A couple of weekends ago, I traveled to Portland to teach two beginner modern calligraphy workshops. My head was a little bit clouded with worry before getting on the plane: would the venue, CENTRL workspace (which I hadn’t seen in person), be okay? Did all the supplies get delivered? Was I sure I’d ordered an oblique pen for the sole leftie in the bunch? Portland was my first workshop outside of my home state of Colorado, and I wanted to make sure all my i’s were dotted and t’s were crossed.
It turns out all my worries were for naught: both workshops were incredible. They went smoothly, and all of the participants seemed to benefit! Even though both workshops were three hours long, they seemed to finish in an instant.
Shortly after returning from Portland, I received an email from a TPK reader in New York asking if I would consider teaching a workshop there. I enjoyed teaching Portland workshops so much that I thought, “Why not?”, and immediately got to work finding a venue! After two days of searching, I found The Compound Cowork in Brooklyn (1120 Washington Ave, 2nd Floor), and I pounced on booking the conference room there for Saturday, October 29th! If you’re in the NYC area, I’ll be teaching two workshops that day: one in the morning (9:30 AM – 12:30 PM), and one in the afternoon (1:30 PM – 4:30 PM).
I’ve also got two workshops planned in Tampa, Florida (at The Paper Seahorse) on December 3rd and December 4th. The December 3rd workshop has sold out, but the December 4th workshop still has six spots left! You can sign up for that workshop — which will run from 1:30 PM – 4:30 PM — by clicking here.
About TPK Beginner Modern Calligraphy Workshops
All of the workshops I am teaching this year are intended for beginners. The bulk of the workshops focus on dip pen calligraphy, but I believe in a soft introduction. That means we start with fifteen minutes of faux calligraphy (calligraphy created with a ballpoint pen) to warm up your writing hand and give you a solid understanding of stroke variation. You’ll learn why faux calligraphy is a skill that you will continue to turn to — even after you’re a dip pen pro — at the workshop.
Next, we devote 15-20 minutes to brush pen calligraphy. The brush pen offers a fantastic introduction to dip pen calligraphy because it’s very pressure-sensitive. Using the brush pen will teach you that exerting pressure when you drag the pen down will result in nice, thick strokes.
It will also teach you to be gentle with your upstrokes, which require more concentration and a steady hand.
After you get the chance to play with the brush pen a bit, we’ll move on to dip pen calligraphy with a straight pen and a Nikko G nib.
The straight dip pen is my favorite part of the workshop because it’s awesome to be able to make little corrections that result in a big difference! I love being able to give personalized feedback and see how much that affects participants’ success. Many people come in the workshop thinking that ink flow issues and the nib catching on paper is just part of calligraphy. With a few adjustments, though, those problems become a thing of the past!
After an hour of creating calligraphy with a straight pen, we break for 15 minutes. During that period, you are welcome to look at some of my works — both new and old! My 2012-2013 envelope calligraphy attempts (not pictured below) are hesitant and juvenile, but I love to bring them so you can see that everyone starts somewhere. I also bring newer works so you can get inspiration! You’re welcome to take photos of whatever you want to for future reference.
After the break, we move on to calligraphy with an oblique pen. This is usually the part that strikes fear into the hearts of participants because the oblique pen looks so intimidating! It’s so fun to see the amazement settle across the room as people realize that this pen is easier to use than the straight pen, especially for slanted calligraphy styles.
Of course, there’s always a bit of confusion about how to use the oblique pen when we first get started. I’m more than happy to show you how to hold it and how to use it — that’s what I’m there for!
For the last thirty minutes of class, we focus on a project to apply the calligraphy knowledge that you just learned. In Portland, the project was centering envelopes.
I like to switch up the project at the end of workshops such that it’s never the same in any two given cities. No matter what the project is, however, it will help you apply what you learned and will teach you skills that will come in handy later!
At the end of the three-hour long workshop, you’ll go home with new knowledge and myriad of high-quality supplies. You will not find a plastic speedball oblique, or cheap, watery ink at a TPK workshop! Instead, you’ll receive:
- Ballpoint Pen (for faux calligraphy/letter formation practice)
- Brush Pen (for practicing pressure exertion)
- Manuscript Straight Calligraphy Pen with Universal Insert
- Hand-Turned Wooden Oblique Calligraphy Pen
- Nikko G Nib
- Brause EF66 Nib
- 2.25 oz. Sumi Ink
- Workshop-Exclusive TPK Worksheet Set
- 6” x 8.25” Rhodia Pad
Light refreshments (for example: fruit, cookies, and sparkling water) will be provided, and I make sure the atmosphere is as uplifting and relaxing as possible. That’s why you’ll always see flowers at my workshops!
If you think you could benefit from a workshop, I’d love to see you there! Here are links to enroll, plus coupon codes for $30 off:
- Brooklyn, 10/29 (Morning; 9:30 AM -12:30 PM) | Coupon Code BROOKLYN30, valid until 10/15 | Enrollment closes 10/17 | Sign up here
- Brooklyn, 10/29 (Afternoon; 1:30 PM – 4:30 PM) | Coupon Code BROOKLYN30, valid until 10/15 | Enrollment closes 10/17 | Sign up here
- Tampa, 12/4 (1:30 PM – 4:30 PM) | Coupon Code TAMPA30, valid until 11/3 | Enrollment closes 11/15 | Sign up here
I often receive workshop requests, and there are a lot of cities I would like to arrange workshops in! So far, I know for sure that I’ll be teaching next year in Colorado Springs on February 4th, and sometime in April or May in Atlanta. Texas — particularly Dallas and Houston — is on my radar, as is Los Angeles. In addition to beginner workshops, I’d like to teach a few intermediate workshops next year. Those workshops would focus on concepts like using watercolor to create calligraphy, white lettering, and developing your own calligraphy style. As those workshop arrangements come to fruition, I will announce them on the TPK blog and on Facebook and Instagram!
If you attended one of the Portland workshops, I’d like to thank you again! If you’re signed up for Berkeley, I’m looking forward to meeting you next weekend. New York future calligraphers — see you at the end of this month! And Floridian creatives, I’m really looking forward to escaping the Colorado cold to come hang out with you in December. For everyone else, thanks so much for reading TPK! It’s always a pleasure to have you here, and I really appreciate it!