Calligraphy: Italic & Bâtarde


This 10-week course will introduce students to two historical styles of writing: Italic and Bâtarde. This class will focus on the fundamentals of understanding these letterforms and practicalities for using professional tools. In addition to these two styles of calligraphy, we will also discuss how to incorporate flourishing into compositions and layouts. The historical survey of the development of these calligraphic traditions will also be covered through lectures, demonstrations, and printed hand-outs. 

The Italic hand is an elegant Renaissance style also known as Chancery Cursive and running hand. Developed from Humanist Minuscule, its graceful forms were considered the height of refinement in its day. Having been in vogue since the Italian Humanist reform movement of the 14th century, it still remains among the most useful and beautiful of modern styles.

In contrast, Bâtarde is a lesser-known hand. The word ‘Bâtarde’ refers to its mixed origins of formal Blackletter (Textura) and other various cursive styles. As a style of Gothic cursive that appeared in the second half of the 14th century, it is commonly said to be one of the last calligraphic innovations to occur in the Middle Ages. It's contrasting, bold graphic qualities are eye-catching for the modern scribe.

In the latter half of the course, we will go over the basic rules and principles of designing the flourished line. We will discuss flourished examples of both Italic and Bâtarde, through historical writing manuals and charters. We will examine high-quality compositions, learn how to identify basic elements of well-executed flourishes, dissect what makes good flourishing pleasing to the eye, and combine the elements to improvise our own designs. 

All levels of students are welcome in this course.


Required Materials

Black Higgins Eternal Ink (or similar non-waterproof ink)
Straight Penholder (nib holder)
Three pen nibs: Brause 5mm, 4mm, & 3mm (or similar sized nibs, such as Speedball C-0 & C-1 & C-2)
9” x 12” or bigger layout pad (recommended brands: Borden & Riley #37 Boris Marker Layout pad, or Canson Marker Layout pad, or Bienfang 360.)
Masking tape
Paper towel or soft cotton rag
Pencil & Eraser

Additional Information


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