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BLACK – Gothic Eyes for Nibs and Brushes

Cláudio Gil
Class Full
  • 5 days
  • Intermediate
  • EN

The Gothic models had a large and complex system, with several hierarchical levels for the production of texts. With Textura, developed in the thirteenth century in northern Europe, we can better understand these levels, since it alone had five different types and can be seen as a personification or graphic foundation of the Gothic universe, especially in what concerns the production of books. The goal in this class is to learn through drawing using metal pens, some of the different paths explored by different cultures in Europe during the Middle Ages. Then using brushes, students will do a small immersion/exploration in some techniques developed by Claudio, and carry out some experiments using the gothic letters as a startup point to create some graphic pieces like posters, book pages, artworks etc.

Students will be assisted in improving their lettering techniques and composition from ancient models, to develop their own style from their own graphic imagery. This is done using live performances and demonstrations of the Latin alphabet evolution since the ancient Roman Capital Letter and some influences of several historical alphabets on Gothic models.

As well as learning the techniques, students will be shown some methodologies that emphasize design premises and that are involved during the development of projects, whether traditional or contemporary. They will be taught how to explore strengths, understand and identify weaknesses and learn how to correct them. Emphasis will be made on the importance of continuously improving ones technique, seeking a better design or art, and understanding the importance of making decisions that will always be a part of any process.

Supply List

I always recommend some materials, but I understand (and prefer) that the students use materials that they feel more comfortable using. The most important is that the materials are similar.

For pens, for example, the essential is the oblique point of the pen (angular cut).

In terms of size I see the importance of working in at least two sizes to understand some contrast and velocity relationships. But the brand of the material does not matter much.

PENS: (some of possibilities, and we don’t need all sizes or brands, each student must decide which brands makes them feel more comfortable)

  • Speedball pens (C0, C1, C2 or C3) or N04-S10A.
  • Mitchell Calligraphy Nib: 6.0 mm – 2.0 mm (with reservoir) or
  • Brause (Bandzug model) : 5.0 mm – 1.0 mm or
  • Leonard (Hiro Tape model): 5.0 mm – 1.5 mm or
  • Tachikawa C nibs: 4.0mm - 1,0 mm
  • Parallel pens are also usable although they are not as flexible as the pens described above. I see the 2.4 mm and 3.6 mm models as more suitable, but the student is free to choose which one to work with


  • Short bristles
  • BR24 Raphael Kaerell Flat Brush: size 04 and 6 (3/16” and 1/4”) and/or 08/10 (5/16” / 3/8”)
  • Winsor & Newton: 995 (BR01) for ½" & larger (But just for students that are thinking to produce very large pieces as an A2 format or bigger. (optional)
  • Long bristles (optional)
  • BR60. Simply Simmons Brushes 1/2“
  • BR12. Rekab Brush #5 (1/4”)
  • A brush to fill the reservoirs of pens


  • A3 - Craft paper – 80 gsm – 120 gsm
  • A3 - Canson Croquis / XL white or XL extra white – 90 gsm
  • Towel paper
  • Adhesive tape
  • 1 tempera or acrylic ink
  • 50 cm ruler
  • Pair of squares
  • Pencil or automatic pencil
  • 0.5 mm liner black marker
  • Water and ink reservoirs

Ink & Colour:

  • Liquid ink: Indian ink or sumi ink or Higgins Eternal)
  • Optional inks (coloured inks: Ecoline, liquid watercolours, Winsor & Newton calligraphy ink, Richstone Sepia inks, Pelikan 4001, Liquid Acrylic ink, etc.)
  • Black Tempera (gouache) or watercolour or acrylic tube (50ml)
  • Coloured inks are optional but always welcome for students that love to work with colour.
Supply Fee $0.00
Class Full