Interdisciplinary Learning Courses

Theory and history of calligraphy through practice

Theory and history of calligraphy through practice Theory and history of calligraphy through practice
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Interdisciplinary Learning CoursesTheory and history of calligraphy through practice

Vintage writing: at a time when society urges us to go full throttle, the relaxed practice of calligraphy allows us to stop time. If, like me, you get nostalgic about stationery materials and utensils, or if you simply want to know a little about this millenary trade based on current design, get your pen and come write with us.

We use letters to communicate daily, but who and how invented this resource that was a revolution in the way we think and store knowledge? How did the forms and utensils of writing evolve to adapt to the needs that arose for their use? This course will answer these and other questions, and combine theoretical presentations with practical experimentation in writing in order to understand and learn by doing.

We will introduce the basic styles made with a flat nib (uncial, carolina, gothic and italic) and we will dedicate a significant amount of the class to practicing one of them. Stroke by stroke and letter by letter, we will build words and phrases. We will also practice copperplate writing as an introduction to cursive. The final project consists of carrying out a small calligraphy project (invitation card or bookmark) to apply the acquired skills to an object of contemporary reality.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the evolution of writing in its historical context and its adaptation to different uses and needs.
  • Become familiar with writing utensils throughout history, their possibilities and limitations.
  • Appreciate the design of letters through their execution: strokes, ductus, and proportions.
  • Practice the lowercase of a letter made with a flat and fine nib.
  • Understand the importance of calligraphy practice today and its applications.

Contents of the Subject

Theory and history of calligraphy through practice

  • 1. Presentation of the professor, subject and group.
  • 2. Brief history of writing and introduction to calligraphic styles.
  • 3. Calligraphy utensils.
  • 4. Introduction to calligraphic styles with a flat nib.
  • 5. Practice of basic strokes with a flat nib.
  • 6. Alphabet presentation. Lettering practice with a flat nib.
  • 7. Word practice with a flat nib.
  • 8. Introduction to calligraphic styles with fine pen.
  • 9. Practice of basic cursive writing strokes.
  • 10. Alphabet presentation. Copperplate lettering practice.
  • 11. Copperplate writing word practice.
  • 12. Variations of cursive writing with marker pen.
  • 13. Final project.
  • 14. Tagging as calligraphy.
  • 15. Closing lecture


Mª Isabel Carrasco Castro Professor of Theory and history of calligraphy through practice

Mª Isabel Carrasco Castro

Isabel Carrasco is an art historian and a doctor in aesthetics from the Complutense University of Madrid. She specialized in the relationship between writing and image in contemporary art, and in the last ten years she has focused her publications and conferences around the visuality of writing and its interaction with the public space. She is vice president of Indague (Spanish Association for Research and Dissemination of graffiti and urban art). In 2013 she went to Paris to start doing calligraphy and since then she has not stopped training with various international professors and, especially at the DeLetras school, and she has incorporated experimentation as an expansion of her theoretical works.
Some of her latest publications are: “Se dibuja. Se escribe. Imagen y escritura en José-Miguel Ullán” (chapter in exhibition catalog), Visto y no visto. Texto y gesto en José-Miguel Ullán, Archivo Lafuente- MUSAC, 2021; “Aroldo Marinai´s Frogmen project: a pioneer of street art in Florence” (artículo) Street Art & Urban Creativity, Lisboa, 2020; “Grafitis de Mayo. Pintadas de amor en Torrenueva”, Ensayos Urbanos. Poligón. Valencia, 2020.