Brushing Up Your Letters

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Brushing Up Your Letters

Explore letterform variations using the full potential of brushes.

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Date and time

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Eventbrite's fee is nonrefundable.

About this event

Fear the unruly brush no more! During this inky workshop over four consecutive Wednesday evenings (October 5, 12, 19 & 26), students will learn all about taming flat and round brushes to create unique and freshly painted letterforms. First, we’ll get acquainted with the tools: see what they can do and learn how to handle them. Then we’ll break down the basic properties and dynamics of each kind of brush (pressure, twists, speed) and understand how to make the most of them when designing letters.

Along the way, we‘ll explore how to use these brushes to render different kinds of letterforms with a unique brush-y flavor. We will also break some rules (responsibly!) and combine different brush properties to create shapes that go way beyond the obvious.

By the end of the workshop, students will have made friends with brushes and rendered a word in many different styles, using distinct brush properties. These explorations will become a visual library of their process, as well as a repertoire of possibilities and combos to be used in the future when crafting letterforms. Students' artwork will be ready to be applied as is or it can be developed further into lettering or a full-blown typeface.

Learning Outcomes

  • Handling and taming the flat and round brush, paints, and surfaces to make fresh letters by hand
  • Hands-on experience on how to make the most out of flat and round brush properties and dynamics
  • Exploring the potential of different kinds of brushes to create unique shapes and letterforms full of personality
  • Using the brush for sketching and going beyond what comes out of the tool
  • Repertoire and tools to keep exploring and practicing way beyond this workshop

Materials Needed

  • Round brush, natural or synthetic hair, tip size around 1-1.5 cm (0.4-0.6 in). Look for soft brushes with bristles that are tied together and hold a fine tip even when wet. (Alternative: bristle brush pen, Pentel/Kuretake)
  • Flat brush, natural or synthetic hair, around size 3-5 (medium). Look for soft brushes with medium bristles that are tied together and form a sharp line even when wet
  • Felt-tip brush pen (preferably dark). Recommended brands: Tombow dual, Sakura Koi, Faber-Castell, or Zig. Medium to big tip. Avoid alcohol-based markers or tips that are too stiff
  • A3 Paper pad (29.7 x 42.0 cm) or similar to/bigger than 12 x 17 in, 90 gsm or more. Any brand is fine so long as it holds ink/water mediums without bleeding. Bigger sheets of kraft paper that follow these requirements are also fine
  • Any dark color(s) of gouache or poster color. Recommended brands: Gouache - Windsor & Newton, Royal Talens. Poster color: Pentel, Sakura. Any brand should be fine if at least student-level or professional kind of paint
  • A water container
  • A palette or plate (with some flat part to pallet the brush would be ideal)
  • Any soft pencil (for guidelines and sketching)
  • A ruler compatible with your paper size (for guidelines)
  • A phone, camera or scanner to capture work
  • Optional: any other kind of flat or round brushes or pens you already have or wish to take for a ride
Brushing Up Your Letters image

Aline Kaori (she/her) is a freelance lettering artist, calligrapher, in-progress type designer and teacher based in São Paulo, Brazil. She is also part of Cyla Costa Studio. Her custom letters have helped brands such as Budweiser, Vivo, Natura, and Tiffany&Co connect with their audience in a unique, personal way. Since 2013, she has been fully dedicated to honing her craft, teaching workshops, and offering consultancy and critiques on lettering and calligraphy. Her work has been featured in Tupigrafia and Typism Book, and her very first typeface, Pitaya Italic, was selected for the Tipos Latinos Biennial in 2018. She recently finished the TypeParis program, where the Empadinha type family was born and awarded distinction.

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