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Disciplined Freedom: Mastering the Ruling Pen

By Rachel Yallop

Starting Date : 21 August 2022

Fees : HK$ 740 or US$ 95

Workshop Description

The ruling pen is a very versatile and expressive tool not least because it comes in more than one form: the folded, the pointed, and the Cola pen. Even then there are different shapes within these groups which affect the marks made. Unlike many of the tools we use that have specific purposes, the ruling pen requires the writer to determine what it will ultimately produce. It is capable of everything from explosive to subtle, traditional to contemporary.

This class will explore the myriad possibilities of the ruling pen’s ‘line’ – that fascinating bitten edge. The ruling pen, of whichever sort, makes a unique line, and pen manipulation and the position in the hand, forms a large part of this.


  • We will look at the different types of ruling pen (pointed, folded, cola pen, and the ruling writer) and the marks they make.

  • With a ruling pen you can write whichever style of letters you like, so we will design some in skeleton form to use.

  • We will make a cola pen and look at practice strokes and how to handle the tool.

  • Using the skeleton letter designs, we will try writing them with the cola pen, and other ruling pens too; looking at a variety of weights, multiple lines etc, and how they can be adapted.

  • We will look at ‘touch up’ which is an important aspect of making ruling pen letters.

  • We will practice drawn capital letters and employ the pressure and release technique while using the pointed ruling pen.

  • Practice a gestural alphabet suitable for various types of ruling pen.

  • Look at how letters fit together to make words in this free, expressive style.

  • Explore other design ideas, for example, making large individual letters.

Note to Students

  •  This is a live online workshop via Zoom (please make sure you have a Zoom account to access the workshop)

  • All live sessions will be recorded and available for 60 days following the final class.

  • All recordings expires on Saturday, 29 October, 2022 at 12:00 pm Hong Kong Standard Time.

  • Student can submit homework to the discussion corner for Rachel to critique.

  • Recommended supply list, handouts, zoom links and recordings are available on the workshop page three weeks (or as soon as practicable) before the first session. Click here for user guide on how to access your workshop page.

  • All workshop dates and times are according to the Hong Kong Standard Time. 

Workshop Schedule

Class 01

Sunday, 21 August, 2022

20:00 pm - 22:30 pm (Hong Kong Standard Time)

Class 02

Sunday, 28 August, 2022

20:00 pm - 22:30 pm (Hong Kong Standard Time)

Refund Policy

All sales are final and fees paid for the online workshop are non-refundable.

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