Modern Versal Letters

 Registration is closed for this event
$ 185.00

September 27th, 2019 9:30 AM

  • Instructor: Ann Miller
  • Workshop Type: Arts
  • Workshop Status: Closed
  • Workshop Start: September 27th, 2019 9:30 AM
  • Workshop End: September 27th, 2019 5:30 PM
  • Sessions: 1

The illuminated letter is meant to be bright and visually intriguing while also telling a story. This one-day drawing and design workshop allows time to focus on a single element, presenting a variety of approaches to drawing one dramatic letter. Using traditional construction—a multi-stroke technique—the letter is drawn by hand according to a set of rules. Tracing paper is used to gradually refine and balance the weights, placement, and sizes of elements in relation to a given format. The goal is to design a letter surrounded by and containing­ well-designed negative space. This is a great opportunity to come up with some fantastic illustrations!

Individual results can range from simple and geometric to curved and organic.  Motifs, background patterns and interaction of color will be discussed. The instructor will demonstrate a simple method for applying gold leaf.

Design focus will be on improving the sense of harmony of line and balance of positive and negative shape and improving the energy in the interaction of geometric forces. We will explore the directional relationships and stresses of opposing curves and linear elements.

A versal letter can be the sole subject of a fine drawing, the beginning letter of a phrase or text, or a design in itself, standing alone as an icon or your own branded initial. It can be translated to digital form and used in many ways. A versal can be enlarged to form a background image in a design or become the basis for an entire painting. It can serve as a pattern or symbol to letterpress a book cover or make art for foil stamping, or as an imprint on social stationery. Come discover the potential of the single letterform structure as a springboard for further creative work.

Materials to Bring: Any .05 Fine Point fiber tip such as Pigma or Pitt Fine Point Pen, Black; Automatic Pencil: .03 or .05; Speedball C-5 nib pen; small round brushes, size 1; watercolors or gouache pans or tubes in your favorite colors; gold gouache; Prismacolor or other colored pencils such as Caran d’Ache, Cretacolor, Stabilo CarbOthello; pad of tracing vellum, Canson Pro Layout Marker pad, or translucent Layout Bond; a small piece or two (1/4 sheet) of heavy archival drawing paper for your final design (I will bring some also); small palette, water container, #2 pencil, eraser, blade, ruler, rags, etc. Your favorite sketching or pointed dip pens (Speedball B-5 or C-5 or Brause .5mm or 1mm or your favorite pointed pens for drawing); Saral transfer paper if you have it  (otherwise just rub back of paper with pencil to transfer your design).

Workshop Fee (includes $20 materials fee): $185.00

Date & Time: Friday, September 27, 2019 :: 9:30am-5:30pm

Location: 375 Rhode Island St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Note: Please read over the SFCB Registration Policies before signing up for a class


About the Instructor | Ann Miller

Ann Miller, AB, AM Stanford University, studied painting and lithography with artists Richard Diebenkorn and Nathan Oliveira and has taught art and art history classes at Stanford, University of Santa Clara, San Mateo Community College district, and in local guilds and arts venues. In 1979 she founded M2 Design for calligraphy and design. In 2002 she authored two courses in calligraphy and letterform at Academy of Art University and is currently writing a new course covering logo, font, and lettering for illustrators.

Her calligraphy has been published in Letter Arts Review and Bound & Lettered, and Alphabet, and her book titles for Protean Press can be found in the Harrison Collection at San Francisco Main Library. Her art is in public and private collections and has been widely exhibited. She created of a series of large calligraphy murals for the City of Belmont's new public library and a 12-foot long family tree scroll for actress Brooke Shields for the NBC television series “Who do you think you are?” Visit Ann at

Past Student Reviews:

“What I liked most about this workshop was the hands-on instruction and valuable guidance from Ann Miller.”

“This was my first workshop/experience with SFCB, and I was truly blown away! I am SO eager to get my hands dirty in future workshops!”

“Ann's willingness to share her immense knowledge and eagerness to help others to grow inspires creativity and confidence in her pupils. She shares her (super cool) tools and is happy to recommend other tools that might interest that particular individual, if not class alike.”

$ 185.00
SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94103-5133
United States