Antique Secretary Hand

 Registration is closed for this event
$ 180.00

March 6th, 2020 9:30 AM

  • Instructor: Ann Miller
  • Workshop Type: Arts
  • Workshop Status: Open
  • Workshop Start: March 6th, 2020 9:30 AM
  • Workshop End: March 6th, 2020 5:30 PM
  • Sessions: 1

Secretary Hand was used for over 200 years, largely for legal documents and personal correspondence. The appeal of Secretary Hand, especially for text artists, is its strong sense of movement and rhythm and angular arrangements. Writing it from the original manuscripts leads to better understanding of the act of handwriting, improved visual recognition of historical forms, and exploration of different ways to construct pen-formed letters. Secretary Hand is fluid and is extremely appealing for gestural expression and is visually related to Batarde and is a great adjunct hand for those who love the Gothic scripts.

We start the day with tips on surface: aging and foxing some good paper for the afternoon projects. You might want to write out a medieval recipe, a book curse, or focus on individual letterforms in this script, which are ideal for developing as models for monograms and decorated initials!

The instructor will provide hands-on demos and a small library of reference books on the subject and will bring some already antiqued sample papers and a packet of exemplars for each student.

Many design projects call for accurate historical reference. We might need to carry out a literary fantasy, reproduce a period document, a treasure map, or write out a recipe for a secret medieval potion for filming. On the serious side, deeds and testament documents need to be deciphered in order to trace a genealogy. For instance, knowing how to read this script, a calligrapher might better understand how to design a historical family tree.

Some broad-edge pen lettering experience helpful, though not required.

Materials to Bring: Pad of paper suitable for ink, no smaller than 11 x 14”, such as Strathmore 400 Drawing, Aquabee Deluxe Drawing, or Blick Drawing; non-waterproof ink (sumi for dip pens, Pelikan 4001 or Noodler’s inks for either fountain or dip). Speedball C series nibs and holder, at least one nib: C-2 or C-3 OR Pilot Parallel Pen, size 1.5 or 2.4mm or larger (appropriate size for writing regular text, so not too large). Other pens you want to test or use, small water jar, small containers, notebook.

Optional and available at SFCB for student use during workshop: pencil, eraser, scissors, utility knife, ruler

Workshop Fee (includes $15 materials fee): $180.00

Date & Time: Friday, March 6, 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:

“The most valuable thing to me was learning about the structure of writing letters and how the order of calligraphy strokes can change the look of a letter. As a total beginner to calligraphy, I was a bit worried that I would be lost, but Ann provided a great foundation for learning and walked us through all the letters really well. I also felt that Ann gave a lot of great direction in terms of thinking about the way we drew the strokes and how to think about balance in our designs.” 

“Hands on practice, getting a fantastic introduction to calligraphy including what tools to use.”

“Ann was organized. She made sure covered certain topics but allowed us time to explore. She brought extra supplies and tools to help us learn more.”

$ 180.00
SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94103-5133
United States