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The Foundational Hand from Form to Design

Yukimi Annand
Class Full
  • 5 days
  • All
  • EN

The Foundational Hand is based on the 10thcentury Ramsey Psalter, and was popularized by the English calligrapher Edward Johnston in the early 20thcentury.

This letterform provides an excellent basis for understanding the structure of the minuscule alphabet. The form is based on a full circle, and its geometric structure is clear and simply strong.

The first half of the course begins with analysis of 10thcentury English Carolingian. Then we will practice the Foundational hand – write geometric monoline form, weighted forms with edged pen, texts with proper spacing and in different nib sizes. Narrow Foundational hand and some of the modern variations will be presented. In the second half of the course, we will create design elements based on this form. Basic design, layout and composition as well as usage of colour and mediums will be presented, and we will create an accordion book, an open manuscript page and/or a poster with developed element and text writing.

The aim of the course is not only to understand the form and to write beautiful letters but also exploring this form’s creative possibilities.

For all levels (basic calligraphy skill with edged nibs and understanding of calligraphic terms are required).

Supply List


  • Black gouache (Winsor & Newton Designer Gouache Perylene Black recommended). Your favorite colour gouache, watercolour and/or colour ink
  • Cheap bristle feeding and mixing brushes
  • Water container, pipette, 6 well palette and rags
  • Pencil (HB and 2H) or mechanical pencil (0.03 mm), Eraser, 18” ruler and Protractor
  • T-square, rolling parallel ruler, or set of triangles (any size you have)
  • Easel slant board or any kind of lapboard

Nibs & Holders:

  • Your favourite broad edge nibs, all sizes
  • Pen holders


  • Practice paper: 11” x 17” grid sheet (8 squares/1”, blue line) and Strathmore Charcoal paper
  • Layout paper (Borden Riley #37 Boris Marker Layout 11” x 14” recommended)
  • 2 full sheets of your choice of good watercolour and/or printmaking paper about 90lb
  • Your choice of any colour paper, 2-3 sheets
  • 2 full sheets of black or gray ingres paper
  • Your choice of text: 20-100 words


  • Sumi ink
  • Automatic Pens #4 and #5, Pilot parallel pen (3.8 mm and 6 mm)
  • Good quality flat brush (1/2”- 3”)
  • Any mark making tools
  • Light box
  • Divider
Supply Fee CA$10.00
Class Full