Annie Cicale
Fairview, NC

B08 — Roman Caps: Pattern and Texture
Four-Day Class, Monday, July 27 – Friday, July 31
Beginner/Intermediate, Intermediate, Intermediate/Advanced

The budding scribe is tempted by the expressive qualities of letters made by hand as they start out on their life-long path of studying fine writing. Many students are terrified of Roman letters because somewhere along the way they have heard they are difficult.

We will diffuse that fear by beginning with an analysis of traditional proportion systems and then experiment with some modern variations. Adjusting spacing, speed, and proportion can give an infinite variety of forms. Spacing Romans well is critical, and we will explore ways to make it become second nature. Annie will guide you as you explore approaches to these forms through both controlled and spontaneous exercises.

After working with these basic Roman letter shapes, we will work with ways of expanding your vocabulary of scripts through both analytical and intuitive exercises. By working with a variety of tools, you will find variations and individuality. For those who are interested, we will touch on flat brush Romans, such as those found in early Roman inscriptions.

These studies will be pushed even further into more personal expressions, working with various media. We will begin with writing, progress to drawing, and end with painterly pieces. Each of you may choose a different path of study, and we all might end up in different places! We will document our initial studies in journal form and progress to the grandest pieces we can muster.

Supply List

  • Basic calligraphy supplies plus:
  • Calligraphy easel if you use one
  • Triangle or rolling ruler
  • Masking or drafting tape
  • Pencils, various hardnesses (2B, HB, 2H, etc.)
  • Old toothbrush for cleaning pens
  • Dividers (they look like a compass but they have two metal points)
  • Extra pen holders, ones that feel good in your hand
  • A few other mark making tools, such as ruling pens, pointed brushes, and pointed pens
  • A flat 1/2″ watercolor brush, such as a Winsor & Newton series 995, the classic choice for making brush Romans
  • Non-waterproof ink, such as black sumi or walnut, or your favorite
  • Layout bond, at least 11″ x 14″ or non-repro graph paper
  • A few small sheets of good paper, such as Arches text laid or wove, Arches 90 lb hot press, Canson, or Strathmore charcoal. Bring only if you have some. Others will be included in the lab fee.
  • Tracing paper for rough drafts
  • Colored paper
  • Other papers you want to try
  • Optional: Designer’s gouache in assorted colors (at least red, yellow, blue) plus white, or Pro White, and black
  • Palette
  • Old brushes for mixing gouache
  • Gum arabic
  • You also need something to say: quotations, poems, etc. Short ones for practice and longer ones for projects. Write words that are significant to you.

Supply fee: $15 to cover prepared paper, inks, paints, and loaner tools.

Annie-Cicale-1The world of books and writing has captivated Annie Cicale since she was a child. After a short career as a chemical engineer, she turned to the visual arts, specializing in painting, printmaking, and drawing. The visual qualities of writing became her subject matter when she discovered the expressive power of the calligraphic form. She finds that as she works, she is constantly trying to figure out how she would explain her ideas to a class. She has an MFA in graphic design and teaches calligraphy, drawing, and painting for calligraphy guilds throughout the United States, Japan, Australia, and Canada. She is the author of the revised version of The Art and Craft of Hand Lettering, a 2011 publication of Bloomin Books.

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