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  • Erin Neilson

My Calligraphy Teachers

So I've had a few people reach out to me recently and ask me who I've taken calligraphy lessons with. I decided, instead of answering people separately, I'd make a blog post about it and create some content! (2 birds with one stone as the saying goes)

This is going to be a list of my calligraphy teachers with a few details about the class and pictures in chronological order, to keep things nice and organized. (There are 13 points total btw!)

  1. Joy Deneen | Winter 2015/16

An Introduction to Copperplate with ImagineJoy

This was my VERY FIRST introduction to calligraphy. Period. I had no idea what I was doing. I had no idea how to hold a pen. I had no idea why there was a piece of metal (that's the flange btw) on the end of the penholder. Also, what was a nib, and why were there so many of them???

Joy was such a patient teacher to us all and I made some great calligra-friends in those group intro class!

At this time, I hadn't learned how to do majuscules yet - lol

2. Joy Deneen | 2017

Private Lessons

I took some private lessons from Joy because I was getting married that year (!) and I wanted to expand what I could do and personalize myself!

Look, I learned how to do majuscules in between the first class and the Private Lessons! I'm so proud of myself

3. Barbara Close | 2017

Pointed Pen Variations

This workshop was given through the Société des calligraphes de Montréal.

I was still so new and uncertain with calligraphy that I dont think I appreciated that class as much as I could have. Barbara was such a kind teacher with so much information to give us, that only now, looking back, do I realize the immense amount of information she was giving to our group! I still go back to her class handouts to this day and discover new things I missed the first time around.

Some blind embossing, pointed pen variations, and layout and design!

4. Joy Deneen | 2018

Level 2 Continuation with the Pointed Pen

This was my third time learning with Joy and it was actually so fun. This class tackled variations of copperplate, different mediums you could use and creative ways to push your own calligraphy journey.

This ombre effect I learned is so cool! I still use it now

5. Rachel Yallop | 2018

Copperplate Variations & The Ruling Pen

What a delight these 2 workshops were! (Also given through Société des calligraphes de Montréal.)

Rachel's Copperplate variations are incredibly identifiable as her own style and I was so happy to have been able to learn them directly from her.

Also, this was my first introduction to the Ruling Pen! What an incredible tool that has the ability to create the most wonderful spontaneous marks on the page. She even taught us how to make our own cola pens.

6. Rick Paulus | 2019

The Calligrapher's Process - From Conception to Completion & The Truly Flexible Pointed Pen

These 2 workshops were given at the International Calligraphy Conference hosted in Quebec in July 2019. (I actually had the pleasure of being on the organizing committee for Rendez-vous 2019)

I was so grateful to learn from a former Chief Whitehouse Calligrapher. Rick is such a wonderful and kind teacher that I loved being in his class for 5 days straight!

The Calligrapher's Process really went into the nitty gritty on how to tackle making a completed calligraphy art piece, from layout and design, to rough drafts, to the final.

The Truly Flexible Pointed Pen was a delight. I still use many of the scripts we learned in that class to this day. Who knew you could do Roman Capitals, Uncial and Italics with a pointed nib?

7. Marco Chioini | 2019


Marco was the director of Rendez-vous 2019 so we got to know each other pretty well through the process of planning the conference. He loved to bug me that I didn't have any formal broad edge training! So I promised him once the conference was over, I would take a class with him in a formal hand.

I was so happy that I did! Italics was so fun to learn, especially from Marco - he was so patient and encouraging. I really felt to lost in that workshop at the beginning because it is so not the same as copperplate that I had a pretty hard time adjusting to all of the new rules and structure of the letter. I still do not feel comfortable writing in Italics, but at least he can't bug me anymore ;)

8. Christopher Haanes | 2020

Italics Correspondence Course

This class was the first time I had ever done a correspondence course for calligraphy. As Christopher is a Norwegian calligrapher, I wouldn't have had a realistic opportunity to learn from him in person anytime soon, so I decided I would try something new.

There were no videos or Zoom calls, only handouts that had assignments. After we would submit our homework by scanning and uploading to Dropbox. Christopher would then write notes on our assignments, scan them and then send it back to us.

It was an interesting way to learn, and I was grateful to get notes from such a prolific calligrapher, but I don't know if a correspondence course is for me. I'm more comfortable learning either in person, or with accompanying videos. Maybe I'll be able to take a course with him again in the future, but hopefully in person!

9. Yves Leterme | 2020

Built-Up Caps Online

This is the beginning of my quarantine learning! Yves Leterme's classes are given through the Acorn Arts platform, which is run by Master Penman, Harvest Crittenden. This class was SO DIFFERENT from really any type of calligraphy I'd done before. It's hard to describe, so please just try to enjoy my little photo gallery below to see the progression :)

10. Pat Blair | 2020

Copperplate Calligraphy - Lowercase & Uppercase

I had the privilege of taking classes with yet ANOTHER former Chief Whitehouse Calligrapher, Pat Blair. She's such a gem. Her Zoom workshops were super helpful and even though I've been doing Copperplate for a few years now, going back to the basics every so often is so important

Notes and Drills!

11. Carol DuBosch

Hand Embossing

This Zoom workshop was done by the legendary Carol DuBosch! She taught up how to add subtle and beautiful embossing elements to our calligraphy works. Such a valuable trick to have up my sleeve!

"E" is for "Erin"

12. Martha Laurens | 2020

Spencerian Script | Lowercase & Uppercase

If you want to learn Spencerian, this is the teacher who will get you there! I was amazed and so impressed by her class - She is so detailed and such an expert at how to teach. I know that I will be going back to my notes over and over again because of how amazing she was at pointing out the smallest details that make the whole script sing

"Sometimes done is the best feature"

13. Maria Helena | 2020

Seastones - The Smooth Journey to Flourishing

This is the class I'm in right now! Talk about a class that's going to push you. Flourishing has never been my strong suit, but I think under Maria's honest tutelage I've been able to make good progress. My last class will be this Friday so we'll see what is left to learn!

My homework from last week

And that's all the classes I've taken - so far!

**UPDATE 9/14/22** Here are even more classes I've taken in the past 2 years!

Skyler Chubak | 2021

Acanthus Leaves

An Vanhentenrijik | 2021

Adventures with the Pointed Pen

Carol DuBosch | 2021


Lorna Mulligan | 2021

Watercolour Flowers

Paul Antonio | 2021

Copperplate Catchup

Schin Loong | 2021

Madarasz Script

John Stevens | 2022

Brush Roman Capitals ​

Kalo Chu | 2022

Refine Your Script - Engrosser's 4 Week Workshop

Michael Sull | 2022

Scribes Spencerian Saga - Hosted by Martha Laurens

If you have any questions, please let me know - if not, please go check these teachers out if you've never looked before! They're all incredibly talented and I'm super grateful to have been able to learn from such a large swath of educators.

Stay safe,