Carl Rohrs | The Opinionated Letterer | May 5-10, 2013
Everybody has a lot of opinions. When it comes to the way letters are made, I am overflowing with them -- and this will be class that lets 'em fly. From classic to modern, I have thoughts about what works and what has always bugged the heck out of me, as well as things that I've changed my mind about over the years -- good to bad and vice versa. The overwhelming look will be with respect, but I promise we'll be catty, too.
Our goals for the class will be first and foremost to sharpen the skills needed for a rounded modern calligraphic repertoire, and that means what happens between the ears as well as between the fingers grasping the tool. There will be, as always, specific instruction in the way our tools can move in unexpected ways to make the richest and most intricate details in letters of all styles.
• With a flat pen, our focus will be on an ever-more delicate sense of the contact between pen and paper and the control of the bead of ink that is in-between: Using & losing contact with the paper for unusual stroke shape and a controlled ragged line; the four basic lifts and flicks for the edges of our letters and the myriad ways of combining them for control unlimited; a finer awareness of pen angle and the choices that can give us a greater range of feel and weight.
• With the pointed brush, the standard approach is to lay the side of the brush down and head south, but to use the brush in the way it desires in its secret heart is to achieve the feather-shaped beauty of the parallel stroke. Your work will flow so much more naturally and you'll find stroke shape that occurs absolutely nowhere else in all of calligraphy.
• The flat brush's incredible control and the texture it offers can be a revelation. Because it works so differently from a pen, there are a couple of tricks waiting for you that will enable you to achieve modern angularity and a new awareness of stroke weight control that will provide UNLIMITED qualities of lightness and boldness to ALL you lettering styles.
• The ruling pen's whole reason for writing is also about subtle paper contact, but approaches the paper with an attitude like a pointed brush. The variety in ruling pen-style tools also gives a huge variety in the marks it can make, so you'll get a chance to try many different kinds to help you choose the one that fits your ways of writing.
What we're talking about is, in short, EVERYTHING, because everything has some impact on everything else. Your workbooks will include plenty of influence from some of history's more unusual practitioners for whom I hold affection, and their innovations will provide new variations to classics, as well as spur you to design your own.
I believe in calligraphy as a big circle and there isn't a move or a letter that doesn't have resonance elsewhere. So we'll be locating all those bridges across that circle of writing.
On top of all that, one of our ulterior motives is transforming these contemporary ways of writing into source material for simple, elegant cut-paper creations as well as multi-layered, 3 dimensional, zanily-colored and textured, collaged, decorated letter extravaganzas, plus the signmaker's repertoire of 3D illusions, and how to make that happen in cut paper. .
PLUS! We'll include a demonstration of digital refinement for commercial lettering: a crash course in simple Photoshop and InDesign techniques for editing and preparing your writing
for publication, whether line-art or full color.
Level: Open to all. Solid opinionated moves for the advanced beginner, and refinement & provocation for the experienced, and a chance to debate for all. The structure of the class will easily allow for people to work on what they choose: the writing, the paper-cutting or both. And the class workbook will be the biggest yet.