock lines to create well balanced, useful and visually beautiful monograms with a pointed nib. From pencil sketch to finished inked design, and working with shapes such as spirals, cameos, shields, diamonds, and ovals. 

Cultural Roundhand: Italian and French style: Round Hand (also Roundhand) is a type of handwriting and calligraphy originating in England in the 1660s. Characterised by an open flowing hand and subtle contrast of thick and thin strokes deriving from metal pointed nibs, its popularity rapidly grew, becoming codified as a standard through the publication of printed writing manuals. Later in the 17th and 18th centuries, English writing masters including George Bickham, George Shelley and George Snell helped to propagate Round Hand's popularity, so that by the mid-18th century the Round Hand style had spread across Europe and crossed the Atlantic to North America. It bloomed as a high demanded art of penmanship in France and Italy, which reflected the culture in letterface. By changing the pen, and technique to write, Roundhand was brought back to life but in a whole new beautiful look. 

Pointed Pen Variation: In this class, we will study how to apply pointed pen technique to explore historical broad pen alphabets like Pointed Pen Uncial, Free hand Italic, and Angular Hand and Old School Hand. We will start with formal pointed pen calligraphy, then open different styles by changing letter angle and letterform. 

Beginning Spencerian

We will learn the fundamental principles of this script, start from principle strokes, working our way to the lowercase letters, then processing to the capitals. We will focus on curvature, movement, contrast, and variability of this script. No prior experience with the pointed pen is necessary for this class. 



Intermediate/Advanced Spencerian:

Ornamental Script

Prefer basic knowledge of Spencerian alphabet, the class will focus on how to write Spencerian with more ornate strokes, turn and shade to make attractive look of curvature structure. We will explore how to use muscular and whole arm movement to write step by step, from lowercases to tremendous beautiful capitals; how to arrange and space letters, words, sentences, and paragraphs. We will also learn how to master advanced technique to write like Needle Stitch, Double Stroke, Multi-pressure pointed pen… 

Signature writing

Considered as the highest level of Ornamental Script, Signature Writing is truly fine art penmanship applied to letter writing. The delicacy, once reaches substantial level, was such that no process of engraving and printing can do it justice. It is a graceful, harmonious and powerful combination of capitals, and a limited lowercases. The skill requires for such precision and freedom is second to that of no other. In this class, we will learn how to make it in simplified way: draw, trace and copy masters' writing and analyze their point of view, in which these graceful, free, full, and symmetrical loops have been produced. The we will be moving to design your own signatures, by training constructive forms of those analysis.  

Business Cursive/ Rapid Penmanship

Business Cursive is a flowing, joined form of handwriting that is intended to be written with common writing tools such as pencils, pens, rollerballs, gel writers, or fountain pens. It looks best when written with a extra fine or fine instrument. The aim of this class is to improve your handwriting by training a new style of writing system. You will learn how to truly write by your arm and shoulder, correct your position, distinguish good handwriting, develop good habits of using your hands, and know the term of rapid-handwriting. 

Off-hand Flourishing

This is an introductory course which will cover the dynamics of traditional off-hand flourishing. In this class we will learn principal elements as layout, strokes, contrast, sequence, variety and details. We will compose these individual elements into such traditional patterns as abstract lone flourishes, quills, birds, and swans. 

Victorian Flourishing

Victorian flourishing is different from off-hand flourishing that it is designed in pencil before inkling, and it appears more appealing with letters. There are many examples to be found in George Bickham's Universal Penman. It lends itself to a variety of uses such as border, title flourishing, cartouches and decorated initials. Starting with simple techniques and drawing basics, the class will work toward a better understanding of principles of masterpiece flourishing, how to apply flourishing in letter design.